Whether you are a public or private worker, retirement is a must. “The statutory age of retirement of public officers is 60 years while it is 65 years for judicial officers and 70 for academic staff of universities. However, with the reform of the civil service decree No. 43 of 1988 retirement age has been put at 60 years or 35years in service whichever comes first.”
Evidences have shown that retirees usually seek out for alternative means of surviving after the retirement due to irregular meagre pension in the midst of ineffective policies and economic crises. Having understood these factors, Alhaja Mujidat Moyosore Oyetunji embarked on an entrepreneurial journey shortly after her retirement in the Lagos State Civil Service. Moyosore Oyetunji is a 56-year-old retired headteacher and an indigene of Iwo in Iwo local government of Osun state. She speaks of her journey so far and other issues on the nature of retirement and challenges of retirees in Nigeria.
Recently, you retired from the teaching service. How would you describe the 35 years journey? What were the successes and challenges being non-Lagosian?
All thanks to the almighty Allah who made the journey smoother. Being a non-Lagosian did not in any, pose any challenges as every citizen was given a free hand to do his or her work without any hindrance. To the glory of God almighty, I made an impact, a positive one for that matter which I am always happy remembering.
Now that you are out of the public service, what are you doing for a living, and how easy and profitable is it?
Before I retired, I had several things I intended to do, but I eventually opted for rental services because I have been doing it on a small scale before I left the service. Our rental services include party materials like big generator, canopy, chairs, tables, table and chair covers, gas cookers and cylinders chafing dishes, serving materials. We also have for rent, farm implements like diggers, cutlasses, wheelbarrow and so. It is advisable for an about to retire to venture into what he understands because retirement is very wild, if one dabbles into a terrain, he knows nothing about, that may be calamitous. I also sell pure water packing nylon because my husband is a pure water producer who patronises us and encourage his friends to do. To be truthful with myself, both businesses have not been bringing the expected profits, but it has been very encouraging as more and more people are being aware of our presence. I really thank God for the acceptance.
For more than 3 years I monitored you on Facebook. I discovered that you are active on Facebook, discussing national and family issues. What is the secret considering your position as a teacher in a public organisation?
Yes, my activities on the Facebook is borne out of the love I have for my country. Family, being the smallest unit of the society is where a child is moulded and prepared for the betterment of the nation, as a retired teacher, I see it as a responsibility to make use of what I to right the wrongs in the society. The prophet Muhammad says if we see something that is not right, we should correct it with our hands, if we cannot correct with our hands, we should correct it with our voice, if that isn’t still possible, then we can condemn with our minds. As a retired teacher, I have seen and had enough experience to make right some wrongs in the society if the society is prepared to adjust.
Tell us life as a civil servant and a retired citizen. Are there differences and similarities?
Seriously, there are differences between both lives. As a civil servant, it’s oga ta oga o ya alert must enter. But you are O Y O in business because as you lay your bed, so you will sleep on it. One good thing is that, if you do your duty diligent as a civil servant, you are bound to be successful in business because, Yoruba says, “Bi a se sise onise la ma se tara eni”.
What is your view about relying on pension as a retired worker?
Pension is not reliable except one will give his children and relatives problems. Someone who has retired since 2016 and who has not gotten his pension is bound to eat what he doesn’t like.
Your advice to potential retirees?
Honestly speaking, retirement is very wild and windy, until one gets to the stage, he never can understand. A potential retiree is even including the newly appointed person, it is important one start to prepare for his retirement right from the day he’s employed. Preparing for retirement includes marrying on time and planning one’s family. Among those things that kill a retiree prematurely is having underage children at the time of his retirement. It is very advisable to give the kids necessary equipment that will make them be self-reliant, education inclusive.
A house is necessary as it will be ridiculous for a retiree to be still living in a rented house. If possible, it is relaxing one retires to his village away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Then, as the time gets closer one needs to plan properly what he intends to do and how to go about it. Many of the retirees are having some terminal diseases which need to be catered for, there should be a plan on how to remain alive and healthy.
Anyone who is about to retire needs to be in cordial relationship with his people, particularly his spouse, children and siblings because definitely he will need them more. Like I said earlier, a potential retiree must not dabble into the business he knows close to nothing about as this may be dangerous. He must be careful as not to fall into the hands of the fraudulent people in search of what to do. Above all, a would-be retiree must be prayerful for guidance.