By Akintola Benson-Oke

KAY Zegar, the famous counsellor and multi-therapist, wrote about retreats as follows: “Retreats offer the benefit of physical, emotional and psychological withdrawal from the stresses and strains of everyday life: a chance to escape from the toxic effects of noise, information overload, unrealistic demands and the frantic busyness of 21st Century living; to enjoy a safe haven in which to start to recover from trauma and to heal on all levels.”

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Okowa, others attend nine lessons, Carols

It is thus my sincere hope that all will take advantage of the opportunity offered by retreat to relax, meditate, and plan for the year and challenges ahead. Furthermore, the theme of this year’s retreat calls for a certain level of deliberate introspection and contemplation.  When both employee and employer adequately plan for retirement, the transformation becomes far less stressful than it would otherwise have been.

While we all can agree that human resources are rightly regarded as the bedrock of an organisation since organisations are overwhelmingly dependent on human capacity for the supply of physical labour, technical and professional skills, which are germane for effective and efficient planning and implementation of development policies, programmes, projects and daily activities; it is indisputable that, at a certain point, the human elements (represented in our case by the officers of the Lagos State Public Service), as well as the government, would need to prepare for retirement.

Retirement is another phase of life that brings fundamental change and while the change may bring daunting challenges,  officers of the Lagos State Public Service, really have nothing to be anxious about.

In the first place, you have the advantage of having served an organisation that has made adequate arrangements for your future in retirement. The Lagos State Government had paid accrued pension rights running into billions into the Retirement Savings Account of retirees.

Furthermore, the Lagos State Government has continued to remit money into officers’ Retirement Savings Accounts. Indeed, everyone should be proud to note that Lagos State remains perhaps the only state in the federation that is up to date in its monthly remittances into serving employees’ Retirement Savings Accounts.

Now, while many employers of labour and indeed, many state governments do not see the need to prepare their employees for a new life, the Akinwunmi Ambode administration, however, is a people-oriented one and we have resolved that everyone who has worked diligently for the state has to be recognised, paid his/her dues and assisted to prepare for future challenges. Therefore, with the benefit of the knowledge of a responsive and responsible employer in the Lagos State Government, I urge you to embrace the coming change with confidence. Without doubt, there are other challenges inherent in facing a period of retirement. Let me advise you not to be apprehensive about these. Change is built into the fabric of our lives. This is why Kakuzo Okakaura rightly observed that “the art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings,” and the great Mahatma Gandhi said: “Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.”

Indeed, there are plethora of examples of people who have engaged in markedly profitable engagements after retiring from active employment. I urge you to resolve to envision such a productive future in your retirement years. In order to do that, there are a number of wise counsel that have been urged on retiring personnel. With the R-E-T-I-R-E W-E-L-L acronym, you can keep in mind the important mindset actions that will serve you well in your new future.

  • R- Remember to be thankful and grateful. Always recall God’s blessings and goodness to you. Also, be thankful for the love of friends and family members. (• E- Envision a productive future. Everything starts with a vision. Do not give up on yourself. Envision a future where you can do things, no matter how little, for the benefit of the society and others.
  • T- Try new things. It is not all over for you. You can still learn new skills, read new books, meet new friends, start new ventures.
  • I – Inspire others. With the wealth of experience that you have acquired over the years, you should make it your duty to inspire the younger generation. Encourage and guide them with the benefit of your acquired wisdom and experience.
  • R – Remember to make amends. It is never too late to say sorry or to correct a wrong. As you have more time on your hands, you should reflect on the mistakes you have made and make the genuine efforts to correct them.
  • E – Embrace hope. Be hopeful. Hope will gladden your heart and make your life more meaningful.
  • W – Wait for things to turn out well. Be patient in hope even as you make efforts to do new things.
  • E – Exercise. Discover light and non-strenuous exercises that you can regularly engage in. This will keep you in good health.
  • L – Love others. Look out for opportunities to show love to others and, in particular, to the less priviledged.
  • L – Look up. Look up to your maker and your God. He can make all things beautiful.

* Being text of a speech delivered by Dr. Benson-Oke, Lagos State Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions at a treat for Lagos State Trade Union leaders in Ilorin, Kwara State.

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