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Have you made the most important decision of your life? Where will you spend Eternity? To make heaven is as simple as ABC- Accept you are a sinner, Believe that Jesus died for your sin and Confess HE is Lord.

25 Apr 2011

A Letter to Nigerian Parents

Hello people, I got the below article from a friend of mine and it totally made sense to me. I bow for the author! I just had to share it with y'all. It is a letter addressed to Nigerian parents. As long as you are Nigerian, whether you don naturalise to American, British, Canadian, Chinese werava, a parent, or hope to be a parent one day then this is for you to read. I am sure other nationalities can pick a thing or two from it as well.

Oh it is a bit of a long read but worth it. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts.


Happy Easter x


Friends, Let me add the benefit of my time as a student and then resident in the UK - and I live in Lagos now. The first thing that I discovered about UK-born, white, English undergraduates was that all of them did holiday or weekend job to support themselves - including the children of millionaires amongst them. It is the norm over there - regardless how wealthy their parents are. And I soon discovered that virtually all other foreign students did the same - the exception being those of us status-conscious Nigerians.

I also watched Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Airline) speaking on the Biography Channel and, to my amazement, he said that his young children travel in the economy class -even when the parents (he and his wife) are in upper class. Richard Branson is a billionaire in Pound Sterling. A quick survey would show you that only children from Nigeria fly business or upper class to commence their studies in the UK. No other foreign students do this.

There is no aircraft attached to the office of the prime minister in the UK - he travels on BA. And the same goes for the Royals. The Queen does not have an aircraft for her exclusive use. These practices simply become the culture which the next generation carries forward. Have you seen the car that Kate Middleton(the lady soon to marry Prince William) drives? VW Golf or something close to it. But there's one core difference them and us(generally speaking). They (even the billionaires among them) work for their money,we steal ours!

If we want our children to bring about the desired change we have been praying for on behalf of our dear country, then please, please let's begin now and teach them to work hard so they can stand alone and most importantly be content, and not having to "steal", which seem to be the norm these days.

"30 is the new 18", which seem to be the new age for testing out the world in Nigeria now. That seems to be an unspoken but widely accepted mindset among the last 2 generations of parents in Nigeria. At age 18 years, a typical young adult in the UK leaves the clutches of his/her parents for the University, chances are, that's the last time those parents will ever play "landlord" to their son or daughter except of course the occasional home visits during the academic year.

At 21 years and above or below, the now fully grown and independent minded adult graduates from University, searches for employment, gets a job and shares a flat with other young people on a journey into becoming fully fledged adults.

I can hear the echo of parents saying, well, that is because the UK economy is thriving, safe, well structured and jobs are everywhere? I beg to differ and I ask that you kindly hear me out. I am UK trained Recruitment Consultant and I have been practicing for the past 10 years in Nigeria. I have a broad range of experience from recruiting graduates to executive director level of large corporations. In addition, I talk from the point of view of someone with relatively privileged upbringing.
Driven to school every day, had my clothes washed for me, was barred from taking any part-time job during my A-levels so that I could concentrate on studying for my exams?! BUT, I got the opportunity to live apart from my parents from age 18 and the only time I came back home to stay was for 3 months before I got married!

Am I saying that every parent should wash their hands off their children at age 18? No, not at all, of course, I enjoyed the savings that I made from living on and off at my parent's house in London – indeed that is the primary reason for my being able to buy myself a 3 bedroom flat in London at age 25 with absolutely no direct financial help from my parents!

For me, pocket money stopped at age 22, not that it was ever enough for my lifestyle to compete with Paris Hilton's or Victoria Beckham's. Meanwhile today, we have Nigerian children who have never worked for 5 minutes in their lives insisting on flying "only" first or business class, carrying the latest Louis Vuitton ensemble, Victoria 's Secret underwear and wearing Jimmy Choo's, fully paid for by their "loving" parents.

