•Parental failure produces dysfunctional families, say experts
By Tessy Igomu
As bankers, Shola and Biodun, always leave their Ikeja, Lagos, home early every workday. As they hurry to their offices on Lagos Island, their three children, aged 10, seven and three, respectively, are fast asleep. They would later be attended to by a live-in caregiver.
The couple usually returns by 10pm exhausted. By then, their kids would all be in bed. They only have time to really interact with their kids for a few hours on Sundays. Like a vicious cycle, this has been the norm in the family for the past 10 years. And this mirrors the challenge in most homes where both the man and his wife are working.
Indeed, the family, it has been observed, is the building block of every society but, lately, civilisation and enculturation of Western values have distorted the traditional family setup. Children are now being exclusively looked after by hired hands. This situation is made worse by the harsh economic situation in the country, which has left parents with the hard option of shifting parental responsibilities to caregivers, neighbours and teachersm in order to make ends meet.
Some parents are so caught up in the web of climbing the corporate ladder that they prefer having their children being occupied with school activities till late. The children leave home for school by 7am every day, and return at about 6pm, exhausted and sleepy. Yet, they are burdened with additional homwork.
Parenting, it has been said, usually refers to the support, intervention and strategies every family adopts in grooming and training a child to realise his or her full potential in life. According to experts, parenting can either be good, bad and, in extreme conditions, uninvolved. The impact of each parenting style on the child is believed to have far-reaching effects that not only affect the family but the larger society.
According to Samson Iyayi, president, L.I.F.E Parenting Academy, a pro-Bible parenting-skills training school in Lagos, the recent trend where children are being raised by people other than their parents is termed neglectful, uninvolved or delegated parenting. He lamented that the development was causing dysfunction in the society and was capable of having long-lasting negative repercussions. He regretted that most parents have become so consumed by their own needs that they neglect the needs of their children, who end up being brought up by other adults and become deprived of physical, emotional and psychological support of their own biological parents.
Iyayi, an author and speaker certified by the National Centre for Biblical Parenting in the United States, noted that everyone has roots in a family, irrespective of where they were brought up. He noted that this was why parenting experience comes under scrutiny, especially when issues of criminality and social misdemeanour arise.
“Today, if we consider for a moment that fraudsters, robbers, kidnappers and miscreants were all born and raised by people, we tend to wonder the type of parents that raised them and what they must have impacted as parents on such deviants. Then, the next question that comes to mind is, where did these misfits get it wrong in choosing to embrace a life of violence and crime?” he said.
He noted that parenting in Nigeria has evolved over time from communally-oriented to being more individualised, with child-grooming and training taking several forms ranging from crèche care in schools, training in churches and care-givers or live-in nannies.
In his expert view, the Nigerian culture of parenting, which promoted love, discipline, sense of responsibility, diligence at home and which placed premium on respect, had been virtually eroded.
He was alarmed that parents were now more concerned about of economic survival than being there for their children, thus creating character deficit in the children because there is greater dependence on schools, other authority figures and peer groups.
The impact on the child, he said, could be both tragic and traumatic, as most children never recover from parental neglect.
“Some become mentally unstable, resort to abusive and violent behaviour, while some remain emotionally damaged for the rest of their lives.
“The Nigerian parent today has many challenges. These challenges have put so much pressure on the average family. Every contemporary parent has become more of a breadwinner with very little time for the family. This trend gives rise to dysfunctional families and hinders effective, purposeful parenting. The effects are all around us. The alarming rise in the rate of rape, incest, molestation, abortion, cultism, violence, e-fraud, lesbianism, homosexuality and kidnapping, all could be traced to neglectful parenting,” he said.
In a report, “The Role of Good Parenting in Child Up-bringing,” Timothy Opaluwa, a parenting expert, observed that a child is a product of a family and represents the values, morals and ethics of that family, and the character that every child manifests later in life is a reflection of the type of home and parenting background, experiences that they had in their formative years.
“Parenting must be intentional, purposeful, taking into cognisance all the hazards and impacts poor choices will have, not just on the family but on the nation at large,” Opaluwa said.
Similarly, Matthew Miller, in his article, “Neglectful Parenting: The Impact on Children,” noted that neglectful parents might look like indulgent parents but they were not, because neglectful parents were extremely responsive to the needs of their children but often did not provide the atmosphere for their children’s healthy, emotional development. He warned that neglectful parenting could have long-term effects on the emotional development of every child, as there was a strong element of disconnect in every neglectful household. Children with neglectful parents might experience difficulties at school and everywhere else.
