Caught between a rock and hard place
By ACHO ORABUCHI
Nigerian males in the Diaspora are now confronted with sensitive cultural issues as they naturally grow old! In fact, it churns their heart as they contemplate the limited options they have to tackle the burning and intractable issues.
Well, Nigerians in the Diaspora are rapidly aging with obvious trepidation arising from uncertainties that trail death. Certainly, aging condition precedes the inevitable end.
Therefore, people are understandably worried of the seeming spike in the number of deaths due to old age among Nigerians in the big cities in the United States where there are large concentrations of Nigerians. Yes, some Nigerians who died in the United States were buried here partly because of their loss of family ties to Nigeria.
When they were alive, they looked askance at those who were investing and building homes in Nigeria. They thought and literally considered such investments would amount to naught due to the fact that many people had already resigned to calling and accepting America as their only home, especially when they were younger. That prevalent thought tended to obscure the inherent contradiction that became apparent at old age. Sure, little did they know that they would be faced with a daunting decision of being buried here afterwards.
Others are currently very worried with a feeling of being now trapped between a rock and hard place because of the unpalatable conditions to relocate. That seems to describe the paradox and inherent conundrum that highlight the life of the aging Nigerians in America.
So, in every gathering among Nigerian men, especially at the wake keepings, intense discussions about the frightening reality that many will die here and, unfortunately, without heirs to their estate in Nigeria, loom larger. The same thought worries the women, but for different reasons—they are very comfortable in America.
Therefore, the mere mentioning of relocating to Nigeria, annoys most of them who feel that their freedom would be lost over there. But the Nigerian males in the Diaspora, especially in the United States, are reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that their children will never visit or live in their ancestral homes when they depart this world.
Thus, whatever properties they have there are at the disposal of their kinsmen. This level of fear has precipitated uncanny actions by a broad swath of Nigerian men living in America.
Thus, more of the aging Nigerians in America seem to be consumed with the notion that their lineage will be broken if their children abandon their ancestral homes to the delight of their siblings or kinsmen in Nigeria.
Obviously, children of Nigerian-Americans will not go to Nigeria to live. They have little or no ties to Nigeria. The ties they have are always broken at the death of their dad. With this ominous reality in mind, some Nigerians here are now going to Nigeria to procreate in order to have someone to maintain their name when they depart this world.
In some cases, the decision of mating in Nigeria has disparate results. Nevertheless, this emerging solution to the perceived problem is gradually gaining ground among the males. Discussions and opinions on this phenomenon abound.
Chief Jerry Ken Ike, a popular Igbo community leader opined, “It has become obvious to a lot of Nigerians living in the Diaspora that they may not be able to finally retire back home in Nigeria due to the unwillingness of their kids and wives to join them in the effort. The relocation to Nigeria by someone who has lived in the Diaspora for a long time is faced with a lot on uncertainty stemming from security to amenities to income. Any of these that is lacking brings an untold hardship to such an individual.
Because such moves require a lot resources some have tried to maneuver that through politics or political appointments. That also doesn’t seem so easy as they compete for those positions with people at home who know the terrain better than they do. The failure to bring this idea of returning back home to fruition now brings those Nigerian in the Diaspora especially people of Igbo ethnic group at the crossroads of decision-making.
“To an Igbo man, what happens to his name after his exit to eternity in terms of someone to take along the name in his ancestral home means a lot to him. The other ethnic groups in Nigeria don’t care much where they are buried or who takes the name or who inherits their ancestral property but to an Igbo man, these things are the foundation of their culture.
Most Nigerians in the Diaspora especially of Igbo ethnic group are now struggling to come up with different solutions to deal with the problem. Some have gone behind their wives’ backs to get another wife that will permanently remain in Nigeria to create a second home but at some point, got busted and what happened next is a broken home in America.
Some who did that even to the knowledge of their wives could not meet up with the stress of traveling to and from Nigeria in a bid to keep two homes.
This now goes with the Igbo proverb that shows how difficult it is to deal with a tsetse fly that perched on the scrotum. If you leave it, it sucks up your blood and if you hit it hard to kill it, you might end up breaking your testicles.”
- Culled:Sun Newspaper