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Burden of old age; agony of ignorance

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By Francis Ewherido

A very gruesome murder caught my attention recently. One agbaya (a good for nothing person) butchered his 99-year-old aunt.

According to the report, the nephew is a gambler. He had “permed” some numbers and was sure of winning a betting game, but his dream did not come true. Mind you, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, played the same game, so his probability of winning was about 0.0000001! Yet, he blamed the aunt for bewitching him and making it impossible for him to win! He also accused the aunt of being responsible for his impoverished life. He not only killed, but beheaded the old woman.

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Sad as the tale is, it is commonplace in Africa. Underachieving children hold their aged parents responsible for their lack of success. In some situations, they kill their parents. Nephews and nieces blame their uncles and aunts for their lack of breakthrough in life. If these aunts and uncles do not have their own children, they are in big trouble. They get bullied or/and killed like the case above.

Old age has become a huge burden. Ironically, nobody wants to die young, we all want to die at a ripe old age. Some people, in fact, want to inherit the earth. So, we are all potential “suspects” in future unless our children, nephews and nieces become “successful.” Nature has not helped matters. As many people age, they wrinkle, shrink and begin to grow “ugly.” All of a sudden the dashing young man or ravishing beauty of yesterday becomes a bag of bones and cuts the image of that old, wicked witch or wizard in those horror movies. But it is a phase in life.

I am troubled by a few misconceptions and I want to share them with these people who see elderly parents, uncles, aunts and other relatives as witches and wizards that hinder their progress. Let us start with the life of our subject matter above. He wants to be rich by gambling. Go through the list of rich people globally and how they made their money.

I am yet, to see anyone whose source of wealth is gambling. People do not gamble their way to stupendous wealth and remain wealthy. Most wealthy people became rich through systems and processes that create, sustain and protect their wealth. Google lottery winners, who went home with millions of dollars; most of them have blown their entire winnings. Only a very negligible number are still around and doing well. Betting is not a career or source of livelihood. So why blame anybody for your financial predicament when you are not engaged in any meaningful economic activity?

I know quite a handful of people who blame older relatives for all their predicaments in life and I am going to categorise them presently. Some of them are like the servant in the Bible who dug his talent in the ground. They do not do anything; they do not know they can do anything. All they do is the blame game; lamentation is their hobby.

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There is another set. They are engaged in economic activities, but they will not commit to it properly. Some are not reliable and have lost many clients in the process. I know a tailor, a genius for that matter, who can disappear with your dress for six months. If the dress is meant for an occasion, what happens?

I know another genius, the best electrical person that has worked for me, but he is irredeemably fraudulent. I could not just put up with him and we had to part ways. The last time I saw him, he was not looking good. In spite of the prodigious talents, he cannot retain clients. How can a business survive without retaining clients? Tomorrow, he will blame some old people in the village for his financial misfortune.

And yet there is another group; they are immensely talented and good at their jobs, but price themselves miserably cheap. I used to know this mechanic; he was very good. He could spend a whole day fixing a car. When he is done, you ask him,”how much is your bill?””Oga, give anything when you get.”

Then if you insisted that he named his price, he would call one ridiculous amount for a whole day’s work! At a point, we thought he was making money from the spare parts he sourced. Even when we bought the parts or when no parts were replaced, he still charged ridiculously low. So how does he meet up with his financial obligations?  In no time, such a person will feel that he is hard working, but does not see the fruits of his labour. Witches and wizards must be after him!

Finally, we have those who are very good at what they do, charge premium for their services or products, but do not seem to know where all the money goes. When I was young, I knew somebody who made about N1,000 monthly. Mind you, a brand new Mercedes Benz 200 was N13,000 then, so you do the arithmetic. He was always broke before the middle of the month. It was a mystery and he decided to consult a native doctor.

Trust native doctors, he told him that before his N1,000 salary is handed over to him in an envelope at the end of every month, diabolical family members would have opened the envelope and spent the money! Looking back now, the man had two problems: he did not know how to say no to friends and family members who asked for assistance. Secondly, he loved life and lived it to the full. He was an unrestrained unrestrained and nobody can build a fortune with unbridled spending.

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Now the conclusion of the matter; most of the people I know, who blame parents, aunts and uncles for their lack of progress in life, are Christians. They serve an all-powerful and all-knowing God, who is above all principalities and powers. Yet witches and wizards are holding them down? Something is wrong somewhere.

Witches and wizards might be there, but look within yourself; there lies the solution to your problems: take a second look at your means for earning a living (that is, if you have one), how you manage your resources and your relationship with your God. One more thing, people who are so fixated on witches and wizards, do not make progress in life. They either live in a permanent state of anxiety or look for excuses instead of facing life’s challenges squarely. Cling to your God and face life squarely.

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