By: Ifeanyi Okonkwo ( Anambra ),
The Deputy Governor of Anambra state, Dr. Nkem Okeke has called on young girls to be proud of themselves as girls, work hard to become the best and be champions wherever they find themselves and above all, should have “self belief”.
Dr. Nkem Okeke made these call at this year’s International Girl Child Day, held on Thursday 11th October 2018, at the government house Awka, the state capital.
Addressing the young students at the gathering, the deputy governor said , “The best thing a parent can give to a child is education. Parents should stop making young girls handicapped by giving them out early to men for marriage.
“We must not tolerate early marriage. We as stockholders and parents will continue to fight to put an end to it. Let the girls go to school.”
Dr. Okeke commended the five young girls (golden girls) from Regina Pacia Model Secondary school who won the 2018 Tec-Novation World Challenge in the USA, stating that there are more golden girls in Anambra state.
“All a child needs is an opportunity to showcase his or her talent. What ever you do, be the best and strive to be a champion. Work hard, because we are all gifted and unique in different ways.”
The deputy governor advised the organisers to invite and concentrate their efforts also on chiefs, traditional rulers, fathers (heads of households, next time such an event will hold because they are those who allow early marriage and give permission before the girl child gets married.
Catholic Bishop of Awka, Bishop P.C Ezeokafor on his part advised young girls and students to emulate the five golden girls by striving to be good ambassadors through making judicious use of their time through been dedicated to their studies and work hard.
Reverend Fr. Pascal Okonkwo, Director Regina Pacia Model Secondary school in his speech expressed gratitude to the government of the state for celebrating this year’s edition in a grand style which is a first of its kind through educating and enlightening the girl child.
According to Fr. Okonkwo, “A girl child is a treasure to be nourished and protected. Girls are very important in the society. Without them, there cannot be generations”.
Hon. Comrade Maryann Izuchukwu, Organiser of the event encouraged young girls to be the light of the nation.
“We need to rescue the girl child because they are important to the society, nation and the world at large.
“A whole lot of young girls are into one or more self destructive habits. Some are sincerely ignorant and do not understand the implications of what they are doing while some are struggling to come out due to addiction.”
“Every girl child is not just a potential wife and mother but also a potential Accountant, singer, teacher, engineer, doctor, journalist, politician and even a billionaire.
“The girl child may have some negative encounter like rape, genital mutilation, limited access to education, abduction and slavery, marginalization and child marriage. She may even come from a poor family, uninformed parent, a broken home or an orphan and it seem as if there is no hope coming from her.
” I want you to understand that you are strong and will overcome the effect of the above challenges. You can only be destroyed by what you allow.
“Detest from rebellion, improper dressing, careless lifestyle, lack of focus and improper use of time.
Vice president National Youth Council, South East zone, Prince Chibuike frowned at the rate at which young girls are school drop outs, hawkers and house helps. Clamouring that this has to stop.
“Do not look down on yourself. Carry yourself with all sense of dignity. Be proud of who you are because there can never be another you.
“Do not allow anybody talk you down. Forget about all the things that is distracting you now and focus on things that will better your life. Be strong, be bold, be confident.
One of the golden girls who spoke on behalf of the girls narrated the journey of how their stardom began. According to her, “Our success as world champions has motivated us to do more and work harder through putting more efforts.
“We are ready to change the world through technology and we believe we can achieve whatever we want to achieve because gender is not a barrier.
The campaign which had female students from different institutions took off from Aroma junction and ended at the government house.
The International Day of Girl child is celebrated annually on 11th of October with this year’s theme titled : ‘ENDING OF EARLY MARRIAGE AND EDUCATING OUR GIRLS’. The main aim of the day is to promote girl empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights while also highlighting the challenges that girls all over the world face.
The International Day of the girl child was lunched in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly, among issues focused are girl child education, equality and marriage, access to services regarding puberty and sexual health and dressing issues around gender based violence.