Retirement: Challenges And Values By Ajose Kudehinbu
Text of Lecture by Ajose Kudehinbu, NPOM, former Head of Service (HoS) Ondo State at the Retirement of Mr Boboye Akinnusi, Principal, Methodist High School, Okitipupa, on Thursday, 26 September, 2019.
First, let me congratulate and rejoice with my brother and friend, Mr Boboye Akinnusi, on the occasion of his retirement from active teaching Service, in Ondo State, as a Tutor-General.
My decision to honour this invitation derives from two or three reasons: first, like Mr Akinnusi, I am also an ex-student of Methodist High School, Okitipupa, having left the school in 1970, about 50 years ago. Second, I am the National President, Methodist High School Old Students Association and, third, I was Head of Service (HoS) when the policy to have Tutor-General at the apex of the Teaching Service, was formulated. A Tutor-General is a Permanent Secretary by another name, properly situated in that Service.
The story of career officer, anywhere, is often summarised in the biblical philosophy: many are called, few are chosen! That applies on two occasions, the first at the point of entry into a career job and, the second, at the end of that career, where in each case, the positions are limited, if more at the beginning. However, where an employee has rendered quality service, before the mandatory retirement period of 35 years of service or 60 years of a age, whichever comes first, he should remain satisfied… Unfortunately, simple as it may look, retirement is often not an easy thing, as the worker prepares to re-enter society… In our younger days in the Civil Srrvice, we were told the story of an officer who went on mandatory or compulsory retirement. Yet, he kept reporting for work every morning and sat on the same old seat he used before his retirement. He did so a number of times, until, one day, his office had to be locked. As if that was not enough, he still came to work a number of times, looked into his old office through the window before the window, too, had to be shut! That was when he realised that he had truly retired! The story was probably true. Anyone who worked for an employer for 35 years, may, indeed, lose his way back home!
For all career workers, the first day in office should also be the day to plan an exit, of developing a legitimate aspiration to get to the peak of a career. It is a mistake we probably all make… Retirement is a period for stocktaking and introspection. Did I succeed or not? For Boboye, the answer should be in the positive, otherwise he would not have become a Tutor-General. Do I have a story to tell? Yes. All those who had worked for such a long period, should! I imagine the story would be a mixed grill, of excitement, disappointment, frustration and of eventual triumph, at the end of the day. So, in a way, even in retirement, you still continue to serve society, if your health permits, at your own pace. I offered to teach in a community secondary school after retirement from the Civil Service. I taught Literature to students who had no prescribed books. I called a meeting of their parents and advised them to buy books for their children. They did. How do you teach Literature to students who have no books?
Employees should retire, when they need to. They should not be allowed to manipulate their records in order to remain at work, when they seek to do so on the eve of their imminent retirement.
I thank Mr Akinnusi for this wonderful opportunity. I urge him to take a rest and stand again on his feet!