General News of Sunday, 2 July 2006
Hohoe (V/R), July 2, GNA - A senior citizen in the Hohoe district said on Saturday that retirees still possessed the brainpower and technical expertise, which should be considered and harnessed in nation building.
At a reception to mark Senior Citizens Day at Gbi-Kledzo, near Hohoe, Mr John Sika, a retired Agriculturist, said old age is a state of the mind, which does not mean inability to reason. The reception also formed part of activities marking Ghana's Republic Day.
He called for the prioritisation and total development of sports in the country, describing the sector as "a hidden goldmine", which should be unearthed through strategic planning. He lauded the glory of the national soccer team, the Black Stars, in their heroic performance at the World Cup currently underway in Germany.
However, he said, the team, which was eliminated from the tournament after losing to defending champions, Brazil at the knockout stage, suffered "soccer injustice" from officiating during the match. He commended the government for stepping up efforts at democratisation and national development.
Mr Sika bemoaned the current upsurge in immorality, alcoholism, hard drugs and armed robbery, and blamed the situation on the influx of western cultures into the Ghanaian society.
He called for the rehabilitation of the district's roads. Another senior citizen, Mr Samuel Agbodza, a retired Educationist, called for a change in the notion that everything African was satanic, saying rather, "everything African is religious and civilized". Togbega Gabusu, Paramount Chief of Gbi Traditional Area, commended the government for decentralizing the Social Security and National Insurance Trust pension scheme, saying it helped in eliminating "the hustle" associated with pensions claims.
He also lauded officialdom for exempting the aged in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and advocated for a special travel dispensation for the aged in society as a reward for their "meritorious toil and national service".