Can we meet you?
My name is Afolayan Esther. I come from Kwara State (Edidi). I’m fifteen years old. I’m the third child out of four; second daughter.
What’s your present status?
I’m a student of Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba. I’m in SS3 and a science student.
What church do you attend and what’s your involvement there?
I attend RCCG, Faith Center Parish, Abule-Ado. I’m just a member but hoping to join the choir soon.
Do you hold any leadership position in school?
Yes, I do. I am Assistant Senior Prefect.
Do you hold any positions out of school too?
Yes, I’m the Senate President of the National Children’s Parliament.
What is this parliament all about?
It’s a body that advocates for the rights of children; ensuring their survival, development, protection, and participation in policy and decision making.
When did you become a member?
I became a member of the Lagos Parliament last year, June 16th, 2007; the Day of the African Child. Then, I was Deputy Speaker in Lagos state.
Then, July 23rd, this year, I was elected as Senate President of the National Parliament.
That’s impressive but we’ll come to the National one later. First, please tell us how you qualified to become a member of the parliament in the first place.
We wrote an essay, by districts. Five parliamentarians were chosen per district. Amazingly, three of the five in our district were from my school. Then, we went for elections and swearing-in.
You were elected then?
Yes, I was.
How did that go?
I gave my manifesto and the children parliament voted.
Now, how did you become National Senate President?
I was told I would be representing Lagos at the National level. I went to Abuja in July and was informed that there would be elections. I thought I should go for the seat of Senate President; I gave my manifesto and was voted in.
How has it been so far?
Interesting. It has been full of experiences. Now, my major passion, apart from school, is children, children, children. It has been so exposing.
When do you have seatings?
We have them during holidays so as not to disturb our academics.
How have you been able to balance it with your academics?
It has not been easy but with wisdom and God, I’ve been able to manage it.
What challenges have you had?
We all come from different states, so when I take decisions, some parliamentarians tend to think I’m being biased. It’s been a challenge relating with members of the parliament. Only a few understand the unity factor.
What is the age bracket of the parliament?
We’re between 10 and 17 years of age.
Have you met any prominent Nigerians in the process?
Yes. I have met with the Senate President, Senator David Mark and the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development. I also visited the Governor of Lagos, along with others, on children’s day this year.
With your experience as Senate President of the Children’s Parliament, do you see yourself going into politics?
I don’t like it; can’t do it. From my little experience, discovered some teenagers were already bribing during elections – at that level!
So, what would you want to become?
A Computer Scientist.
Why is that?
I love computers. I want to do programming. I’ve decided to have an ICT firm, so that’ll help me in that direction.
What are your hobbies?
Reading and singing, basically.
What more can you tell us about yourself?
I could be very friendly. I don’t take things too personal, not angry easily. I’m very principled; there’re things I won’t do or take from anybody. I like God-fearing people. I don’t like being around boring people. So, everywhere I am, I try to start up conversations to make the place lively.
What makes you different from other teenagers?
I’m just myself. I’m me.
Any advice for fellow teenagers reading this magazine?
There’s an acronym we used to use in my former church. “Be MAD – Make A Difference”. So, do something that will make you stand-out from others. Let’s be socially responsible; respectful and God-fearing.
Thank you Esther. It was really nice chatting with you.
Is there something very unique about you or that you’ve achieved and you want to be interviewed on this magazine or you have a teenage friend who you know is very special and should be interviewed, please send the name(s) and contacts (e-mail and phone number) to us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll get back to you and after listening to you, you might just be chosen as our next Teen Celebrity.