A game we can’t afford to lose

A game we can’t afford to lose

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Across Africa there will be millions of children who unable to watch the World Cup, for various reasons far beyond their control, ranging from poverty to war to forced labour. Consider the fates of Chibok’s girls, who should be in the comfort of their homes but will instead be spending their 64th day in captivity. While millions of Nigerians gather in homes and viewing centers to watch the Super Eagles kick off their campaign for the World Cup, these girls will not have that luxury. For all we know they do not even have any idea that the World Cup has started.

Today, on this commemoration of the Day of the African Child, we remember these girls and millions of other African children caught up against their will in the most heartbreaking of situations.

Across the continent there are an estimated 30 million children who are not in school. Nigeria alone is home to 10 million of those children. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) data for 2012, close to 18,000 children under the age of five die every day, the bulk of them in sub-Saharan Africa and south east Asia. Many of these deaths will be from preventable or easily treatable diseases, and hunger.

When the game between Nigeria and Iran kicks off, amid the excitement, we ought to remember Africa’s endangered children. Let us remember that they are also caught up in a tough game between good and evil, between hope and despair, between opportunity and the lack of it. But unlike in a game of soccer, in this one there are no half-times or substitutions, no referees to guarantee fair play.

While I am confident that the Super Eagles will claim victory today, we all know that even if they don’t, it won’t be the end of the world. But in the case of the Chibok girls and millions of traumatised African children, it is a much more serious matter. Losing to the forces of evil is a possibility we shouldn’t even dare to contemplate. Yet, as long as the Chibok girls remain unfound we will have to admit to ourselves that evil has triumphed over good. As long as Africa’s children have to contend with a present that has no education in it or a future without jobs, we are all losers.

Our children deserve and need our total commitment towards ensuring that illiteracy and hunger and war and terrorists and molesters are kept at bay perpetually. We cannot afford to rest or give up.

Yesterday the world celebrated Fathers Day. Fatherhood is all about protection and care and responsibility, the very things that children require the most in this difficult world of ours. It is perhaps no coincidence that this year, Fathers Day and the #AfricanChildDay sit next to each other, reminding us of our responsibilities as adults and parents and governments.

I join millions of Nigerians and the rest of the world to celebrate the Day of the African Child, and ask us all to remember our girls and the millions they represent. As we cheer the Super Eagles to victory today let us also actively play our part, with even greater enthusiasm, in the campaign to #BringBackOurGirls and ensure #SafeSchools and safer lives.

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18 Comments on "A game we can’t afford to lose"

  • Mohammed K. says

    …what hope does a typical Nigerian child have under the present dispensation with a certain blind future, I think your guess is as good as mine.

  • Zainab Ibraim Yaro. says

    The more I read Atiku’s articles the more I like him and realize that he really does think about his Nation. Even thou this is about the world cup but it still shows care and sincerityi would have asked you to adopt me but I still love my father more nd my family most.

  • Ekawu ukpo says

    I was watching Oprah’s master class yesterday and this edition featured the late Maya Angelou,very amazing woman,she spoke about a drawing she loved,were older women were sited and one chair was empty and she said she drew inspiration from that empty chair and she would ask herself what will her grandmother do not what will she say.everyone keeps talking and talking,no one is acting.like that empty chair most people want to talk about it,no feel no need to either sit on it or do something about it.the problem with the world is,some people are doing something about it,when everyone should be doing something.
    Am glad you remember this day,being the day of African children,we must still remember this everyday.
    The world carried on with the World Cup,the world didn’t look to itself and say let’s save our children.we must remember that.for we know sadly when the match between Nigeria and Iran is being played today,no one is going to be watching the news to see suffering African children.
    We pray our children are always in the Lord’s keep.Amen

  • Ekawu ukpo says

    I am a human being,I consider nothing that is human,alien to me.in the words of Terrence and Maya Angelou. Deeps words of reflections

  • mashoun says

    This is what we all praying and hoping for.

  • There is indeed no hope for the African Child: North, South, East & West. We have been subjected to various forms of humiliation. We have been disoriented! For those who have little opportunity, we now believe everything is all about money! No thanks to all our leaders who are busy acquiring wealth and squandering such before us. When we go outside the country, we perform marvelously getting laurels upon laurels. But here in Nigeria, we are not recognised, we are not given opportunities to prove ourselves. I look forward to the day when there will a renaissance led by conscious and decent youths. When there will be revolution (which may not necessarily be violent). I look forward.. and I pray……

  • sirOscie says

    Well said Turaki. God’s help is all we ask for now, because our leaders has failed. Our daughters are still in captivity and no meaningful news yet, Is now 60 days only God know what they are going through and we ask him to please intervene. The African child must live free in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
    God bless Nigeria and Nigerians.

  • Oladipo taiwo Y says

    am nt surprise by ur writeups. I know what you stand for. I am an ardent folower of your principles. Thanks for everything. I look forward to the day we meet one-on-one

  • wassim al imam says

    Sir,
    You are right, education is the only way for people to raise up their nation world wide..

