Ekiti State government South-West Nigeria has commenced an exercise to enumerate its senior citizens across the State.
Officials of the Ministry of Women Affairs Social Development and Gender empowerment are combing the 16 Local Government Areas of the State in a comprehensive head count of people who are 65 and above.
Local Government Chairmen and their staff have been helpful in the exercise at the grass roots as the State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi is targeting 150,000 senior citizens after the enumeration exercise.
Head of Service, Mr. Olubunmi Famosaya said “the programme is to ensure that senior citizens have access to some income for their basic needs”. In the same vein, Commissioner for Women Development and Gender Empowerment, Mrs. Fola Richie-Adewusi at the training held for enumerators stated that “the welfare of senior citizens in the State is central being part of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s 8-Point Agenda”. She added that “since our culture does not encourage the setting up of old people’s homes, the State Government has to fashion out a way of continuously identifying with people 65 years and above”.
Senior citizens across the State have welcomed the gesture they considered noble and first of its kind. “I consider it a totally strange thing that somebody would be giving me money every month”, said Pa Afolabi Daramola, 76 from Ado-Ekiti while Pa. Idris Omole 89, who was enumerated along with his 82 year old wife said “the entire citizenry will for ever be grateful for the great things the State Governor has been doing, some have been saying he is lying but I tell them he is not as he means well for our State”.
Though the idea of old people’s home is still strange in Nigeria, a United States based Nigerian has considered it necessary to encourage organisations, well meaning Nigerians and the government to look into the establishment of such facilities.
Ajayi-Lediju who is the Chef Executive Officer of Jo-Ron Healthcare Service, an intercontinental non governmental organisation with the aim of supporting the unique needs of the elderly said “the idea of setting up old people’s home should be encouraged because we have a lot of old people who are seen as burdens which should not be”. She continued that “we should see old people as our responsibilities because they once took up the challenge of caring for us while we were children, they should not be neglected and seen as burdens just because of old age”.
“We registered Jo-Ron Healthcare Services in the USA and we are trying a pilot scheme in Nigeria and some African countries” said Ajayi-Lediju, member of the American Critical-Care Nurses Association who recently marked her mother’s 95th birthday anniversary in Lagos.
“My mother turned 95 early September and she is still very strong for her age because of the care and love she receives. We have not seen her as burden because she is a loving person who also took care of her aged parents while they were octogenarians”, she said. Also a member of the American Association of University Women, and the American Nurses Association, Ajayi-Lediju has practiced nursing for over 25 years and she is of the opinion that “old age is a virtue and those who want to live long should not despise the senior citizens but rather care for them”.
Jo-Ron Healthcare Services is an organisation that is committed to strengthening the level of vitality in aging individuals and to celebrate and provide the quality healthcare they deserve.