Friday, February 6, 2009
SEPARATION OR DIVORCE, NIGERIAN (IGBO) STYLE? - an article by Vicky Awuzie
Once upon a time, the Igbo people of Nigeria used to salivate about our heritage, our core family values and our unique culture – a culture that promoted family unity, love for one another and much more. These days, all of the above is in question as our community continues in its state of ruckuses. The crises are enormous and one wonders how to approach these complex issues that are swallowing us. This article is not intended to be an indictment on all persons that left United States in search of a better living in Nigeria rather, it is an overview intended to bring about another issue to light. The latest in the pool of our crises is the diminishing presence of some of our dads in the household. I ask myself - am I the only one witnessing this, or have we turned our left ear to it? What I’m discovering is the diminish-ment of our various values. As these values truncate, I wonder if anyone especially the elders (leaders) are going to speak up. Are they going to call a forum where these concerns can be brought to light and weed a way for rectifying them? Is this a joke that will eventually evaporate? Sometimes, I wish I could become one of those that pretend that everything is alright and just shut up, but I can’t especially if children are involved. As I delve this issue in my never-resting brain, I decided that I’m equally going to ravel Maggie, my friend’s brain too. So, I placed a call to her to get her views. I respect Maggie’s opinion she is intelligent and objectionable. She answers the call – after all the “yab-yab” talk, I decided to get to the main reason for the call. Do you see what I’m seeing? She questioned what I talking about? I’m talking about the state of some of our Igbo families. What about them she asked. The newest arrival in the pool of our problems is the abandoning of some of our families by some of our men in the name of establishing a business or getting a job in Nigeria. The trend is, a jobless dad or not having the ideal professional job packs his belongings and informs his family that he is moving to Nigeria for a better life. He promises them that he would send them money and would visit often. Before you know it, he is gone for several months and sometimes one year or more and he does not send the money. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know some business men who travel for a month or six weeks, but I’m addressing those that are gone for time on end and those that do not have that proclaimed business. Please return to your families because your children need you. On the other hand, if two adults with no children decided that this is what they want (separation or divorce in disguise) for their relationship; I have absolutely no qualms with it. My qualms and therefore the motive of my writing is when there are children involved. How does a dad justify his absence for months sometimes a year or more? How does he justify not sending the money he promised? In retrospect, it means that he has not secured a job in Nigeria neither did the business he had hoped for kicked off. In some cases, the wife is the one sending him money through Western Union. Thank God for Western union, huh? So, how can this situation be justified? In light of the fact that the wife is the main enabler in this, I ask, are you equally distressed of the relationship that you are secretly salivating his absence? If that is the case, wouldn’t it be better you called it for what it is? Women have the tendency to be scornful towards other women that speak the truth even when the subject matter is in their favor. So, sisters, before you pull out the daggers, because this truth is too true, think twice! Have I not just said what you have been secretly nourishing? I think a thank you is in order and the dagger can be put away. What about your personal needs? I am sure you miss that – don’t you? For the men involved – wouldn’t it be better you tell your wife here of your actual living style in Nigeria? Wouldn’t it be better you come clean and inform her that you are enjoying Nigeria and you have no intention of coming back except for special occasions? The children are the ultimate losers in these premises. They constantly ask mom when dad is coming back and if daddy has rejected them. Of course, mom comes up with some manufactured truth. The deal is, we should be concerned about the state of our community. This is a bad tree trying to grow amongst us and we should nip it in the bud. If we don’t, we shall become a community where only women raise the families. The children are the losers particularly the boys who need a father role model in the house. I don’t have to tell anyone how most children that grew up without fathers influence turned out to be. We don’t have to join the statistics. I say to the Igbo people, rise and speak the truth, rise and break away from your shell of fear of another human being. What we need to cultivate is respect for one another. Stop worrying about what papa Emeka and mama Carro will think of you. That is for them to decide. As long as your conscience is good, you will always be the champion and pioneer of good deeds. God is watching out for all of us. I haven’t claimed a perfect relationship, but I want my husband here with me and the children. That is more relevant to me than the invisible millions he would be chasing in Nigeria and that’s something I think we can all agree on.