By Oladapo Udom and Vivian Ihechu
Lagos, Feb. 20, 2019 There is need to instill leadership skills on girls early in life to build generation of women and youths who are emotionally, mentally, physically and financially responsible and stable.
Mrs Iwalola Akin-Jimoh, Executive Secretary, Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF), made the assertion on Wednesday at a GOAL Lagos Stakeholders’ Meeting in Lagos.
Akin-Jimoh told the News Agency of Nigeria on the sidelines that: “A large percentage of the Nigerian population is females.
It also uses football and taekwondo to teach different life skills; for example, taekwondo is used to teach issues around communication, self-esteem, assertiveness and communication.
Akin-Jimoh said: “A country is effective when you sow and invest in your female group because you can’t rely on few percentage of your population to move the nation forward, everyone has to be involved.
“It is important to invest in girls and women; we have to ensure they have quality education, ensure they are able to participate in leadership, ensure they are able to participate in electoral process.
“These girls will grow to be the mothers and wives; they will run the homes and manage finances and businesses.
“They are also the ones to nurture the children; so, they must be properly equipped; that way, at the end of the day, Nigeria will be better.
“So, if you leave out 50 per cent of the population, which are women and girls in education and training, then, you are not doing justice to where you want to position Nigeria in future.’’
Also, Mrs Ngozi Okoro, the National Coordinator for Lagos State Child Protection Network, told NNN that there was need for more leadership and empowerment programmes for the girl-child and youth.
Okoro commended the organisers of the GOAL project in enlightening youths on the need to be confident, financially and morally responsible as well as importance of being physically fit.
“The GOAL project has enlightened lots of girls, especially those in public schools and slum areas.
“It has empowered most of them, they can speak out and even train their peers; it is also good that the YEF is teaching them sports and martial arts including taekwondo.
“For me, I think all girls should learn it so that they would be able to defend themselves anywhere,’’ she told NNN.
Okoro called for more partnership for the project to be extended to private schools.
According to her, this is because in those private schools, lots of `big’ men’s children are also facing a lot of abuse by their domestic servants, drivers, cooks and their parents do not know.
“They are not listening to them; what they know is to supply the money to the children and conclude that they have all they need.
“But on the other side of it, they don’t know; recently children are now committing suicide because they feel they are not being loved and you know they feel like when they say something and nobody listens to them,’’ she said.
Okoro advised parents on the need to watch their children and wards, and have time and discuss with them.
“We are not saying you should not discipline your child; if your child does anything bad, discipline your child with love.
“However, you need to be attentive to your child’s needs, know the moods and be able to sense or identify when something is not alright.
“I urge parents to be very careful, no matter how tired you are, always interact with your children, and ask them questions such as how was your day, how was school today and all that.
“When you empower your children, no matter what happens, they will be able to protect themselves,’’ Okoro said.
Edited by Vivian Ihechu/Olagoke Olatoye