By Sunday Rotilefon
History was made last weekend when 12-year-old Miss Tumininu Tabitha Akingbehin was installed the 25th Interact District Representative (IDR) of Rotary International District 9110, Nigeria, the youngest ever to hold the position.
Tuminimu, who is a Senior Secondary School II student of Abeokuta Grammar School displayed outstanding brilliance and confidence and proved that she was prepared for the enormous task of overseeing the activities of over 700 teenagers in 50 Interact Clubs scattered across Lagos and Ogun States.
In her inaugural speech said to have been prepared by herself, Tumininu stunned guests at the event held at the secretariat of the Rotary International, District 9110 in Ikeja GRA, Lagos, when she rolled out her plans and ambition as the new IDR.
“In my year, things would be a lot more different, she asserted.
“While we would continue with some of the outstanding programmes left by my predecessor, AdedamolaAdepoju, we shall be concentrating on more educational programmes during my tenure. These shall include excursions, debate, seminar, drama and a number of public awareness programmes, sensitising the public—parents and adults, to our non-negotiable rights to quality education and maximum protection against all kinds of societal abuse,’’ she noted. That impressive speech attracted applause from the guests, including the District Interact Chairman of Rotary, KefeAdedibu, who put together the event.
Tumininu went on: “There were times I was always afraid I could not be a leader in life, even if I had wanted to, because of my age, height and seize.
“For instance, I’m a 12-year-old girl and currently in SS 2 at school. I’m the youngest in my set and sometime I find it very difficult to fight for my own. My height and seize don’t help matters too. But an organisation as Interact Club has helped to show to the world that brain is the most important talent required to be a leader. And I would be forever grateful for this opportunity,’’ she explained, brimming with smiles.
The Interact Club is a leadership programme of Rotary International, (an international humanitarian body), for the teens in primary schools between the ages of 12-16 and IDR is an acronym for the district head, the highest hierarchy in its scheme of leadership.
In his remarks, the District Governor (head), Dr. Dele Balogun, admonished the members of the Interact club to cooperate and support Tumininu for a successful reign.
According to him, ‘’I know quite well that the position of Interact District Representative, which is equivalent to my office (at your level), comes with a lot of responsibility. And I believe these are the responsibilities that, in the long run, will shape your leadership qualities and make you a good citizen and better leader the nation would look up to in the future,’’ he said.
The highpoint of the occasion was the eye-opening lecture delivered by the guest speaker, a teacher, mother, career counsellor and a Director at the Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs Omotunde Lawson, titled ‘’Teenagers and the Social Media’’.
Lawson, a Rotarian and past president of Rotary Club of Lagos-West, admitted that though participation on the social media platform has become an integral part of the social fabric, with a lot of economic, political and social benefits, it is important to apply caution in its usage, especially teenagers, she stressed.
She said knowingly or unknowingly, many minors have fallen into the traps of sexual abuse and life threatening dangers, because of their unrestricted exposure to the social media.
“I don’t have any problem with you exploring the social media, which is regarded as the most significant development of the 21st Century. I know quite well that whoever that is not social media compliant this day maybe tagged the illiterate of the century, but there are countless dangers lurking around this development as well; and it’s important we counsel you on how not to fall into these traps,’’ she admonished.
Lawson urged the teens against the sharing of classified personal information such as home address, office address, phone numbers and others on the social media platform, saying such may be exploited by people with negative intention.
She cited the case of the deceased Imo State-born lady, Cynthia Osokogu, who was lured to Lagos through facebook, only to be gang-raped and murdered in a Lagos hotel.
The guest speaker added that the platform also promotes falsehood as many desperate minors, on many occasions, have violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which stipulated the age of registration at 13 years.
Lawson however, said the bulk of the task lies with the parents, who she advised to monitor the activities of their wards on the new media, through parental monitoring facility such as the privacy control and mandatory restriction order.
“We must monitor our kids at all time, including what they do on the social media. We can best do this by being on their friends’ list. That way, we can see what they are posting online regularly. Though some kids are so smart and would refuse to post anything incriminating because of you, but don’t relent. Another way to restrict them is by having access to their password. Make it a rule that you must have access to their password at anytime.
“However, we must be careful and ensure this does not snowball into infringement on the rights of these kids,’’ she advised.