The wife of the Oyo State governor, Mrs. Tamunominini Makinde, said on Wednesday that educating the girl child will give female children “a strong voice and a bright future.”Mrs. Makinde, who stated this while commemorating the 2020 International Day of the Girl Child at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat, Ibadan, also stated that girls must also give priority attention to their health.She said: “My dear girls, for your voice to be heard clearly, you must say yes to your education and cultivate your vision and dreams. While knowledge is vital to your well-being, you should also pay total attention to your health.”My dear girls, you must pay close attention to your education so you can have a strong voice and a bright future.” Mrs. Makinde promised that the Oyo State government under Governor Seyi Makinde will continue to do everything to provide solid and quality platforms for the education of the girl child.She added: “We are here to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. The United Nations General Assembly in 2011 declared 11th October as the International Day of the Girl Child to recognize the unique challenges girls face worldwide, and to promote the empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights. “The theme for this year is tagged ‘My voice, our equal future.’ For your voice to be heard, you must take your education, health, and safety seriously. An educated girl child has the chance at living a happier life. When educated, she will have the skill, information and self-confidence necessary to better herself and the community in the future.“I also want to appreciate Oyo State government led by His Excellency, Engineer Seyi Makinde and Kimberly Clark, the manufacturer of KOPEX sanitary pads, for the support for this year’s celebration of the girl child in Oyo State. Thank you for the provision of all these gifts.“According to the World Health Organisation, the top causes of death for female from 18-24 years of age are: unsafe abortion, road injury, HIV AIDS, Diarrhea disease and Tuberculosis and even death. Therefore, as girls, you need to take care of yourself and do not engage in a sexual relationship that can lead to unwanted pregnancy, HIV AIDS and even death. All these can endanger your voice and the bright future that you have ahead of you.“I believe you are all aware of the recent global pandemic, which has highlighted the importance of maintaining good health and life-saving effects of simple preventive measures. So, wash your hands as often as possible and be mindful of your health. These precautions are fundamental to your growth and development in life. “I will like to use this opportunity to thank our parents, guardians and teachers who had contributed to the girl child overall development. May God bless and reward you greatly.”While speaking, the Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Barr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye said the country has remained the way it is because it failed to utilise its strength, noting that any society that discriminates against the girl child will experience stunted growth.He added that Ministry of Education, Science and Technology under the leadership of Governor understands the importance of positioning the girl child adequately through quality education.He said: “It gives me great pleasure to speak on this very important occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child 2020.” According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics, while the number of people who are educated is rising, women and girls continue to lag behind.“Your Excellency, we can see that we remain at the state we are as a country because we have failed to utilize our strength. Any country that discriminates against girl child as a result of cultural believe or for any reason whatsoever, will only fly in one way and not make much progress. “As a country and as a state, we must not relent in our efforts to make sure that women are brought into the mainstream of our development efforts. If Nigeria and Oyo State will reap the full potentials of her population, all hand must be on deck to tackle our peculiar challenges of keeping women in the kitchen and in the other room,” he said.Similarly, the Regional Manager of Kimberly Clark, Mr. Ladi Grillo, said his company chose to support the Oyo State government through the office of the First Lady to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child because it “strongly believes in the power of women and providing them with essentials in form of sanitary protection and this is a way of helping them to keep growing unto greatness.”The event had in attendance the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun; the Head of Service, Alhaja Ololade Agboola; the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bashir Bello, among others.Signed:Office of Her Excellency First Lady of Oyo StateOctober 14, 2020.