Family planning, the Nigerian parent and the Nigerian youth



What happens when you don't plan well for your kids

The blogpost you’re about to read can be summarized into the following sentences: well-to-do families beget successful children, while underprivileged families beget unsuccessful children. The underprivileged children that are lucky enough to make it good are few while children from well-to-do backgrounds have all it takes to make it big hence keeping the status quo. In addition if a couple is struggling with life but want a better future for their offspring their best bet is to birth only the number they can adequately take care of. Read on though to get the full picture.

Family Planning as used in this post does not just mean making the decision to have children but also making in-depth arrangements on how you intend to raise them.

Drawing from what Al Pacino said in The Godfather Part III (Don Michael Corleone addressing a letter to his children): “the only wealth in this world is children; more than all the money, power on earth, you are my treasure”, what truly matters or gives happiness in life is enjoying the children you raised. If you choose not to have them like Jeremy Weate of naijablog it’s ok but if you choose to the least you can do is to be a good parent and raise them well.

If you know financially and emotionally you can only properly take care of 1, 2 or 3 children then by all means stick to that. Don’t birth a battalion of kids and then end up: sending them out to live with relatives, always complaining that there’s no money when requests are made, loosing sleep over how to pay their school fees, abandoning them after their tertiary education but expecting them to perform miracles and bring you the goods (parent of a doctor, lawyer, senator etc).

Why I’m hammering on this is because ideally it’s the right thing to do. You do it for your children and they in turn will do it for theirs. There you go: a pleasant cycle of happiness (as against the vicious cycle of poverty we see too much in Nigeria). Just the same way you plan to marry right in order to avoid having sickler kids or ugly children which could make you look bad is the same way you should plan to raise children who can achieve greatness in order to be adequately taking care of in your old age.

In the western world you hear about parents starting very early to save for their kids’ college/university education fund but in Nigeria too much of the time it’s the hand to mouth or live-one-day-at-a-time existence, condemning children to a hard frustrating life. The result is there for all to see: 22-26 year old Nigerian graduates still largely dependent on their parents while their mates abroad are very much independent, married and some with children of their own. And the fact of work being not so easy to come by as it is abroad compounding the whole problem.

That’s why at times I don’t blame the children of well-to-do families, the type we like to call ajebota. A few of their parents might have acquired their wealth dubiously but at least they’re able to give their children the kind of education and comfort with which ideally nothing can prevent them from reaching the pinnacle of their success. They go to the best schools, socialize best, go on tour during holidays and they actually live their life enjoying the money that works for them and their parents (not the other way around…think rich dad, poor dad).if they want to be entrepreneurial when they reach adulthood they’re sure of full financial support from their parents which plays a big factor in their success. Look at the young people of the recent Future Awards, 90% of them were able to blow because of their parent’s moral and financial support. Not the no-money-to-pay-school-fees, go-to-night-vigil-as-Jesus-is-the-answer story the children of the less privilege have to contend with. People like Asa, Dimeji Bankole, Denrele Soundcity are testament to the advantages of having strong parents. Those that make it from grass to grace, on their own with minimal efforts from their parents are actually very lucky as for every one of them that succeeds a thousand others fail. Examples of this kind are John Mikel Obi, Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme (Aki and Pawpaw), 2face Innocent Idibia, Agbani Darego etc. It's actually kind of like the no-finance-no-romance creed.

Now for the wrap up I’ll have you know that I’m not parent bashing. I know what effort they put into our lives (not less what my parents did for me) and that life is a long process with changing situations that can mess up original plans. I’m just annoyed that too many parents get it wrong from the start. Capisco...capiche…capeesh?!

trae_z: aspiration 2008



The title of this blog post might read like many a Nigerian political campaign catchphrase. I guess that’s a little amusing, in actuality though it’s an outline of my aspirations and dreams for the year 2008. I’ve never being one for New Year resolutions or very clearly defined career paths or life goals but this comes closest to that.

One of the first decisions I’ve made this year is to make a name change. I’ve tinkered with something like this before but this time it’s for real and as a result of more matured reasoning. I’m dropping the A from my hitherto official initials “T.R.A.E.”. I chose the A at Confirmation (a Catholic religious ceremony) to turn my initials from TRE to TRAE. But now that I consider myself a liberal Christian and have also gotten sick of owning 4 names I’m reverting back to what my parents named me: Tochukwu Raphael Ezeokafor. The fact that my middle name still starts with an R and A means that I’m still good for the name/initials TRAE. Cool!

Politically with regards to Nigeria I’m at a “siddon look” level this year because nothing surprises me anymore. Reuben Abati spoke my mind exactly in his The president’s ‘missing ears’ article of The Guardian of January 4th. Yar’adua’s is fucking uncharismatic and too passive! Having someone like him as our president is like being married to a wife that’s drama free but is boring in bed and in lifestyle. Pathetic!

Employment wise I’m looking forward to getting down to the nitty gritty on my first real job (like many people my age I also wouldn’t mind getting into banking; I’m at a promising recruitment stage on two different fronts so fingers crossed) and the work related networking that’ll come with it. My experiences at two recruitment exercises last year tell me that although I’m not exactly the life of the party I’m damn good with people.

I’m aiming to make real money this year. It’s the only way to go if I want to play my position well. More so it’ll put an end to the quarrels I can’t seem to avoid at home. Real money-great finances should also enable me have a less sober outlook on life, give me the full confidence to look for love and get a much needed fashion boost.

I want to be in tune with the arts in 2008. Attend shows and musicals, make a lot more social outings, master the art of public speaking and write better and more frequent. I also want to bring myself to finally record another song, this time with rock cum ragga vibes.

Physiologically it’s time to do away with laziness by being consistent at my weight lifting; I also look forward to having greater peace of mind by finally going for an HIV test.

Finally as regards to football I just want to see great games all year round. Sadly though I don’t think our making it past the group stages at the African Nation’s Cup is a given this time around.

All in all that’s as far as the weatherman’s guess (my aspirations) goes because no one knows tomorrow. If you can’t take it from me than take it from the French born Nigerian soulful rocker Asa. I wish you a great 2008, peace!