Dec. 24, 2013
by Ahmed Sule, CFA
Nigerians respect power, and they respect money. People believe ‘my time will come’, Whereas there’s that sense in many other places that where you find yourself in society could be permanent, here everybody is rich-in-waiting.–Folarin Gbadebo-Smith
That Rolex wristwatch is worth more than 3 million naira at least that was what I was told by a friend who works at a Rolex store in Britain–Comment on a Nigerian blog
The figures, from research company Euromonitor, found that Nigeria had the fastest growing rate of new champagne consumption in the world, second only to France, and ahead of rapid growth nations Brazil and China, and established markets such as the US and Australia.- Guardian
I’m rich, I’m Nigerian and I’m proud.
When I look at my humble beginnings, I have cause to thank God. Nollywood stars, musicians, footballers, politicians and bloggers all want a piece of me and I’m ready to give them the whole of me. Would they have wanted to know me ten years ago when I was just a bloody security guard in New York? Of course not. But who cares. I’m a new creature, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
[Puts on glasses and smiles as he looks at his image on the front page of the Focus Magazine titled “The 40 Most Influential Nigerians Under 40] Am I not a fine boy? Everything that I have, I’ve worked hard for.
You only live once, so I have to make the most out of life. I will not hold back from letting anybody and everyone know that I’ve arrived. Last week, I went on a spending spree. On Monday I got myself a platinum iPad Air, on Tuesday I bought a gold plated iPhone, on Wednesday I got a Breitling wristwatch while on Thursday I wore an Anderson & Sheppard suit and took delivery of a bespoke K50 suit on Friday. Ha ha money sweet o. In my car park, I have many toys like the Porsche Panamera, Mercedes Benz G55 AMG, Audi Q7, Chevrolet Camaro and the 2013 Infiniti FX. Each one has been given a unique name – Ajibade 1, Ajibade 2, Ajibade 3, Ajibade 4 and Ajibade 5.
*** Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy ***
I’m a great husband and father. I may not shower Jumoke and my lovely twins with the love and attention they deserve, but at least I shower them with money, which is more important. Jumoke can afford to shop in the great shopping centres of the world. This year, she has flown three times to Paris, four times to London and two times to New York spending £3,000 in each city for every visit.
[Steps out of his N300m Lekki mansion and walks towards the car park, takes several pictures of his car. Writes an email to a popular blogger in Nigeria, reading out as he types]
Dear Yinka, How are you doing? Been a while. Just to let you know that I have decided to spoil myself with a Mercedes Benz G55 AMG, which I got for N21million. Please find attached a picture of the car and the car key. I would be grateful if you could publish it on your blog with the headline “Lagos Big Boy Ajibade acquires Mercedes Benz G55 AMG.” To let them know that it is authentic and new, I have left the nylon on the car seat. MAKE SURE THAT THIS IS SHOWN.
Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier for Nigerians to know that I have arrived. When I bought Jumoke a diamond encrusted special edition Rolex wristwatch on her birthday, she uploaded a picture of the watch on Twitter with a tweet saying “He loves me – at the Ritz.” The tweet went viral and was published on a number of blogs. I loved the comments from some Nigerians like the one who said, “My time will come o”; “Congrats girl! If you’ve got it flaunt it.”
*** Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity ***
[Reads the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013]
“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.”
[Frowns] What does he mean by that? How can inequality be the root of all social ills? The poor have themselves to blame because they are lazy people who expect to live of the crumbs of hard working people like me.
“….Jesus, the evangelizer par excellence and the Gospel in person, identifies especially with the little ones. This reminds us Christians that we are called to care for the vulnerable of the earth. But the current model, with its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favour an investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak or the less talented to find opportunities in life. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
This Pope is really beginning to annoy me. Why can’t these religious leaders just shut up and focus on spiritual matters instead of addressing social and economic issues. Ministers like Desmond Tutu, Tunde Bakare and Pope Francis are all attention seekers. If he continues focusing on the poor I will stop going to mass and might consider changing religion.
*** For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows ***
Can’t stand it when I hear or read about people saying that there are many poor people in the world especially in Nigeria. The other day I read that the World Bank claimed that 100 million Nigerian are destitutes. Where is the paper? [Picks paper from bookshelf and reads]
“….According to the World Bank boss, the number of Nigerians living in destitution makes up 8.33 per cent of the total number of people living in destitution all over the world which she said the bank aimed to reduce drastically by 2030.”
[Throws the paper on the floor] How can this be true? 100 million ko, 100 million ni. They say millions of Nigerians live on $1.25 a day. That’s impossible. Can’t see any of them on my street. Or is it only me that sees it this way? Not at all, even Jumoke will agree with me. None of her friends are poor, neither are any of the kids in my daughters’ school.
