One of the best things any parent can leave for not only their children, but for posterity, is a good legacy. It's actually supposed to be the right of every child. I will also add that one of the best legacies there are, is a good name. This is the reason why a popular Igbo adage says that, 'eziafaka ego' meaning that a good name is worth more than money. I am a firm believer of that school of thought and will always choose a good name over money, no matter what.Today in our society, money and the love of it has caused a lot of unrepairable damages in so many different ways as has been reflected in families, the church, schools and society at large. Today, for instance, our country Nigeria has remained in the black book of so many countries all over the world all because of activities bordering on either the use or misuse of money and a general negative impact that hovers around it. It is in this country that billions and trillions of money have been discovered in people's homes stashed away either in their ceilings or some secret room, away from the prying feelers of security operatives. The crazy thing is, when the whooping amounts of these figures are mentioned, it makes one wonder what manner of contraption we are actually domiciled in. It is in this country that senators, politicians and the likes of them hide away millions of dollars, pound sterling and Euros in foreign banks and either forget all about those monies in the fear of being caught, only to be discovered by the foreign banks and exposed on the international stage and yet, they go about their daily activities here as though nothing happened. For indeed, who will bring them to book. This is a country where the wife of a governor will travel for a conference or social visit as the case may be and have with her, a long list of travel companions in the name of having an entourage, and did you just ask at whose expense the bills would be made? The state or country, of course. And yet, it is in this same country that a generality of her citizenry cannot afford to eat three square meals per day, pay school fees as and at when due or even pay their house rents when they should without first being harassed by the landlord. Fact is, we live in a crazy society where moral values are no longer appreciated or built. Father figures are no longer in existence. Mentorship no longer thrives. The adage about good names being more valuable than money seems to have taken a back seat and that's where the problem lies.
A few months ago, the very foundation of this country shook with the news of a high profile notorious armed robber cum kidnapper that was caught in the city of Lagos. Nothing else was discussed in the media and the airwaves but his dealings with the people he extorted millions of dollars and millions of naira from as ransom. I'm talking about the 36year old Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike, popularly called Evans. He was a real terror and heartless operator who kept his victims in custody for as long as six or seven months until they paid up their ransom to the last naira, pound or dollar. I found it particularly painful when I found out that he had a wife and about five children. I couldn't believe he had a family and yet chose to live that kind of life all because of money. It is really so sad. I saw his pictures in so many tabloids and indeed the social media where he was handcuffed alongside his gang. I asked myself how his family would feel, seeing their breadwinner, being declared a criminal in public glare. I understand his wife claimed not to know that the husband was a criminal. That might be true, much as I doubt it. The pertinent question, however is, what becomes of her and her children? Will they ever be able to shake off the shame? Will their lives ever be the same again? Emphatically no! He committed all those crimes, but the worst of all his crimes was leaving a bad name for his children. They would always be referred to as Evans-the-kidnapper's children, just as his wife will always be referred to as Evans-the-kidnapper's wife. The legacy he left for them is that he is the most dreaded kidnap kingpin in Nigeria. What a legacy!!!
Weeks ago, this state woke up to the horrific news of innocent people who went to church to commune with their God at St Phillip's Catholic Church, Ozubulu, only to meet their untimely death. Even though there are many angles to the news surrounding the Ozubulu shooting, a name stood out at the centre of it all. Another 36year old young but very wealthy man known as Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu was said to have been the target on that fateful day, but since he was not in the church as the attackers found out, they opened fire in the house of God during a Eucharistic Celebration of the Holy Mass. If that is not the height of sacrilege, then someone should tell me what is. There is a raging war between two Ozubulu Mafia Camps in South Africa and it has to end inside the house of God, killing innocent people who neither live in South Africa nor have an inkling of what the madness was all about? Reports have shown that the 36year old 'Bishop' as he is popularly called also lost his own father in that shoot out. I have also seen a press statement to the effect that he is a successful business man and had nothing to do with the purported drug peddling. That is not my interest. He can be anything in South Africa, legitimate or illegitimate. My pain is that whatever scores it is that he has to settle with whoever the attackers were has brought a bad name to himself and immediate family, his town, Ozubulu as a whole, everlasting pain to the families that lost their own, and a dent to the Holy Catholic Church where he worships. Now, what about his wife and children? What is their stake in all these? How do they feel about all the stories in the social media and all the local and international tabloids about their husband and father? It is really so sad. And the town, Ozubulu? Will they ever be the same again?? This article is all about legacies. In all sincerity, what legacy has Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu left for his family? I believe you the reader can answer that question with as much sincerity as you can garner.
It is better to live as a poor man and have a lasting legacy that would open doors for your children and their generations after them each time your name is mentioned. It is easy to do that if you believe in values. It is truly easy if you know that it takes a lot to keep a name going. Names are truly valuable. That is why every respectable man or woman strives to protect their name no matter what it would cost. There are core values in life. Money is a good thing. Money makes life easy and enjoyable. If, however, that money isn't 'cool' money, then it definitely adds no value. Our elders aren't stupid. They surely did their homework well when they coined the adage, 'ezi afa ka ego'.
Talking about legacies, kindly permit me to use this platform to thank the entire members of Urualla Federated Union, Lagos Branch who invited my entire family to Lagos last weekend to receive a post humous award for my late father, Chief Anthony Udeagha. When I got the information that he was to be honoured by my Town's people, I was touched. My late father, Anthony died at the tender age of 52. He died 25 years ago. He died a sitting president of Urualla Federated Union, Lagos Branch. We were eight in number and were almost nothing 25years ago, education wise and career wise. However, as small as we were, we knew about core values of life. He told us a lot about having a good name more than anything in life. He told us to hold on to our pride as his daughters and value dignity as his sons. We grew up being humble and yet, having a high level of self esteem of ourselves. He always told us that the name, ANTHONY UDEAGHA was the best thing he would leave for us when he was no more. I guess we were little to understand most of those things he told us. When he died, we began to understand little by little the wisdom in his words.
Last weekend, as we assembled from all parts of the world to witness his citation being read and accolades being addressed to him, all my siblings and myself beamed with pride while we mounted the stage and listened to his friends speak good about him, I silently blessed him in my heart of hearts for being my father. I beamed with pride as I looked at all my brothers and told myself that they were really, chips off the old block. Yes. They were truly the fruits of Anthony Udeagha.
Are you a man or woman reading this? Can you honestly assess your life presently? Are you living the kind of life that will make your children beat their chest and proudly say you were their parent, whenever your name is mentioned? On the other hand, are you the type that will make them change their surname so that people would not link you to them? Good names are priceless. It is the best thing you can leave for your family. Look around you and see the crazy things happening in the world today. A good life will always be rewarded even when you are dead and gone. But a bad life you lived will leave two things for your immediate family. Those two things are psychologically and emotionally traumatic scars that can never heal.
Think about it. Life is worth living well. Live yours well and your legacies will speak for you just like Anthony Udeagha's legacies spoke for him 25years after he left this world!!!