Former Super Eagles midfielder Mikel John Obi has spoken out against the prevalent culture of entitlement within African families, particularly when a member achieves financial success.
In an interview with fellow footballer and former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, the ex-captain expressed his frustration with the expectation that successful family members bear the financial responsibility for their extended relatives.
Obi noted that in Africa, when an individual attains financial stability, relatives, cousins, and even sisters married into other families often make demands, believing they are entitled to a share of the newfound wealth.
The football player highlighted the challenges of supporting extended family members who sometimes have numerous children, placing the burden of care on the successful family member.
Describing the pressure he faces, Mikel Obi revealed that some relatives go as far as threatening to go to the press if he refuses their financial requests. He emphasized that this dynamic is a common occurrence in Africa.
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He stated, “When you come from Africa when you make money, it’s not your money. You have all these relatives, cousins, and your sisters go off and get married to some guy who just wants to get married into Mikel John Obi’s family because his life is sorted, and then you start looking after this guy, and before you know it, they keep having so many kids and you look at it like,
“Okay, you’re having this many kids; who are going to look after them?’ It’s you! It’s the culture because, for them, you owe them that, so sometimes you have to be strong and say, ‘You know what, guys, enough is enough; I don’t care’. They give you this thing whereby ‘if you don’t do it, we’re going to go to the press’. After all, what have I done for you guys? But this happens a lot in Africa. Not everybody comes out and speaks about it,” Obi revealed during the interview.