By ADA DIKE
The artworks students from different schools in Lagos showcased at the just concluded Lagos Black Heritage Festival 2014, proved that there is hope for Nigeria as a nation as the children unravelled the implications of disobedience to law and order in the society and also proffered solution to them.
The third edition of The Vision of the Child, held at Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery, Freedom Park, Lagos, in which school children were involved in painting contest on Law of impunity indeed wowed guests who wondered in amazement on the artworks as well as the students’ interpretations of their works.
Some of them created a work of where: Rule of Law prevailed over vices,
uniformed men extorting money from motorists were caught and severely dealt with, Nigerians held hands together, united and obeyed the constitution and a driverwas punished for disobeying traffic law, among others.
12- year-old girl, Miss Eze Uchenna, a Junior Secondary School (JSS2) student of Lagos State Model College, Badagry, describes her work: “My artwork represents Rule of Law and Law of Impunity”. Things are not working the way it should in Nigeria, the constitution, which supposed to stand is fallen because the masses are not obeying the law, some judges are not following the constitution; insecurity and corruption are the order of the day. Some of the books standing above the constitution include: injustice, drug trafficking, corruption, hopelessness, bribery, insecurity, child abuse and so on,” Uchenna explained.
She blamed the leadership of the country and the masses for not recognising and obeying the law and order and also proffered solution to the situation: “I want both the rich and the poor, the government and the governed and the judiciary to adhere strictly to the Rule of Law to make Nigeria a better place.” She described impunity as a situation where someone goes against the law and is not punished.
Eze, whose parents are into business (buying and selling), also hinted that she would study Law in the University to correct issues in Nigeria to make the country greater and better.
Another student who described her work as Law of Impunity is Adetujoye Oyinkansade, 11, a JSS2 student of Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls’ Secondary School, Sabo, Yaba. “My painting is divided into two – One group is breaking the law by participating in oil bunkering and the other is that uniformed men such as the police and others don’t have any right to apply corporal punishment on the masses,” she explained.
According to her, she used her work to ensure that nobody goes contrary to the Rule of Law. She also mentioned students cheating during examinations as part of the group of people guilty of the Rule of Law and advised Nigerians to be law abiding, adding that no one is supposed to disobey the law.
Similarly, 10-year-old Mesack Uzoukwu noticed there is a line demarcating the rich and the poor in Nigeria and decided to erase it. “I felt that it is wrong for the poor to live in the slum while the rich live separately, so my drawing tries to destroy any demarcation separating the rich from the poor,” said Uzoukwu.
Though schooling in a school for the well-to-do, the primary five pupil of Chrisland School, VGC, Lagos, suggested the gap between the rich and the poor be closed. He adds: “Government should donate money to upgrade the area inhabited by the low income earners so that their standards of living will improve.” He revealed that he would study engineering to help build beautiful houses for the poor.
After going round to appreciate the paintings done by the students and listening to them interpreting their works, the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Oladisun Holloway, described the works as “quite impressive”.
“I have been most impressed by what I’ve seen today. When Professor Wole Soyinka told us the theme of the festival, some of us were a bit sceptical about the ability of the children to interpret it. We thought it was a difficult theme but you can see what the children have done and I am most impressed. Each one of them, have taken their time to express what they see in our society. They are looking at us, the grownups and this is what they see as us. It’s a bit depressing but that’s reality,” the commissioner said.