(Caveat: Please engage your sense of humour in reading this article. Sentences may have deeper meanings than what can be readily gleaned on the surface. Or maybe not.)
“If you no get money, hide your face,” sang Davido, a billionaire’s son and top musician. In Nigeria, you cannot be addressed as a respectable human being unless you have money. Of course, when we say somebody has money, everyone understands we are talking in millions of naira. If you cannot conveniently announce at a social function that you are donating a million naira or more for some cause, then you have not arrived, which means you are not worthy of being taken seriously. Everything in this country is about money. If someone tells you otherwise, look at him closely and you will realise he is a poor man, a struggling good-for-nothing who is seeking for a companion in misery. Run away from such a person before he poisons your mind and pulls you down to his level. You should know the god you serve is a god of riches, and his purpose for your life is for you to be stinkingly rich.
It is possible that you have heard a lot about how to become a millionaire. Over the years, it is even likely that you have read a couple of books, attended seminars, and seen some YouTube videos that discuss this topic. Well, for your information, so far you are a Nigerian living in Nigeria, all that knowledge is useless. Nigeria is an entirely different system with its own peculiarities. Therefore, methods that work elsewhere just don’t work here. Because I have had a few calabashes of good palmwine and I am in a particularly nice mood today, I will take my time in debunking many theories you might have considered and, hopefully, help you see the light. Thus, if this article tells you anything, it must be this: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man becomes a millionaire in Nigeria but by me.”
(1). First and foremost, you are mistaken if you think the way to make lots of money in Nigeria is to study a good course in the university and have good grades. That would be too straightforward, and we don’t fancy such. The best jobs, the types that can make you a millionaire, are simply not open for application, regardless of how excellent your curriculum vitae is. They are reserved for the privileged ones, people on whom the gods have smiled, so perish that thought already.
(2). These days, one hears of some heady Nigerian youths who have the audacity to dream of making cutting-edge discoveries while in this country, the kind of scientific breakthroughs that will turn their fortunes around. We must seek them out and applaud their incorrigible patriotism, evident in their reluctance to see that Nigeria is at a terrible disadvantage technology-wise. It does not matter that they might never achieve this lofty dream or that longingness might weary their souls. They would have tried, but you would have known better. You would have known better because you would have examined the statements that follow and attempted drawing a logical conclusion from them. A: Nigeria is currently the prestigious headquarters of poverty in the world, based on her abundance of poor people. B: poor people and their government rarely have time to think about the future because they are mostly preoccupied with how to survive the present moment. C: technology is the future.
(3). You must be familiar with the latest craze about entrepreneurship by the federal government and its agencies, and it is okay to flatter yourself by hallucinating the Nigerian government gives a rat’s ass about you. However, small and medium-sized enterprises are never going to cut it, never going to make you a millionaire that you were destined to be. At best, they are a mere distraction from your goal. To tell you the truth, the Nigerian government thinks youths are annoying cry-cry babies, so it stuffs our mouths with any pacifiers that can keep us shut. If you are in doubt, go find out how many leaders who sing about entrepreneurship have their children do the kind of start-ups they are recommending to youths.
(4). Lastly, one should know they are kidding if they think their creativity will get them on the list of millionaires. The next beautiful gift one is sure to get after one’s work is released, after a short-lived acknowledgement of one’s genius and perseverance, is despair clothed in a colourful wrapping paper called piracy. In Nigeria, people will pirate your work, and when that happens, you should be grateful your work was considered worthy of piracy in the first place. After all, your name is still out there, going places. It’s the same story whether you are an actor, a writer, a musician, an artist, or whatever. Intellectual property and copyright are not things we bother ourselves about here; please leave that to the white man and his pointed pink nose. Because, at the end, only one thing is certain: you would be convinced you have successfully wasted your time, and this epiphany would further worsen your frustration.
Having thoroughly disabused your mind, it is time I showed you how exactly to make money. In Nigeria, there are but few ways to become a multi-millionaire. If you follow any of the paths and apply yourself, your riches will come like an avalanche. Do not worry about moral standards or values. All things are acceptable and forgivable in this country, provided you have enough money. In other words, laws are made for the common man, poor people who do not know what it means to change cars like one changes clothes. As for you, multi-millionaire that you would have become, you are above the law.
(5). The first and most preferred means of becoming rich is to become a politician. Run for a post and do whatever it takes to win. Politics is where the money is — never forget that. If you secure a good position like that of a state governor, deputy governor, speaker, president, vice president, etc, your generation will never be poor again. The reasons are obvious: one, you can embezzle as much money as you please. Nigerians already expect that, so don’t disappoint them. Two, for doing very little, you will be earning one of the highest salaries and allowances obtainable anywhere in the world. And what’s more, you will continue receiving some of these allowances long after your tenure in office is over, basically till you die.
(6). But in the unfortunate event that you are unable to secure a political office, let not your heart be troubled. All you need do is become friends with an incumbent politician. There are two ways to do this. One is to become his in-law. The other is to cozy up to him, which is, well, a euphemistic way of saying, “Be his bootlicker.” Either of the two gets the job done. Soon, you will secure an appointment, more like a sinecure. If none is open, he would surely create some redundant office to accommodate you. We have heard of such offices as “personal assistant to the special assistant to the state governor”. Where there is a will, there is a way. In the probable situation that he doesn’t offer you an appointment, rest assured that he will be offering you something just as good: a contract, preferably one with inflated budget, or an oil well. Anyway, remember to pay your dues; a Nigerian politician likes his kickbacks.
(7). The other path that leads to a multi-millionaire status is to establish a church. Nigerians are very religious people, and many have argued that it is because Nigerians are poor. They say the poorer you are, the higher your tendency to hunger after spiritual support, something to balance what you lack in the physical world. But that is all theological and philosophical headache, which, honestly, you should not bother yourself about. Just start a church that has modern doctrines and musical instruments. Remember to say God called you or that you received a revelation, then make sure your public address system and public relations are stuffs of legend. Preach prosperity because that is a Nigerian’s dream. Validate your members and bolster their psyche because that would keep them coming. In due time, extend your tentacles. Set up more branches and build a school. Be certain your school fees cost an arm and a leg. People will find money by all means to pay; it is after all a godly school. Churches are Nigeria’s biggest establishments. If in doubt, count the number of churches in your local vicinity and compare it to the number of any other establishments around, be it public or private. You must take advantage of this. It is just perfect that churches don’t pay tax, which is why you should subtly encourage your congregation to pay all their tithes. Fraternise with politicians, but be discreet about it, for you must not be seen to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. In no time, you will hear your banker say, “Congratulations, pastor, you are now a millionaire.” At this point, you must start thinking like a successful businessman, because that is what you have become. What does a successful businessman think about? Expansion: more expansion and more money. Therefore, go ye into all the world and multiply.
(This article was first published on Punocracy and The Cable.)