Firstly, I will like to make reference to a governor who was addressing protesting students and one of the things he said outside the real issue of closing their school was that he should be given respect as an elder. Hellooo! We need to revisit the meaning of elders; we tend to use it for people who have aged in years without making reference to the values they were known for on their way to elder hood.
Yes elders need respect but when an elder on the other hand lacks respect, then something is wrong. These statements; “Respect is reciprocal”, “You earn respect”, I believe are universally acceptable worldwide and African elders need no special treatment. What elders boast of these days is experience but of course experience can become obsolete. Also before we accord that over-demanding elder seeking respect, we also need to know who and what he was as a young man.
A statesman is one who plays a major role in government and politics for the public good (emphasis on public). We are in dire need of good, responsible, productive, result-oriented leadership in our country. We need people who really can embody what it really means to be a man for the people; those who truly love Nigeria, who can fight colleagues (that are selfish) for the good of the common man. We need intellectuals, creatives, those who are constantly thinking of what to do better for their people or for the office they hold.
In essence we need a fusion of capacity and integrity to be able to start reaping the benefits of good leadership. That is what we want.
As much as elder statesman is our creation to honour people who have become old/aged whether they pillaged the nation or not; one needs to be a statesman first before advancing to being an elder. Our much coveted National Merit Awards has also in a way shifted to being used to honour those whose journey to old age had no value but in fact depreciated Nigeria and plunged more people into poverty. Honour is still and invaluable commodity and there are many more of such commodities; we need to promote what matters most.
If someone desires to be respected as an elder or statesman or elder statesman, then he needs to work for it. As a statesman you need to be out for the public as you play your governmental role with proofs to show; we need to see that you have made lives better or made our Nigeria better in your own sphere of influence. If you want respect as an elder you need to also earn it and after you have done all else the two can fused together for you; ELDERSTATESMAN.