The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Mr Afe Babalola (SAN) on Thursday urged Nigerians to work together to change the perception about aging in order to grow a country where all can age, thrive and contribute together.
Babalola, said this at the second National Conference on Ageing, organised by Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), in Abuja.
Aare Afe Babalola, (SAN), a nonagenarian, who was the Chairman of the conference, stated that Nigerians should partner to change the perception held of older persons in the country to enable them to enjoy their rights.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria stated that this had become necessary to recorgnise the rich skills, talent and the worth of every Nigerian, regardless of their age.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the theme of Conference is “Journey to Age Equality” with the sub theme as “The Society and the Older Persons in Nigeria’’.
The SAN, who was represented by Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), said that the older persons in Nigeria deserved to be recognised for their immense contributions to the country.
“We must work together to change perceptions about aging in order to grow a country where we can all age, thrive, and contribute together.
“Nigerians must stand for innovation, inclusion and diversity. We can and must do more to enable people at all stages of life to find growth, connection and joy,” he emphasised.
According to him, the glory of young men is their strength, but the splendour of old men is their gray hair.
“Certainly neither I nor you are getting any younger; day by day our strength is slipping away.
“But not so for the young and women for their strength gives them glory at least for a time because time catches up with them as it has for the aged.”
Babalola noted that leadership was a sacrifice based on accountability, while urging the Coalition to ensure transparency for the older people to raise their dignity in the country.
Babalola added there was need for government to realise the rights and entitlements of the elderly and to also make them active in decision making in the country.
He commended the coalition for the conference and urged the government to ensure that the old persons were not discriminated against due to age “because they have vast experience gained through their practical life’’.
Dr Saidu Dumbulwa, the Project Coordinator, Health Package for Improving Quality Care on Ageing Population and Diseases in Nigeria, (HEPIQ-C), said that right now, the society was not treating older people as equals.
He alleged that the older persons were being marginalised as well their contributions being minimised to the detriment of societal growth.
“To live up to our country’s ideals, we must confront the injustice of ageism,” he stressed.
Dumbulwa said that Nigerians needed the older persons as much as the youth of the country and hence their rights as aged Nigerians must not be denied.
He said that Nigerians still needed the older persons to learn one or two things from them due to the vast experiences they have had in the course of service to the nation.
The HEPIQ-C coordinator said that rights did not change as an individual grew older.
He noted that what happened was that the older persons were considered to be inherently less valuable to society.
Accordingly, he said Nigerians must looked into the issue and promote their wellness.
“As Nigerians let’s be committed to ending ageism and ensuring that all of us can live and thrive in this great nation called Nigeria,” he added. (NAN)
-Oct 31, 2019 @17:34 GMT