Women's Day: How My Assets Should Be Shared When I Die - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Monday, March 7, 2022

Women's Day: How My Assets Should Be Shared When I Die

                     • Igbo women 

| The Daily Crucible | Tuesday, March 8, 2022

By Ikenga Ezenwegbu

After a deep thought, review of history and events around many households in Nnewi and elsewhere, I decided to do something. I wanted to reset the brain of my son as early as possible so that he would set his priorities right early in his life. I have been blessed with three children in this sequence: girl, boy and a girl. The oldest is 17+ and the youngest is 14+. 

My son was barely 10 years old when I summoned him and his sisters to my bedroom for an important meeting. I had been calling them for family meeting since the last child was three. In those meetings, serious issues they deemed serious were discussed including performance in school, who did what or that and also my own serious issues as per the kind of friendship they keep. But that day’s meeting was different. I decided to discuss an issue arising from a rather premature question my son thoughtfully asked me a day before. I needed to nip something in the bud. 

The topic of the day was “who inherits my assets when I die”. My son spoke first. He claimed that he knew Nnewi tradition. He asked if the sisters wouldn’t be getting married. Sharp boy. I caught his drift. And the sisters shouted “and then?” I cut in. I didn’t want a quarrel that would burn off their attention energy. And I began to tell them my mind. 

“My son, note that you’re the second child in this family while Mimi, your sister, is the first child and as such the leader in the family when your mum and I have gone. She shall be the custodian of my estates which all of you would have nearly equal shares in the ratio of 33.5%(first child/daughter), 33.3%(my son) and 33.2%(last daughter). The estates to be owned together exclude the family house in the village which belongs to you as a male child because your sisters are not expected to bring home their husbands to live with them in the family house except they are visiting. However, your sisters shall still have a plot of land each in Nnewi should they decide to settle at home for one reason or the other. All these are already in my written will so that nobody will change it,” I concluded without expecting any questions. My daughters were gleaning with happiness while my son simply asked, “Daddy, have you finished, I want to go complete my school assignment?” I also got the message. Is he not my son? I was even more mischievous at his age. 

Ever since I made my position on inheritance known to my children, I have been looking out for its impact on my son. I was overjoyed when one of my friends told me that his own son told him that my son said that he needed to work harder that I, his father, said that he would have to share whatever I have with his sisters and that his elder sister would have a veto power on how my assets could be treated whenever I was gone. And my son has shown a tremendous mentality in his undertakings. He has been working hard to succeed. He doesn’t feel entitled to anything. He wants to make his own money. I pray he doesn’t derail. I’m sure that he doesn’t like my decision. I like it that way. 

My first child, a daughter, has since taken leadership responsibility very seriously by setting examples in scholarship and behaviour. She doesn’t want to be found wanting. She cleared her school certificate exams at a sitting, gained admission at 16. My son would not want to be insulted. He bettered the academic achievements of his elder sister even though he had to shuttle between the hospital and WAEC exam hall. He clearly didn’t want devil to shame him through common food poisoning and malaria. I await the reply from my last girl, who will write her school certificate exam next year. Everyone wants to prove their mettle. I’m enjoying the healthy competition. My byline to them is that “I will support your lofty aspirations”. And I have been doing that. Tomorrow now, Ifenkili, my wife, will claim that she did all the work. God is my witness. 

Today, 8th March is International Women’s Day. The girl child needs to be treated differently. She needs to know that she can excel beyond her dreams; that she could be a man in everything except in morphology. Our daughters should be encouraged to achieve their life ambitions. The married ones should be supported by their husbands to reach the zenith of their chosen professions or careers. Women are not only good for escorts, bed-warming, baby-making or homemaking. They can also lead. Many top multinationals in the world and over 6 Nigerian banks are being led by women or have female CEOs and they are doing well. Many countries in the world have had and still have female presidents and powerful female prime ministers. 

Look around you and see that an empowered daughter takes care of her parents at old age better than the sons. So, why are we parents, especially fathers, acting against our long-lasting interests? Let’s all empower the females around us for a better world. 

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