… leave our thief alone, just save us from this joint account tradition
Chief Geoffrey had nine wives who bore him ten sons and sixteen daughters. He shared his vegetable farmland to his nine wives individually, so they can feed their children from the vegetables. Eventually, some professional cooks from a big hotel admired the freshness of the vegetables in Chief Geoffrey’s household. So the hoteliers killed Chief Geoffrey, imprisoned his family and began collecting the vegetables for their hotel menu.
When people began criticizing the morality of the hotel management, they released Chief Geoffrey’s family. The hoteliers appointed four of Geoffrey’s sons to represent the whole family in negotiating the rent of their vegetable farmland. The hoteliers insisted on negotiating with the four appointed sons instead of the nine wives who owned the farmlands. So the hoteliers helped the four appointed sons subdue other members of the family who did not want the negotiation. The hoteliers suggested that the four sons create a position for a spokesperson which will rotate among the four. The nine wives, who are the original owners of the farmland have been subdued and made to beg food from the four sons.
The four sons demarcated the whole family into four sections among themselves. The spokesperson of the four sons assured the whole members of the family that they will be catered for. Each of the four sons also promised to take care of the members in their respective demarcations. So the hoteliers collect vegetables, and pay the money into a joint account that is only accessible to the spokesperson. The spokesperson distributes the money for the four sons to share for the whole family. The four sons distribute their own money for the family so they can buy food from the hotel or other restaurants.
Many members of the family were not getting enough chop-money from the family joint account. Each of the four sons would pass blame to the spokesperson for giving them small shares from the joint account. The four sons would urge their different members to wait for their turn to become spokesperson so they can take more money. In other cases, any of the four sons could advice his members to pray that the hoteliers will pay more money.
Sometimes, the spokesperson tries to defend himself by trying to expose or arrest a representative for diverting money. The spokesperson announces to members under a representative: “your representative is stealing your share of money, instead of using it to buy food for you.” Some favoured members of that particular section will insist that their representative is being persecuted by the spokesperson. “Yes, leave him, he is our own thief. You also steal from your own people and no one has arrested you. You allocated only small money to our representative and expect us to be quiet.”
Many observers continue to wonder why the members have not revolted against the family joint account tradition. The reasons may include:
- Each of the four sons represents about two or more of Geoffrey’s wives and about six of his children. So the representative could favour some people to support him against the others who are starved of funds. The struggle to attack or defend the representatives between the favoured and starved members will distract them from the representatives’ looting.
- The four representatives will always blame either the hoteliers or the spokesperson for insufficient funds. This will distract the members of the section from the tricks of their representatives.
- At death each of the four sons’ representative position is replaced by another person from the whole family. So some members choose to wait to get a chance to enjoy their own turn instead of addressing the joint account tradition.
- All of them still feed from the same joint account which is managed by the spokesperson. So everybody is eager to get more from the joint account. The scattered family members will continue to support “their own thief” because it is a joint account.
If each family take charge of their farmland and maintain their separate accounts, the children will hold their people responsible.
…Nigeria is made up of different ethnic communities who had control of their lands and rich
resources. They continued managing these resources locally till the colonial masters seized the land by gun force. When the world reacted, the colonial masters granted independence after installing a new form of government. The new form of government muddled up the ethnic distinctions by forcefully merging the properties of the individual ethnic communities. The new government still obtain directives from the former colonial masters as new allies for supply of resources.
It appears Nigerian government was created to oversee security and supply of resources to the colonialist in exchange for money. The resources would not be secured for foreign supply if they were left in the hands of the ethnic communities. Hence, every resource must be under the joint account of a central government for easy business transaction.
Second, they had to use the resource money to pacify their people in order to import their needs from the West.
Third, the different sections of the new government will be responsible for obtaining resource money from the central government. Then, they share to the different ethnic communities who have been placed under their offices.
PITIABLE STORY OF CHIEF GEOFFREY’S JOINT FAMILY ACCOUNT CONTINUES…
The main agony in Chief Geoffrey’s house
Most of Chief Geoffrey’s grandchildren have been denied access to their vegetables for learning how to cook modern dishes. If they knew how to cook, they would be cooking their own food and even selling some to the hoteliers. Instead, the four representatives brought people to explain the process of cooking to these grandchildren, without giving them access to the vegetables to practice cooking. When the descendants agitate, the four sons insist that these grandchildren have not become professional like the hoteliers.
Though the vegetable-access denial is still on, the family members continue to fight one another when sharing the vegetable-money. They don’t cook their vegetables, they only sell, fight while sharing money, and eventually buy food from external hoteliers.
WHAT SHOULD THEY DO?
- The whole members should forget about their original family under the nine wives and merge to become one. Hence, there would not be any need for distinction between being a child of wife 1, 2 or 3. Just forget about your original mother and start surviving wherever you find yourself.
- The whole members should begin praying, fasting and paying tithes so that the four sons will repent and begin sharing the money well. Even the four chosen sons join in praying and paying pastor-tithes so that the family will be better organized.
- The members could urge the four chosen sons to be more honest in sharing the vegetable-money. The four sons have always and will continue promising honesty in sharing the vegetable-money.
- The members could retrace their steps to their maternal bloodline. Each of the nine wives would gather their children and grandchildren to demand ownership of their own vegetable farmland. Then they could decide whether to cook and sell their vegetable or to rent it out to hoteliers. The nine mothers could agree to reorganize themselves and be contributing some percentage of their harvests to a spokesperson. The nine mothers would then agree to be sending a trusted son/daughter as an accountable representative to the general family meetings.
- Though the ‘chosen sons’ will not want a change in style, the position of the four sons could still be utilized to stabilize the family relationship. Wives with smaller number of children/descendants could choose to merge with other compatible wives to form a sizeable quorum. Thus they can choose a representation of four, five, six or seven sons, instead of the hotelier-imposed four.
The four sons may not want the nine Geoffrey wives to take over the charge of their original farmlands. They may be afraid that they will lose the lion (abi elephant) share they usually take from the vegetable farmland rent. However, when the wives bond individually with their descendants, their demand may not be deniable to the interfamily community.
I am not talking about the system of governance in Nigeria and its ethnic communities today ooh… I am only talking about Chief Geoffrey, whose glorious and prosperous family has been reduced to begging food from hoteliers. Please if you have any other suggestion that can restore Chief Geoffrey’s family, kindly comment and share.
You yourself, consider it: Can you maintain a joint account with all your brothers, submitting your signatory power to a firstborn of the family?