SHUT UP; YOU’RE RICH!

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I hosted the first live TV Presidential debate focused on youth issues in Nigeria, alongside Chimamanda Adichie. Amongst other presidential candidates, NCP’s Chief Dele Momodu was there. On that day, he declared that he would distribute power by zoning/rationing it while providing a timetable for its daily availability. He felt Nigerians needed to know what times they would have power so as to help them plan accordingly. He was also not in support of raising electricity tariffs.

Naeto C, a young man and popular musician, was present at the debate; and like every (young) Nigerian, he felt he had the right to comment on some of the proposals by Chief Momodu. On the social networking site Twitter, he made points about the plan not being workable and probably retrogressive. Naturally, the campaign team of Chief Dele Momodu, also made up of young Nigerians, replied and defended their candidate. It quickly became a very interesting conversation.

For people on Twitter, it was interesting to see young Nigerians talk politics, until things took a different turn. A member of Chief Momodu’s campaign team allegedly made an allusion to the fact that Naeto C was only in support of hiking power rates because he came from a privileged background and would not understand the pains of the average Nigerian who could not afford expensive electricity. The debate suddenly became about families and money; and it went sour from there.

It is almost a sin in Nigeria to be born rich or be a silver spoon kid. It is like an automatic order never to complain. It also means you can never really claim to achieve anything because “na your papa money you dey chop.” Of course, there are many instances where that is the case, but it does not automatically mean that everyone falls into that category. Just as not every poor person is poor just because they are too lazy to work hard.

I have a friend whose father is wealthy and lives in a huge house somewhere in Ikoyi. Interestingly, she has been unemployed for over a year now. I find that whenever she complains about not being able to find a job, people do not take her seriously. Their response is usually one of two things; “You’re being too choosy that’s why.” Or; “Abeg joo, your father has money. What do you even need a job for sef?” Funny because the poor girl has applied to every telecoms call center I know; all with negative feedback.

I find this quite disturbing. Since when did the poor or middle class Nigerian have the exclusive right to complain about the Nigerian situation? More importantly, how does being born to a rich father make one any less Nigerian? Who says anyone loves the sound of generators in their ears more, just because they can afford big ones? Who wants their array of German cars destroyed on poor Nigerian roads?

At this year’s edition of the Future Awards, an award ceremony organized to celebrate young Nigerians who have achieved in various sectors of the economy, Mr. Bode Pedro, (son of Femi Pedro, MD of various financial institutions and the former Lagos State deputy governor) who runs an IT firm, won the award for Business Owner of the Year. I did hear people later complain about the fact that the young man took home the award over other contenders from less advantaged backgrounds. While I agree that raising capital to start a business for him would definitely not be as difficult as it would be for someone who grew up in Idimu or Mpape, there is no doubt that he still deserves credit for running a successful business. Silver spoon kids have a reputation for running businesses down anyway. Why then deny one his deserved commendation just because he may not have found it so difficult to access capital?

The interesting thing about life is that poor or middle class people around the world work so hard just so that their own kids can be born with a silver spoon. No one wants his or her kids to have a hard time, especially not in a country where hard times define most of our daily existence.

A lot of people believe that most wealthy Nigerians got their wealth through corrupt practices. That is one reason for the bitterness. Another is the huge gulf between the rich and poor who almost live side by side each other. When a young man constantly drives his father’s Rolls Royce out of their mansion in Asokoro, and another man has to ride in a commercial bus to Kugbo, which is less than 5 minutes away both on the same roads, it can only breed more bitterness regardless of the fact that they both almost share the same unique Nigerian problems.

I’m not a rich man or a silver spoon kid so I cannot be speaking for them, but whether we like it or not, Nigeria like every other society, will continue to have wealthy citizens. We cannot crucify their children for their parents’ hard work. We cannot withdraw their Nigerian passports because they can afford more things than the average. We all equally go for days without electricity, get attacked by armed robbers, drive in traffic, have accidents on bad roads, get kidnapped, stand under the sun pointlessly after elections have been postponed, amongst many other issues. None of those core problems are respecters of class or status. Neither are rich people responsible for them.

