(By Oseni Oladipo Emmanuel)
“It is high time we all realised that poverty will remain in the land when we leave the issue of poverty to government alone to tackle. We all need to change our mindset to make Nigeria a better place for all. What is the rationale behind the purchase of N25 million car that cannot fly you away from the traffic of Ikorodu Road? Although I am not a mathematician, but I am quite sure that as hard as our economy is, N25 million will conveniently pay the school fees of about 300 students or empower more than 500 traders. The earlier we all realised that all these material things are vanity upon vanity, the better for us all. Expensive cars or jewelry will soon become outdated but service to humanity will forever linger in the memories of the people.“
IT is a norm in Nigeria to flaunt wealth accumulated either through legitimate or illegitimate means and the reason for this cannot be far-fetched. Nigeria is a society where premium is placed on wealth (material things) as the basis for stratification. The society is less concerned about how you make your money; it is even common among Nigerian youths to be ranking the richest yahoo boys (internet fraudsters) in their localities.
It is quite unfortunate that in a country where a majority of the citizenry lives in abject poverty, one still finds the privileged few deliberately displaying their economic power publicly by acquiring luxury goods and services.
It may interest you to know that it is the lackadaisical attitude and conspicuous spending of Nigerian celebrities especially the nouveau riche social class (hip-hop artistes) that triggered this write up. It is an indisputable fact that the hip-hop artistes are the rave of the moment in the music industry and they emerged as a result of Nigerians’ love and patronage of local hip-hop at the expense of foreign music.
Only of recent, the media was flooded with the news of hip-hop singer, Ayo Balogun popularly known as Wizkid replacing his N15 million crashed Porsche car with a new one just two weeks after crashing it on the Lekki-Epe expressway on June 15, 2013. Also, in what looks like a show of economic power, his opposite number, David Adeleke aka Davido acquired a Mercedes Benz G-Class worth N21 million. As if that is the criterion for being a big boy, the Limpopo master, KCEE recently acquired two 2013 luxury cars (BMW X6 and Range Rover). In the same vein, the soft spoken co-owner of Primetime Entertainment, Dayo Adeneye (D1), just purchased a Bentley Continental GT valued at N25 million to add to his collection of exotic cars.
Did I hear you say it is their hard earned money; therefore, they can spend it as they like? I say NO! This is because with their gifts as leading musicians they have become not just public figures but role models. What they do must have implications for the health or ill-health of the nation. They have huge followership that adore them and want to emulate them, their ways, their lifestyles, hairstyle, and mannerisms: What do they eat, where do they go, and what do they say, when do they sleep, who are the new girls in their lives and so on? This is the burden celebrities carry all over the world. Therefore, to the extent that they influence the society for god or ill they are accountable. This act of squander mania, it is observed, is gradually becoming a norm in the industry and sociologically, it tends to have negative effect on the socialisation of the young ones who look up to them as their role models. This, of course, is not to undermine the important role these artistes play in our society especially in this time of hardship. They should be applauded for putting smiles on the faces of Nigerians despite the fact that the economy is not smiling at us. They remain our companion at this time of suffering and smiling. Come to think of it, sometimes one feels that one cannot totally blame the celebrities when those at the other end of the spectrum, the politicians (the government) that are supposed to lead by example, failed in their own capacity. Nevertheless, we should take our mind away from the blind love we have for these artistes and put them to task publicly to use their endowments to engage in humanitarian services.
Apart from the fact that they make us happy through their God-given talent, they should realise that impacting positively in the lives of the masses would make us happier than to publicly display their economic power through the purchase of exotic cars. If a 21-year-old Swansea football club ball boy, Charlies Morgan that was kicked by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, could give up the tracksuit he wore on the day of the famous incident for sale, with all the money going to cancer charity; what then is wrong if 23-year-old Wizkid or Davido donates to the rehabilitation of the Almajiris? Also, if the newly crowned Wimbledon champion, Andy Murray, could donate all his hard earned £1.6 million Wimbledon cash prize for cancer research and care, just after a month he donated his £73,000 prize money for winning the AEGON championship to the Royal Marsden cancer charity; then what is wrong Tuface Idibia donating towards the support of the combat against HIV/AIDS in Benue State or to any other MDGs goals? What is wrong if Nigerian artistes organise a concert and donate all the proceeds to the victims of bomb blasts, plane crash, or even Boko Haram victims? We know that the artistes are already contributing to the economy either directly or indirectly, but is it a crime for them to invest their hard earned money on profitable businesses that can help reduce unemployment rate in the country? After all, the society made them what they are and they should be able to give back to the society.
It is high time we all realised that poverty will remain in the land when we leave the issue of poverty to government alone to tackle. We all need to change our mindset to make Nigeria a better place for all. What is the rationale behind the purchase of N25 million car that cannot fly you away from the traffic of Ikorodu Road? Although I am not a mathematician, but I am quite sure that as hard as our economy is, N25 million will conveniently pay the school fees of about 300 students or empower more than 500 traders. The earlier we all realised that all these material things are vanity upon vanity, the better for us all. Expensive cars or jewelry will soon become outdated but service to humanity will forever linger in the memories of the people.
As much as we genuinely love and celebrate the guys’ success, we also share their pains as in the case of Dagrin and OJB and we would appreciate it if the guys can reciprocate that love by genuinely giving back to the society. I may be wrong and I stand to be corrected: It could be that only few of them are involved in ostentatious display of their material endowments, and a majority prefers to give back and do all those I have suggested quietly. May be we should turn the heat on the press that feels that stories about the celebs’ acquisition of luxurious goods and services will be more attractive than their social responsibilities!! Perhaps! Perhaps!!
Oseni Oladipo Emmanuel.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”