By Denrele Animasaun

We all know that there has been a huge culling of the so- called Yahoo gangs in the US who have stolen over $22million from US companies. We all know that is a guestimate . The true cost will be far more than that.

Shocking though to admit, money talks in Nigeria. The trouble is, it does not matter how you get it as long as you have an offensive amount of money, doors will open including an unfettered power to command respect and adulation.  It has become the ultimate dream of millions of Nigerians. I may sound past it but, growing up respect was earned and not bought.

You are worthy of acclaim and respect when you work very long and very hard to succeed. It did not matter what you did but you earn respect and self worth by being proud of your toiling in a honest and decent work.

Our elders were looked up to for examples and direction.

We more or less emulated what they did and what they said. So the responsibility on our elders then was to be worthy of emulation.

Alas, we have broken our values and moral compass decades ago and sadly, our chickens have come home to roost.  When I left home for the UK, my dear father gave three words of advice : be prayerful,  believe in the Almighty, remember  whose child you are and protect your name.

Simple? Of course. It was loaded with the moral Compass and cornerstone of how to be a decent and upstanding member of society. It was never about making money or succeeding by any means necessary.  It was about ensuring that I lead a life that will not only serve me but that I will serve others by my example.

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We have shallow and vacuous entities parading around like little emperors who demand absolute obedience because their dark money speaks to the greedy and the desperate.

There is no love or emotion there, you have money, you buy their loyalties.  Simple and pathetic.  In the days of old money, we were aware of money passing down from one generation to the next because honest money knows the true value of every kobo earned. They make money and they never live beyond their means in fact they are more likely to penny pinch because they know the true worth of every toil to arrive at where they are. They save and rarely shout for attention. They had class and most likely had good breeding.

Some time ago, I wrote about the Nigerian condition and preoccupation with acquisition of wealth by all means necessary. It resonated with a lot of people, who despair of the nation’s demise to greed and destruction. For others it was an affront  to curtailing their quest to live large whenever the hustle comes their way. They reckoned; it is anyone’s game , the chance to be a big man.

There are consequences  but these Nigerians, the opportunity to make it far outweighs the disadvantages of loss of freedom, conviction. We celebrate convicted felons  don’t we? Ibori, a case in point, now Obi. They roll out the carpet and jostle for handouts!  So the case of 419ners is not new. In fact, it is one of pride and the only crimebin our nation is that of being poor. Criminality is not particular to Nigerians but, we have made it into a fine art and an occupation of choice for far too many Nigerians as a life choice.

Pardon me, if I don’t feign surprise or shock or sadness for that matter. I made my peace that I do not represent fraudulent Nigerians and that I will live my life so as to set a good example for my children and those whom I meet. We are not all Obis but there are many of us that are.Far too many people are dishonest in Nigeria.  But I would like to say here, that is not who we were and it is not who some of us are.

There are honest and hard working Nigerians up and down the country but they have not earned the respect of the majority because they work hard and they may not have the money to throw about. They are the Nigerians we should respect. No matter what these hoodlums say, in the long run;honesty pays. For one,you sleep better at night and your conscience is clear. You do not envy your neighbour because  you are content knowing full well that you are content with your lot.

Nigerians have to make honesty part of the moral fabric of our society and shame those who tar its citizens with the same brush.

We are all are not Obis.

This young man was the face of young and up and coming stars. A supposedly self made man . A new Nigerian, recognised and on the front page of Forbes. .

The truth does out… eventually. His background and the source of wealth really is unravelling thanks to the FBI.

They say, you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

He sure pulled the wool over the eyes of a lot of us. We had hoped that this young man, will be one of the people , the next generation will look up to. Alas, that simply was not the case.

Their crime is not a victimless crime, it is a massive crime that leave millions of people robbed of their savings and future. It is a shame and a disgrace. We should call it what it is.

Obinwanne  and co, will exchange their fast life for a cell and years behind bars.

In the meantime, again honest Nigerians will face prejudice and suspicion everytime they make mention of their nationality.

My archive

See how we lost our humanity.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”- Socrates

These past weeks, for me, have been intentionally politics free. The toxicity of the world of politics in particular, our brand of politics: ‘the do or die brand, is soul destroying. So it is for the sake self-preservation, it was wise to take time out and reflect; if one has a conscience, then it is preferred that occasionally, one leaves politics temporarily well alone, even if for a  very short while.

If only one could. There is a saying that:  if you are not interested in politics, politics is  interested in you. Alas, one might as well get drawn in after a healthy sabbatical, a hiatus of sanity and decency.   It enables clarity and definitely sees the political woods from the trees.

As 2019 approaches, we see the same old suspects; they are busy playing musical chairs with the nation by decamping from one party to the next. It is as if the people have no say in who governs the country, the greedy and miscreants are already  and potentially carving out the national cake

It is disgraceful and shocking as they attempt to cause unrest, uncertainty as they decamp from one party to the next, it beggars belief how these politicians were ever voted in the first place; do they really represent the voices and interests of the people? They are  like  conjurors, with the sleight of hand; they place old wine into new bottles and present it as new to the gullible. It has been done so many times before and they reckon if it isn’t broke why fix it? There lies the problem.

These snake oil sellers have nothing but unrest and con to sell to the nation. If only they could deliver good news for once and promote unity and prosperity for all. It is not too much to ask for, is it?

For those who play to the narrative and engage in finger pointing; I have news for you: they are playing expensive politics with our lives and our future.

Those who call for the bad old days of grand corruption and day light robbery because they reckon, at least some of the ill-gotten loot will trickle down to the masses. What nonsense! Nigerians should not rely on hand outs from anyone and in the short term. The commonwealth if not coveted, was enough  to change the lives of every Nigerian for the better.

The trouble is that people feel they have no power but they do. The civil duty of every voting age Nigerians is to vote with their conscience.

Knowing one’s worth is the key to the challenges of Nigeria. Crucially, ordinary Nigerians should not be begging for crumbs off the table of these thieves in fine clothes. The commonwealth is for everyone and Nigerians have been robbed and denied a better standard of life and yet, the subsequent administrations have feathered their nests and most Nigerians are suffering as a result.

So while Nigerians have not had it that bad, the politicians are running their hands in anticipation for more of the gravy train.

No, these people have not delivered on their election pledges  instead they have rubbed the nose of all Nigerians and then they continue to insult the intelligence of its citizens.



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