By the late 90s/early 2000, my elder brother, (he is my step brother actually) had finished his studies in the US and was already working.
At that time too, a good number of family members and friends who had also struggled like my step mother, to send their kids abroad for study, were telling stories of their kids returning and settling down to life in Nigeria.
Many of these abroad returnees came back immediately after they finished their studies but some worked for a few years abroad before yielding to their parents’ plea and returning to Nigeria.
I know many who upon their return landed juicy positions in public and private companies accompanied with fine cars and fabulous apartments. Their parents were already enjoying the spoils of sending their children abroad to study.
These were the examples my step mum cited every time he called my brother on the phone. She would write letters and send him recent photos of some of his friends who went to America at the same time as he did; they were doing well, she would have me write, so so and so has got married, and now has this many children, she would tell him. Mr and Mrs so and so who lived on so and so street are enjoying the sight of their growing grandchildren, when would my brother stop the taunts people were sending her way.
My brother refused to come back home and this made mama very angry.
Now, you have to understand that my brother was not a bad person or a disobedient son; he just didn’t want the life in Nigeria again and that was what his mum didn’t get. He was doing fine in the US. He had a good job and loved his life there and I could understand because even when he was here, he was a very private person; he didn’t like all the feferity his mother was given to. He didn’t have too many friends, in short, even before he went abroad, he was already oyibo in his ways, so that place fit him like he was born for it!
I must also mention that beyond refusing to return home, brother was a dutiful son; he used to send money monthly to mama and even the rest of us also benefited from him.
After my own mother passed on, brother maintained contacts with my siblings and I. He would call periodically to find out how we were all doing and whether we had challenges and he also used to send money to us.
Broda Kunle was the true first son of our late father. He was a good man and his only sin was refusing to come home.
Now, every time mama called him, she would threaten, she would beg, she would cry, if none worked, she would curse but brother would tell her that if she missed him, she should come over instead. Yeah, mama went to America a few times but she never liked the place; she went thrice, all during the summer and still complained about the cold, she complained about the food, she complained about her son’s girlfriends, she said there was no one to talk to, she said it was lonely for her when he went off to work; she was a complainer, that our mother!
At some point, mama recruited uncles, aunties, friends of our family to speak to brother about returning home, still, brother did not budge; after a while, he stopped picking her calls or would cut it off when she began to make the same plea about him returning to Nigeria.
We lived like this for years, 10years, 15, 18…
Now, we are Muslims and mama, a devout one; she believes very much in the efficiency of some of these alfas. Nothing wrong with that because even though I converted to Christianity, I understand how some Christians follow some pastors blindly. So it was no surprise for me to see over the years the numbers of alfas mama consulted over what she saw as a ‘problem.’
Of course, with a mother who goes from one spiritual house to another detailing how her ingrate son refused to do what is best for her, aka coming home to settle and have grandchildren…you can guess the many types of ideas they would give her.
Oh, mama had other children here in Nigeria and they had given her the grandchildren she desired, so I really didn’t understand her insistence on brother coming back in particular. Any way, let me continue.
My guess is, I have no concrete fact to back this theory but I guessed, mama finally got an alfa who’s powers were great. I don’t know how he did it but one day, brother was back to Nigeria with only the clothes on his back. Funny, he was even wearing slippers.
His things did not arrive until months later.
He came back and was in a daze for days; like he didn’t know how he got here, I swear!
I overheard him, in the first few days he got back, telling his mother he had no idea how he arranged for his travel. He was asking whether she knew how long he would stay in Nigeria. When his luggage began to arrive, he asked why he would ship his luggage back when he had no intention of staying too long.
At first, I was confused. Why was brother acting like he had no idea he was finally returning to Nigeria?
Omo, my brother could have run mad, o! He was always angry and the only person who appeared calm, who had ready answers to his frequent inquires, was mama.
When it dawned on him that he had left the US for good, he began to worry about getting a job; mama told him a few friends of hers were already waiting for him to come for interviews and soon enough he got a good job, thankfully and I think that was able to occupy his mind for sometime while he got himself settled back to naija life.
Thankfully too, the job came with an apartment in ikoyi and a car and driver; so this in a way helped him to get over his initial daze. Of course, all of this period, we couldn’t reach him or communicate with him but we all knew brother had been remotely controlled into leaving America for good.
After he settled, he banned his mother from coming to his house! I swear, nothing wey person no go see, o! I suspect again, that must be when it dawned on him that his mother had a hand in his sudden return or do you have a better explanation?
But the story ended well because, today, brother is fully integrated.
He has been home for more than 8 years now and he has a live in girlfriend who already gave him a daughter…we hope he will marry her soon and stop doing America wonder.
That’s it o. but you know, mama was lucky, what if brother had lost his mind? It could’ve happened you know?
Suddenly finding yourself in Nigeria with no clue as to how you got here, he could have gone mad o. I just thank God but mama is the culprit jare, na she remote control broda Kunle, she can’t deny it!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)