Shooting in Connecticut and Matters Arising in Nigerian Families in the US – By Paul Omoruyi

Shooting in Connecticut and Matters Arising in Nigerian Families in the US – By Paul Omoruyi

 The grotesque and senseless killing of 20 innocent kids at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in the United States is something every parent dread daily in the US. Early reports already show that the shooter’s parents were divorced since September 2009 and the mother had custody of the shooter. The mother had exposed the shooter to guns!

With the unprecedented divorce rate in the Nigerian community in the US, Nigerian families in the US are increasingly becoming engrossed in all the family related patterns and miasma leading to these kinds of incidents.

Early this year, I wrote an article in an African Abroad newspaper that was widely published in the New York area. This writer has been disturbed for some time now about the state of the Nigerian marriage and family in the United States. Below is the original article:

Saving the Nigerian Family in the US – Nigerian Men Regretting Getting Married to Nigerian Women in the US?

My phone rang. It was a call from my buddy that we started life together in the US. We talked about those early days when we just immigrated. Those are the days that will remain etched in our minds and indelible in our memories. Like so many Nigerians, we worked and went to college full time non-stop for many years concurrently as if we were machines. The impetus to achieve the American dream and not disappoint our families was the catalytic enzyme running through our veins. Till this day, we still cannot fathom how we did it. But we did anyway. It’s one of those kinds of experience that you can only say “if not God”.

We were in our twenties with all the Adrenaline and testosterones running wild. The stories of Nigerian men that have been messed up by “child support” because they got married to “akata” were sufficient enough for us to respect ourselves and control our sexual drives. My friend would always say “I go just die or go back to Naija than for me to find myself in a child support situation. Akata no go fit cook Naija food and then she go come still take me to child support? Over my dead bodi”. These concerns (or should I say fear?) were reasons my buddy did not go into any relationship with some of his college female friends who were not Nigerians. He wanted a Nigerian woman as a wife so they can speak pidgin English together, eat Egusi and Okro soup yanfuyafu (otherwise with Akata wife, na Burger King go kill am!). It was all too common a joke back in the days.

Many years have since passed. My guy is married now with a degree attached to his name and has a middle-class job. Obviously, you can say he’s living the American dream. As we reminisced and laughed about those Kodak moment days, in a split second unguarded moment, he suggested that there was nothing special anymore about getting married to a Nigerian woman in the US. “They are now even worse than the so called akata”, he said. The comment struck me and I pushed a little for him to elucidate. I listened in awe as he told me what he’s experiencing at home. While he poured his heart to me, he kept asking me “do you think say Akata or even Caribbean woman go behave like that”? Apparently, it appears his expectations have been dashed.

One that struck me most was the story of a young Nigerian teenage girl living in the shelter. Her Nigerian parents are now divorced. According to her, her parents’ marriage broke after her mother systematically stopped cooking for the family, became increasingly narcissistic and disrespectful to her dad. As if that was not enough, her dad was infuriated when he discovered that her mom had secretly bought a piece of property in Nigeria without his knowledge. Two years later, the parents divorced. Unfortunately, the young lady became pregnant while still in high school. “I just could not stand my mom and live with her. If my parents were still married, I would not have fallen for this stupid crap”, she was quoted as saying, as tears rolled down her eyes.

Although I understand that these narratives might be loop-sided but it seems to typify what most Nigerian men are complaining about lately behind closed doors. There are numerous cases of marital fuss and upheaval that have permeated Nigerian families in the US in recent years. Some people say it is the American culture shock that is rocking the boat of traditional Nigerian family structure in the US. Others claim that it is Nigerian women narrow-mindedly over stretching the American provisions. While some lay blame on Nigerian men refusing to wake up to the realities of the disparities between the American and Nigerian approach to marriage.

It is heartbreaking to hear a Nigerian man refer to his wife as my “baby mother” and a Nigerian woman says my “baby father”. Just some couple of years ago, this was a taboo terminology in the Nigerian marriage. It was actually used to surreptitiously mock the so called “akata”. Now it’s becoming a common mantra in the Nigerian community as single mothers and fathers balloon to an alarming and astronomical rate.

This is no time to pass blame or point fingers or to clamor over who is right or who is wrong. The hand writing is on the fall. This writer is whole-heartedly concerned and perturbed by the downward spiral of our marriages and families in the US. The younger generation is watching, confused and scared to death of what to expect from taking that marriage bold step.

In the spirit of finding a solution, I will proffer the following suggestions to reduce this scourge that is eating deeply into the fabric of our families:

1. Each spouse should not think that the world revolves around you only –Either my way or no way mind set is a recipe for marital failure.

2. Think twice “welu welu” before you let loose the heavens and lock that door against your spouse – you might be endangering your children’s future for life!

3. Marriage is a symbiotic and not a parasitic relationship.

4. At life’s end, the fight over dollars will be no more. Your spouse and your children will become more important than anything else.

5. There is no perfect woman or perfect man. The only perfect marriage is one that the man and woman have learned how to resolve their differences and work together through thick and thin.

People, we are better than this. Let us all fine tune our dispositions and propensities to make our marriages and families happier right here in the US. We have come too far away from home to kill ourselves in a distant land. The system is ready to tear us apart if we open that door. Do you have an opinion or experience that you would like to share? Shoot me an email. May God bless you, your family and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.