I often get calls from anxious parents, my son graduated 2 years ago and is still looking for a job, can you please assist! Oh really! So where exactly is this "child" is my usual question. Why are you the one making this call dad/mum? I am yet to get a satisfactory answer, but between you and me, chances are that big boy is cruising around Lagos with a babe dressed to the nines, in his dad's spanking new SUV with enough "pocket money" to put your salary to shame. It is not at all strange to have a 28 year old who has NEVER worked for a day in his or her life in Nigeria but "earns" a six figure "salary" from parents for doing absolutely nothing.
I see them in my office once in a while, 26 years old with absolutely no skills to sell, apart from a shiny CV, written by his dad's secretary in the office. Of course, he has a driver at his beck and call and he is driven to the job interview. We have a fairly decent conversation and we get to the inevitable question - so, what salary are you looking to earn? Answer comes straight out - N250,000.00. I ask if that is per month or per annum. Of course it is per month. Oh, why do you think you should be earning that much on your first job? Well, because my current pocket money is N200,000.00 and I feel that an employer should be able to pay me more than my parents. I try very hard to compose myself, over parenting is in my opinion the greatest evil handicapping the Nigerian youth.
It is at the root of our national malaise.

We have a youth population of tens of millions of who are being "breastfed and diapered" well into their 30s. Even though the examples I have given above are from parents of considerable affluence, similar patterns can be observed from Abeokuta to Adamawa! Wake up mum! Wake up dad! You are practically loving your children to death! No wonder corruption continues to thrive. We have a society of young people who have been brought up to expect something for nothing, as if it were a birth right.

I want to encourage you to send your young men and women (anyone over 20 can hardly be called a child!) out into the world, maybe even consider reducing or stopping the pocket money to encourage them to think, explore and strive. Let them know that it is possible for them to succeed without your "help".

Take a moment to think back to your own time as a young man/woman, what if someone had kept spoon feeding you, would you be where you are today? No tree grows well under another tree, children that are not exposed to challenges, don't cook well. That is why you see adults complaining, "my parents didn't buy clothes for me this christmas", ask him/her how old-30+. Because of the challenges we faced in our youth, we are where and what we today, this syndrome- my children will not suffer what I suffered is destroying our tomorrow. Deliberately reduce their allowance or mum-don't cook on Saturday till late afternoon or evening-do as occasion deserve.

I learnt the children of a former Nigerian head of state with all the stolen (billions) monies in their custody, still go about with security escort as wrecks. They are on drugs, several times because of the drug, they collapse in public places. The escort will quickly pack them and off they go, what a life. No one wants to marry them. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.- Henry Ford. Hard work does not kill, everything in Nigeria is going down, including family settings. It is time to cook our children, preparing them for tomorrow. We are approaching the season in Nigeria where only the RUGGED, will survive. How will your ward fare?

If the present generation of Nigerian pilots retire, will you fly a plane flown by a young Nigerian pilot, If trained in Nigeria? People now have first class, who cannot spell GRADUATE or read an article without bomb blast! Which Way Nigeria!, Which Way Nigerians!! Is this how we will ALL sit and watch this country SINK?


  1. Yes o! Our misplaced ideas of what value really means.

    It's so sad!

  2. Amazing piece! And so true!!

  3. Alot of people are going to give kudos to the writer of this post but I beg to differ.

    She was able to afford a three bedroom flat in london at age 25, how? hard work she'll say rite? na so!

    I am currently in the UK for my masters and i'm almost rounding up. Of all of us that came in together, only about 5 are working and the rest of us are not and this is not because of laziness but because there are no jobs. You are a recruitment consultant, it would be nice if you could give out tips you know. Every day you receive emails denying you jobs for NO REASON. out of the 5 nigerians who are working, one got the job through his uncle's connection. one of them is sick now because she works as a cleaner. she cleans toilets and all and now can only take fluids because once she eats, she involuntarily throws up. She has been to the hospital several times and the doctors keep saying her body isn't used to that kind of job and with time she will get used to it. Its almost one year now, all for what???? 5 pounds per hour?! mchewww. the other one is a care taker and gets embarrassed almost daily. There was a day he was sent to an old white man's house and the man refused to open the door for him just because he's black and the man kept shouting "burglar, burglar!" until the neighbours gathered even though he showed his id. Mind you, he isn't paid when not granted access into any house even when the company has called the client before hand to say the person coming is black.