“Without proper guidance and with the anger that develops as a result of the neglect, these children often act out their emotions in ways that get them in trouble with the school or law. They are prime candidates for gang involvement due to their desire for some semblance of family. Gangs, although unhealthy for children, provide for them the sense of connectedness that they desire. Sadly, this can lead to such children becoming neglectful parents themselves.
“The child who never had a birthday party becomes the parent who is uninvolved with their children’s birthdays. The psychological problems can become larger than loneliness. Depression, anxiety, and other chronic psychological diagnoses are prevalent among this population of children who experienced uninvolved parenting.”
On his part, while warning parents against keeping their children in school for long hours, Dr. Charles Umeh, a clinical psychologist, said this trend could end up stealing the children’s childhood, which would usually come back to haunt them later in life after taking away their normal development and could make them become fixated later in life. This could cause “personality disorder or emotional disturbances in future.”
Highlighting the cognitive development stages every child has to go through, Umeh noted that at the age of 10 or 11, children can only retain what they see, and trying to learn everything at the same time could be negative.
Similarly, the national public relations officer, Counselling Association of Nigeria, Dr. Celine Njoku, said that neglectful parenting could make kids grow up lacking care.
“Left to me, they are abandoned children. They are parentless and not different from children abandoned in gutters or refuse dumps. If you put your children in school and have no knowledge of who their teachers are and who actually takes charge of them, that is detrimental to their wellbeing.
“Most parents go out early in the morning and return late at night when their children must have gone to bed. Those children grow up not really knowing their parents. That is why, when some parents pass on, their children hardly write any tribute, as they don’t know the strength and weaknesses of their parents.
“Such children hardly sleep well and can’t grow up well. Mentally, they are backward, socially, they are misfits because they can’t relate well. Emotionally, they are disturbed and might grow up becoming sadists and hard. Growing children need to be nourished by their parents physically and mentally,” she said.
Njoku aslo expressed worry that many girls now attain puberty without having a mother figure to guide them properly. She stated that there were instances where fathers ended up sexually abusing their daughters because of the absence of a mother, and in other cases, care givers prey on innocent children left in their care.
For Iyayi, when families were strengthened, society would be strengthened just as nationalistic values would be encouraged to thrive, and if behavioural issues from neglectful parenting were not dealt with appropriately when a person is young, society would eventually have to deal with the consequences when he or she is grown-up.
Iyayi, however, noted that not all children of neglectful parents end up this way because there are certain intervening factors that prove helpful.
At Madumere’s book presentation, Ganduje lectures deputy govs on loyalty
By Henry Umahi
It was supposed to be a public presentation of a book but Governor Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano State turned the hall into a lecture theatre of sorts. Apparently addressing the five deputy governors in attendance and, perhaps, would-be deputies, he offered profound perspectives on deputising. And from the crowd the gasps of awe were audible. Intermittently, he was cheered by the audience, which was enthralled by his wise-cracks and amusing anecdotes about his tenure as a deputy governor.
To be sure, Ganduje is competent to speak on the issue, having served as a deputy governor for eight years. At the presentation of a book, “Eze Madumere: A True Manifestation of a Loyal Prince – Tribute to a Worthy Servant,” in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, he stated axiomatically that life is not always rosy for deputy governors.
Noting that being a deputy was one of the most difficult issues in governance, Ganduje remarked, “To tell you how difficult it is, God has no deputy.”
“A deputy governor must be a defender of his governor, under all circumstances, despite all threats, despite all intimidation,”Ganduje added, volunteering that from what he had seen and heard, Madumere was a defender of his governor.
Ganduje further advised deputy governors to be bridge-builders, “You should be able to attract sympathisers; you should be able to attract nobles to the governor, from different walks of life and from different individuals. You must sacrifice, you must tolerate, you must be patient because there will be a lot of hearsay. You must close your eyes and ears to anything that is not good about your governor.”
He told Madumere: “I congratulate you for being loyal to your governor. I also congratulate your governor for having confidence in you because it is a two-way traffic. In some cases, you can be loyal but your loyalty will be useless. In other cases, the governor will have confidence in the deputy but the deputy will throw it to the dust. God forbid that is going to happen in Imo State.
“It is important for a governor and his deputy to have a good relationship and certain attributes are expected from a deputy governor. First is loyalty, which you have truly manifested. Second is capacity. If a deputy governor is loyal but lazy and not proactive, his loyalty would not be advantageous to the governor. You must have capacity to help the governor move the state forward, and from what we have heard you are really helping your governor in moving the state forward,
“The governor too has to exhibit certain attributes. You must have confidence in your deputy; you must shun, hate and repel all forms of sycophancy. It is a deadly disease in governance. Sycophancy is HIV/AIDS in governance.”
