In the course of my profession, which allows me to meet the affluent and influential, saints and sinners as well as anybody that has, had and will have money, I have seen big family businesses and dreams go down because none of the children sent abroad to study is interested in returning to run the family businesses. It is not entirely the making of the children. The parents prepared the stage for their heartaches. The kids were raised in foreign values, and they look forward to living their foreign dream.
Like our ancestors that welcomed the Whiteman unto our shores, we keep on getting whiter decades after decades. First, we blackened our deities and accepted a well-packaged Mohammed, Jesus and God or/Allah. Everything terrible is dubbed black. Black market, black sheep, black devil, etc., are very familiar. Other manifestations are the way we bleach our skin and our dress patterns. That is why bankers wear dark suits in the tropics to attend to African customers, and our lawyers and judges have to dress as they do to function well.
That is not to say that there are no gains from the ways of the Whiteman. They are so many. Our forbearers managed to strike a balance by retaining the good from the Whiteman European and Arabians. Still, all their efforts have yielded to a raging disease powered by a lack of self-identity. Like cancer, the disease has spread to our language. Our elites have taken stupidity to above Olumo Rock.
Most Nigerian kids are now being raised to speaking only English; they grow up to learn that speaking their native languages makes them appear too local. Their mums would proudly tell relations during village visits that “they do not understand our local language, please speak English to them”.
These kids are enrolled in primary and secondary schools that strictly run American and European curricula. The kids are processed for export. These children gain admission abroad, graduate and remain there, imbibing the good and bad Western culture. As the parents get older, the kids who have assimilated foreign orientation would not agree to return. Return to the cave? The disease has now manifested. The punishment is inevitable.
The father will start blaming the wife for deceiving him into the excessive foreign training of their kids, and the wife would react by relocating abroad to live with her dear children, which for her is heaven. “Nigeria gbakwaa ọkụ” or “to hell with Nigeria”, the wife would say as she escapes under the guise of going for medical checks or any other excuse. As these continue, the family businesses will collapse, and the elders and relatives in the village will covert all the family land and other assets.
During my meetings with many of these exported children, now grown adults in the UK, top European capitals and USA, were eye-opening. Not all parents are unlucky, but most are entirely a disaster. Countless of these children do not even come home to bury their dead parents. This is very evident everywhere in Nigeria.
Look around you and see the manifestation of this disease. The sufferers are mostly in denial. Parents should interrogate their choices with a clear understanding of the implications of whatever choices they make. Denying our children the opportunity to learn and speak our native language is like applying bleaching cream on innocent kids. It may lead to a rejection of other things you hold dear.
Trust me, I have studied many families that were bitten by this bug in Nnewi, a town with the highest density of millionaires per 50 indigenes in Nigeria, and it is a sorrowful tale. The best that make Nnewi thick are still those with high local content. Our exported children of the elites come back home not better off. They visit or return to blow big English and pride in women- chasing skills. However, not all parents are careless. Many of our diaspora people are conscious of this ancestry decimating malady and are working on our children’s cultural infusion. I had visited a family in Baltimore, USA and another in Wellingborough in the UK whose children speak Igbo with Proverbs.
Whether you acknowledge it or not, the reality is that your choice today on how you raise your kids may affect your happiness in your old age.
I, Ikenga Ezenwegbu, am still primitively managing my Nigeria with my children who are eager to migrate to enjoy a better world abroad. They have already purchased the vehicle to migrate expecting me to fuel it or to click the approval button. For now, such travels are limited to holidays until I receive further directives from my ancestors. There must be some people who will stay put who must inhabit and hold on to the ancestral land. I’m one of them.
At a middle point, I concede that my children can migrate to Ụtọkọm, Panya or anywhere they choose when they grow up and can make and finance that choice or decision. I die here!
May Nnewi or other towns never be depopulated!
Not in my generation.