A Wake-Up Call To My Brothers!

By Ikenga Chronicles January 20, 2020

A Wake-Up Call To My Brothers!

— By Emeka Oparah

Yesterday, I was in a one-kind mood. Those who followed my posts would remember the central theme was all about the evil some friends and family members visit on the spouses and children of departed friends and family. Let me bring it all together:

I know a young man who worked for one of the telcos. He died on active service and the terminal benefits were handsome-a conundrum of sorts. But that’s not the story. Here’s the story: he used one of his younger brothers as next of kin. Meanwhile, he had a pregnant wife and a son!

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The first sign of trouble happened very early, less than 24 hours after his unfortunate demise. Some of his family members showed up at the office to take possession of his official car. Thankfully, they were resisted by some smart security men. Thereafter, they became antagonistic to his former colleagues and their organization-to the point that they did not welcome them to his funeral, in a manner of speaking.

With that red alert in mind, management commenced the processing of his death benefits/life insurance claims. It was then it was discovered he used his younger brother as next of kin and shared the benefits 50:50 between his brother and his wife!

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To cut the long story short, the death benefits resulted in the death of his father-in-law, a senior lawyer, who tried to intervene to protect his daughter and his grand-children. And ultimately, most devastatingly, the young woman became depressed along the line and committed suicide leaving behind two infants!

I know this will make you sad, guys, but that is not exactly the main idea. My message to you is to take good care of your family while you are still standing. Not everyone’s lucky like someone I know who goes on an on about his brothers and sisters! Indeed, there are many good families bound together by genuine love and affection. Conversely, there are several bad families, where sibling envy, rivalry, barefaced envy and hatred are regular fares.

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So, while it is understandable to use your brother or sister or relative as your next of kin, as a bachelor, you must remember to change that as soon as you marry. No one can take care of your kids better than your wife, their mother. Even mad women do NOT mess with their kids!!!

Aside making your wife your next of kin, make your will-and update it as you grow and age. A Will doesn’t signify or fast-track death, as some people fear. No. It is made, anyway, just in case of the unexpected! In actual fact, one of the characteristics of living things is death. Those who know this fact and take it seriously live and die better. So, you must plan for when you’re gone, for the sake of your children, your immediate (nuclear) family.

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As my brother Zadok Akintoye wisely suggested in one of my posts, yesterday, when you clock 60, liquidate your assets and keep the cash for your wife and children after securing them decent accommodation. That is, if they are still living with you. Then, enjoy the rest of your life however you deem fit, not forgetting to support your extended family and the less privileged in society-if you’re so inclined.

The essence of this admonition is not to discourage men from helping or supporting their extended families. Far be it from me any such intentions. As I have already premised, the objective is to obviate, prevent, avoid or forestall some of the sad, bad and mad stories we hear and read often about how families mistreat (or mistreated) the wives and kids of their departed relatives.

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Now this isn’t peculiar to any part of Nigeria. I’ve heard stories from literally every part of the country and that is rather very unfortunate. So, it’s a call on men to take very good care of their families, particularly because our society is largely patrilineal.

Of course, there’s also something to say to women (wives) on how to help their spouses plan for the future and generally take care of themselves in the case of such ugly eventualities. Except otherwise stated (that is in a situation where a man disinherits his spouse), a man’s property and wealth legally reverts to his spouse in the event of his demise. A wise and smart wife can facilitate the process of securing the fortunes of her husband and the future of her children.

A stitch in time, my dear friends, saves nine!

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