Don't Be A Fool!
From African Abroad
April 15, 2002
By Mr. Alex Kabba, African Abroad Senior Editor
Lady Okonkwo, (not real name), a Nigerian Immigrant and a Registered
Nurse (RN) with a New York area Hospital will never forgive herself.
Some three decades ago, Okonkwo came to America with her husband,
Dr. Okonkwo, to study. After their studies, they started work in
New York and had three children, two girls and a boy. After surveying
the American society and its attitudes towards the rearing of children,
family sources told African Abroad (AA), Dr. Okonkwo confided in
his wife that they should relocate back to Nigeria so that their
children could be rooted in the "more disciplined African culture."
According to the source, Lady Okonkwo flatly refused her husbands
request, preferring instead to stay in America with the children.
Dr. Okonkwo relocated back to Nigeria alone.
Today, Lady Okonkwo is full of regret at her decision. Her three
children, who are now adults, have completely shunned anything Nigerian
and prefer to refer to themselves as Americans and say that it is
only their parents who are Nigerians. They never mix with Nigerians
or any Africans for that matter and cannot even speak any of the
African languages. What pained Lady Okonkwo most was the decision
of her son, (name withheld), to marry an older American lady who
already has three children outside of wedlock with two different
men. Her other two girls now have a problem with dating because
"they will not date African men and Black American men look
at them as foreign even though they were born in the U.S."
Ike Enwereuzor, an American-born Nigerian sports writer based in
New York does not have this crisis of identity afflicting the Okonkwos
family. Enwereuzor, whose parents are both Nigerians, told AA that
there is nothing like a child having his formative years in Africa
because of the lack of discipline in American society and its schools.
"I am forever grateful to my father for sending me back to
Nigeria as a young man to learn the culture of respect, discipline,
self worth and the dignity of labor," said Enwereuzor. "Granted
that my father used to spank me when I misbehaved and was caned
at school by teachers and students in upper class. What the heck!
It is better for me because I escaped the gang culture of America
and will never pick up a fight with an armed cop to send me to an
early grave and have the self respect not to regard welfare as a
solution to being lazy."
Chief Felix Ugbode, CEO of Paulson Security Inc. in New York who
raised his kids in America is full of regret for doing so. "Knowing
what I know now, I would never have brought up my children in America.
The culture is totally anti-good parenting."
The American culture which has been encoded into its laws criminalize
discipline of any kind on a child. This is termed child abuse. African
parents who want to instill the rigid African culture of spanking
the child to correct aberrant behavior in their children are hauled
before law courts for child abuse charges and the children forcibly
removed from them and placed in government-administered foster homes.
There are however other reasons why the practice of Africans sending
their children back home to Africa for their formative years are
on the rise. According to an African CPA in Brooklyn, who does not
want his name in print, he sent his two kids to a private school
in Abuja for economic reasons as well as for them to imbibe the
culture of discipline. "My wife is a student in a New Jersey
school. I am the only one working. How do wed take care of two kids
on a lean budget of expensive private schools and sky-high day care
services?" he asked. He told AA that it cost him 270,000 Naira
(about $2,000) per year for the boarding and tuition of one of his
kids at a private school in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. "When
a 13-year-old starts saying, daddy, dont be a fool!
you know there is a problem. The American system gives the children
so much freedom to misbehave that at the end of the day, they become
uncontrollable and are either lost to the gangs or are murdered
by rogue cops intimidated by the sight of a young black kid with
Child welfare experts told African Abroad that parents wishing
to raise their children in Africa must first agree together to avoid
trouble with the law. Longy Anyanwu, the Nigerian-born former computer
Professor at the Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ ran
afoul of the American child welfare laws because he did not agree
with his wife on the best place to bring up their children. Edith
Anyanwu, his former wife, alerted the authorities that her husband
"kidnapped" their tow children and sent them to Nigeria.
A New Jersey court ordered Long Anyanwu to bring his American-born
children back to America within three days. When he refused, Longy
was held in contempt for four years by Supreme Court Judge Salem
V. Ahto from which he was released only three weeks ago after the
only surviving child, Ubechi, 16, (Ogechi, 11, the other child,
died in Nigeria) told Judge Ahto that she would like to complete
her education in Nigeria. The childs decision prompted the
release of Anyanwu from jail.
Back to The Citizen page!