My broda, nobody owes you jack by Funke Phillips

My broda, nobody owes you jack by Funke Phillips

The Nigerian family entitlement mentality is something that really bothers me.

I get bothered at how relatives hound, torment and bother a particular individual because he/she is successful or seen to be successful. Reading the story of footballer Emmanuel Adebayor’s travails with his family just makes me sad because it touches on this thing that has eaten so deep into the Nigerian family psyche. Adebayor isn’t Nigerian but he might as well be with the kind of issues he keeps having with his relatives. Where everyone and their dog feels you owe them something because after all you are ‘rich and successful’.abeg

I don’t have a problem with relatives seeking assistance from other wealthy relatives. I mean, people help people every day. What I do have a problem with is the sense of entitlement that comes with it most of the time. That sense that you’re owed. That sense that you deserve to be helped. That sense that things should just be handed to you. That’s the part I have a problem with. That feeling that Uncle Segun owes you something because after all before he made it big and became rich, he lived with your father. That feeling that Aunty Mabel is wicked because you simply can’t understand how she’s living at Lekki yet you are squatting with a friend at Akoka.

It is as annoying as it is irritating. No one owes you anything. No one is obligated to give you jack. People with this false sense of entitlement piss me off. They always feel they’re getting the wrong end of a deal. We heard the story of a transport company owner that was kidnapped and when the perpetrators were caught, lo and behold, his nephew was one of them. On being questioned about his motive for kidnapping his uncle, he lamented that his uncle was rich but too stingy. He had asked him for a loan but his uncle refused to give him and instead offered him a job. He didn’t understand how he could have such a rich uncle and still be looking for money.

The height of entitlement! Who owes you? Nobody. The only people that owe you anything are your parents but even that has a time frame. They definitely do not owe you everything till kingdom comes and what if you have no parents, how are you going to survive? If you’re an orphan, would you kill yourself because you don’t have parents that ‘owe’ you?

People with this mentality have no sense of personal responsibility. They fail to understand that the only person that owes you anything is YOU! Yourself. Nobody owes you anything. The sooner you realize that the better for you. The sooner you realize that even if your ‘rich’ relatives can help you it is their still prerogative to help or not.

People with this mentality are chock-full of poor morals. They are mostly lazy yet proud. A conundrum right? How can a lazy person be proud? But they are. They refuse to better themselves but will rather depend on handouts from rich relatives. They are usually ungrateful and never appreciative. Nothing is ever too good for them. They need a hand-out of five million naira to start a business, rich uncle gives them three million yet he’s a wicked man. Why, you ask. Well, how can he give them less than the money they demanded for? He ought to have given them the entire five million and maybe an extra two million as ‘jara’. That’s why he’s wicked. That’s what the sense of entitlement tells them. They are always greedy. Nothing is ever enough. They need help every time. The excuses vary. The money finished. The business folded up. Someone duped them. The money was stolen. The money was simply not sufficient and so on. The rich relative is expected to pony up and deliver anytime they come around with these excuses.

Nigerians in diaspora would have a lot to say about this. You get calls asking for the most ridiculous help. I was a student in the UK when a cousin called me and asked me to send her a thousand pounds. I was shocked. Where would I see one thousand pounds to send to you? Are you high? I was a student working two jobs. One thousand pounds for what? She said she needed it to buy a tv, a new phone and a laptop. I told her I didn’t have such money to send and promised to send her two hundred pounds the next week. She went on a long winding rant on how ‘London’ people were stingy, what was the point of me being abroad if I couldn’t help etc. I just hung up in the middle of her tirade and didn’t send a dime. She felt just because I was in England I had to be rich and I had to help her because we were cousins. Rich how? I was working my bones off in places she would never consider working back in Nigeria.

It’s because of this mentality you see family members at logger heads when a rich relative dies. Everyone wants a piece of them. Everyone feels they deserve a piece of them. It’s because of this mentality you see relatives sit on their lazy butt and feel they deserve to be supported by their rich relatives.It’s never bad to ask for help. People need help in various ways but it is bad to feel entitled to said help. Nobody owes you anything on this God’s green earth. You have a degree but you don’t want to get a job because you have a rich uncle who should help you. You better dust off your degree and go and hustle.

Yes, people that can help should help as long as you remember that they are NOT obligated to help you.