Okay, I agree that some rich Nigerians are actually responsible for them, but since when has generalizing all rich people as evil, become the way out? How about we ship all poor people out of Nigeria for being so lazy and slowing the economy down? See???

ebuka

ebuka

Evolving! It’s a process…

39 comments

  1. I was very disgusted with how Mr Momodu’s guys treated Naeto C and the rubbish broadcast they sent about his mother. Even worse were the regular tweeters clogging up his mentions and abusing him. Totally out of line!

    Well done for this article.

  2. Oh finally, Ebuka writes. I totally agree that rich or poor stuggle is struggle. Nigerians arefar too analytical o’ ppls social status nd need to understand that being rich is nt an ascribed status like being male or female, itz achieved and any1 cn be rich..itz d problem solution we shld be cncernd wth nd nt d rich or poor populaces adaptive skills alone..nice work ‘buka we luk 4ward 2 mre..

  3. Nice piece, i must admit you have raised a very crucial point. Generalising the wealth and affluent as corrupt is worse that asserting that all poor people have the tendency to go into crime. However i am not by any way affluent but i have been privileged to attend the best of schools and in the end become friends with several of the ‘wealthy one’s’ you are making a case for. Sincerely, i must admit that many of them do not have a perfect grasp of the real issues affecting our country, and even when they do; they always turn logic on its head by proffering solutions which i always discover re-enforces the class hegemony. In clear terms their answers are never advance the social welfare but rather are ‘capitalistic’ one way or the other. I must restate that a person’s back ground ultimately has a deep influence on his view of his environment;its problems and the solutions. I grew up in a middle class family and i admired the likes of Femi Falana and Gani as the real Nigerians but as i grew up i have had reason to re-assess my view due to those i have met and whose influence i have adapted into my views. I now profess to be a socially responsible capitalist, who knows whether my views might change soon but i know for sure that unless we attach less importance to people’s background or societal status and place our emphasis on merit and natural ability this sort of issues will keep re-appearing in discussions around Nigeria, and the wealthy one’s would still face criticisms.

  4. Interesting thoughts…I think you nailed it when you suggested that the problem might be that we just do not often believe that people get rich in this without being corrupt. Consequently, what the heck are you moaning about if your father, or mother, is part of the problem?

    Also, I do not have issues with people abusing other people’s mothers if they can be proven to be thieves. I mean, the least you can do is to abuse a thieving politician since it is practically impossible to do much else in Nigeria. As my people like to say: ‘When you enforce your right to beat the child, let the child at least have the right to cry.’

    Good start, looking forward to more.

  5. Ehn EHn ! Veryyyy good. Abeg o, tell them o…cos when I make my MEGA-trillions, make dem no begin disturb me and my children dem. Chei, I can see the Jaguars and the RRs…custom built of course with my signature where the vehicle’s brand name should be. like a BOSS !

  6. You just spoke the mind of a lot of persons on the issue. Its a trend that has been going on for sometime now. ‘Hate the rich for being rich. ‘ Most times it has got nothing with wether the rich person or parent is or has been accused to be corrupt(after all not every rich man is a politician). Its just that feeling the average nigerian has that every rich man got his wealth through illicit means. Am not from a rich back ground but I strive hard just like most nigerians to get rich some day(legally). Why hate the rich when u want to be rich yourself?ehm ebuka,me no believe say u no be silverspoon pikin ooo. Shun that thing jor.

  7. Nice piece.
    One of the many problems we suffer from in this part of the globe is generalization. More often than not, we tend to place people in a category based on financial capacity, or religion, or tribe, or colour, and the likes. And this sometimes is the root of some kind of group violence. But generalizations are almost always false! and like William Blake once said, to generalize is to be an idiot!!
    Btw, Ebuka, I perceive a faint hint of generalization in your statement “……. I agree that raising capital to start a business for him would definitely not be as difficult as it would be for someone who grew up in Idimu or Mpape….”. 🙂

    1. Generalization is unavoidable and i won’t tag it as a wrong doing. Since birth everyone is tagged as either slow and fast learner in schools, those that need special attention and extra lesson etc. I think we are way too sentimental in this country, if we like it or not we are grouped “generalized” into rich and poor. Generalization is everywhere.
      The only thing we can do is avoid it been the basis of our decisions. Because whatever decisions we take can never, never, never sit well with everybody.

