The Senior Citizens Advocacy Network of Nigeria (SCANON) has pledged to support the national re-orientation campaign of the Federal Government, tagged “Change Begins With Me,” as part of its contribution to attitudinal change among Nigerians.
The National Chairman of SCANON, Mallam Dalhatu Ayuba, gave the pledge in Abuja on Thursday when he led a delegation of the Network on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
“It is permissible to say that no nation enjoys accelerated and sustainable development without an attitudinal change. Therefore, the ‘Change Begins With Me’ Campaign spearheaded by your ministry is fully supported by SCANON,” he said.
Mallam Ayuba said the organization believes that for Nigeria to overcome the myriad of challenges confronting it, the citizens must avail themselves of the platform created by the ministry to complement efforts at sensitizing the public against societal ills.
He disclosed that SCANON plans to embark on a national re-orientation campaign in Abuja for the pilot scheme, with visits to selected schools to talk to students on value re-orientation, saying though members of the organization are retirees, they will continue to contribute to nation-building through volunteerism.
“Honourable Minister, we cannot talk of heritage without the elderly. We cannot talk of culture without the elderly. We cannot talk about the new breed without the old breed. In view of this, we are compiling a compendium of SCANON professionals for easy accessibility when the need arises. Above all, our dream is to contribute to nation building where peace and justice will reign supreme,” he said.
In his remarks, the Minister commended the ideals of selfless service and volunteerism as exhibited by SCANON, saying such patriotism needs to be supported by the government.
“An NGO like this must not just be given recognition but must be given encouragement. It must also be given the wherewithal to function and that’s why I looked forward to meeting you today. I think what you stand for, which is continued engagement of capacities in old age, is another way of saying volunteerism and this is what is lacking in Nigeria.
“Most countries thrive because of the spirit of volunteerism. America is what it is today because they have many Americans at various ages and different social circumstances, who are volunteering to assist the government,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed noted that SCANON, which has members who served in the various professions across the country, can contribute by rending community services especially in the areas of security, health care, teaching and mentoring.
The Minister enjoined the Senior Citizens to contribute to the promotion of peaceful and harmonious co-existence between Christians and Muslims and among the various ethnic groups in the country.
“You can also help government to counter the narrative which is false about this country because many of you have lived in other parts of the country, which are not your own and you know that the average Nigerian is a very accommodating person. It’s only in recent times that brothers and sisters are now at war.
”From your experiences, let these young people understand that in this country, Christians and Muslims have been living together peacefully and we cannot but accept the fact that God is His wisdom created us differently,” he said