By DAVID IORJA, Abuja –
Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has emphasized the role of guidance and counselling officials in shaping lives of students in the way that they shape the students’ personal image, self-esteem and career paths.
She made the statement during an event tagged “Conversation with Guidance and Counselling staff of FCT schools,” organized to mark the 2020 edition of the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2020, at the State House, Abuja on Wednesday.
The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, noted guidance counsellors also have a role to play in engendering a sense and spirit of peer fellowship among young people such that they look out for each other, due to their vulnerability to many vices like gender-based violence, drug abuse and trafficking.
In a statement, Aliyu Abdullahi, Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity (Office of the First Lady), quoted Mrs Buhari as pointing out that with this sense of camaraderie, many problems of young people can be contained.
Mrs Buhari reminded the guidance counsellors, “you stand tall in this regard. You are spread all over our schools and colleges and have access to all our youths. Please use this opportunity to change the tide by impacting on our youth to stand for themselves and for each other in times of need.”
She called on them to continue to counsel the younger generation on how to protect their rights and dignity by speaking out on issues that affect their lives.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, which is #EachforEqual, Mrs. Buhari said the IWD 2020 campaign theme is drawn from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism,’ inferring that we are all parts of a whole, and that our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society.
Mrs. Grace Chama, keynote speaker at the event, went through memory lane to recount how the family, teachers and the whole community worked together to bring up children, she said the community saw children as assets and leaders of tomorrow who must be harnessed for the good of the community, unlike today where parents see children as theirs alone. She called on guidance counsellors to live up to their responsibility and find ways of addressing issues of the students, since as she said, counsellors are likely to be the first to notice change in their behavior.
Secretary, FCT Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs. Nanre Umeje spoke glowingly on the work of counsellors, who, she said attend to socio-personal issues of students, and orientate them when necessary. She said their work was multi-faceted and covers issues beyond just career development. She called on them to be steadfast in their responsibility.
Highlight of the event was a panel discussion, where feedback was generated from the practitioners on the challenges they face on their jobs and solutions proffered.
The event was attended by Associates and Senior Aides of the First Lady, Guidance & Counselling officers in FCT Schools.