…As Parliament Seeks Children Participation in Matters Affecting Them
By Magnus Effiong.
The Cross River State government has inaugurated the 5th Children Parliament after seven years of inactivity over unexplainable reasons.
The inauguration, which took place in Calabar, weekend, was witnessed by a cross section of students across the 18 local government areas of the State as well as other government functionaries. This was few hours after the rigorius elections for various positions in the Parliament.
During the elections, which were supervised by officials from the State ministry of women affairs as well as an organization – Save the Children International, a student of St. Patrick Technical College, Ugep, Kevin Nicholas Broere, emerged Speaker while Deputy Speaker’s position fell on Osika Kachini Etim from Abi who beat five other candidates.
Others who won were; Divine Somtobechukwu, House Leader, Egor Okam Elias- Deputy House Leader. Gabriel Elijah was elected Chief Whip, while Enun Kanu Egwu got the position of Deputy Chief Whip and Ekpenyong God’swill Okon won as Clerk of the Parliament.
Mrs Asi Archibong, Director, Child Development, Ministry of Women Affairs, who conducted the inauguration of the Speaker, Deputy as well as other Principal Officers and members of the Parliament, charged them to represent their families, schools and local government well as good leaders of tomorrow.
Shortly after the swearing in, and in a mock sitting, the Children Parliament urged the State government to involve children in decisions on matters affecting them, saying doing so could address youth-related societal vices.
In a resolution after the motion on issue of children participation in decision making was raised by the House Leader, Divine Somtobechukwu, and deliberated upon, the Parliament urged government and society to remember that since children remained leaders of tomorrow, they should begin now to have a say on tomorrow-related matters.
“Government shoud also conduct census of children to ascertain our population. This will help government to plan and accomodated us in issues that relate directly with us. We feel despised when we are not carried along,” the children submitted.
Meanwhile, the Ogoja field coordinator of Save the Children International, Mr. Effiong Akpan, has said his organization had to partner with the State ministry of women affairs to revive the Children Parliament in the state after almost seven years of inactivity.
He believed that government would do everything to ensure the Children Parliament remained strong as a veritable tool to ‘catch them young for the betterment of our society.”