Elder statesman and diplomat, Yusuf Maitama Sule, has tasked the federal government and the entire people of Nigeria on the imperative of taking responsibility for the ageing citizens of the country as obtainable in other climes.
Alhaji Sule threw up the challenge in his goodwill message at the international conference of the African Society for Ageing Research and Development, ASARD, held at the Idris Abubakar Auditorium of the National Universities Commission, NUC, yesterday.
The acclaimed orator and diplomat who chaired the occasion said he had always advised government not to concentrate its choice of appointees from among the young people, arguing that the wisdom and experience of the old is very much useful in governance.
“My advice to government at every opportunity has been that they should not concentrate appointments on young people alone. They should mix them up – old and young. The wisdom and experience of the older citizens are very useful in providing direction.
“New breed without the old breed will breed greed. The best combination is that of old and new breed. It is wrong to write off the old people on the ground that they have outlived their usefulness. Look after the aged so that they will pass their experience to the younger ones”, the elder statesman advised.
The former Nigeria’s Representative to the United Nations and pioneer ombudsman further stated that the younger generation needed to learn from the mistakes of the older citizens to avoid a repeat and also to follow their laudable footsteps which led to their various great achievements.
Earlier in his address, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Professor Julius Okojie, said ageing is an irreversible process, adding that the consequences of increased absolute number of older persons on individuals, family, special services, health systems old age pensions, social security income generation schemes as well as emergency related services are enormous.
“In Africa, the population of older persons aged 60 years and above has been rapidly growing and was expected to increase from 59.8 million in 2012 to 64.5 million in 2015, the close of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs”, he said.
Okojie stated that education, research and policy are indispensable tools for national growth and development.
It will be recalled that the NUC recently introduced geriatric medicine, the study of the medical management process, for the aged at the postgraduate level in selected federal universities and urged Nigerians to indicate interest in gerontology to help this vulnerable group.
Other dignitaries at the inauguration of the conference include prominent Nigerians such as Professor Nurudeen Nimbe Adedipe, former Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Professor Hilary Inyang, Professor of Environmental Engineering, Dr Hindatu Umar Abdullahi, Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, among others.

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