  8. I agree with you on some points, however, you do realize that the realities are different. I agree both classes suffer from the “Nigerian Malaise” but how do you expect the man who has been queuing to buy DPK(kerosene)for days to understand your tales of woe about the increasing cost of AGO (diesel).

    How does one who has choices open to him stand a soabox and preach to me about the ‘pains’ and ‘toil’ of living in Nigeria? It’s kinda hard to understand.

    I’m not saying that ‘rich’ people are not allowed to have an opinion about the issues they consider affect all of us.. but please…. walk in my shoes before you tell me about how to tread.

  9. @Atoke lets tell ourselves the truth,most of the so called rich people in nigeria today where born poor so they have been in your shoes before. I think what mr. Ebuka is trying to say is that at the long run,whether rich or poor,we are all facing the same issues in this country. It is not only the poor that drive through the bad roads that we ve in this country and then of course the children of the poor don’t get kidnaPped.

  10. @ Richy, “most of the so called rich people today were born poor” is soo not true please. I agree there are a few who went to school without shoes and are “rich” today,but let`s not generalise. We ply the same bad roads,but while the rich drive in airconditioned cars,the poor drive in rickety cars blah blah.
    The situation is a pitiable one,but like eldivine rightly put it,our shoes are uncomfortable,one way or the other.

  11. A valid point you have raised. The children of the poor don’t get kidnapped neither does the children of the rich hustle Gala on the street just to survive. But eventually, when the children of the rich regain their freedom and flown abroad for medicals et al, poor kids are hustling the same gala. Now that’s the drift.

    There are two sides to a coin (some will argue it’s actually three), we see things differently but much as iWill agree that of course we all bear the same brunt (doing traffic in HSE is the same in a DANFO after all) as citizens of this country, iAm compelled to say that where are where we are today because of the greediness, financial irresponsibility & gross misconduct of the so called rich people whether as a businessmen(who take loans from banks and instead of servicing it, would rather result to media propaganda and tactics to avoid paying) or the politicians( who divert funds meant for poverty alleviation and provision of basic amenities into their personal accounts).

    Imagine Bankole getting away with all that ill-gotten wealth; just imagine how many roads that can fix in the country. ..(im shildren go come lata dey tell me one tin, sharrap una papa don steal money one.. I go wipe am slap, im dey craze!) *>:O*

    The fact remains the insincerity of the rich, both in politics and business will continue to widen the gap between the rich and the poor and arguments like this will never cease.

    Don’t point fingers unless your hands are clean. Hypocrisy is cancerous.

    Peace.

    1. why will u wipe him slap ?? where was ur father when his father was stealing money ?? and some ppl are rich .. super rich and they didnt steal money !

  12. Didn’t know ebuka had sense like this! Thought he was just a wanna be fine boy feeling fly and popping campers! There’s some sense in that big head!
    Good job

    1. Allow me to ask why you feel the need to put this intelligent, fly, good looking man who can also afford to pop champers down. Does his success make you feel bad about your life? Does it?

  13. Nice piece.
    This argument will continue till thy kingdom come. One thing is this and its not only peculiar to Nigeria, there will always be the “have’s” and the “have’s not” i.e. rich and poor. What we all lack either the rich guy driving an HSE or the poor guy driving a Beetle, staying in Ikoyi or Ipaja is good Infrastructure and the political goodwill to enact and execute the right policies in Nigeria for the good of everyone.
    One problem we have in Nigeria is “PIM” – “Poverty Induced Mentality”. That’s why when an average Nigerian finds himself in a place of authority, he steals so much money that even his generations unborn can not spend because he doesn’t want to go back to being poor again. He knows the roads to his house are not tarred and he can influence it but he doesn’t care as long as he can buy and ride his jeep over it. Ask a poor man what he will do if he makes money today and see the type of answers he gives, you will be shocked that he’s no different from that so-called rich man in wanting the good things of life and he will not care about the next person to him.
    So please don’t hate the next guy if he’s rich or poor. Hate the system (even though that’s made up of human beings) that’s making the gulf widen more and more each day!