    Writer, you had a rosy life and thank God for that. The grass is always greener on the other side. Those who have to toil day and night to make a living would do anything to have their parents give them an allowance or buy them Christmas clothes.

    I do not think the way forward is to cut off the kids and leave them to fend for themselves. If a child doesn't have morals, the child doesn't have simple! We will just have more robbers, yahoo boys and prostitutes.

    I was privileged enough to attend a private uni in nigeria for my undergraduate and there were rich girls who we knew were in, "sleep with man, collect money" kind of prostitutes. They weren't doing this cos they were broke, their parents were giving them steady monthly allowance, they just felt they were having fun. Even some poor girls too were prostitutes. This was not a "sufferness equation". It still boils down to morals.

    We can't say that because Jesus and the disciples walked from town to town to preach the word, if they were to come again in 2011 they would walk from town to town. Of course not, they would use buses and planes and all. Therefore, because hawking akara in the morning before school made my father who he is today does not mean the same thing will make me a better person.

    If a parent decides that he/she wants their child to fly first class, its their prerogative. It doesn't necessarily put the children in the bracket of being spoilt or unable to fend for themselves.

    If a parent instills good character in a child, whether the child is given a million pounds a day or not, that child would do what is right.

  4. Is it supposed to be the fault of the "graduates" that they cannot spell, read or write? Those who can afford it send their kids abroad and they get the best education. Those who cannot make do with what we have in our country. Inspite of how much I paid as a student while in the university, there were several times we had to get materials to read off the internet because our lecturers did not come to class and I did not attend a public school. The issue of graduates who cannot read or write has nothing to do with their parents giving them allowance or not. That is totally on the government and the decadence of the educational sector afterall, when two elephants fight, its the grass that suffers.

    It is an ambitious person who will say he wants to earn 250k per month and not a! But seriously, its just like when you have corps members and some earn 5k (if you serve in NTA), 10k (If you serve in STV) and about 45k (If you serve where I serve). So after service, the person who earned 5k while serving wouldn't mind taking a job that would pay 50k because the margin is high. But for someone who worked where I did to get a job that would pay 50k, ofcourse the person will turn it down. (*cough cough* i purposely used nysc and not parental monthly allowance to explain this).

    While in Uni, what my parents gave me per month was about the same as what I earned while I was serving. And trust me when I say I was just an average person in school. But when I started serving, they had to augment because transport fare alone minus feeding has taken up the entire salary. You can't even say you should wake up and cook in the morning before work because you have to wake up as early as to 4, to leave home by 4.30 - 4.45 in order to beat the lekki traffic and you do not get home till 10/11pm, fagged out and too tired to cook anything.

    Like i have said and still repeat, it boils down to morals and not how much parents give their kids. That is STRICTLY their prerogative. They do not owe it to anyone. What they owe to everyone, their society, themselves and their kids is to instil Godly character shikena!

  5. lol...i'm back again but promise not to post another comment after this even though something else strikes a chord in my heart. It's just that this piece got to me mehn!

    Look at the whole northern crisis, do you know how many "rich and connected" parents are heaving sighs of relief? It is those that their parents could not affect to "runs" their posting that got posted to the north. Also those that could not afford to redeploy. In our society, children whose parents do not have money to spend are those who suffer. The first class riding, LV carrying children do not get to serve in the north, their lives are secure. Do you think those youths who died would not give anything to have a connected parent that could have influenced their posting? I served in Lagos out of will but even if I did not want to, my father would not have let me out of Lagos. With all the deaths, I had to go on my knees and thank God for my serving in Lagos when I did because if not, I am a 150% sure I might be dead now because I would have done the INEC work. I believe in "giving to the society" even though the society has given me NOTHING.

