INVOLVING THE NIGERIAN CHILD IN NATION BUILDING - OLADELE ABIGAIL
At a younger age, I always believed that the only time I can make an impact in my family, society and the nation at large is when I am an adult. Society made me believe this. In Primary school days, I was told I am the leader of tomorrow and to me, only leaders can make an impact. I have been waiting for tomorrow but tomorrow has not arrived yet. I got to find out that many young people, like me, have this same mentality and are consciously and unconsciously waiting for tomorrow to come so as to make an impact, not only in their family, or community but also in our great nation, Nigeria.
This is one problem everyone needs to look into, how should we get the younger ones or the children in Nation building. Nation building involves different people from different backgrounds and families, different cultures, different mind-sets, different values, different religions who come together to promote the nation’s progress by helping in solving most of the nation’s problem. Nigeria, a nation full with great opportunities and also filled with people of great potentials needs to understand the concept and opportunities in involving the Nigerian child in Nation building. Our nation, Nigeria, indirectly means you and I, the family, our culture, the society, the government, religious organizations and everything in it…”we all make Nigeria’! These smaller units each have an important role in building our nation, and in involving the Nigerian child in nation building.
The smallest unit is the Family, and a popular quote says ‘Charity begins at home’. That is, the first place an average child gets his or her first lesson is from the home. This tells that the family has a lot of work to do in involving the Nigerian child in nation building. The family is very important in the involvement of a child in Nation building. For example, one societal problem is the issue of land pollution. A child who has been trained from home to see his or herself as a leader of today and is taught not to throw dirt’s on the floor will always remember not to throw sachet water nylon on the roads. The child already took this lesson from home and will help to reduce land pollution. This will help in nation building and also in achieving one of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals; Good water and sanitization.
The school is another influential place a child receives lessons from. It is a place where a child is sent to, to receive not only formal education but also informal education. The Nigeria educational system has actually helped in many ways in involving the Nigerian child in Nation Building. The introduction of Civic Education to students from their primary education level to the secondary school level has helped a lot of students to understand their rights and most importantly their civic and social responsibility to the nation which will help in nation building. Also, societal clubs like Red cross society has also been of help in involving the Nigerian child in nation building. However, having informed the students about their civic responsibilities, it is another thing to make them practice what is being taught e.g. by putting them in leadership positions, assigning them to tasks and always creating awareness of who they are and how they should behave as the leader they are now. The students should also be allowed to participate in volunteering programmes that will help in nation building.
Most people believe that it is the sole responsibility of the government to build the nation. This might not be totally true. To ensure the active participation of the Nigeria child, they should be supported and encouraged by the government by providing an enabling environment for them to do so. The government helps to provide the enabling platform for us to build the nation. From the example cited earlier, a child will always remember to put the dirt in a dust bin only if it is available. Apart from that, there are many Nigerian children who if given the required support, can contribute meaningfully to social development. Looking at the number of children on the roads hawking so as to make ends meet or the number of children who are deprived of education, these children have a lot of potentials and skills in them and will only unleash these potentials when they are provided with the ”supposed“platform. These platform includes good education, good infrastructure to provide the basic needs. With this put in place, child labour will reduce as well as poverty level.
In primary school then, our teachers challenged us with the Chinese children. We were told that the young children in China made pencil, matches, and other little commodities that is being consumed in Nigeria. They encouraged us to produce something too but when we look into our environment, there was no platform or an environment to enable us to do so. In secondary school, my mates invented a machine for a competition. The machine was used to dry agricultural produce for it to prolong its shelf-life but the idea of this machine ended in the competition. As much as they wanted to showcase it to the world, they couldn’t just because there wasn’t enough platform or if there was, individuals, students, school management aren’t aware of it and I keep wondering how much this machine will worth in the global market and how much revenue it will generate for the economy which will in a way help to reduce the poverty level for the country.
In conclusion, all hands should be on deck to involve the Nigeria child in nation building. Ranging from the family down to the government. Each unit has a role to play in involving the Nigeria child in Nation building.
Happy Children’s Day Celebration.
By Oladele Abigail
Oladele Abigail, an economics student of Bowen University who applies her passion for writing to her career path.
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