Wife of the Vice President, Pastor ‘Dolapo Osinbajo Saturday recounted how she spent about 10years under several notorious Lagos bridges with street urchins in the bid to reshape them and reverse their life trajectories.
Mrs Osinbajo was speaking at a ‘Teens Career Conference’ organized by The Everlasting Arms Parish TEAP of the Redeemed Christian Church of God RCCG, Garki, Abuja.
Addressing the teenagers, Mrs Osinbajo said; “When I became a worker in the church, the first place I worked was the Teenage Church and for 10 years I was in the Children’s Church. For 10 years, I was under the bridge; under the bridge in Lagos with ‘Area Boys’. So, every kind of drug that there is, I know about it. I have seen it before and I have seen the effects as well and I will like you to know that the ones that use it are not different from you. Some of them too have parents in the church. Some of them have parents with very big names.
There are some streets in Lagos that the names of the streets are names of people, some of which have their children under the bridge. There were people whose parents lived in America and yet their children were under the bridge. So, do not even imagine that it cannot happen to you, but you must be an example in your conduct”.
On her part, former Minister of Education and Co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls BBOG movement, Dr Oby Ezekwesili urged the participants to use their teenage years to decide on what they want to be in life. “If we do not reform education in this country, the 65 per cent of the children in the public school system that are failing are usually the children of the poorer segment of the society. So, what it means is double jeopardy.
You are going to create what I call inter-generational poverty, dynasties in families simply because you have failed to make public education effective and productive and able to grow the competitive skills that they need in order to move from one level of society to the next level of society”, she said.
Conference Organizer and Chairman, ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr Segun Adeniyi said the event was designed to mentor the teenagers in a way that would make them useful members of the society. “The idea basically is just to inspire young people to know that there is nothing they are going through now that others have not gone through before”.