In the first and second parts of this article I talked about our political and religious bodies respectively. Now let me take if further down to the basic unit of any nation; the family…

Atiba was a loving husband and caring father until he lost his well-paying job. After several months of job hunting, one of his friends was able to find him a place in a private school. His new job as a teacher wasn’t paying like his former job as a factory manager. All efforts to get a better paying job proved abortive. As a result, he could not meet the needs of his family as they were already used to high life. As a factory manager, he was provided with accommodation and a car among other benefits, which were taken away after he was sacked. His wife, Salia, too did not help matters as she nag him always for his inability to provide adequately for the family like before. He became frustrated and sometimes he finds solace in alcohol and smoking. Whenever he was drunk, he beat his wife at the slightest provocation even in the presence of their only son, Rufai. Most times, Rufai would cry while trying to stop the father from beating his mother. Although, he was only 4 years old, he was quite aware of his father’s change of attitude.

One day, Atiba returned home from work and was welcomed home by his nagging wife with the complaint that electricity officials have disconnected them because they haven’t paid their bills in 3 months. Rather than comment on the wife’s complaint, he requested for his food. His wife then insisted he must tell her what he was going to do to get the officials reconnect them. This however got Atiba angry and he left home to hang out with his friends hoping that before he returns his wife may have found her sense of reasoning. On returning home in the night, he was already drunk. He stood at the door knocking but the wife responded that he should go back to where he was coming from. Even the intervention of their neighbours who came to plead with her to open the door was not enough to appease her. After waiting for about 2 hours outside, the wife finally opened the door for him. Atiba, who was visibly angry, pounced on her as soon as she opened the door. Unfortunately, the wife didn’t witness her husband go to jail. She collapsed and died in the hands of Atiba who descended on her with punches.

Rufai grew up with an aged grandmother who couldn’t take adequate care of him, both morally and intellectually. He grew from being a street hawker, to being a bus conductor, and ended up in jail after he became a street thug.  

The family is the smallest unit of the society. How a child turns out in future largely depends on the way he or she is brought up by the parents. Although, there are those who prove to be black sheep, whom despite their parents’ efforts still didn’t emulate them. However, most children see their parents as role models and if they lack exemplary character their children can emulate, they are bound do what they see their parents do. The inability of parents to manage their marital issues in private, but choose to wash their dirty linen in the presence of children is partly the reasons responsible for the various disorders in our society. Of course, improperly managed marital crisis is the reasons for divorce and when couples part ways, it is the children who suffer. In the case of Atiba, his son would always remember him for those punches that sent his mother to her early grave. The armed and pen robbers in our society are products of a family. Likewise the cultist, street urchin, fraudsters, terrorists and others are products of a family.

A violent and corrupt free society begins from the family. Parents must not only teach their children the way to go but must also live by those principles. A man who tells his son not to tell lies, but would always instruct the child to tell a person he does not want to see that he is not at home is already grooming a liar. Likewise, a woman who says to the daughter that anyone who steal is a thief, but hides stolen item in her daughter’s bag while on shopping with her in the supermarket is already grooming an armed robber. If a child is rude to elders or always hostile to others, he or she is probably portraying one of the parents’ characters. A man who out of anger or frustration like Atiba pounces on his wife probably has nothing good his son can emulate.

The task of nation building does not rest on our leaders alone, it starts from the family. Just as the Holy Book taught us, husbands must love their wives and live up to their responsibilities as the head of the family, so that their sons too can emulate them when they grow to have their own family. So also, wives must respect/be submissive to their husbands and be good role models to their daughters so that they also would take the same to their husbands’ house in future.

Shola Olayiwola is a freelance writer. He loves to write and defend the course of his country.