Indeed, some solemn reactions, concomitant with enormous distress, trailed my piece, “Caught between rock and hard place,” written some weeks ago. The feelings had long been bottled up inside these guys who seized the opportunity provided by the piece to let their air of frustration out.
However, many people chose to call me, instead of putting their reactions in writing, to express their deep-seated concern over their despondent situation. In their waning voice, they detailed their unattainable situation with fear of having lost everything and utter disappointment for the bad decision they may have made in the past.
Unfortunately, the group that is most traumatized about not having a person to maintain their linage in Nigeria is that of “the only sons.” People who are the only son or the only surviving son of their parents are silently consumed with strong emotions because of the puzzling situation.
Sadly, the strong fear emanating from the fact that their kinsmen would inherit their ancestral rights and properties when they die, is understandable. It is particularly empathizing to hear some of these befuddled people narrate their recurring stories.
The second group comprised of the “first sons,” the heir-apparent waiting in faraway countries for the mantle to be passed on to them. In some cases, these individuals had already lost their dad, but have not fully assumed the head of the family role because of the distance. They seem to delegate their responsibilities to their younger ones in Nigeria.
Truly, the first sons are gripped with tremendous fear and their perceived dreadful situations cause them sleepless nights. As they begin to age, first sons are agonizing more over the possibility of not having anyone to retain their names in their ancestral place. Consequently, their occasional outburst of anger at various community events could be as a result of their predicament.
In any case, some people tend to recoil when faced with enormous challenges of creating another family in Nigeria. It requires huge resources to maintain two families in both Nigeria and in the Diaspora. Yet, others have taken such steps that left unsavory taste in a few families in the Diaspora. Nevertheless, a swath of people has successfully cultivated a relationship in Nigeria that has produced progenies who will carry on with their name.
Well, below are the selected written reactions to the piece:
Prof. Emma Ichu expressed, “My Fellow Doc, just like you captioned this excellent piece, what’s your suggestion to resolve this saga. More people are coming here and definitely will be caught in the same situation in less than 10-15 yrs.
Most of the guys here will be in their late 60s hitting 80+. Do not forget that aging is a blessing worldwide. We must always thank God for that. Let’s also be honest, staying in the USA for 30-40 years and one tries to transition to Nigeria is tough.
Another aspect of your write up for re-evaluation is what happens when we die. Do you really think that’s important? Doc, let’s be practical here. One life to live! Remember, our dissertations are “open for further research” and are paid when our jobs are cited. What happens when we die? It’s all about Body of Knowledge and please continue writing.”
Responding copiously to “Caught between rock and hard place,” a priest, Rev Fr Vincent Odinkannorom recalled the ordeal of the Igbo men and others in a similar situation. Rev Fr Vincent Odinkannorom said, “Yes, I am not surprised reading this write up about the Igboman in the Diaspora; I came across the whole lot when I was conducting the interview for my dissertation.
I even heard more than what I read in this article.” He continued, “It was actually my findings that made me not file any paper by way of sponsoring anybody to come over. It may be an extreme decision but I strongly believe that any diligent and healthy individual can make it at home.” “You may think that the problem you are raising is only unique to the Igbos in the Diaspora but it will be a mistake to presume so,” he said. Rev Fr Vincent Odinkannorom stated, “Apart from the Igbo culture in play, I had an extensive discussion with a man from Uyo in 2001 (Cross River State) who was expressing similar concerns.” “The fact that some people don’t blow their trumpet in the open doesn’t mean that they are not in murky waters like the Igbos,” he whispered.
Rev. Fr. Vincent Odinkannorom further opined, “My suggestion is: if someone can invest in building something that will yield daily income at home, one can use it as an excuse to relocate. I have a friend who relocated to Nigeria, started motor business (i.e. Import and export), married another woman and left his wife and children here.
Once in a while, he will visit America to commiserate with his children and returns to Nigeria. His conclusions: if my children value me, let them find me in Nigeria. It is a pity that his wife whom he married from home came here and turned to behaving in a way that made her husband return home and marry and now living permanently at home.
All these experiences constitute the downside of going for greener pastures in a foreign land. All that was raised in the article you sent are legitimate concerns but to relocate requires sacrifices and may also be wonderful lessons for young people at home who go about dying in the Sahara Desert in the name of traveling overseas to get rich quick. Thank you for sharing this article but remember, a stitch in time saves nine.”