A call has gone to Nigerian universities to lead discourse around intergenerational contracts towards addressing the contemporary challenges facing Nigeria, and Africa by extension.
The call was made by the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (SAN) in the 10th convocation lecture of the Osun State University (UNIOSUN).
The theme of the lecture was: “Towards Harnessing Intergenerational Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Development in Nigeria.”
The Professor of Environmental Law in the lecture in which he gave insight into how wide intergenerational gaps had significantly contributed to the difficulties being experienced by successive administrations in finding lasting solutions to the myriad problems facing the country, noted that each generation had its unique strengths and weaknesses.
But, according to him, not until cross-fertilisation of ideas among representatives of each of the available generations is done, the country and, indeed, Africa, may not be out of the woods.
Fagbohun, who said the Nigerian universities, as Harvard University has reportedly done, must research into the working systems of apprenticeship of the South- East region; the ‘Esusu’ guild of collaboration culture of the people of South-West, among others.
He said until such a time when the beauties of the past were combined with the modernity of the present with its technological advantage, the continent of Africa, and Nigeria in particular, may continue to grope in the dark.
In the 30-page lecture, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria reiterated the need for intergenerational contracts and opportunities in the efforts of global organisations such as the United Nations towards find-ing solutions to problems such as ageing population, family life and as contained in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
While stressing the crucial need for mentorship, Fagbohun insisted that the craze for freedom and independence by the younger generation of Nigerians should be discouraged, saying mentorship cannot be ruled out on a journey to sustainable excellence.
He, therefore, commended the management of UNIOSUN for introducing a seed capital to support graduates with entrepreneurial skills and innovations, even as he suggested that beyond the seed money, the young innovators should be attached with successful business men and women who can reproduce themselves through the young graduates.
He added: “This is where the apprenticeship culture of the Igbos comes in. The leverage of intergenerational opportunities for inclusive growth and development is not new to Africa and in particular, Nigeria. For instance, up to Harvard University, the Igbo apprenticeship system of the South-East region of Nigeria (locally known as ‘Igba-Boi’) has been the focus of research.
“The development of intergenerational relations has not just been informal or serendipitous. In April, 2002, Member states of the United Nations adopted the Political Declaration and Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.
The emphasis was on the mainstreaming of ageing and older persons into policies and planning.
“In 2007, the General Assembly adopted a supplement to the World Programme of Action for Youth. It among others proposed action on strengthening families and bolstering intergenerational solidarity.
In 2009, United Nations International Experts Group meeting on ‘Family Policy on a Changing World: Promoting Social Protection and Intergenerational Solidarity’ recommended building partnerships and cooperation between youth and older persons organizations.
“In 2012, the Commission for Social Development adopted ‘Advancing Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity’ as one of the themes of the preparations for the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family,
- Many issues related to intergenerational contracts are also deeply engrained in the Sustainable Development Goals.”