SYLVANUS UKAFIA@60 PLUS
What you need to know and do about aging
For a man like Dr. Sylvanus Ukafia, it would be difficult to give any befitting birthday gift than institution of an annual lecture in his honour. And that was exactly what his friends and associates did at the weekend.
Professor Ashong Ashong, University of Lagos, chaired the lecture. Intellectual contents and comments were brought home alive in real human situations that left many better equipped to triumph over life, business and ministry. For instance, the talk on health status transitions in the elderly, focusing pastors in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Udeme Ekrikpo, a consultant nephrologist with University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo, painted a pale and despondent health system in Nigeria compared to others even within Africa and expressed sadness of the life expectancy of Nigerians which has sunk down to 56 for females and 54 for males. Aside this, latest data show even people in 20s are plagued with strokes, an occurrence which was common with the elderly a few years ago. While medical science has so improved all over the world to cater comprehensively for challenging health status of citizens, Nigeria has suffered a continued decay in the system, the consequence is increase in mortality rate of citizens.
He knocked governments both at the Federal and State levels for paying lip service to health sector revamp. In all this, Ekrikpo observed, pastors were a vulnerable group. He said that pastors were quick to show much concern to their members to the detriment of their health and encouraged them to pay better attention to personal health status, particularly those who were 40 and above.
While assuring that no one should be afraid of aging, as it was a natural phenomenon and that genetic deposits were responsible for why people age differently, he explained that old age sets in the moment you begin to forget where you kept your car keys. When it gets to where you forgets where the door is, then you need to know it was high time you prepared for succession. To slow down aging, adequate health status awareness, good rest, good nutrition with vegetables and exercises, intermittent or periodic fasting and regular sex with spouse at least twice weekly, are the essentials. While devouring good amount of vegetables help in the metabolic processes, fasting with water help in detoxing the body. This, Ekrikpo said, was better than consuming detoxification gels. It was, however, fun as he stressed need for good sex with spouse, as many had good moment to laugh, others wondering why sex was in the bracket, Ekrikpo further explained that it releases some chemical compounds that aid good rest and that the older men were, the more the need for intercourse.
Kelechi Chibuzor torched the controversial grace revolution gaining spread in Akwa Ibom State and put in perspectives, different dispensation of false doctrines across the centuries, summing it up that, like at other centuries when those false teachings could not overwhelm the open truth of the gospel, similar fate will happen to current hyper-grace teachings. He called on believers to counter falsehood with truth, by devoting more time to study and training of younger generation to decipher the difference.
Besides, the hard talks, encomiums on Dr. Ukafia flooded the hall. Pastor George Umana, Eket, who was vice-chair of the event, attributed his success in Ministry to the mentoring gift of the celebrator, describing him as a godly model. “Dr. Ukafia is a godly model, someone we should all emulate. I don’t think I would have been in Ministry today if not Dr. Sylvanus Ukafia who encouraged me. I deeply treasure his being authentic,” Umana said. Rev. Mrs. Angela Ashong was more emotional, relieving moments when the celebrator would stepped in to straighten her in Ministry. She described him as one who encouraged and created platforms for her to excel in Ministry. “One thing about Dr. Ukafia is that he will give you a platform to preach and will follow up to be sure you do it,” she said. Pastor Aity Denis Inyang did a piece, the final thank you. She poured praises on the celebrator for identifying her singing ability and giving her the opportunity to sing in each service before he would preach.
In his remarks, Dr. Ukafia, who turned 61 last weekend, admonished the audience on the need to integrate succession into their planning, because no matter how agile one is, aging will slow one down. “We need to understand that no matter how intelligent you are know that you will slow down somewhere.” Anchoring his point on John 15:14, sees everyone who takes to instructions as friends, praying that everyone desiring to attain his age should get there in good health.
Dr. Ukafia, however, donated his latest book, “Restoration” to guests at the event.