How can Nigeria be a poor country when it is one of the largest importers of private jets, has some of the richest people in Africa and very soon will become the largest economy in Africa once it revises the GDP calculation? Nigerians are the sixth largest spenders in Britain and the second largest consumers of Champagne in the world.
[Walks towards the champagne fridge and brings out a Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam, uncorks it and pours into a glass]
This is refreshing. It’s not that I detest the poor; I’d rather prefer to hang around successful people because poverty could sometimes be infectious. It is better to deal with paupers from a distance and once in a while like Christmas. Last December, I visited the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice in Surulere and gave the children ten cartons of Indomie Noodles and Bournvita, which was reported in Yinka’s blog. On New Years Eve, I plan going to the Lagos Motherless Babies Home to take some pictures with the babies and donate some money. I will then forward the pictures to Yinka to put on her blog.
[Takes another sip] I’m the Serena Williams of the champagne arena. Nobody can defeat me in any champagne war. I will never forget the day at the Maddox Restaurant when one yeye guy sent a waiter to put a bottle of Veuve Clicquot on my table. Imagine! What an insult. I was so happy when I saw the guy’s mouth open as the waiter put 30 bottles of Krug Rose on his table courtesy of me.
[Kneels down] I should say my prayers [puts hands together and looks up towards the ceiling]
The Naira and Dollar are my shepherds, I shall not want. They make me to be happy and lead me to sleep in hotels in Paris, London and New York. They restore my bank account, dignity and connections. They guide me in the path of selfishness, vanity and ignorance. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of bankruptcy and poverty, I will not fear, for thou art with me. Amen.
I’m bored. What should I do? Let me check my online bank statements.
[After a couple of minutes checking his statements, gets his iPhone and walks around the house]
What else can I photograph and upload to Instagram? My 24 carat Macbook Pro. Can’t do that it has already been published on Foluke’s Blog. Should I take a selfie with my Ozwald Boateng suit? That wouldn’t really get peoples attention after all many Nollywood stars now wear solid suits. Perhaps I should send Yinka a picture that I took with Prince Williams while playing golf? That should get heads turning if it is published. Or should I upload a picture of Roger Henry’s autographed basketball T-shirt onto Facebook? Why not? After all I’m his business partner and we are always together, that’s why some people say that I am like the other woman in his marriage.
Forget it; don’t think it will capture anyone’s attention. Nigerians only respect three things MONEY, MONEY and MONEY. Perhaps I should l get my designer to make a suit made of Dollar, Euro and Pounds and send the image to all the leading Nigerian blogs and celebrity magazines. I could even upload the image onto Twitter using the heading: MY COAT OF MANY COLOURS – HARD WORK PAYS.
*** And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things, which he possesseth ***
When last did I have the house all to myself? Once Jumoke and the kids get back from Monaco, I will have no access to the TV [Puts on television]
“Good evening and welcome to Channels News. In a new dimension in the war against begging, the Special Offences Court in Ikeja has sent 320 beggars to Kirikiri and Badagry Prisons for soliciting for alms and other offences. The Lagos State Government had charged them to court for constituting nuisance in public by begging for alms. The government says it is no longer going to be business as usual as it has vowed to prosecute erring beggars on the streets of Lagos.”
[Stands up and applause]
I never knew that Lagos had so many beggars. The government has to be radical or else Lagos could turn into a haven for the poor. [Heads to toilet]
*** Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.***
[Returns from toilet and sees an image on TV of a man wearing a cap standing with his right hand in pocket in front of a woman wearing a pink top kneeling down begging the man]
“During a sanitation exercise in Benin City, a woman’s goods were seized by State officials led by the Governor Adams Oshiomole. The woman who claimed to be a widow begged the Governor to pardon her acknowledging that it was illegal to sell on the roadside. In response, Governor Oshiomole told the woman – You’re a widow, go and die.”
Hmm. What is this country turning into? We can’t allow illiterates and poor people to continue to spoil this great country. Thank God we have capable leaders that are trying to put things in order. That’s why we voted for them.
[Yawns] Let me go to bed early since I have a busy day tomorrow. [Turns off television and goes up the stairs to sleep]
Ahmed Sule, CFA
Ahmed is a CFA Charterholder, photojournalist and social critic. He is an Alumnus of the University of Arts London, where he obtained a Certificate in Photojournalism. He has also worked on various photojournalism projects including Obama: The Impact, Jesus Christ: The Impact, The Williams Sisters etc. He cites Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Kwame Nkrumah, Noam Chomsky and W.E. Du Bois as his major influences.