    I stand up for the sane business class flying, LV carrying, monthly allowance collecting youths and say people should stop judging us from the exterior and leave our upbringing alone. It doesn't solve the problems of our country by analysing what some group of kids do and do not do!

  6. Is it not because parents decided to let go of their kids and allow them mature and become adults who can look after themselves that they got all these?*new*G.R.O.O.V.E%29

    Parents who have their kids clenched in their arms wouldn't be in this situation!

  7. There are some children that had to grow up too soon too, cuz a family of seven, nine or fifteen, may realise that since they can't cater for all the kids, the older kids shd help too. And often you will see children that ought to have good foundation for tomorrow, doing all kind of odds jobs and not able to figure out their own future too.

    Also, another thing that I have realised that still exist is parents relying on their children for old age, I still blame our systems for some of these issues. Well, I digress, eventually what you see is, parents doing all they can to educate a child till whatever age cuz they know he/she will pay this back. There are just so much complications in this but we can start looking a system that can work for everyone.

  8. There's a difference between giving your children the best you can and spoiling them. Are you making your child suffer by not letting them fly first class, by teaching them that designer clothing will not make them a better person, by teaching them the value of a hard-earned dollar? I definitely don't think so. I really hope parents who are satisfying their kids' material desires to the nth degree think carefully about what they are teaching them about material possessions and the value of working hard to earn something yourself.

    If God blesses me and I can afford those luxuries (and luxuries they are!), my kids will learn that there are things that are indeed luxuries, that they must be earned and they will learn that once in a while they can indulge but I will never let them come to expect it all the time.

    Parents have to carefully watch their children and gauge the best way to raise them. Some children have to be pushed out into the world more than others, while some children need to have the parental influence for a longer period of time. Parents who continually think "What is best for this child?", who look at the effects of their decisions on their kids will figure out what is best in my opinion. Sometimes as a parent you get caught up in giving to your kids and don't realize you're loving them to death with material things. If you're lucky enough to realize this, it's never too late to take a step back and reevaluate things.

    Parts of this article and the comments really stirred me up so I won't say any more :).

  9. The world is not an utopia. It is full of variables and there's no perfect or clear cut situation.

    Sometime parents do the very best, towing the middle line and avoiding all extremes and yet things go awry. sometimes, parents don't even make any conscious efforts and the children turn out right. It depends on a lot of factors and not just cut and dry.

    I agree with both the original writer and Beautiful's comments.

  10. This article is flawed. Once the writer mentioned parents that steal money, she lost me. Her parents may have done so to put her in the lap of luxury she obviously had, but they/she are less than 5% of the general Nigerian population and not average at all.

    I also do not agree that willfully denying your children is what guarantees their character, there are no guarantees in parenthood. She herself is a case in point. Her parents sent her to private schools and then to the UK where she wasn't allowed to work due to status - maybe she also flew first class those times she travelled - but she did turn out well, didn't she?

  11. Dear writer,

    A valid point or two can be taken from your letter, however, its not all left and right like you make it look.

    See comments by beautiful and maidofheart.

  12. In summary, Beautiful's words.... "If a child doesn't have morals, the child doesn't have simple!"

  13. A sword is usually two-sided!

    My take on this is that parenting differs from home to home. What is acceptable to Home A might not be okay in Home B. The bottom line is to raise honest, respectful, decent, hard working and of course God fearing children who will be a POSITIVE plus (force) in the society. If a parent has enough to give his/her child the BEST, then please go for it. Just ensure that the necessary morals are instilled in the child. A well-trained child, will always reflect his/her behaviour ANYWHERE!

    So, my dear writer, I am NOT with you on all fours!

  14. Nice article, but it relates to only a very small percentage of parents as most parents in Nigeria are suffering. so it is not a Nigerian parenting thing.
    Please, which first class graduate cannot spell GRADUATE o? I think that is too extreme.
    All in all, I think she has a point

  15. Very interesting comments.

    I am with Dee on this.

    A sword is usually double sided, though parents should do their best to train their children in ALL ways.

    Aloted babe, how have you been? and your family?

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