THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 12, No. 1, (2014)
Care and Support for the Aged among the Esan of South-South Nigeria
Friday Asiazobor Eboiyehi1 & Ifeanyi C. Onwuzuruigbo2
1Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria
2Department of Sociology University of Ibadan Ibadan
The extended family system is an important ingredient for care and support for the aged in traditional African society. Although this mechanism is gradually being eroded, there is no formal social security apparatus to fill the gap. This study therefore examined the nature of care and support system for the aged and the coping strategies among the Esan of South-South Nigeria through the qualitative method. Esan-Central and Esan-West LGAs were purposely selected for the study and three communities were chosen in each of the LGAs. A total of 32 IDIs and 8 FGDs were conducted among men and women aged 60 years and above. The results are indicative of diminishing extended family ties and increasing social distance between aged parents and adult children. This tendency is associated with age-selective rural-urban migration and emerging nuclear family structure that has impacted negatively on care and support provided for the aged. This change is also linked to social changes towards westernization and coping strategies associated with decline in real income of caregivers as a result of downturn in the Nigerian economy. The aged adopt various coping strategies which include working as night guards, engageing in petty trading, dependence on pension and some support from church members and adult children. The paper concludes that care and support is diminishing among the Esan and suggests re-awakening of the extended family social security system. This may be carried out within the framework of a creative multi-track social policy intervention that will involve government, civil society and private sector partnership.
Keywords: care and support, extended family, multi-track social policy intervention, Esan