In Nigeria, the International Children’s Day is marked on May 27 as against other nations that celebrate the day on different dates. However, despite the disparity in dates, the objective is the same; a day set aside to celebrate children. It was on that premise that the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989. This year, THISDAY celebrates a mixture of young prodigies who are either girl-child advocates or coding programmers, film makers, musicians, saxophonists, comedians, environmentalist and gender equality advocate. Although the list is truly endless, Chiemelie Ezeobi highlights the achievements of a few
Marylove Edwards: Tennis Star
Referred to by BBC as Nigerian ‘Serena Williams’, Marylove Edwards started her tennis career at age four when she won the 2015 U-14 CBN Junior Tennis Championship and the NNPC Junior Tennis Masters. Born on March 18, 2005, she also made history by ranking No.4 in the in the latest women singles tennis ranking just released by the Nigerian Tennis Federation (NTF). In 2017, Edwards, won her first U.S. match during the USTA Celsius Level six girls’ 14 & Under tournament, barely 20 days after she joined IMG Tennis Academy, a world-renowned academy founded by veteran tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri, in Bradenton, Florida.
Zuriel Oduwole- Activist
Born in 2002, Zuriel Elise Oduwole, a girl education advocate and film maker best known for her works on the advocacy for the education of girls in Africa. While her advocacy has taken her far, her talent as the world’s youngest filmmaker is not in doubt. She had self-produced and self-edited her film, which showed in two movie chains, and then went on to screen in Ghana, England, South Africa, and Japan.
In her line of work, Oduwole has met with countless presidents, prime ministers, leaders of thought and highly placed persons around the globe.
Emmanuella Samuel: Comedian
Born July 22, 2010, nine-year-old Emmanuella Samuel is a young comedian that took the world by storm. Having gained prominence at age six when a debut appearance in the comedy skit, “My Real Face” shot by Mark Angel Comedy went viral, her presence has gained traction over the years.
According to Wikipedia, in 2017, MarkAngel Comedy YouTube channel became the first ever Nigerian-owned YouTube channel to hit a million subscribers and in 2018, she was invited to the National Assembly by Senate President Bukola Saraki on account of her landing a role in a Disney film.
In 2016, Emmanuella won the award for Top Subscribed Creator from YouTube at the inaugural edition of the Sub-Saharan African YouTube Awards. She also won the Best New Comedienne & Princess of Comedy awards at the Afro-Australia Music & Movie Awards (AAMMA). She was hosted by CNN in November 2016. In 2015, she won the G-Influence Niger Delta Special Talent Award.
Ozzy Bosco – Musician
Born January 7, 2007, Oziomachukwu Chukwujama, popularly known as Ozzy Bosco, rose to fame after winning the Season 7 of the Nigerian Kids Got Talent award. Since his win, the ‘Wonderkid’ has recorded songs with the likes of Flavour, Terry G and all time favorite, Olamide. His profile also boasts of several portfolios including being the youngest African entertainer to be signed as Brand Ambassador by the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Tigo Milk (CWAY Food & Beverages).
Demilade Adepegba: Saxophonist
For master saxophonist and music star, Adepegba, his dexterity when the handles the saxophone is phenomenal. Although he started playing the flute and keyboard at age four, he later delved into playing saxophone and hasn’t looked back since then.
He has wowed guests in school competitions, church programmes, birthdays, weddings and at the Beejay Sax Live concert in Lagos where he was the star of the night after sharing the stage with other gospel acts.
Misimi Isimi: Environmentalist and Gender Equality Advocate
Isimi is a young Nigerian environmentalist and gender equality advocate. In 2017, when she was just nine years old, she was already an active environmentalist and advocate for the rights of children. Through her Eco Kids Green Club, where she is the president she enlightens people about the benefits of protecting the environment, as well as the future generation. Already in her kitty, she has led awareness programmes on World Environment Day and Earth Day about environmental protection.
She is also passionate about teaching other children about the importance of gender equality and personal hygiene. To do this, she has taken her sensitisation campaign yo primary schools.
Tomisin Ogunnubi: Coding Programmer
Ogunnubi treads where even many adults fear to cross. As a programmer, she is probably the youngest Nigerian in her field having created a mobile tracking app called: “My Locator,” to help children find their way home from any location.
The 15-year-old student of Vivian Fowler Memorial College made the app in 2016 and it’s available on the Google Play Store. The app includes current location, alert button and remembered location. Most importantly, the app’s alert button is connected to the Lagos State Emergency Service number (767) so that when the button is pressed, the emergency number is called and a message showing the child’s current location will be sent to them for help.
*Photo and additional credit: Google, Ventures Africa, Konbini.com, morebranches.com