Marriage, Child, and Poverty.
“I suffered first as a child from poverty, so I think it is only natural to use my pen to speak for people who are unable to speak for themselves” BunduForAfrikaI have walked in many cities and towns and villages in Nigeria, a particular eyesore that deserves the utmost attention has been neglected. I would not have minded if this eyesore will not have wider unintended consequences on society as a whole. I was born and bred in the South-Western part of Nigeria, I’ve lived all my life here and I know all there is to know about the culture and traditions of my people. In this part of the world, there is a cultural contradiction between marriage and childbearing. This is a society that frowns against giving birth to kids without taking care of them while at the same time calling for your head for not marrying on time, not giving birth on time, or daring to think of not giving birth until you are mentally and financially capable.On the streets of Nigeria’s cities, towns, and villages lie millions of homeless kids, out-of-school kids that lacked the basic necessities of life. No shelter, no food, no clothes. These kids are exposed to many dangerous vices of society, vices that are a threat to the peace and stability of the same cities, towns, and villages that birthed them. The north is not bleeding because we failed the adults who are now bandits, no! North is bleeding because we failed them as kids by denying them a proper life, they were denied education, food, clothes, and shelter. The result of those denials is them becoming adults capable of denying us social security, peace, and stability.There is nothing wrong with getting married as poor or struggling individuals, after all, it takes two to tangle and it might be the companionship of the marriage that you needed to scale up in life. What is wrong is bringing a child into poverty. It is unfair to the kids, bad for you, and detrimental to society. I grew up in a poor family, and I can tell you it is a life experience I don’t want my kids to go through. The majority of people that grew up in poor backgrounds don’t want such again. The lack of basic things in life is one huge experience I had while growing up, days of hunger, days of no school cos I don’t have the basic materials needed by a student, years of hawking different wares to support the family. I was born to two hustlers who left home as a young adults and traveled to another state in order to make a living. My existence was neither ready for nor planned, it was a play turned into reality. They don’t even understand what parenting is but they gave birth to me. My father acknowledged the pregnancy and left never to look back again till now, dead or alive I sincerely do not know and I’m still battling with the effect of missing someone you’ve never met or experienced. In year 1, my mom dropped me off with her mom and left too. She always come around to check on me, I did not know her to be my mom until I was 10 years old. She never acted as one.In Nigeria today, poverty is endemic. More than 70% of the population is living on less than $1 per day, this is around #600 per day. In this harsh economic reality, Nigerians still get married and give birth like pigs to children who don’t have social support, kids that will go hungry, kids that will be denied education, nutritious food, and a healthy environment to grow. Are we not scared of the crime rate? Are we not bothered by the insecurity and instability of Nigeria? I feel bad walking on the streets seeing these kids in tattered clothes, hunger-ridden faces, begging for money, then I begin to wonder where their parent is. The irresponsibility of government in providing social services for all and sundry should encourage responsibility on the part of the citizenry by not birthing kids they cannot take care of, citizens should not compound the problem by reckless decisions. The best way to solve an issue is to tackle it from the root, we cannot solve the crime by making our laws strict, enforcing them, and building more correctional facilities, no! The best method is to remove the factors responsible for the crime. These kids deserve better from us, they do not deserve a life of denial. You deserve better too, away from the pressure of huge responsibilities of parenting that is beyond your mental and financial capacity. Marriage, parenting, and poverty are too serious issues to be making reckless decisions about them. I know there are social, religious, and cultural conditions that have formed the foundation of your beliefs around these issues but then I think you will agree with me that your reality is a true representation of your self than what you believe. Reality-based decisions are better than the decision made based on the illusions in our heads. You can marry late, you can adopt children and treat them as your own, you might not marry at all, Not giving birth is not a crime. Don’t be deceived, your beliefs are short time rules made humans, they do not reflect scientific or logical analysis.
Abdulwaheed Abass Ayinde Apena-Ola(BunduForAfrika)