Chris Steven, Abuja
Elder statesman, Alhaji Maitama Sule has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to take vast advantage of the aged in Nigeria Society to achieve the change agenda of his administration.
He urged the President to institute a policy that would take care of aged persons in the country.
He made the call yesterday during the inaugural ceremony and international conference of the African Society for Ageing Research and Development (ASARD) in Abuja.
According to him, it was the responsibility of government in ensuring that all aged persons were adequately taken care of rather than dumped at homes designed for the old if the nation’s objectives must be achieved.
He reiterated that the vast experience of the older persons in every society was needed in drafting policies and giving positive directions to existing leaders, to enhance a vibrant political and socioeconomic nation.
” In our countries in Africa, we need a policy that will look after the aged so that they may be able to pass their experience to the younger ones.
The elder statesman also urged the President not to discard the aged but adopt the mixture of the young and aged in the formation of his cabinet and to produce better future leaders for Nigeria.
“Every society needs old people; because new breed without old breed, breeds greed”
“Our country must take care of the aged because this is to their own interest and benefit;As long as the aged are not dead,they are useful to the people and they must not be dumpedip in aged home”
“Let us learn from our late leaders who lived together despite our diversities, let us take the advantage of how Awolowo,Sardauna united this country without any differences, therefore there is the need for a policy to be put in place to enable the aged to pass their vast experience to the youths in the affairs of government”
“This will enable them to pass their sucesses and learn from their mistakes ,i hope and pray we will be able to produce good leaders”
“It is imperative for our politicians to be ready to serve and not to be served,and ready to give to society and not steal from the society”
“Governments of our country must take care of our aged, it is in their own interest. The aged should not be dumped in the old peoples home so long as they are mentally alert, they are useful to the society and they must be cared for.” He said
Alhaji Maitama Sule, member board of trustees of ASARD, stressed that the most effective way of getting positive results in the running of any establishment or a nation, was by combining the young people with older persons who were still mentally alert.
“Every society need these old people and the best organization in the world is a combination of the old and the young. You need the maturity, the wisdom and the experience of the old as well as the dynamism, radicalism and youthful exuberance of the young.
He further lamented the lost culture of regard for elders by government and the citizenry saying, “Unfortunately we are now writing off the aged, they have outlived their youthful exuberance, they have exhausted their youthfulness they should be discarded.
“Today the institution of the family has broken down, respect for elders and constituted authority which used to be a guiding principle in our society is gone. There is meaninglessness in philosophy, insecurity in polity, immorality in society, chaos in politics, corruption in economy and even frustration in art and lack of creativity in literature,” he added.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, stressed the need for a data revolution that would champion the draft of creative policies that captures the needs of the aged and also aid in an effective implementation process.
This was even as he disclosed that proactive steps were being taken to develop a Master of Science programme in Geriatrics in addition to the development of Gerontology programmes in 12 universities within the country,
Giving an analysis of Africa, he noted that the population of aged persons within the continent was increasing rapidly and was expected to increase from 59.8 million in 2012 to about 64.5 million in 2015.
According to him, ASARD was initiated to provide a platform to develop inter-university networks and also, to encourage strategic partnerships with relevant stake holders towards addressing the challenges and opportunities in population ageing and improving the quality of life and well-being of older persons.
“The african society for ageing research and development has taken on the responsibility to formerly and consistently promote dialogue on the medical, social, economic and cultural implications of ageing.
” It will also engage stake holders in open discourse and information sharing to help engineer the future we want in our later years and future generations of older persons.
“it is important to discuss an African approach to the well being for all ages, in order to forestall and reverse the projected morbidity, disability and mortality from non-communicable diseases in later life, and excruciating poverty and isolation of the elderly,” Okojie added.