So I sat down with my sister and my mum round the dining table in our family house at Akure ! Incidentally we were both visiting my mum ! Conspicuously vacant was a chair that stood next to our mothers’. Dad had moved on ! Left the realm where dining tables were relevant !
As usual with siblings, we were all discussing” how far” in other words what we had all been up to in recent times ! Interestingly What my sister , Mrs Bunmi Sodade had been up to got me thinking on behalf of a class of people in the country that me ,she and a host of us now belonged to !
She had started a non profit voluntary organization that made so much sense and should provoke some thoughts to even the daftest of men ! Simply called The Nigerian association of retired people 50 +
So what is this all About I asked her ! Then she took a glance at our mum and the support staffs she had at her disposal ! Lucky woman !! She and my father had planned their lives properly up to an extent but then there was Gods blessings ! At 83 years old and now a widow she has been very fortunate ! Being advanced in age she now needed a lot of support from others !
Life they say is a cycle if you live long enough you go back being a baby ! Where you started from ! If you neglect a baby the baby will die ! If you neglect and old person the person will die quicker !
“I’m so happy you have again come to visit me ” my mum said to us with affection My sister in particular had given and shown her a lot of care. Indeed it’s true that the female child shows more affection and care at the critical moments of human lives ! It is a backward belief when it is sometimes said that a male child is more valuable and sometimes becomes a problem for couples who don’t have male children. They should wait till the evening of their lives if they are lucky and have Gods grace to live long.
” The elderly in this country are increasingly lacking support systems” my sister Bunmi worryingly observed ! We had all as siblings spent long spells abroad and we see the various support systems put in place for their elderly ! This is what should count rather than our custom of prostrating for the elderly all over the place only for them to lack any support system when they get old ! The prostrating now stand fake and useless in real terms in this country ! I’m not against culture and tradition per se ! But should it be the same people we show so much respect for that we now fail to put any support system for as a society when they Grow old!?
Even the hard working ones that have worked honestly ( incidentally they are in the majority ) hoping that at least they can live with their pension . The mainer”s of this world have “swallowed their pensions ! Another ugly effect of corruption !
” so I have decided to set up a voluntary non- profit organization targeted at the over 50 and above: ” my sister explained to me . it is called ” Nigerian Association of Retired people ” modeled after the American version ! Then she proceeded to open their web site . I was amazed as I began to understand her concept! It was time to sit back and examine the issues surrounding living in Nigeria at an old age in this our times.
At one stage all my father’s children and grand children were abroad not living in Nigeria ! He became worried, panicked and wrote an article in Nigeria claiming corruption and certain uncertainties had driven all his children abroad !! He was fortunate he had means to visit us regularly ! For awhile non of us was considering coming back home ! This meant Some of our parents stood the chance of not getting immediate family care and concern at old age ! They were lucky that in this case we all returned at some stage while they were still alive !
Will a class of us currently be this lucky ??
The sort of children our set have now are really not bothered about Nigeria as per residing in the country again! A typical example are our children abroad ! They are all citizens of the respective country they live in, and most of them, apart from not even been able to speak any Nigerian language they may not be able to even adjust anymore to the Nigerian circumstances.
This means they may not be around proximity wise to play the role of caring for a class of us that fall into this situation ! We all pray for old age but we must also add that prayer of receiving proper care so that our last memories of our evening are happy ones !
This is where the Idea of NARP is such a fantastic idea and the wise ones among us should take advantage of the benefit it stands to confer ! “What are the advantages ” I asked my sister ! Okay there are categories of membership and each category has its own benefits ! The idea is for each member to get an automatic reduction or even free service in various areas ! From free phone calls among members to hospitals, petrol stations pharmacy hotel’s travels supermarkets etc they are all on the NARP books and the outfits are increasing everyday ! 10 20 30 % discount here and there for carrying an NARP card ! Fantastic !
The idea is to even extend it to accommodation where there will be retirement villages some close to oceans and exotic locations ! Our extended family culture is increasingly coming under threat as the pressures of life put this system under serious threat ! Since most of the current day children may not even want to come back home the best they may want to do is help from a distance !
In short it is increasingly looking like some of us are on our own entirely ! Anything left behind for these children will be sold off and the proceeds taken back to their respective countries where they reside ! They are just not interested and do not want to reside here ! They have just gotten increasingly selfish as our own society gets increasingly corrupt ! Some will not return !
This means any advantages we can put in place for some of us that live in this country should be employed now its not everybody that either want to steal monies to secure our old ages nor want to rely on pensions that may not come ! It is schemes like these that may now guarantee some succor in the evening of our lives !