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About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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  1. Nkechi Ali-Balogun

    The art of giving is an age long African tradition that should not be trivialized or looked down on. It is a tradition that you cannot set aside with just the wave of a hand. It is a tradition that sets the African apart as having the milk of human kindness. Giving is a spiritual exercise that is very rewarding. It’s merits far outweighs the disadvantages. Indeed you are not owing anyone or indebted to your relatives. However, giving is a moral obligation that should come natural to those in a position to give . I have a friend who has taken the responsibility to train the children of his siblings because he has the means. The reason he chose this option is so that his children will not grow up being saddled with poor cousins and this can be burdensome. The attitude of not giving or rather the “me,myself and I ” syndrome is a selfish western orientation that should not be allowed into our culture even though it is gradually creeping in. Adebayor had issues because he, permit me to say, lacked wisdom in his giving. Therefore the thing we should be talking about is how not to give . Giving must be purposeful, planned, objective and constructive. This means that the giver must study and understand the disposition of the recipients . The giver must not give the recipient what he or she is unable to handle or manage. You give because there is a need. Giving can bring about physical,emotional and economic growth to the individual and the nation. The art of giving is so powerful that even corporate bodies are now engaged in the serious business of giving.

    1. aisha

      Selfish ke? Abeg let giving be at the discretion of the giver not forced, blackmailed or guilted out of the giver that is what she is saying in her article.
      Adebayour didn’t lack any wisdom he just had a stupid entitled lazy family.

    2. Maina

      My understanding of this write-up is not that one should not give, but that one should give when and how he want to give. What some westerners give people in Africa is just mind boggling and they owe us nothing. They can be the most generous people on earth.

    3. aisha

      Same westerners who fund our free HIV, Malaria and TB treatment are the people you refer to as selfish lol. African relatives stop abeg it’s not a right go and work and stop producing children you can’t care for. Nansense

  2. abimbola

    Comment…Well its African to give,but we should not think its our right to demand and be given.
    Yes nobody owes anybody anything.
    if he or she gives when you ask,kool,if they don’t ,don’t start to to rave and rant as if they owe you.
    Africans should be re orientated,nobody owes you! get your lazy ass up and work work work.
    well said Funke.

  3. Mute

    But you are patient O! A cousin calls to ask you for a thousand pounds and you have the time to listen to her and even promised to send her two hundred pounds.

    Please can I send my bank account details to you? I sure could use some few hundred pounds right now.


  4. Akin Adeoya

    Many years ago there was the story of a guy who ran mad. He wanted to travel abroad but his rich uncle wanted him to stay and build a career right here. His uncle feared he would go there and get into trouble since he was so lazy. The boy went consulting with black magic practitioners. They gave him an amulet. Wear this and go and ask him for money, he will not say no. He will just ask you the amount you want. But there is a caveat. No matter what amount you ask, he will release it provided he has that money. If he did not, you will go mad. So wisdom dictated that the young man asked for something reasonable. But by now his dreams and expectations about finally getting his “share” of his uncles wealth got the better of him. Instead of asking for the original princely N200k which at the time was estimated to be enough to process all the papers, and pay for his ticket at the time, which his uncle could easily have afforded, buoyed by the witchdoctors assurances, he now had plans to live big in London, needed to throw a big send off party and all that. He demanded for N2M!!!
    The hapless uncle, at that fatal moment could not muster the amount. So he said, Oh no, you have to come back. If it was like 500k that would not have been a problem, he explained. The boy said, go bring the 500k but the alarm had already struck. His brain gave way and he went mad right there in front of his uncle.
    This matter of of a sense of entitlement in Nigerian society is a big issue. Lets not confuse it with the traditional African generosity and extended family care system. The extended family took care of the less fortunate, irrespective of whether they were even family. We are talking of a new disease, a bunch of lazy, greedy and mean scarecrows who have no intention of working. They wonder why they still have to stress themselves when you already have all that money. What are you going to do with it anyway? How can we develop as a nation if millions hang around waiting for handouts? People should go and work. We need to learn to be independent. If this is one of the good things we can learn from far more developed societies so be it.
    Tha blackmail should stop. Fullstop.

    1. aisha

      See the Adebayour family na. After the trauma they put him through the stupid brother offered one half arsed apology and ended the apology with a list of demands, he needs money for rent, money for medicine and money to care for himself, he hopes his ” apology ” will not be in vain. Arrant nonsense

  5. cat

    Please oooo giving is not an “african” thing lol. It is a human being thing. And if you look around the world Africans are the worst givers. Smh.
    Anyway me i cosign this post 1000 times. I can’t forget my dad’s uncle who was giving birth to children for my dad to feed and school for him. Happily sends the older ones from Edo State to Kaduna to come and collect school fees and d pocket money for all. As if my father had a shrine producing money in our backyard.
    The ungrateful first son finally wasted my father’s efforts. Connived with his mom and sisters, left University in 3rd year, used his and his siblings school fees they took from my parents to pay for someone to take him “abroad” through the Sahara desert. When he was robbed and left for dead in Morocco he started calling my dad for help. My father said as far as he knew he had no relatives in Morocco so case closed.

    Beware of greedy and ungrateful Oliver Twist relatives. Keep them away from your family when you notice that trait in them because they are the ones who organise armed robbers and kidnappers. The insect that eats the vegetable lives inside the vegetable.


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