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Harsh reality of Igbo in Diaspora

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IGBO is a very widely traveled ethnic group in Africa. This stems from the fact that ndi Igbo as a people are faced with the stack reality of a limited space, land locked with not too fertile soil to sustain their agro based world view. This to a large extent informed their very early spark in migration and exploration of more fertile grounds and opportunities.

As it were, ndi Igbo devolved their skills in diversified fields of human endeavours in their quest for survival and sustenance which took them outside the boundaries and shores of their domiciliation; trading and commerce subsequently became their stock-in-trade. Their prowess and dexterity in this area of interest cannot be equated with by any known tribe in Sub-Saharan Africa. This in fact calls to mind why there is a strong and convincing linkage that tends to link ndi Igbo with the Jewish people who are unequivocally the front runners in rigid pursuit of commercial and economic interests in countries outside their original place of abode. They are known to be astute business men and pacesetters in virtually every field of human endeavour.

The relationship between ndi Igbo and the Jews will be a story for another day, but there is one vital commonality that makes this story a peculiar blind spot and that is the fact that both people hold dear their ancestral, cultural and traditional values. This forms the reason that wherever they found themselves, they easily acclimatise and begin to do exploits one way or the other. They live and exist as though they are in their ancestral home.

The Igbo man in all his striving and exploits must always think home. It is only by so doing that he embellishes his successes and shares with his kindred his wealth of experience and also in turn, he is honoured with titles that befit his status. This is paramount to the Igbo man’s sense of accomplishment nay his essence of existence.

Contemporary realities are beginning to adversely affect this worldview. So many of our people who sojourned and raised their families in diaspora are now confronted with the stack reality that they might never make it home as they naturally grow old. More so, as the children who are born have virtually lost every sense of Igbo antecedents, culture and values. We are indeed faced with a growing lost population of our kits and kin who might never set their foot in the sol of their father land.

I mentioned earlier that we have a very high growing population of old men and women in diaspora. One of the greatest honour you can bestow to the Igbo man is to reunite him with his ancestors by burying him in his traditional home. It is pertinent to state that this growing population of old men of Igbo extraction in diaspora are now finding it very difficult to attract this last honorarium requirement.

There is a very strong attachment ndi Igbo have on ancestral land and inheritance. The male folks in every kindred expect to have some portions of land transmitted to them from one generation to the other. It is of utmost importance to note that everybody jealously guides his generational transmission and inheritance, no wonder the Igbo coinage, ”Amaechina (amaanyiechina)” which loosely translates to, ”may our generation not get extinct”. It is a thing of sorrow and a great misfortune; a tragedy as perceived by ndi Igbo when a particular lineage by any means go extinct. So, it is the collective effort by each individual family to promote progenity. The diaspora factor now becomes a case study.

It is a common fact that most people in diaspora at any given opportunity proceed to build houses in their ancestral homes to mark their presence and position in the family unit (to make a statement) with the hope of retiring at old age or a place for their interment or death. But some Igbo men in diaspora are reluctantly coming to terms with the reality that their children as a matter of fact, will never visit or live in their ancestral homes when they depart this world. And as a matter of fact, if adequate arrangements are not put in place, their family might bury them against their will in foreign lands.

Where they succeed in burying their father’s in their ancestral homes, so many will never come home again for the ties they have with their fathers are severed by death. Such cases abound and are multiplying; making some men who otherwise have proper ancestral links lose out to their kindred every inheritance when they depart the world because their children have little or no ties with Africa and have no need for all the values that we value.

Thus, there is a great concern by those aging in diaspora of the possible break in their lineage precipitated by apathy by their children to continue with the family tree given rise to a lost generation.

So many men at retirement age hit the brick wall convincing their wives and children to relocate home. This resistance is made for vital considerations such as adaptability, insecurity, social amenities which will bring untold hardship to such individuals that would want to comply with daddy’s wish.

This phenomenon had put so many men in a state of quagmire. Instances abound where some will secretary or openly come to the village to marry second wives who will procreate in order to avoid a vacuum on departure. This desperate attempts for solutions in event of not having one’s children in diaspora willing to come home, has sparked many problems in so many families leading to divorces, estranged relationships between fathers and children, infidelity, cheating by wives left in the village, among others

Most of the time, they bear children from unknown sources. This now tarries with the Igbo adage that highlights the paradigm of the tse-tse fly that perched on the scrotum. If you leave it, it continues to suck up your blood and if by any means you hit it hard with the intention to kill it, you stand a chance of breaking your testicles.

The last but not the least is that so many of our brothers are actually trapped in their host countries and communities. Not everybody who go in search of the Golden Fleece, normally get successful. So many get hooked by the fascinations and fantasies availed and lose focus. As a result, they are dusted in the bin and will never think home let alone raising enough resources to come home.

For these reasons, many people, as they are living the shores of Igbo land, have already convinced themselve to come back.

 

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