From Priscilla Ediare, Ado–Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, has acknowledged the immense contributions of senior citizens in the state to his administration, describing them as part of the intellectual forces driving the vision of his government.
The governor stated that the elders, under the aegis of Ekiti Council of Elders have been supporting his government in terms of constructive criticisms and playing of advisory roles to stabilise his administration.
Fayemi said these in Ado-Ekiti, on Tuesday, while flagging off of the construction of the ‘Ekiti Elders People’s Resort and Wellness Centre’ to provide comfort and long life for the senior citizens.
The governor revealed that the project, which was to boost the psychosocial and mental alertness of the elders when completed, was an initiative of the federal government via the office of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) in partnership with the State.
Fayemi applauded the Council of Elders for taking ownership of government and for being progressive, by offering advice and criticising when expedient for his government to achieve its development focus.
“This project is in line with the Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals which seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. I have no doubt that building an elderly people’s resort and wellness centre for the senior citizens will enhance their comfort and boost their mental alertness.
” As a responsive and responsible government, we listened to the counsels from the elder’s council in the State, which necessitated the step we are taking here today. Let me at this juncture acknowledge the support and collaboration of the Federal Government through the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs), headed by Her Excellency, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.
“As the population of senior citizens continues to grow, for us as a government, we owe it a duty to cater for their well-being. The elderly, certainly, do not want to lose their quality of life just because of their age, one of the advantages of this Resort therefore, is to promote their longevity and mental alertness.
“The resort will be equipped with modern facilities that will be of immense benefit for our senior citizens. One of the social security schemes which I started in 2013 during my first Term in office and re-launched when I returned in 2018 is “Owo Arugbo”.
“The welfare of the senior citizens in the state is of utmost priority and we will not joke with it. Your advice and wise counsel, criticisms and prayers as senior citizens are very important to us too as a Government”.
Fayemi said Ekiti has the highest life expectancy in Nigeria owing to elders’ friendly policies he initiated, saying there was no basis for people to to lose their qualities of life on the basis of age.
The Chairman, Ekiti SDGs Implementation Committee and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Abiodun Omoleye, said the project was part of the dreams of Ekiti founding fathers at inception that no one would be ostracised in the state’s developmental focus .
“This initiative was conceived in the first term of Governor Fayemi, but was not fulfilled then. You could all see that Ekiti and the nation are undergoing crisis, but if you have a focus and vision, nothing can stop it. This facility will take care of the elders’ psychosocial and mental needs.”
The Chairman, Ekiti Council of Elders, Prof. Joseph Oluwasanmi, applauded the governor for the initiative that it would give his members comfort and long life.
“We are particularly happy because the project has confirmed that the elders have not been neglected. The essence of leadership is to ensure that all the strata of the society are given consideration.
“Our wellbeing in terms of social, mental and economic are of importance and this project will meet large percentage of these needs,” he said.