LETTER TO NIGERIAN PARENTS
I was as a student and then a resident in the UK. I live in Abuja now. One of first things that I discovered about UK-born, white, English undergraduates was that all of them did holiday or weekend job to support themselves – including the children of millionaires amongst them. It is the norm over there – regardless of how wealthy their parents were. And I soon discovered that virtually all other foreign students did the same, except status-conscious Nigerians.
I also watched Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Airline) speaking on the Biography Channel. To my amazement, he said that his young children travel in the economy class – even when the parents (he and his wife) are in upper class. Richard Branson is a billionaire in Pound sterling. A quick survey would show you that only children from Nigeria fly business or upper class to commence their studies in the UK. Foreign students from other countries don’t do this. There is no aircraft attached to the office of the Prime Minister in the UK. He travels on BA. And the same goes for the Royals. The Queen does not have an aircraft for her exclusive use.
These practices simply become the culture which the next generation carries forward. Have you seen the car that Kate Middleton (the wife of Prince William) drives? VW Golf or something close to it. But there’s one core difference between them and us (generally speaking), they(even the billionaires among them) work for their money, most, if not all, of us steal ours.
If we want our children to bring about the desired changes we have been praying for on behalf of our dear country, then please, please let’s begin now and teach them to work hard so they can stand alone and most importantly be content and not having to “steal” which seems to be the norm these days.
We have Nigerian children who have never worked for 5 minutes in their lives insisting on flying “only” first or business class and using the latest cars fully paid for by their “loving “ parents.
I often get calls from anxious parents”my son graduated 2 years ago and is still looking for a job, can you please assist!”
“Oh really! So where exactly is “THIS CHILD?” is my usual question. “Why are you the one making this call dad/mum and not your child?
I am yet to get a satisfactory answer, but between you and me, chances are that the big boy is cruising around Abuja with a babe dressed to the nines, in his dad’s spanking new SUV with enough “pocket money” to put your salary to shame. The girls are probably trying to shame Paris Hilton in profligacy. It is not at all strange to hear a 28-year old who has NEVER worked for a day in his/her life in Nigeria but “earns” a six-figure “salary” from parents for doing absolutely nothing apart from being their child.
I see them in my office once in a while, 26-years olds with absolutely no skill to sell apart from a shiny CV, written by his dad’s secretary in the office. Of course, he has a driver at his beck and call and is driven to the job interview. We have a fairly decent conversation and we get to the inevitable question- so, what salary are you looking to earn? Answer comes straight out – N250,000.00. I ask if that is per month or per annum.
“Of course, it is per month”
“Oh, why do you think you should be earning that much on your first job?”
“Well, because my current pocket money is N200,000.00 a month and I feel any employer should be able to pay me more than my parents.”
No wonder corruption continues to thrive. We have a society of young people who have been brought up to expect something or everything for nothing, as if it were a birthright. Even though the examples I have given above are from parents of considerable affluence, similar patterns can be observed from Abeokuta to Adamawa, Mushin to Maiduguri.
Wake up mum! Wake up dad! This syndrome – “my children will not suffer what I suffered” is destroying your child’s tomorrow. You are practically loving your child to death. A word is enough for the wise!