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  • Sunday, 22 May 2022




It was an unplanned gathering of very wealthy Nnewi men, each with a head bowed in regret as one of them was informally addressing them, making his points with known examples. It was then that the elderly ones amongst the rich who were mainly based in Lagos realized the great disservice they had done to themselves and their families.


Ogbudaa Akaekpuchionwa 1 of Nnewi might not have accumulated enough money to justify his guts to address his wealthier kinsmen. Still, whatever he lacked in his bank account, he made up in wisdom and eloquence. The wealthy sons of Nnewi had converged in the house of one of their kinsmen who had just died on a condolence visit, as it is the practice whenever a kinsman dies.


Upon receiving the news of a kinsman's death, everyone would immediately head towards the deceased house to sympathize with the family and ascertain funeral plans and any area they could assist. When a wealthy man of Nnewi extraction dies, his house would be besieged by the sea of heads within an hour, both poor and rich.


Chief Akuenwebe's death was not unexpected as he had slipped into a coma six months ago after suffering a multiple heart attack. His death was seen as a relief by his close friends and family members who knew what he was passing through. Ogbudaa Akaepuchionwa believed that his message would be better appreciated by his wealthy kinsmen while still under the sober mood caused by the death of Chief Akuenwebe and he cashed in on it.


Umunaa, meaning 'my kinsmen' for how long shall we continue to allow the same thunder to strike us twice?" he started. "We all know what 'chewed the head' of our brother. His irresponsible sons killed him. Their unwholesome acts immediately their father coopted them into his business inflicted him with very high blood pressure, stroke, later heart attack and finally coma and death.


“They can now start "scooping meat with fufu in place of soup." I have watched with pains as very successful and wealthy men from our town unknowingly set their sons on the path of uselessness. Many of us here, both young and ageing, realize too late the impact of our indiscretion when faced with the result of the formation of our heir apparent.


“It is an excruciating experience that must be avoided by those who can. I have identified how we could find out in time, when our sons have started derailing,” the speaker said hence, arousing the interest of his attentive audience.


"An observant father watching his back could ascertain the tendency of a son towards prodigality when some of the following signs become manifest:


  1. A son who loves enjoyment and prefers leisure to hard work.
  2. A son with no emotional intelligence required to manage the parents' large business empire.
  3. A selfish son who would rather covet all his parents' wealth to exclude other siblings.
  4. A son that believes that the whole world owes him a duty of care.
  5. A son that would not wait for the parents to die to take over.
  6. A son with obvious tendencies to ground the father's businesses soon after assuming companies' leadership.
  7. A drug addict son and a party freak.
  8. An indifferent son, Chief Akaekpuchionwa enumerated.”


At this point, one of his listeners known as Okwuanyionu asked, "Nwokem, how can we prevent this?" He had noticed certain tendencies in his sons, too and was determined to learn more.


"We could adopt the following preventive mechanisms as it is not too late to check the drift and have our sons be who we want them to be. The following may be helpful:


  1. Training: Check the kind of school your son attends. The school should reflect the values you want to imbibe in him. Many of the schools with British or American curricula process your son for export. They infuse in him foreign values, many of which are diametrically opposite to what you stand for. They read foreign literature and are made to graduate thinking foreign.


The schools bleach your son's local content leaving you with a child eager to migrate abroad. He feels he does not belong here. You complement the alienation when you send the child abroad for undergraduate and postgraduate studies without debriefing. If you have a big business in Nigeria and hope that the child would return to run the business one day, good luck to you.


I know many successful business people who trained their sons through westernized schools at home and abroad and got them to join their businesses after graduation and have painful stories to tell. The returning dudes came back, ran down their fathers' businesses and relocated abroad.


Some parents are, however, lucky. As a counterbalancing measure, parents would have to moderate the influence of over westernized curricula by discussing and agreeing with their sons the objective of going to a preferred school and devoting time to reviewing milestones.


  1. Paternal Engagement: The man of the house should make out time to interact with the son. A smart father takes his successor son to the office when his school is on holiday, gives him some assignments and discusses some strategic matters with him right from age 10. The son is encouraged to work and be paid by the company during vacation. The son grows to imbibe his father's work culture and subconsciously starts situating himself in the business and develop ideas on how to make things better in the company.


  1. Monitor your wife’s destructive love for your son: Some mothers go to an absurd extent to prove to their sons that they are loved and are precious. They provide all wants and shield them from life moderating stress. They even quarrel with their husbands for being harsh on the growing son. The father should assume the responsibility of training the son.


Not all that he requests should be granted. He should learn to manage disappointment even from a beloved father because he will see more disappointments later in life; hence, he needs to be immunized early. The man should always explain to his son the reasons behind his actions, especially why he said "no" to his requests. Wise fathers give this explanation day after the incident in order not to diminish the lessons learnt.


  1. The the child accountability: The son must be made to account for whatever amount given to him as pocket money or shopping money. He should be taught to ask and receive permission to overspend an agreed limit. Every parent should investigate any case of theft at home and punish the offender squarely and openly. Your son may be the pilferer of your cash, not your servants. If you do not detect it and nip it in the bud, he will grow to think that other people can serve a prison sentence on his behalf.


  1. A family vacation is very revealing: Many busy working-class parents realize how ignorant they are of their growing sons' tendencies during an annual family vacation. You may get a hint of what you need to correct by being very observant and during play activities.


He cleared his throat before he continued, "Let any successful man or owner of a big business amongst us immediately carry out an audit of how his son or the successor is being raised and make corrections before it is too late. For nearly two decades now, I have been keeping notes of this malady befalling our wealthy men, and I know how we cringe when we remember that we have not recreated ourselves in our children. Many of us have resigned to our fate while some superstitious ones amongst us believe that their enemies are at work", he concluded.


Most of the wealthy men in attendance left with hearts laden with grief, not because of the death of their kinsman but the situations they have found themselves in. Theirs are accidents waiting to happen.


This disease is not only with the wealthy but also with the upper and middle class Igbo people. In a bid to show class, they have exposed their kids to destructive values. Children are like baskets. You weave them according to the shape you desire. Ọdụ bụ kwọ gboo! Meaning that a problem with a revealed solution can be contained and to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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