Article written by Tony Ogunlowo
If you smoke there’s a very good chance you’ll get cancer and it’ll kill you. But yet again so also can your family. Gone are the days when family used to be very close loving one another, looking out for one another and caring for one another.
Nowadays, unfortunately, we’re mostly at each other’s throat!
Our whole family structure has disintegrated over the years into a cesspit of sibling rivalry, jealousy, backstabbing, favouritism and many other bad things too numerous to mention here.
There is a common saying that says “we have met the enemy and they are us” or to translate it into a Yoruba saying of similar meaning – “the insects that have infested the bitter-leaf plant live on it”. Sometimes our own very worst enemies are the same very people we share a blood-line with. They are not foreigners or outsiders but people we often know intimately. Sad? But sometimes this is the actual ugly reality.
Rather disturbingly, parents who should be wiser are drawn into this maelstrom of wahala; playing ‘divide and rule’ games, ostracizing and alienating and encouraging sibling rivalry. In Nigeria today some parents have become Lords favouring only those, siblings, who bring the most Naira home, without questioning the source of their income; and who is prepared to do their bidding, right or wrong.
There are even some agbaya-parents out there who pit their siblings against each other and watch them fight, often to the death (- if you throw in some ‘juju’ and ‘spiritual attacks’), like gladiators of the old Roman Empire. Or they use their OWN children for juju stealing their souls to make money or using their body-parts to prolong their own lives. Read any newspaper and they are full of stories of parents who have taken their children down to the local babalawo to be used for one ritual or another.
Or some parents who see their siblings as unwanted baggage and pawn them off to the highest bidder. Again, in recent times, how many parents have been caught trying to sell their own children? – Countless!
And there’s the siblings themselves; constantly jealous of each other’s success enough to warrant spell-casting to wreck their own-bloods’ life – and that’s not discounting the antics of the extended family (- we all have them!) jealous that a relatives’ sibling is doing better than theirs!
Interestingly, new statistics in Nigeria suggest you are most likely to die at the hands of a family member, close or distant, than you are at the hands of an armed robber. How many ‘mysterious’ deaths do we hear about in families day in and day out? And this can either be through black magic or the use of hired assassins.
All this wahala for a being part of a family! They say you can choose your friends but not your family – you’re stuck with them!
And this is without talking about our own immediate families – the husband, wife and couple of kids setup. In Nigeria today with the economic situation the way it is families have to face additional problems. Poverty and lack of money, poor communication and lack of empathy, insecurity and sometimes infidelity can destroy a family faster than anything else. Peace of mind becomes a luxury as we worry about our lives, our futures and how we are going to carry on living.
So if you’re a smoker you’re must likely will die at the hands of your family than cancer! (-even though that’s not an excuse to carry on smoking!)