By Our Correspondent
As the nation commemorates 2016 Children’s Day celebration, Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade has enjoined children not to lose hope in the country.
Ayade gave the charge while addressing children at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, venue of this year’s event with the theme: “Protect the rights of the child in the face of violence and insecurity: End child marriage.”
In his words: “Your future is better. I want to give you words of hope that if I who grew up under similar circumstance as you, and who today is running the affairs of this state, you surely will be first in our consideration.”
Governor Ayade said children must have love for God, respect for parents and be hardworking if they want to be successful.
“I challenge you today that you must respect your parents, observe your morning prayers before you go to school, read your books as that is the only way you can grow up in the path of honor and your destiny will be guaranteed,” Ayade said.
The governor who affirmed that the welfare of children is one of the key agenda in his administration, disclosed that the state has entered into partnership with “Canadian Investment Bureau to build a Nigeria/Canadian International school in Calabar.”
He said the intention of the program was to ensure that “all of you who pass out of your demonstration schools will have direct admission into universities in Canada under the sponsorship of the Cross River State Government.”
Ayade who was impressed with the performance of the Police Children’s School who mounted the guard of honor said his administration “shall provide not just your uniform for subsequent events, but we will also finance the team.”
The governor also read the address of the Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, admonishing the children to shun all acts of violence, drugs and other forms of social vices while imbibing the spirit of honesty, patriotism, hard work and patience.
Mrs Buhari also assured that “No Nigerian child shall be put through the brutality of adoption or violence in whatever form or forced marriage,” pointing out that, “every child has a right to education and a choice of a lifestyle.”
Highlight of this year’s Children Day was the award of N250, 000 each by Zenith Bank, sponsors of the event, to the ten academically best pupils and students of ten selected primary and secondary schools in Calabar.