Date Published: 11/19/09
Diaspora Nigerians are becoming lost generation By Farouk Martins Aresa
Once upon a time, your grandmother had 5 children: Dele, Chinwe, Musa, Ita, Dafe and Dimka. Your great uncle Dele and Aunty Chinwe went to Europe and America to study, but got married and came home only briefly on holidays and when their father died. Oh yes, they had beautiful children but they never came home since they got married. Please don’t ask me about that branch of the family because your great uncle and aunty were buried in Europe and America.
No matter how home based Nigerians want to belittle or twist Diaspora help back home, the amount of money poured in through working and lower class at home from abroad contributed immensely to the economy. Hard earned money were sent through legal means, some through friends and more in goods and services that benefited many in Nigeria. Unfortunately, once this generation of Nigerians abroad passed away, their children would not render the same help which their parents considered their duty. So there is great need for permanence.
If we are concern about our legacies not to become a lost generation in a family tree, we need to invest our seeds; that second house, the second or third car and in case the first marriage fails, the second must be grounded in Nigeria. We all pray for a lasting relationship but one spouse cannot hold us back. At least one spouse must be our incentive to go back. It used to be the exclusive realm of men to make sure their second wife was in Nigeria. Wow! Some smart women are going back home to marry men and make sure the men stay in Nigeria. Why?
Well, for the same reasons men are doing it. In the case of women, it may not be by design. It takes a while to get a visa and by the time the men finally cross over, the women have invested so much in the men, with a promising career or they might have established a business that made the hustle and bustle overseas less productive. The same is true about men if they have an ambitious wife who can resist glamour abroad and turn the money sent to them into gold.
Of course everyone wants to be with their spouse and children but a temporary absence to prepare for a longer stay together can be rewarding. Trust is hard to come by these days but there is no cheating a man or a woman can do abroad that they cannot do at home. Actually, Africa is more conducive to a healthy marriage than overseas where almost fifty percent of marriages amongst blacks end up in divorce.
There were Nigerians working in gold and coal mines for months before they go back home to see their families as in South Africa, Europe and America. In this case we are talking about ways Nigerians can establish at home before they become lost generation. The reasoning for those who work half a year abroad and come home is that the money made go further at home than it does abroad. It all depends on lifestyle and cutting our coat to our size. What good is our dead bodies sent home when investment in our families and people speak louder or longer?
It started long ago with some friends spending half a year abroad and half in Nigeria. But these are men, some of whom prefer casual jobs overseas like contracts or cab driving. Hard times have become silver linings. The incursion of women into this exclusive club surprised many of us. A friend in America was introduced to a lady in England both of who were single for a long time. She insisted on going back home where she was establishing a business.
Another lady went home, got married and became pregnant but the husband decided to stay behind in Nigeria or she decided to let him establish in Nigeria. She came back holding her head high like a snub. Even when their husbands joined them abroad, they prefer to return home to their jobs or business. Our general notion, at least amongst men is that it does not pay women to go back home as they prefer to stay abroad where they are better protected from the arrogance of power displayed by men at home. Wrong again?
It has certainly hit Diaspora Nigerians that former Diaspora Nigerians who went back home for reason beyond their control are hired to give those still abroad a bad name. They call them chickens who are so comfortable in indignity they suffer abroad despite their accomplishment, that they are not viable and so too soft to survive at home. This cannot be easily dismissed as envy when in fact many go home displaying success that is not invested on long term basis.
This envy or rivalry between home based Nigerians and those in Diaspora may be dismissed as storm in a tea cup, but black people have a long history of alienating one another. This is how envy in West Indians and Africans of England and Canada or between African American and Africans in USA started. It usually comes from a rumor generated by “bad belly” between Jamaican woman and Nigerian man who always marry one another more than any West Indian of African until personal problems were bloated to all Africans; or between African American and African who forsake them into slavery.
O.k. It may have some substance that may not be related to why we pull one another down but extending it to home based and Diaspora Nigerians must be quickly nipped in the bud before it grows wings into another generation. The losers here are the average Nigerians, majority of who cannot enjoy in the land of plenty while a few minority with hired guns monopolized all the milk and honey bestowed on our Country. Their children and cronies are everywhere trying to cause trouble between us for their selfish ends.
Cooler heads between home based and Diaspora Nigerians must prevail, we are too close in the family tree to be at one another’s throat. Diaspora Nigerians must restrain ostentatious display of wealth, toys and mirrors acquired abroad. Otherwise they may be tempting some rascals to kidnap them for money they can never come up with.