By Martin Ogumah and Opeyemi Adebiyi
The CEO/Founder of Elizabethan Humanitarian Life (H&H) Foundation, Mrs. Oyinade Samuel-Eluwole has stated her commitment to the cause of Nigerian males from cradle to old age. She vowed to continue to fight for the wellbeing of the male gender to ensure that the men and the boy-child are treated well.
At the Elizabethan Foundation’s International Men’s Day Symposium last Wednesday in Lagos, which was organised as one of the activities to commemorate the 2023 International Men’s Day themed ‘Zero Male Suicide’, Samuel-Eluwole said: “The International Men’s Day is a Day established by the global community to create awareness and to underscore the need to bring to the front burner many issues faced by men, which include but not limited to suicide, violence, and parental alienation, among others; and this is celebrated annually on November 19th”.
She added that: “The theme emphasises the six significant pillars of International Men’s Day, which include: To promote male role models. To celebrate the contribution that men make. To focus on men’s health and well-being. To highlight discrimination against men. At Elizabethan, IMD is very important to us because our focus is to intervene for male gender at all levels. We are focusing on the psychological and emotional frustration of males at all levels because we see males as endangered species”.
The Elizabethan Foundation boss further said that the male gender in Nigeria suffer lack and neglect, and that there is an urgent need to focus on how to attend to them. She said: “We have paid so much attention to the women, the girl-child, and to the female gender generally. This is good and the society and government should do more in that regard. However, for us in Elizabethan Humanitarian Life Foundation, we think that the society should not neglect the men in the process.
“If you notice, the men and the boy-child in our society, are going through so much pressure based on traditional disposition and societal expectations. Our boys are not expected to cry to express their painful emotions, and our men are expected to shoulder too heavy and too many loads – from taking care of their wife, children, extended family, and even to the larger society – where they are expected to take the lead in every activity. As a result most of them go through psychological trauma without notice, and physical emasculation without anyone paying attention”.
In his presentation, the guest speaker, Professor of Psychology at the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Prof. Sola Aletan steered the conversation toward the haunting trend of teenage suicide. He shared an incident in Los Angeles, illustrating how invisible struggles within an individual’s mind can lead to tragic outcomes, emphasizing the need for a deeper understanding of mental health.
The dialogue expanded its horizons as former Adamawa State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mallam Ahmad Sajoh delved into the need for embracing shared prosperity as a society.“If we do not share our prosperity, what we will have as a nation is shared multilateral poverty”, he said.
The Dean of the Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences at Lagos State University College of Medicine, Prof. Omoniyi Yemitan contributed a distressing incident involving a marital dispute. He highlighted the broader challenges faced by families and emphasized the need for mutual respect and understanding to prevent escalating tensions.
The insightful contribution brought in Professor of Sociology at the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Prof. Oyekunle Oyelami, who underscored the prevalence of diagnosable mental disorders in suicide attempts. He explored different types of suicide, dissecting the intricate web of causes“Shockingly, the statistics reveal that four times as many men as women succumb to suicide, making it a pervasive issue globally”, he affirmed..
The symposium concluded with a call to action, urging the audience to recognize the importance of mental health, especially during times of stress. The collective effort was emphasized to address the underlying issues contributing to male suicide and promote a supportive community.
The complexities surrounding male suicide were unveiled, fostering understanding and compassion in the quest to prevent further loss of precious lives.