This disease is not new to the Yorubas and many families in the South, especially in Nnewi, where you have the highest density of millionaires per extended family in Nigeria.
That was why I resisted, to a marriage-break point, that my wife would deliver our children in the USA even after she had surreptitiously secured visa and was ready to fund the trip.
“No!” I insisted. “They must be born here but we could always travel on holidays. It will be their call to decide as adults where they will live. I won’t buy gun and bullets for them; the very gun that would inflict pains on me”, I explained to a disinterested wife.
In retrospect and as my wife would always rub it in when I complain about a dislocated country Nigeria has become and the dashed dreams, I have resisted the temptation of regretting my decision not to facilitate foreign or dual nationality on my kids at birth.
I reasoned, “who will then develop or sustain the development of Nnewi if they relocate and refuse to come back? Who will quickly answer when I call especially when I’m old? Would they treat me as I did my mother at her old age with what I see around me?”
I have seen big family businesses and dreams go down because none of the children sent abroad to study is interested in the businesses.
The kids were raised in Nigeria speaking only English; growing up to learn that speaking their native languages makes them appear too local.
Their mums would proudly tell relations during village visits that “they don’t understand our local language, please speak English to them”.
These kids are enrolled in the Primary and Secondary schools that strictly run American and European curricula.
The kids are processed for export at very tender ages.
These children, gain admission abroad, graduate and remain there, imbibing the good and the bad of the western culture.
As the parents get older, the kids who have assimilated foreign orientation would not agree to return. Then the disease has now manifested.
The father will start blaming the wife for deceiving him into the excessive foreign trainings of their kids.
The businesses will collapse and the elders and relatives in the village will covert and appropriate all the family land and other assets.
My experience during my meetings with many of these exported children, now grown adults in the UK, top European Capitals and USA was eye-opening.
Not all parents are unlucky but most are quite a disaster.
Countless of these children don’t even come home to bury their dead parents. As a head of my extended family meeting in Lagos, I had used my ‘eyes to see my ears’ from children of my relatives living abroad when their parents died. It’s heart rendering.
Look around you and see the manifestation of this disease. The sufferers are mostly in denial. They surround their living and bed rooms with pictures of their children that don’t respond to them, their old parents. It’s a self inflicted old age agony.
Your choice today on how you raise your kids may affect your happiness in your old age.
If ever I must send my children abroad for school, I will never test the depth of the stream with two legs. My people say that “ahọlụ ụmụ ụmụ chie ọzọ, ahọlụ ụmụ ụmụ gbuo ịchị” meaning that “you must diversify your risk” which in other words means that one should not send all his children abroad at the same time”.
Even in early 20th century when our ancestors decided to send their children to the whiteman’s school, they were careful to exclude the very wise children upon whom the burden of carrying on with the ways of their fathers rested.