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Senior Citizens Are People Too | Watch Stanlee Ohikhuare’s Documentary – “Deadwood”




Sometimes, you see senior citizens living in Nigeria and something tugs at your heart. When you think about the fact that there are many aspects of our society that’s fractured,  the impact is deeper than we sometimes allow ourselves to think about.

What are the provisions being made for our senior citizens? There’s a general attitude that old people should be taken care of solely by their relatives. However, the care of old people goes beyond just “care”. Apart from the fact that their physical bodies are frail and they’re unable to get about as fast as they used to when they were younger, there’s also the psychological effect of growing up.

Imagine the fact that friends you grew up with, shared time with are dying around you. Your children are all grown up and all you have to look forward to are the few and far between visit with the grand kids. Imagine that inside your now failing body is an active mind that isn’t addled. What do you do?

I found this documentary called “Deadwood” by Stanlee Ohikhuare which made me teary eyed! It raises a lot of issues which I believe every body should ponder upon. The ‘docudrama’ is based on a newspaper article on pensioners written by Gilbert Chigbo. He also starred in the feature alongside Mrs Grace Eziashi and was produced by Enuma Chigbo & Grace Oboba Edwin-Okon

Watch the documentary here and I hope you find it as stirring as I did.

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore.Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. ID

    February 15, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    The governor that said the deadwood comment is an IDIOT!

    • Purpleicious Babe

      February 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      there is blood… innocent blood crying out for liberty…

      this mini doc is a true highlight.

    • Purpleicious Babe

      February 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      there is a massive niche in the market for this…. although it will be difficult at first, we can create a home and a hub even an estate for elderly citizens. Its doable but we have to be careful not to eliminate their independence or their ability/right as it is often seen in some developed countries instead celebrate their lives i.e. achievements and encourage companionships.

      The government does have pivotal role to play but like many projects carried out, it is either overlooked, abandoned or lack in depth sustainability by other governments that come into power. Therefore, we the young ones have to consider various niches we can take advantage of and expand with it. This role is not for every individual as some of us are busy chasing FAME or whatever is current, its for people that are more reliable, committed and passionate about a vision. There are alot of issues I keep coming across in Nigeria that needs fixing. My immediate reaction is to lists all the infrastructure that lacks basics and carry out comprehensive research on what is needed to improve it all (Write it out and distribute to all the government and hope to speak with GJ about it). Even with that, its time consuming and expensive but ITS DOABLE, I also think that some if not most of the tasks has to be carried out by individuals as the governments are full of loop HOLES. If we can aim to improve at least one state in Nigeria areas maybe it can be an example to other states too. I dont know, just thinking out loud.

      I pray I get to do my part successfully cos I have dreams but I guess one needs to be more proactive.

  2. dammylee

    February 15, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    After reading this documentary, I feel funny. Am currently in a country where the senior citizens has the most respect. Discounts in transportation, virtuually everything. There are nursing homes everywhere.

    But a country like Nigeria, its hard for them to understand the word “Senior Citizens”. We are in a country where there is no form of respect at all, rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. Govt not doing their job as well

    There have always been “bad apples” in any segment of Society. That includes in the elderly section and in the section responsible for their care, as well. On the other hand, there have always been those elderly who comport themselves with decency and dignity, in wisdom and in love. How can such ones be shown the honor and respect they are due?
    Older persons have not only experience more in life and may have much wisdom to share with younger ones, most of them devoted themselves to securing a living, not only for themselves, but for their children. In addition, life itself was passed on through them, and it becomes primarily the responsibility of the children to care for them, even if affection does not run deep. Sadly, in so many situations today, parents may have a handful of children, yet when they need loving care, the burden falls upon one or two of them, not because of necessity, but because of the unwillingness of the others to give of themselves. Curiously, when such ones pass away, the first ones with their hand out toward an inheritance may be those delinquent children.

    Although the necessities of life are of great importance to seniors, and it behooves us to care for these, there is much more to caring for seniors. Consideration needs to be taken for their emotional and spiritual needs, as well. If they maintain their mental faculties to a reasonable degree, it is especially important not to treat them like children! Their offspring may be in the driver’s seat, but they cannot drive however they please. Special consideration-which is what respect implies-needs to be shown. What do they want or prefer (within reason)? To what degree can they maintain their independence, or be kept within the decision-making process? Is it possible they can maintain their own residence, with a measure of oversight and consideration? If they cannot, can they be kept in surroundings that closely resemble that?

    The thing is, the elderly should be given ample opportunity to go on with living as close as possible to their original lifestyle, while not working undo hardship upon their caretakers. Caretakers, after all, are primarily responsible for their own immediate families-husbands, wives, and children. If they must reside at some sort of care facility, are they regularly visited? Are their needs-all of them-attended to? If they are, and if that is because we honestly do our best to care for our seniors, we can rest assured that we will maintain a fine name, not only with the people we may know, but with the one who instituted the family arrangement in the first place.

    Nigeria Pls do something.

