The Failure of Fathering

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

The circumstances behind this photograph are too painful and mind boggling to recount here. As the details have already gone viral but irrespective of the heinous actions these teenagers committed the truth is simply that no matter how hard we try to color or panel beat the situation the spike in kidnapping, rape, substance abuse, suicide, vandalism, crime and other forms of vice pervading our nation are all symptoms of the breakdown of traditional family values.

We are all responsible either by acts of commission or omission of making monsters out of these kids because the virus causing their ailment is what is known as “father absence”
Being a father is the world’s most difficult job. It is beyond the culmination of our lust and not a job description of just physical presence but of psychological relevance. It is being there taking responsibility, communicating and mentoring. Paying the bills and providing for them is mandatory but not enough. That is why the Biblical definition of being an orphan is fatherlessness.

Th

e main challenge is that no matter how well you package your children as long as those they hang-out with are badly packaged yours are in constant danger. It is called Peer Pressure. There is no perfect formula against it but being there for them is a good beginning. Then there is wisdom, tact and good luck. Being strict and vigilant monumentally helps. It is however a double edged sword because the teenage years are the most radioactive. At that age all systems are at peak performance and willing to experiment and be inventive. It is a precarious stage of experimentation.

What therefore is the best way forward? Fathers must take back their children by spending more time with them. What teenagers hate most is being judgmental on them. So create ways and means to channel their enormous energies and imagination. Back in the day there were outlets of positive character formation and confidence building Boys Scouts, Man o’ War and so on. Now its social media all the way!

It is within that double edged sword context that we must find the solutions. Fathers must become more media savvy and checkmate our young in the battleground that takes so much of their attention.
There is however nothing that beats spending more time with them that is why it is called “quality time” Give them freedom…….wahala don’t give them freedom…..wahala. I do not subscribe to the Hausa adage of “Ka haifi yaro, baka haifi halin sa ba” – Fathering a child does not make you responsible for his faults. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a very lame excuse. Their faults are ours. Without teaching them about taking responsibility how can they transit from being boys to men? The teenagers in the above picture certainly have or had fathers. There must be a missing link somewhere. Exploring these missing links by all fathers is the most veritable solution for us despite our social class, religious and ethnic differences.

We are not perfect but as fathers we must constantly improve our brand equity. After all it was another father like us who ought to have known better that raped an underage Busola Dakola. This kind of double standard confuses young minds. Lord Have Mercy!

The Perfect Story for Kaduna

With the recent crisis in Kaduna State, Northern Nigerian, which broke out on Thursday 18th October, 2018, the almost immediate spill over on Sunday 21st October, 2018, and then the Friday 26th October, 2019; this latest one following this breaking news:

“KIDNAPPED AGOM ADARA MURDERED

The king of Adara, Kachia LGA, Southern Kaduna, His Highness, Dr Maiwada Galadima, Agom Adara, who was kidnapped on the Oct 19, on his way back from a meeting with Gov El-Rufai has been murdered after the payment ₦5 million ransom.”

The criticism has been centered on this being a political killing….

Some want it to be known that the State Government under the leadership of Mal. El- Rufai has shown it’s clear disdain for southern sections of the State because of the incessant problem in these areas.

The Fulani herdsmen tagged conflict in these southern most part of the state has not fully abated & a majority of these sections had voted against the ruling party in previous elections, regardless of the official results announced after the last LG elections.

Governor El-Rufai’s utterances & actions, since assuming office has been said by some critics to have breeded the current crisis and killings going on in Kaduna state. To these persons El-Rufia’s utterances have always been laddened with hate for these particular section of the state.

Watch this video https://t.co/oyxtG897V5

video of elrufai

But though El-Rufai is not known for moderation & tact in his blunt utterances, but he is not entirely wrong.

It is true that the narrative on BOTH sides has been lace with more exclusive undertones than unconditional peaceful overtures.

The Story of Kaduna’s reoccurring ethnic-religious crisis is that of endless reprisals.

I read the perfect most story recently that all the people in Kaduna must read.

A delightful cousin of mine had put it up on whassap.

“At the time of Obatala The King in Yoruba land,
Three people came to him dragging a young man with them and said to him:
Kabiyesi!!! (Your highness) This man has murdered our father.

Obatala: Why did you kill their father?

Young man: I’m a goatherd. My goat ate from their father’s farm, and he threw a stone at my goat and it died; so I also took the stone and threw it at their father and he also died.

Obatala: Because of this, I pass judgment on your charge of murder by sentencing you to death.

The Young man said:
I ask for 3 days before you execute the judgment. My late father left me some wealth and I have a sister to take care of. If you kill me now, the wealth and my sister will have no guardian.

Obatala: Who will stand for your bail?

Young man: Looking into the crowd, he pointed at Lamurudu.

Obatala asked: Do you agree to stand for him, Lamurudu?

Lamurudu answered, Beeni (yes).

Obatala enquired further: You agree to stand for someone you don’t know, and if he doesn’t return you’ll receive his penalty.

Lamurudu answered: I accept.

The young man left but after two days, and into the third day there was still no sign of him.

Everyone was very afraid for Lamurudu who had accepted to receive the penalty of death if the man failed to return.

Just before it was time for dinner, the Goat Herdsman appeared looking very exhausted and he stood before Obatala.

The Young man spoke up: I have handed the wealth and the welfare of my sister to my uncle and I am back to receive the penalty.

You may execute the penalty now.

In great shock and surprise, Obatala said: And why did you return after having a chance to escape the death penalty?

Young man:

I was afraid, it will appear that humanity has lost integrity and the ability to fulfill promises kept”.

Obatala turned and looked at Lamurudu and asked him: And why did you stand for him?

Lamurudu responded:

I was afraid, it might appear that humanity have lost the will to do good to others.”

These words and events moved the brothers who had wanted justice for their father’s death very deeply and they decided to forgive the young goat herdsman.

In furious anger, Obatala asked “Why?!!!”

They said:

We are afraid, it will appear as though forgiveness has lost place in the heart of humanity.

I have also share this beautiful message and passed it on with the hope that it might be a reminder of how forgiveness is an integral aspect of peace. Such that doing good may not be ever lost to us.

I encourage all the sides in Kaduna to embrace peace, forgive & forget all the ills supposedly done to them in the past or present. Let it pass on, or else I fear that…. Our humanity is slowly being lost.

Be safe & God bless you always.