As we give God gratitude for the gift of life and a new year, it is pertinent to acknowledge that many families in Nigeria are in a big financial mess, in a ditch, and in dire straits. The institution of marriage is thereby threatened by unforeseen contingencies occasioned by the economic and political instability in the country.
Many families do not know how to move forward, make progress or advance because the leadership in the country has crippled every citizen, blocking all avenues of advancement. A good number have chosen to retreat in the villages as they could no longer cope with the expenses of city life. A lot of families in Nigeria are at a financial crossroads – basic needs are not within reach, taking care of the sick and elderly has become cumbersome.
Definitely, we may have to ask ourselves – who caused this? And how did we arrive at this juncture? The president, senators, governors, the political class and their families are having their best life to the mockery of the less privileged. Not just that they make future plans on how to amass wealth, they steal public funds and continuously impoverish the masses.
Basically, a family is the nucleus of the society. Every societal ill develops and starts from the families. It’s true that in developed countries, flourishing economies, there could be domestic violence, lack of love or divorce which could result from deception, manipulation and hardness of human heart yet hardship, suffering or unfavourable environment could as well bring hatred, neglect, abandonment and strife to loving and peaceful couples. Families in Nigeria have been unduly stressed in recent times due to misappropriation in governance and economic instability.
Persistently, families have found themselves to be financially stressed these days and in our climate. The high inflation occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy trumps up regrets, anxieties and worries in the minds of parents. Not just school fees, health and other challenges, there’s no peace in the heart of average parents in Nigeria. We may not be medical experts but it is pure scientific fact that stress in whatever form generates a psychosomatic effect.
Undoubtedly, more than 20% of Nigerians do not have an income of more than ₦50,000 in a month and if we do the mathematics, we would realise the cause of high incidence of violence, breakups, anger and hatred in so many families. Some young couples abandoned their partners in search of greener pastures abroad while others have stopped their kids from attending schools. As such, the contemporary Nigerian family structure has witnessed transformation such as an increase in single parenting, separation, divorce, baby-daddy and baby-mama.
Unfortunately, poverty’s icy grip tightens around Nigerian families, squeezing the life out of their dreams. With unemployment rampant and inflation soaring, putting food on the table becomes a daily battle. Parents, burdened by the weight of providing, become withdrawn and irritable. Stress spills over into parenting, creating a toxic environment for children. The pursuit of survival often overshadows sensibility, leaving families emotionally distant.
Again, the spectre of violence haunts many Nigerian families. From the insurgency in the North to the kidnappings and armed robberies plaguing other regions, insecurity tears families apart. The constant fear and displacement erode trust and stability. Children raised in such an environment carry emotional trauma, impacting their mental and emotional well-being. At a point when children could no longer get what they need from their parents, they seek for instant gratification and respect for the elderly wanes.
The Nigerian government’s repeated announcements of waivers, education grants, and assurances, though seemingly benevolent, have failed to address the struggles of poor citizens. The insincerity and political posturing of the government perpetuate issues like insurgency, ethnic cleansing, insecurity, inflation, and unemployment. The absence of subsidies and high exchange rates further hampers efforts to ease the lives of ordinary citizens. In this failure, leaders celebrate, citizens suffer, and malevolence prevails.
Certainly, every Nigerian is a servant to the politicians and the political class. Whether you are a businessman, thriving Igbo trader or an entrepreneur, the president or whoever is in power can decide to kick you out of business, demolish your quarters, or pepper you with “Shege.” The ruling party in Nigeria knows everything about corruption, highhandedness but they lack the competence, empathy, capability, governing principle to rule or make life better for the common man.
The righteous men in Nigeria are slaughtered like sheep from ethnic, religious, and tribal uprising. For a man to eat, drink and rejoice in Nigeria is a miracle. People groan, mourn and bicker due to lack of job satisfaction which cannot pay their bills and even skilled artisans suffer low patronage.
Moreover, the first essential for a happy home is that love must be practised and poverty makes love shrink. Homes that are built on animal attraction and lust are destined to crumble and fall. Love is the cohesive force that holds the family together. True love contains an element of spiritual mystery. It embodies loyalty, reverence, and understanding. Love imposes a tremendous responsibility on all members of a family but this responsibility cannot be accomplished in hardship and lack.
In Nigeria, New Year resolutions are rare amid a murky political climate, profound economic distress, and uncertain prospects for prosperity. Intentions for self-improvement often succumb to trauma, conflict, and widespread suffering. The fear of survival, misfortune, and death is palpable, especially for those above 40 without a family or stable income. Nigerians, sceptical of government interventions, navigate these challenges with resilience, acknowledging the persistent struggle for stability.
Nigerians need fortitude which is the mental and emotional strength needed to face difficulties with courage. If we say Nigerians should respond to life from a defensive position rather than an offensive; we may wake up one day to hear that a city, town, village or tribe has been wiped out. Do we now suggest a revolution? Even though life holds hardship, we can move forward into beauty. Hardship,pain and discomfort could make a life deep rooted and grounded.
Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu: Awka – Nigeria