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Andrew’s Double Mind About Checking Out! - Family - Nairaland

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Andrew’s Double Mind About Checking Out! by sayso: 7:38am On Feb 26, 2013
Guys a wonderful concerned friend did a write up about Andrew's checking out in those days and what the new Andrews are doing now. Please read up and make your honest comments.Is this a time bomb waiting to explode or has it already started? How can we salvage this?

I remember campaigns about “Andrew checking out” a couple of years back. The term referred to those that felt Nigeria was frustrating and believed living abroad will be better. This trend coincided with the brain drain syndrome where a lot of our academics went abroad where their contributions to human development could be appreciated than the decay in our University systems and series of unending industrial actions aimed at getting the government of the day to give education the focus it deserved.
Then, once Andrew made up his mind, there was no looking back! He took his bag and family and went where ever his heart finds rest! Not so for the latter day Andrews’. The Andrews’ of these days would rather check out their families to Canada or USA and stay back in Nigeria to earn the money to support the family abroad. These set of Nigerians cut across sectors; politicians who win elections here while living abroad simply come back without their families (this is a reverse check-out!) with our state governors falling under this category, victims of American lottery or Canadian immigration programs (21st century or second generation slaves) and Diplomats or Oil industry personnel who tasted the milk and honey in living abroad while on cross postings and will never want their children to have anything to do with Nigeria again as if themselves that grew up and studied in Nigeria lost out in life. The later is the target of this write up and it can be argued that up to thirty percent (30%) of the younger population in the industry within the ages of 35 to 45 are involved, thus it is a very serious issue that needs a national debate.
The arguments have been, oh it’s the women that will not allow the family come back home after their assignment abroad, there are no good schools to cater for the kids after tasting real education, no electricity and bad infrastructure etc.
To be fair to this group, on infrastructure, Nigeria is really a difficult place to live. I remember the very dirty scenes and traffic that confront me around Orile bus stop in Lagos everyday on my way to and from work. It was enough to unsettle one for the evening. Then check out the heat you will have to contend with when you get home or the noise if you are among the few that run generators. I ones had to write my neighbor begging him to turn off his generator by mid-night so we could sleep in peace! This contrasts with the serenity, beauty and peace you experience working abroad. Roads are all tarred, flowers smile and cheer at you as you cruise home from a hard day’s work! You can be sure to turn on the air conditioner and sleep with all eyes closed or do some further work at home if you have need to.
I do not however buy the excuse that it’s the women that persuade the family to stay behind or the lack of quality education in Nigeria since there are American and British schools in Nigeria.
I believe that most of the folks are driven not just by the infrastructure and other excuses but fear of the future of Nigeria and what it holds for their kids. They would rather have the kids study abroad so that they can be competitive and get high paying jobs if they decide to come back to Nigeria or they can be sure to get a good employment abroad when they finish their studies.
Some Andrews’ have a clear cut strategy to do the shuttling for a couple of years and then quit. That is having the family repatriated to Nigerian to join their patriarch or have him relocate abroad so the family can be together again. Some others don’t have such a strategy and will wait and see what the future will bring (maybe another cross posting). To this later group, is the possibility that they may have checked out because they saw their colleagues do the same without thinking through the implications of a separated family. I have been privileged to experience to some degree what such a separation can do to families been the kid of a federal civil servant. With my dad visiting so many parts of this country on transfers, the family had to settle in a particular city at a point and my dad continued with his transfers only to come back on retirement. The early days of that retirement witnessed a lot of issues because the couple appeared to have lost touch with each other.
With Andrew working in Nigeria and visiting his family in Canada four times (let me be generous about this one) a year, his is even more difficult. How does he inculcate into his kids the fear and discipline that is supposed to come from a father if he is relying on SKYPE and FACEBOOK to communicate with his kids? How does he meet his wife’s conjugal needs and vis versa? What is the definition and purpose of family? How can you have a family and still come home to an empty house everyday in your prime time in life when you are supposed to bond with those kids. If you don’t enjoy their company now, is it when they enter boarding schools and off to universities and then live on their own that you will enjoy them? Life is too short to hope on that. And we have not even talked about the financial and travelling risks associated with these movements.
Andrew needs to re-evaluate his strategy. He should simply make up his mind, pack his bag and go abroad if he wants to enjoy the beauty of living abroad. He may only have to compromise a little with respect to his earnings but that is nothing compared to the love of a child running into your arms when you come back from work especially in this valentine season. He can decide to bring the family home to Nigeria and make do with the quality of private educational institutions that may mimic what he will miss abroad. Whatever option he chooses, he needs to make the call now before it’s too late.
Post script: ‘my friend will rather title this piece absentee husband”
Obidike Peter
Sunday 17th February

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