    • Elizabeth

      February 18, 2013 at 4:04 am

      I don’t know where you live but the place you were describing sounds like the UK. Living here I don’t think they get much respect, families dump their parents in nursing homes and only see them after months or worse just around Christmas time. The news in the past few months has talked about elderly people choosing between food and heating because they can’t afford both, many old people die because of the cold during Winter Time. Maybe it was just my personal experience but my Grandmother was respected by her children and didn’t want to be put in an elderly home. I do however think that the gov needs to fix the pensions problem my gma always complained about the “peanuts” they gave them. I do believe the fact that there is no national health service contributes to the problem. Education and compassion is also important, I can’t believe a 105 year old woman has just been left to rot by her family like that, Nigeria seems to be turning into a compassionless society, but that’s an argument for another day. I understand that not everyone has children or children that care about them, the gov. should take care of them after all they worked for their country. In conclusion I think the lack of respect for the elderly is something that happens in many countries , it’s just that the system/poverty in Nigeria makes it worse.

  3. Kify

    February 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Absolutely inspiring……we will have to face oldage whether we want to or not….definitely thinking of old peoples homes now

  4. yve

    February 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    i think the more correct term for this piece is docu-drama. nice piece.

  5. AMEN

    February 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    this is just sad….we need senior homes in Nigeria, where this retired people can come and hang out instead of staying at home and being miserable. Nigeria is just lucky that the retired people are not like the ones in the U.S. who commit suicide just because they are not capable of doing what they used to do when they were younger.

  6. GreenDiamond

    February 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    i hope the government sees this and do something about it…everyone forgot about them u know sigh i feel bad..hopefully things will change for them sad stuff!

  7. Teris

    February 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    dear BN, his last name is actually “Ohikhuare”. i’m certain he’ll appreciate that very much.
    it’s a really neat piece, and one can’t help but appreciate the commitment of the seniors to a depiction of their story being heard and retold.

  8. Miss K

    February 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Beautifully done Stanlee! There is certainly a need for assisted living and rec centers for our senior citizens.

  9. Kemi

    February 16, 2013 at 1:05 am

    this is an excellent documentary…truly everyone should have plan for old age, it comes with years, l am still in my twenties but l think of my old age. Shame on Nigeria for making the old suffer, l hope this brings awareness to people. Old age is real, Nigeria can do better.

  10. Kemi

    February 16, 2013 at 1:08 am

    hugs to all the old people in this movie, so touching…it’s going to be well…

  11. Sara Adebayo

    February 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    We all should remember that one day we will also be Sr. Citizens!

  12. B

    February 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

    This brought tears to my eyes. We all have our own little quotas to contribute no matter how small. Read from my daily devotional this morning hat here is more my in giving than receiving so I pry God grants us the grace to be ale to give.

  13. stanlee ohikhuare

    February 17, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    we should not wait till their burial to show how much we love them. Of course, it will be meaningless to them by that time.

  14. osaretin idahosa

    February 19, 2013 at 6:30 am

    God Blesss u, my great grand mum died @ 125yrs and my grand mum is about 95yrs this is because I ve seen how my parents and uncles take care of her, she lacks nothing, sometimesthey take her to see her friends until she couldn’t see clearly but she could hear ur voice and knw who u are. Let’s establish. A condusive home for our senior citizens even institutions can /od bless u, u gat my vote.

  15. Neni Stone

    February 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. I remember the way my maternal grandmother spent her last days and it wasn’t a very memorable experience. I couldn’t do much because I was away at school and she was in the villa. But God knew best. I treat every aged person I come come across the way I would want to be treated. Keep it up, Stanlee. God bless you!

  16. Agoeo

    February 20, 2013 at 10:16 am

    “The Deadwood” made it to the top 10 in the documentary category of the on going Afrinolly short film competition, talent has taken it that far, now it needs votes to get it to the top please click here to vote for “The Deadwood” docudrama thank you

  17. Agoeo

    February 20, 2013 at 11:31 am

    here’s the voting link for “The Deadwood” thank you

  18. Ema

    February 21, 2013 at 5:34 am

    very nice and touching documentary. the Nigeria govt can fix the pension system in one way by mailing the checks to the elderly instead of making them stand under the sun to pick up their check i think that is a bit inhumane. and for the nursing home or old folks home pls people govt cannot do everything, investors or healthcare professionals with funds can build these home and make folks pay to live in them just as the do in the United States. alot of Nigerians have nursing homes in the US they can also start it in 9ja too. pls lets give the govt a break they cannot do it all.

  19. Ema

    February 21, 2013 at 5:46 am

    alot of Nigerians are in the health care field in the States especially nursing and nurse aid and they mostly work with geriatric patient ( old people ) they can bring this system to Nigeria, not everybody will embrace it but some people who are really busy and still want great care for thier love ones, can put them in these homes. lets not forget it will aalso create job for some people who are compassionate enough to work with old folks.

  20. Yvonne

    February 21, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    It’s funny how the other day I was just comparing my experiences here in the US to what it is like in Nigeria for the elderly and handicapped. This documentary is an eye-opener for Nigerians. Our parents and grand parents are people too and deserve the utmost care. Let’s come together and improve the conditions of our geriatric population. The elderly have the most health complications, they take the most medications and we can do a lot to help as doctors, pharmacists, nurses and healthcare providers in general. We talk so much about change things in the country, i strongly believe improving geriatric care in Nigeria is one of those necessary changes. God bless

  21. Chigozie Enyiuche

    August 13, 2015 at 9:12 am

    This is so touching. The Director is good with emotions for sure. I followed the common man post to this one.

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