Children need you to vote

Voting is an essential element of democracy in any country and every legal adult citizen has a right to vote. As long as you are above the age of 18 are entitled to vote in federal and state elections. If this is the case, then why is there a surge in young people’s apathy in voting?

A lot of young people’s attitudes toward elections are that they don’t particularly like the proposed candidates, and for some others, it is if their candidate wins, they won’t do what they promised to do…or what they think they promised to do. These two reasons are why many young people have decided that their votes do not count.

Voter apathy is part of the general structural malaise in Nigeria and more young people need to get involved in the electoral process. We can make progress if more young people get involved in the political process, both in terms of running for office and voting during elections.

If you ever think that just one vote in a sea of millions cannot make much of a difference; one notable case in November 2000 was Bush vs Gore. Bush won Florida by 0.009 percent of the votes cast in the state or 537 votes. If 600 more pro-Gore voters had gone to the polls in Florida that November, there may have been an entirely different president from 2000 to 2008.

Basically, who wins an election sets the course of life at that given period of time. For example, this tenure dictates the policies on education, the quality of education, and the disbursement of funds for projects. It is alarming to know that if the head is wrong, every other part suffers. Children don’t have a say in the election process, they are dependent on adults to make decisions that impact or impale their lives.


Children need you to vote, to vote wisely.

If there is anything the pandemic and #EndSARS has taught us, is that there is an urgent need for people to participate in choosing political leaders who will serve the public’s interest and promote good governance. The human cost of bad governance is evident in the low level of basic infrastructure, educational system, high unemployment, and the number of out-of-school children, amongst others.

The first step to voting in your own interests is identifying and understanding your needs. Make a list of your priority issues and use your list to evaluate whether your concerns match up with the party or candidate’s stated priorities and future plans.

For the future to be better than the present, children need you to vote wisely. Remember, the effects of bad governance will catch up with everyone someday.


Is my child at risk?

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that one in every six children in Nigeria is depressed.  According to the report, “Nigerian children and young adults are increasingly under the most pressure to succeed globally even with limited opportunities and support from the government.” So, in a real-life context what does this mean, and as a parent, caregiver, or concerned citizen, what can you do?

Children experience a range of emotions; they feel sad, act grouchy, or be in a bad mood. But when a sad or bad mood lasts for weeks or longer, and when there are other changes in a child's behavior, it might be depression.

Depression is a mood disorder that can cause someone to feel sad, irritable, or hopeless. It may affect your sleep, appetite, or relationships with others. The reality is that depression can affect children, and in children, the disorder can affect how children interact with friends and family. It may prevent them from enjoying school, sports, hobbies, or other normal childhood activities.

It is important to note that depression is not just sad, and not all sad children are depressed. A child has to experience a sad mood for a long period of time (over three weeks) and be diagnosed by a professional to determine that it is depression. If a child is depressed, parents/caregivers may notice some of these signs: Sad or bad mood, being self-critical, lack of energy and effort, sleep and eating changes, etc. Because there is no single cause of depression, it is pertinent to speak with a professional if you notice these changes in your child.

To manage the situation, after observation, listen closely to your child. These will determine the next step which will be to set up a visit with your child's doctor or a child therapist. A child therapist (mental health doctor) will spend time talking with you and your child. They will do an in-depth check for depression by asking questions and listening. The therapist can explain how therapy can help your child.

More importantly, be patient and kind. When your child acts moody or difficult, try to stay patient. Spend time with your child doing things you both can enjoy. These things gently encourage positive moods.