The Nigerian family entitlement mentality is something that really bothers me.
I get bothered at how relatives hound, torment and bother a particular individual because he/she is successful or seen to be successful. Reading the story of footballer Emmanuel Adebayor’s travails with his family just makes me sad because it touches on this thing that has eaten so deep into the Nigerian family psyche. Adebayor isn’t Nigerian but he might as well be with the kind of issues he keeps having with his relatives. Where everyone and their dog feels you owe them something because after all you are ‘rich and successful’.
I don’t have a problem with relatives seeking assistance from other wealthy relatives. I mean, people help people every day. What I do have a problem with is the sense of entitlement that comes with it most of the time. That sense that you’re owed. That sense that you deserve to be helped. That sense that things should just be handed to you. That’s the part I have a problem with. That feeling that Uncle Segun owes you something because after all before he made it big and became rich, he lived with your father. That feeling that Aunty Mabel is wicked because you simply can’t understand how she’s living at Lekki yet you are squatting with a friend at Akoka.
It is as annoying as it is irritating. No one owes you anything. No one is obligated to give you jack. People with this false sense of entitlement piss me off. They always feel they’re getting the wrong end of a deal. We heard the story of a transport company owner that was kidnapped and when the perpetrators were caught, lo and behold, his nephew was one of them. On being questioned about his motive for kidnapping his uncle, he lamented that his uncle was rich but too stingy. He had asked him for a loan but his uncle refused to give him and instead offered him a job. He didn’t understand how he could have such a rich uncle and still be looking for money.
The height of entitlement! Who owes you? Nobody. The only people that owe you anything are your parents but even that has a time frame. They definitely do not owe you everything till kingdom comes and what if you have no parents, how are you going to survive? If you’re an orphan, would you kill yourself because you don’t have parents that ‘owe’ you?
People with this mentality have no sense of personal responsibility. They fail to understand that the only person that owes you anything is YOU! Yourself. Nobody owes you anything. The sooner you realize that the better for you. The sooner you realize that even if your ‘rich’ relatives can help you it is their still prerogative to help or not.
People with this mentality are chock-full of poor morals. They are mostly lazy yet proud. A conundrum right? How can a lazy person be proud? But they are. They refuse to better themselves but will rather depend on handouts from rich relatives. They are usually ungrateful and never appreciative. Nothing is ever too good for them. They need a hand-out of five million naira to start a business, rich uncle gives them three million yet he’s a wicked man. Why, you ask. Well, how can he give them less than the money they demanded for? He ought to have given them the entire five million and maybe an extra two million as ‘jara’. That’s why he’s wicked. That’s what the sense of entitlement tells them. They are always greedy. Nothing is ever enough. They need help every time. The excuses vary. The money finished. The business folded up. Someone duped them. The money was stolen. The money was simply not sufficient and so on. The rich relative is expected to pony up and deliver anytime they come around with these excuses.
Nigerians in diaspora would have a lot to say about this. You get calls asking for the most ridiculous help. I was a student in the UK when a cousin called me and asked me to send her a thousand pounds. I was shocked. Where would I see one thousand pounds to send to you? Are you high? I was a student working two jobs. One thousand pounds for what? She said she needed it to buy a tv, a new phone and a laptop. I told her I didn’t have such money to send and promised to send her two hundred pounds the next week. She went on a long winding rant on how ‘London’ people were stingy, what was the point of me being abroad if I couldn’t help etc. I just hung up in the middle of her tirade and didn’t send a dime. She felt just because I was in England I had to be rich and I had to help her because we were cousins. Rich how? I was working my bones off in places she would never consider working back in Nigeria.
It’s because of this mentality you see family members at logger heads when a rich relative dies. Everyone wants a piece of them. Everyone feels they deserve a piece of them. It’s because of this mentality you see relatives sit on their lazy butt and feel they deserve to be supported by their rich relatives.It’s never bad to ask for help. People need help in various ways but it is bad to feel entitled to said help. Nobody owes you anything on this God’s green earth. You have a degree but you don’t want to get a job because you have a rich uncle who should help you. You better dust off your degree and go and hustle.
Yes, people that can help should help as long as you remember that they are NOT obligated to help you.
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