  • Mr. Abdin says

    There is need for our parents to really wake up and protect the lives of the younger generation.

  • nuhu shuaib says

    Education is a must for every child. We must work collectively to make it possible.

  • Temitope says

    True talk: may the mighty hand of Jeohoval ebenezer bringbackourgirls and confort the mind of all stromertized parent in Jesus Name amen

  • Ataguba Johnson. says

    This is a great n insightful post. It s really a clarion call for a concerted effort towards a greater future for the children. God bless this heart of gold.

  • Habeebulahi says

    May Allah continue to bless you and your family. AA you really touch my mind with this write up. I don’t think I will watch the match again. I am feeling very bad.

  • U right sir. I support u 100 percent for the issue.

  • May Almighty Allaah (swt) lift you up to become the Next leader in 2015 sir, more grease to your elbow his Excellency..

  • The other side of Jury!

    Jury wouldn’t just mean a judiciary reform program but a national social cum behavioral reform. This would imply a cultural revolution leading to a change of our individual and national ideology, resulting in a shift from our we do react to all issues!

    Ordinarily, our general outlook of a Jury system as effected by practicing nations is one mostly about their judiciary; forgetting that it’s impinges on the citizenry, individually and genitively cannot be isolated. Individuals learn from infancy how not to behave, especially in relating to one another and on issues that bother on the laws and constitution, because the Jury system as made their subconscious alert and actively aware of the implications of their single actions from how not to disturb their neighbors when having a good time, how to drive and obey traffic rules, to why they have to make themselves available to vote on election days.
    Their in depth understanding of the law makes live seem less and co- existing interesting, while respecting the rights and opinions of their fellow citizens. This becomes their norm and quotidian culture, irrespective of if they have ever served on a Jury Panel.
    Therefore, in analyzing our maintenance for status quo due to perceived impediments cum likely challenges to its successful implementation, we need to objectively mull the reality is of the new order and acclaimed benefits Jury Judicial system has bequeathed already practicing countries. First, we fear for our lives, then we doubt our individual sincerity not to be compromised. Next we ask ourselves if we are ready to let go of the old order of anything goes without standards, due process and protocols?! Ironically, our censure is continually towards our recycled leaders, while forgetting that they are products of the societies Old order, as much as we all are, and so we are as much to censure as they are as we do as much as they do in our own individual little corners. We have even forgotten the distinguishing indices between right and wrong, that extantly, we focus of bad and worse in decision makings.
    This new order would mean no corruption, not less corruption; it would imply unexpurgated compliance to the rule of law without sacred cows; it would cause all adult Nigerians to be most conversant with government policies in order to analyze and properly understand their impinges to them and their families; and go all out with good reason to vote for ideology they support and not stomach infrastructure, and genitively work with law enforcement agents in the maintenance of security and peace.
    Irrespective of our our thoughts and opinions might be skewed to think it is a system initiated to reform the Judiciary system of our Great nation, truly, it would also help reform our jungle justice mentality, being one of the important custodians of the law. Justice would become effective, as cases brought before a Jury panel would take less than 2 weeks to dispense with, either initially due to our urge to get back to our day jobs, or more realistically and patriotically, because we would want justice to be served justly and with alacrity. This system is thus to introduce a new order, re-defining the meaning of patriotism.

    Although many might object to the sustainability of this system due to many fundamental reasons, including finance and political sabotage, the truth is that the will of the people would be the oil for the wheels for Jury Judiciary to become a perpetual and integral part of our national life into many generations.
    In due time, it would have developed a life of its own strongly developed by the sacrifices of us all that no institution or office would outwit our synergy as citizens, nor leave us blinded, brain washed or bruised. Contemporarily, most governmental policies have neither remained legacies nor stayed part of our national life, because these policies have always being about a person or an oligarchy, and not the people. These policies, even when they seem to be of great value aren’t sustained by successive regimes, as most of them do not make congruous structures available for their survival beyond them. That is a rhetoric that begs for: where was a thought for the citizens, when these ideas were being implemented and funded?!
    On and on, governments came, left, new ones were formed, new policies born, fifty four years on as a nation, only a handful of these policies are part of our quotidian, including their infrastructure which are constantly rotated to soothe the policies of the days oligarchy. Sometimes, I wonder, maybe it’s because the citizens were never consulted or mulled in the formulation of these policies; thus I wonder and ask, why wouldn’t Jury judicial system be sustainable since it would receive the approval of the only ingredient missing in the failed policies- the citizens! Yes, every one including these oligarchy, fiends and friends alike, are all citizens of Nigeria, however, in the lot, we rather think us as the masses while they are the leaders. Therefore, without the masses connecting, believing and consenting to fresh policies, even in the absence of political or religious sabotage, we end up having a masses’ sabotage in our indifference to such policies, even when it is enforced. Thus, with the masses of today being the leaders of tomorrow, eliminating any disconnection from the policies of the day would mean that we become part of those policies, and how best to make one feel a part of an idea than to make them owners and surrogates to it.
    Sustaining Jury judiciary would be more easily achievable, as the system is owned by the masses, eventually giving us the opportunity to regulate the government, vis- a- vis the system which would function only through us. We, by feeling responsible for its survival, would rather not want to lose the enormous powers that this system vests on us, as it would ensure we have a balancing of governments authority. We would rather sustain it in order to retain the power to decide policies by choosing which aspirant has the best policy for the most of us. With this voting power synergies and adequately harnessed by every adult citizen, no more masses apartheid would be chanced, resulting in the need to sustain the system, that our future generations may reap the sweetness of our genitive labors of today’s decisions.

