By Ikenna Osuoha
Ms May Ikokwu, the Chief Executive Officer of Save Our Heritage Initiative (SOHI), says older persons are a blessing and not a burden to the society.
Ikokwu, also a member of the Board of Trustees, Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons (COSROPIN), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Abuja on
Wednesday that senior citizens were fountains of experiences that should be cherished by all.
She spoke in commemoration of the UN Older Persons Week, beginning from Oct 1. worldwide, but marked any other time in October in Nigeria.
She congratulated older persons on their celebration by the world, saying “respect and appreciation for older persons are paramount in inculcating discipline in the society.
“First of all, let me congratulate every older person in the world on this well deserved recognition by the UN General Assembly.
“Secondly, let me make it categorically clear that older persons deserve honour and appreciation by the community they find themselves, because they are a blessing to the society.”
The SOHI CEO described older persons as the heroes and heroines of every community, having contributed immensely to the development of the society.
She, therefore, stressed the need to honour the older citizens who played pivotal roles in the development of the society.
Ikokwu also stressed the need for the society to reconsider the misconceptions about older persons for a morally-driven society to thrive.
She added that “older people are the custodians of morality because they represent mentorship and knowledge needful for laying solid societal foundation.”
She, however, called for an end to all forms of stereotyping, abandonment and misconceptions about older persons, aimed at reintegrating them into the global digital economy.
She said that the 2021 theme of the week: “Digital Equity for all Ages” is a task on family members to ensure that their elders are carried along in this digital age.
“At the least, buy phones for them and teach them how to get maximum use of the product.
“Ensure that they have sufficient data to chat with friends and family, as loneliness is the greatest killer of older persons.
“The global mantra of leave no one behind should not be done by lip service, the society must make concerted efforts to see that technology in use is all inclusive.
“If possible, introduce the older ones to cyber activities to broaden and quicken their minds and help to bridge generational gaps.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Dec. 14, 1990, the UN General Assembly, via Resolution 45/106, designated Oct. 1 as the International Day of Older Persons.
This was preceded by initiatives such as the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing, which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing.
The initiative was endorsed later in 1982 by the UN General Assembly. (NAN)