An Nnewi man whose wife is yet to conceive a male child is heavily constrained by his tradition in his choice of modern options available to him to have a male child of his own. He knows the implications of adopting a male who will be his first son.
Nnewi is a deeply religious town. We are so religious in our culture and traditions. And we also take the issue of lineage very seriously.
If the cause of infertility is with the man, he could be assisted by another man. DNA testing to establish paternity is not for Nnewi people. Payment of bride price or evidence of marriage or ịmachili nwanyị is the confirmatory test for paternity of a child in Nnewi.
The male child undeniably belongs to a man as long as the son is born by his wife. But to adopt a son completely born of different parents is a big problem.
An adopted son may be legal but he will never become the Obi or the hereditary head of his extended family or ụmụnna. He would also not be allowed to carry the holy ọfọ Okenye of his father’s extended family.
An adopted son cannot be our traditional ruler or Igwe of Nnewi neither can he be the Obi of any of the four villages that make up Nnewi to which ascendancy is by heredity where the heir must be a pure breed.
If you are from Nnewi and you have adopted a son, it is imp that you to let your son know his limited citizenship rights. He can be anything in your own family but not in the extended family. You cannot impose an outsider to lead your relations. You quest to have an outsider a son is considered selfish. How can an adopted son suprintend the sharing of an ancestral land? To which ancestors will he beckon during the breaking of kola nut?
The options available for an Nnewi man who has challenges in siring a son are as follows:
1. Surrogacy: in which someone known or unknown to him will help give madam belle to birth a son.
2. Take a second wife or third or fourth wife till he gets a son.
3. If his in his new faith doesn’t support the options 1 & 2 above, then he could adopt the male child of his brother. Such son will be anything except to inherit the Obi if he is not next in line. But he can inherit his adopted father’s assets and liabilities and be called his son.
An amụful Nnewi man believes the doctrine of “One Man One Wife” as long as he has got a son from his only wife. The determination to sustain a lineage is more important to Nnewi man than a religious belief. It is a patriotic duty.
Many Christians don’t know that Jesus descended from Solomon whose mother was not the first wife of King David and that all the sons of Jacob including those he sired from the maids of his wives were counted as legitimate.
When you have a male child in Nnewi, you can name him “Afamefuna” meaning “may my lineage never cease or quench”.
I need to state here that female children now take better care of their ageing parents more their male counterparts but, only the male child advances the lineage of an Nnewi man.
Why not adopt a female child if at all you need to? An adopted female child has all the rights of an Nnewi daughter. As you can see, ndị Nnewi are gender sensitive.
Chief Anayo Nwosu, Ikenga Ezenwegbu,
from Okpuno Otolo Nnewi.
He is a Corporate & Investment Banker based in Lagos