.Celebrates International Day of the Girl Child With Students

Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, has counseled schoolgirls to be focused on their studies and pursue their dreams with determination for them to achieve greatness in life.

Dr. Oyebanji gave the advice on Wednesday when she marked this year’s International Day of the Girl Child with the students of Mary Immaculate Grammar School, Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

The First Lady urged the girls not to distract themselves with issues like having boyfriends which she identified as a factor that has negative effects on their academic performance and capable of entangling them with unwanted pregnancy.

The Governor’s wife urged the students to learn from her experience as a schoolgirl at Baptist Comprehensive High School, Ado Ekiti where she was serious with her studies and never distracted herself with premature relationship with any boyfriend.

This, she said, laid the foundation for her success in secondary and tertiary education culminating in studying up to PhD level and rising to the position of a senior academic who is now producing PhD holders.

Giving a charge to the students before reading her prepared speech, Dr. Oyebanji also admonished the girls not to be afraid of speaking up anytime they are going through harassment, intimidation, gender-based violence and inappropriate sexual behaviour from anybody towards them.

Dr. Oyebanji said: “Don’t distract yourselves with the issue of boyfriend. Face your studies very well and in your relationship with people, especially the opposite sex, there is need for you to set boundaries. You must also speak up against intimidation, harassment and gender-based violence.

“In schools, including girls schools, there are issues of lesbianism in hostels. If fellow girls are touching your bodies in inappropriate manner, speak out so that you can be helped and don’t suffer in silence.

“You must set boundaries against things can destroy your future. If I am doing this boyfriend-girlfriend thing, BAO (Governor Biodun Oyebanji) will not marry me. I grew up on the streets of Ado Ekiti here, I schooled here, I hawked here but I was focused on my education which has helped me to become what I am today.”

Reading from her speech, she said: “Girls all over the world have the power to change the course of history, break barriers, and inspire change. Their smiles are not only a testament to their innocence but also to their strength and determination! Girls ! You are the architects of change, your dreams and your actions can shape a better world for all.

“As we commemorate this day, let us commit ourselves to ensuring that every girl has the opportunity to smile, dream, and thrive. Let us empower them with education, protect their rights, and create a world where their smiles shine even brighter.”

Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Peju Babafemi, hailed the First Lady for always championing the cause of the girl child urging the students not to allow any vice and anybody to abort their dreams.

A lawyer, Mrs. Shirley Atane, identified poverty, rape and teenage pregnancy as enemies of progress for schoolgirls which can block their opportunities and hinder them from attaining greatness.

She added that the future of the girls must be adequately looked after and invested in identifying education and relevant legal frameworks as parts of measures being taken by the Ekiti State government to secure their future.

Commissioner for Education, Dr. Adebimpe Aderiye, said this year’s theme was apt and speaks to the essence of protection of the rights of the girl child and preparing the girls for leadership roles in the future.

The 2023 International Day of the Girl Child had as its theme: Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being.” It was well attended by students, teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector.

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