I’ve Got to be Rich

  • The Confession of a Nigerian Teenage

What’s the hullabaloo about the teenage secondary school boys that recently killed a girlfriend for rituals in Abeokuta? And what’s the noise about the three boys (14-16 years) that left Delta State for Edo State, with alleged knowledge of their parents, to hustle and get a share of a multi-billion naira Yahoo-Yahoo business?

Let me introduce myself. I am a Nigerian teenager with only one swan song: “I’ve got to be rich.” The music is sweet to my ears; its lyrics drive me crazy. I go into a frenzy thinking about it. My heart pounds with ecstasy just imagining what it will be like to be rich. What else can I be if I am not rich? A scumbag? A rejected cornerstone? An example of a son you pray not to have? I vehemently reject those descriptions. They are not my portion in Jesus’ name!

I’ve got to be rich. And that’s it! I need money to win the hearts of my family members. Yes, I mean that, as sacrilegious as it may sound. Let’s be honest, principled parents are an endangered species. The good ones are old and locked in their rooms – too fragile to discipline, too vulnerable to wield any influence. All the grandpas and the grandmas do now is eat, sleep and recall the good times. It looks to me like the sheep of integrity and patient endurance have all abandoned the staple, leaving behind ravenous wolves. Today’s parents have no qualms. They are an anything-goes generation. The child that brings in the most money wins their hearts and gets celebrated. The family bond is no longer held by unconditional love but by performance. To be sure, performance parameters have shifted from academics to money. I know that. My friends know that. We know the way to the hearts of our parents and by extension the hearts of our siblings. When they tell us to remember the sons of whom we are. We know what they mean – go out there and make it big, whatever it takes. Who will blame us for pandering to the ones we love the most?

I’ve got to be rich. It is settled. The society has no enviable place for me without money. Nobody judges the contents of your character anymore. Everyone looks at your dress, your car, your house… It’s about the outward. It’s about what you have now. Dreams are considered inconsequential and hopes are in relegation. It’s the now that matters. So, process has been consigned to the dustbin of history and results have taken the centre stage. The end, as they say, justifies the means. Examples of this maxim abound in our politics, in our communities and in the marketplaces. So, what’s wrong in me mirroring the societal values? Can one tree make a forest? How do you survive in a culture of unbridled embezzlement by politicians and public officers? How do you handle the endemic corruption on our highways, at our borders, in our schools, and in our offices? I beg, I am not seeking to be a saint. Saints are usually canonized after they die. I doubt if anyone in this century is thinking of sainthood. The hood of money is too alluring and far more relevant now than the pain of a futuristic sainthood.

I’ve got to be rich. And no one should try to stop me. The last time I was in church, which is going to months now, the pastor mentioned money more than he mentioned Jesus. Aren’t we being hypocritical when we say, ‘What God cannot do does not exist’, when in reality we mean money and not God? To this generation, the love of money is not the root of all evil but the beauty and the essence of all life. That’s why rich people have the ears of the religious leaders and earn the respect of the faithfuls. Even in the religious houses where all men are supposed to worship God as equals, the rich still call the shots. It is obvious the rich are more equal than the rest of us. Would you blame me if I do all I can – legal or illegal, decorous or obscene- to be rich?

I’ve got to be rich. I shall spare no effort, reject no trick, and exhibit no conscience. I shall fear no danger; not even death. Afterall, what’s more dangerous than living without money? And isn’t a poor man a corpse walking on two legs?

I’ve got to be rich. Please wish me luck.

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