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  1. ekisbaby says:

    Wow! This is something i had always wanted to read,i pray u spread this let more eyes read..thank u for making my day

  2. Dr Awolesi says:

    Well done bro, read your article and I wanted to inform you that it wasn’t just Nigerian Families in the diaspora but also at home in Nigeria, The several years of corruption has permeated our national lifes such that our Moral values and ideas are at an all time low, Things we grew up knowing were bad are now otherwise the In-thing cos if your are not doing them u are old school, Marriages now are conveniences, I remember advising a colleague and friend about getting married to a UK nurse for more time to study her and he said that he was ready to marry at least thrice in his lifetime stating that he needed this marriage to bring out his family from poverty, am not married and am scared of marriage, I pray we can bring back our moral values and ideas, God Bless.

  3. Abdullahi Umar says:

    I am a fanatic of the Nigerian culture until I met this Akata who’s not like the Nigerian Yakatas divorcing husbands. I will like to maintain my fanaticism but adopt a dual pluralism approach. Marriage is knowing how to disagree agreeably. Men (Africans)still want the woman staying in the west to be like sacred cows ready for slaughter forgetting that their eyes done shine. I think we need to fine a balance between symbiotic and parasitic parables of marriage. Let our men know how to cook that Aguisi because you sabi say Nigeria is not a stone throw. My Akata once told me that she can’t live without me, I was laughing inside and hoping that the D-day of live the house will come. Today she knows and does all the Nigerian dishes. If someone truly loves you he will go that length far to make you happy. Are we making our Nigerians Mummies happy? Are we treating them the way they see other women being treated? I mean here in the US? I believe the tables have turned. The men like western men need to do more to keep our happy Nigerian culture and family. She is just asking me what I was writing about, I told her my people are adopting your bad culture of divorce. 10 years is good enough to say may Akata no be Yakata. Pray for your personal somebody when you wan marry, long live Nigerian families. Devil is a liar so lets work on ourselves for the sake of family values please.

  4. Farouk Salim says:

    I am still happily married to a Nigerian woman, but our imports do not really appreciate the amount work and sacrifice it took to get them this. “Ready made” life we have waiting for when they get here . Also for most of time stopped when we get here, we never realize how much “home” has changed. Many girls marry just to come here just some of our people do greencard marriage!

  5. simon says:

    Good write up,it particularly portrays how our ladies behave,once they are exposed.

  6. Pat says:

    Good write up.

    How many people would read this write up? How many?. Nigerians have suddenly lost the reading culture.

    The problem with us is that, we copy more than the owner. Our Pastors claim to know the bible more than those that brought it to us. The Nigerian Man knows the best car in the world. How many should I say.

  7. chukwuazor okonkwo says:

    Sir, i would like to comment on your article in saharareporters, first as a statistic and secondly a Nigerian in America.i have been privileged to have debated on the reason for the high rate of divorce and can tell you that expectations and economy happens to be the lowest common multiple. if you may permit me to explain.

    1) expectations: Most people out of ignorance is still under the illusion that every body in America is leaving the dream, we also contribute to these expectation when we send pictures in face book etc with flashy cars, comfortable apartments and expensive wines and tag it this is how i roll. in fairness the car / apartment might be his/hers, but no body has bothered to ask what do you do. we are so blinded by the swagg that we forget to ask questions. we travel for Christmas with our tax return or savings and ball for 3 weeks, its automatically assumed that we have arrived. what happens?, every body now wants to come to America by hook or crook. those that succeed are hit with the first disappointment when they come to find out that you are a cab driver or ice cream seller. its even worse when he/she finds out that his work and educational experience in Nigeria is almost not counted, so they have to start from the bottom, McDonald. this is even more complicated if the migrant happens to be a big boy / girl back home. now frustration sets in accusations of being lied to comes in that spells doom they move out try there luck, realize that this is america and wants to come back. unfortunately its too late then.

    Economy: you might want to relate this with educational and work experience stated above. in most situation people want the family to move out of poverty and in america their is only 2 ways, education and crime. I believe most families opt for education. while the man is working and driving cab the wife goes to school, most likely nursing, the least investment with the biggest return. She gets over time at work, buys a house and a new car, like they say in Nigeria, level done change, how you wan take do am. you stay in her house, drive her car and still want to be the man. something have to give. pride sets in. you are no longer a man and she is no longer proud of you. level don change.I can tell you also that most men don’t help matters, they now sit and let the wife make the money pay the bills and are still expected to cook and submit when and how he wants. something has to give. when you add some mother in-laws to this equation, disaster happens to be the end point.I believe most men would rather marry oyibo because with them its about love and not levels. The problem is just our culture, where you want to, 1 day go home and have your kids take care of you in old age, rather than dumping you in some old people home. you also want to be part of decision making, where the kids are involved. say you want them to come home and go to secondary school or you know things like that, where you know you can get a buy in if married to a Nigerian than oyibo. Don’t get me wrong i am married to a Nigerian, my second, oh yes people suggested i see a psychiatrist. but so far so good. well she hasn’t taken her nclex yet so we will find out when level changes. but in the meantime i keep improving my self as well so when her level dey change mine too dey change no shaking