    By instituting this revolution and harnessing our genitive will as citizens to ensure sacrifices for our nation is rewarded, we commence the building of our nation, block by block that future generations would have a great foundation to also place their well moulded blocks on. With a peopled judicial system as Jury, the beauty of democracy would be better seen, while government is better appreciated as our young and unborn citizens would grow into this practice and understand the value taught in ‘ a nation cannot be without a people’ hence, see the need to serve for the hand-over-fist of the nation.
    Our futures can therefore be said to be insured, while all institutions charged with fiscal responsibility and policy continuity would maintain an impeccable standard and efficiency. Infants would be brought up in this new order of patriotism, trust and strong urge to give to their country in order to leave it better than they met it. They would live the Nigerian dream we envisioned, designed and built its foundation, and realize that efforts, sacrifices and trust are essential ingredients to maintain the cohesion required to help realize the dreams.
    Exhibition of Leadership adepts would become the norm, innovation would be the order of the day and the nation would have risen above her numerous teething challenges that fosters under- development and lost the appellation cum profile of a third world nation. On quotidian, set of Nigerians growing in the age of the new national order of patriotism would break the barriers of color, and rise to become global leaders with a commensurately developed country to show for it. Formal education might not literally increase, but with a strong zest for information, and regular provision by government of all amenities standard and contemporary, illiteracy would be flushed out, with national intelligence quota, life expectancy surging to apogee.
    Nigeria would rightfully take her place as the giant of Africa, leading by example and become a global force in the international community, having successfully put out the fire in our house. The teenagers of today, infants of now and babies of tomorrow would enjoy a highly functional society built on our sacrifices of making the Jury system be a part of us today. They would learn how not to be wasteful from us, how not to finagle the commonwealth of the people, how not to build a system, as anything built today would be the level of development passed on to their futures. They would learn how to uphold the laws and constitution of the land, with unfeigned hearts how to serve, and how best to show their dis- approval to any government or their policies.
    Decision determines destiny, and ironically, this decision is the destiny and legacy for our unborn. Things were rosier in the early independence era compared to today, and they just seem not to have being improved on but broken down. If we bequeath to our unborn, the destruction legacy which was handed to us, do we really stand a chance of national survival at this rate of deterioration? The early we come to realization that doomsday predictions for us are not to be ignored but to spur our individual and collective patriotic instinct to do something different but genuine, the better we stand a chance on giving our off springs the future we so dreamed would be when we first got our brand new cars then for N1,500, only for same cars 3 years after to be N350,000, without a congruous reason.
    In order to shirk that N1000 shrinks to N10000, and the cost of pure water to N25 when we become grey and our unborn begin to aspire for political offices, that we sit them down and tell them stories of the good old day’s of today, which we were also sat down to tell how it was even so excellent at independence; then asking how did we get here, we need to acquiesce to take responsibility for both the leaders and the masses, by giving more power to the genitive will through Jury Judiciary, so that we can more easily appraise our journey with a collective sense of ownership of the nation, and purposeful direction.

    Jury Judiciary proposal is opined to be implemented as those of most other nations practicing it, where the Jury teams interpreted the question of facts, and the judge, the question of the law on all criminal cases and exclusive civil cases; with a charge to determine if the accused is guilty as charged or otherwise. Of course, Nigerians would be more abreast of their rights, thus putting the law enforcement agencies on their toes to do a more clinical and professional investigation. And of course, a comprehensive and updated database of all Nigerians would more easily be compiled and kept, making investigations and monitoring and locating crimes and criminals less arduous, and CCTV across the nation highly functional and important
    Now, we need to sacrifice our time to go and register as Jury members, time to even go for hearings as members, we need to sacrifice our non-challah to a feeling of partners in the Nigerian project. However, before counting the gains, we need to support this system’s introduction into Nigeria and see to its implementation, as an alternative to government of the elites for the elites and by the elites!

    We have a globally proven alternative in Jury, nothing is foreign that can be adopted and adapted to, what we need is a strong system that recognizes the opinions of the masses and counts it’s citizens as equal stakeholders in building our nation.

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