The deputy governors, one after the other, thanked him immensely for the free lecture, whose usefulness they acknowledged.
The book presentation was an intellectually stimulating exercise. Written by Peter Claver Obi, it was reviewed by two professors who agreed that it was a commendable effort, even as the subject was described in superlatives. According to the chairman of the occasion, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), “Madumere is a man who cannot be bought or sold. He is a study in humility, a mouthful of native intelligence.”
To Ahaneku, Madumere was a book and he effortlessly combined royalty as a prince and loyalty to the governor. He added that the deputy governor’s story was like a storybook.
In his speech, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State narrated how he met Madumere about 23 years ago in the United States, noting that both of them had been together since then. He described his deputy as his beloved son in whom he was well pleased.
Why FG must promote tourism, by Oyo monarch
At Oranyan Festival, Oba Adeyemi, Gani Adams, others suggest ways out of economic recession
By Kehinde Aderemi
Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to use tourism and festivals as a tool for national development.
The Alaafin spoke at the fifth edition of the annual Oranyan festival held at the Aganju Forecourt, Aafin Oyo. It was an event where the foremost Yoruba monarch played host to over 1,000 guests, including traditional rulers, tourists, prominent sons and daughters of Oyo town in the Diaspora and many others.
The monarch gave reasons for celebrating the annual festival,noting that Oranyan was the progenitor of Oyo town and deserved a prominent place in Yoruba history.
“As we celebrate Oranyan today, we recognise the heroism of our progenitor, the first Alaafin of Oyo, for his national and global impact as the most famous and widely travelled of all the legitimate sons of Okanbi and a true descendant of Oduduwa. Oranyan was the first to establish the most enduring political structure for civil, political and military administration in Africa. The elaborate shrine of Oranyan in Pobe, Benin Republic, is a testimony to the fact that Alaafin Oranyan had great influence as a foremost leader,” he said.
Oba Adeyemi explained further that the celebration of Oranyan festival offered a special opportunity for all Yoruba people across the world to promote Yoruba cultural values and norms and help to revive the lost glory of the raceby ensuring unity among all Yoruba nations.
Oba Adeyemi said it was important for President Buhari to harness the tourism potentialities of the country for rapid economic and social development. He also cautioned Yoruba sons and daughters at home and outside the country not to despise their roots.
“As we celebrate Oranyan festival today, we are doing everything that is possible to ensure unity in Yorubaland. As such, we will continually promote Yoruba culture and tradition by celebrating historic festivals like Oranyan, as we have always done in the past,” the Oba said.
National coordinator, Oodua People’s Congress, Otunba Gani Adams, also restated his belief in the promotion of the core values of the Yoruba. Adams, who is also the chief promoter of the Olokun Festival Foundation, said festivals like Oranyan and many others were rooted in Yoruba history. He said such festivals could be repackaged and used as tools for economic and national development.
“At times like these, when the economic recession in the country is biting hard on Nigerians, not much has been done by the present government to harness the tourism potential of our great nation. The present situation in the country demands a new approach. Besides, tourism can be one of the policy options of this government that can help us out of the economic doldrums that we (have) found ourselves in. Other countries have done it and it worked. We can do it as well,” Adams said.
He commended Oba Adeyemi III for organising the festival: “I believe the Nigerian government has a role to play in using tourism and a festival like this as tools for national development. Festivals are meant to showcase and promote our cultural heritage. By celebrating these festivals, we are also selling our unique tradition to the world.
“Over the years, the Olokun Festival Foundation, under my leadership, has invested much time and resources to the sponsorship and promotion of festivals across the Yoruba nation. Therefore, I advise President Buhari to use tourism to market our rich cultural heritage to the world.”
Coordinator of the event, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, said the 2016 Oranyan festival was a week-long event with the theme “Dispensation of Justice in Old Oyo Empire.”
His words: “The festival started on Saturday, September 3, 2016, with the carnival float and visits to important cultural centres. The carnival train travelled to remote areas of Oyo and surrounding towns like Fiditi, Ilora, Jobele and its environs. That signalled the beginning of the event. There were other activities like the quiz competition, arts and crafts exhibition, book launch and free medical services for members of the public. We also had the Gbegiri and Oyo in Diaspora Day.”
The grand finale also featured the Oranyan Medal of Honour Awards that were given to prominent personalities that have contributed to the development of Oyo town. Two of the awards were post-humous.
Among the people at the event were members of the Oyomesi, prominent obas and chiefs in Oyo State, as well as tourists from Brazil, Togo, Benin Republic and many other places outside the country.