“Daddy, what course should I study in the university?” my son, about to enter his final year in the secondary school, asked me. “My son, you should study Money-Making!” I answered unequivocally. “What do you mean, Daddy? I doubt if there is a course in any university called Money-Making, but I know of Entrepreneurship,” my son said, wondering what had happened to a man he once touted as “the ever-dependable brain” of a dad. I could guess that the boy was confused, and I needed to give him a further explanation.
“My son, I mean to say that you are at liberty to choose any course you are at ease with, but you should also figure out how that course would help you to put food on your table and make enough money to shoulder your responsibilities. If you choose an Agricultural course, think about its applications to making money, like commercial farming or setting up Agro-allied industries. If you choose Medicine, think of how to own a medical facility that would provide top-notch services that would yield the kind of money you want. Do you understand?” I asked a son whose eyes had been ignited. In his eyes, I could see a riot of ideas. That was what I wanted to achieve. He needed to be fired up. He must be achievement conscious.
I told my boy that he might, by accident of history or destiny, veer off entirely from his area of study upon graduation into another field he did not study, and out of which he would make a living; that it often happened to many people. I said this because I gauged that the guy was about to remind me that I read Microbiology and ended up in banking. Children of these days could be that audacious. They say it without any fear of cane or reproach.
“My son, in your DNA, already is a money opportunity detector gene. Every Nnewi child born, truly through the phallus, of his father has that gene. The gene gives a person from Nnewi, Orlu, Abiriba, or Old Bende people in Abia State etc an exceptional ability to sense money from any endeavour from afar. However, my son, note that you do not have to make money. If that is the case, you better enter the seminary or monastery now, but I know that you love good things of life; therefore, you must fathom how to generate money to fund your needs and wants. Once you are out of school, I will withdraw my financial oxygen from you. You shall become your own man.
“Son, you need to make money for your use and to boost your confidence because “akụ na esi obi ike” meaning that a wealthy man is a confident one. You also need to make money to take care of your wife, children, mum, in-laws, and extended family.
“Listen to me, do not mind the effusive love your mum professes for me; it got sweeter when I started earning more money and giving her the comfort she craved for. I am afraid that the intensity of that love might decrease if I become poor, but she will deny it if you ask her. Verily, I say onto you my son, please believe me as your father, money is not love, but it is the salt in a love soup as it is the sugar in a love tea. Your wife will love more a successful you than a you in lack. You must also make allowance for me, your father, especially when I shall become weak and old. You now can see clearly that I am also an interested party? Of course, you need to make enough money to be able to earn relevance in the ụmụnna, our village and Nnewi assembly,” I painstakingly told my son with punctuated emphasis.
I also painted for my son the picture of hell more lurid than the Gehena painted in the Bible. I always ask him to be upright, fair and square in his quest to achieving his life’s goals; that both heaven and land of our ancestors are real and that only good souls enter there.
In this encounter and many others, I impressed on my son the need to always be alert in his thoughts and in awareness and that he must be financially responsible. He also knows that he will marry early. That, too, helps a young man to focus. I told him that all the billionaires of reckon in Nnewi with no exception married before the age of 27.
That is how we raise boys into men in Nnewi.
However, if an Nnewi son tries his best and does not create the level of wealth he craves for, “enu na ana” or “the land and the heavens” would bear him witness that he put in the best. When the outcome does not justify the inputs or when the vicissitude of life moderates the outcomes, then the victim is said to be “omebelu ma Chi ekwena”, meaning “one who did his best to succeed but it was not meant to be.” We, too, have many of such cases in Nnewi. It is a known practice till date that bachelors and married men don’t get same share of meat or drinks. Men are separated into Okokpolo (single) and Mbiuno (married) in Nnewi.
As I watched my 16-year-old son yesterday file out with his Mechanical Engineering classmates for matriculation, I prayed that God helps him achieve his desire to make a living out of cars, equipment and tools manufacturing. What Innoson is doing at Nnewi must have influenced his choice of course. I only hope he steadies his gaze and not end up becoming a banker like his father and mother, who studied Microbiology and Food Science & Technology respectively. I have just prayed and wish as a parent but the future of our children is like a pencil in the hands of God. I have done my bit.
19 February 2022