  14. Great article Ebuka!!!

    @Eldivine……that’s really a clear explanation there

    @Longy…very true ooo, infact its those people who are not really from a privileged background that steal more they can handle when they get to positions of authority!!! This ”rich man”, ”poor man” situation looks like its going to remain in our midst forever.

  15. Nice article which has always been my view point. especially as concerns mr pedro when he was featured alongside other young nigerian entrepreneurs. Lots of Us went to that forum and said the same things about them being able to return and set up companies because their parents had helped themselves to public funds.

    Same people who go round the different blogs saying all this come here and say ‘nice article’ but they still keep their prejudices. At the end of the day, celebrate yourself because nigerians will never celebrate you. Even if your parent(s) has been embroiled in any corrupt practices, we dont choose our parents, how is that now the fault of the kid?

  16. “I’m not a rich man or a silver spoon kid so I cannot be speaking for them” Hmmmnnnnn *Ebukaaaaaaaa!!!!
    Ohk Pause n scroll up a lil to the third comment (MiZrissoto’s) “Oh finally, Ebuka writes”.
    So back to my *hmmnnnning…..well written piece no doubt but maybe *a Tolu Ogunlesi kinda person should hve written this so it dsnt look like *a Nobs’ piece on EME.

    @bcgeorge “Don’t point fingers unless your hands are clean. Hypocrisy is cancerous” #Gbam! Maybe the only Mc with Msc (I laff tho) nids to understand this.

    1. This comment is invalid on soooooo many levels… Do you even understand yourself? It is a pity!

  17. True! True!! Its obvious Nigerians do not face the ‘subject of d matter’ but would rather go around the circle.it is every man’s right to work hard inorder to attain whatever level of comfort he or she so desires and not go about blaming another man for his shortcomings! A lot of the so called ‘rich’ had to work hard to climb up the ladder and no child is to be blamed for the parent’s actions! Many Nigerians would follow suit in the attitude of the guilty politicians or do even more damage if placed in the same position of power!! The fact is every nigerian is equally affected by the same economical situations but the rich fair better in them!!

    1. Thanks for this comment!!! Rich or poor, we suffer the same things in Nigeria. Every man should work to attain his own level of comfort and since it’s life, some will succeed, others won’t.

  18. Ebuka isnt really qualified to speak on this issue althou u r not exactly a silver spoon kid u r also not a pauper.

    Do u have a clue wat poor children go thru????

    i encourage u to \__ (take a seat) and go flirt with Noble and other dudes on Twitter.

    1. You’re vexing o…So because he has not sold boiled groundnut on Falomo Bridge means his life is perfect abi? Go and drink cold water abeg

  19. Nawa o..no need 2 get P. Drop ur comment and move on. Truth is the average Nigerian person has be brought up 2believe d Rich r reasons d country is bad.well..d Rich will get richer and d poor poorer if ‘they’ don’t start comn up wiv entrepreneural ideas. Ordinary buying and selling has bn seen 2 move ppl 4rm 1 class 2 another.I totally relate wiv d story of d girl lookn 4 a job.Life isn’t always Black and White. Good work Ebuka

  20. Very good piece !!!!!! The society we live can’t seem to appreciate that wealth can be earned from the sweat of ‎​Ʊr back. that being said ,i would rather have a wealthy man’s child with a thriving business than as a more or less menace to the society as is the case with most.

  21. Just found this piece but it is still as relevant as when it was written (mark of good writing).
    The cause of the matter is contained in your piece. The reasons for the bitterness against kids of the rich is because of the often proven fact that most (a very high percentage) of the rich made their loot through corruption. Most Nigerians see hating the silverspoon kids as a way of venting their anger at the failed state and the ruling class who have raped our commonwealth. You and i may not agree with them but i see their point.

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