The sudden Wealth Craze and How We Got Here

By Jude Atupulazi

I was reading one piece the other day in the social media which got me thinking. It was a story of how a young boy saw a fifty Naira note in his parents’ house one day years ago. He pondered what to do with the money. Should he pick it and return it to his mother or should he pick and keep it for himself? In the end, the latter thought won and he took the money for himself.

He kept it for three days in order to know if the loss of the money would be discovered by anyone but at the end of three days, it was not. The young boy now felt the loss would never be discovered. What did he do next? He called some of his friends and they went to a hot rice joint and ate to their satisfaction.

After enjoying the rice, he discovered that he still had about thirty Naira left and they decided to use the balance for drinks. But when they got to the joint and ordered for some bottles, the woman who ran the joint immediately dragged him by the hand and took him all the way to his home.

When they arrived, the boy saw the rice woman leaving and being escorted by his mother. He also saw one or two other women whom he later learnt their mission to his home. They had, like the rice woman, come to report to his mother that they saw him buying food in the street.

According to the boy, he was beaten ”mercilessly” by his mother. After that, his mother tore a page from a newspaper where the pictures of a notorious armed robber in the seventies, Ishola Oyenusi, were splashed as he was being executed by a firing squad.

The mother pasted this at the head of the boy’s bed to serve as a reminder to him how robbers ended up. The story teller said it was the last time he ever took what did not belong to him.

Now, what did the above recollection teach us? It teaches us the difference between what used to be and what we have now in our society. In those days, the business of grooming children was not left for the parents alone. Everybody joined in ensuring that children behaved well.

Any child seen involved in any untoward act was either promptly berated or reported to its parents. Nowadays, doing this will only bring regret for the person trying to advise the child as the child will boldly tell the person that it is none of their business and can even attack them.

This is why people will today see a young boy smoking a cigarette in the street or at the back yard and keep silent. Even when they report, in some cases, the parents, especially mothers, will ask the person who is reporting if their children are worse than theirs.

They will quickly call them gossips and busy bodies. Thus, many have learnt to mind their business. It is this minding of everyone’s business that has destroyed the fabric of our society.

In the communities, criminals are given chieftaincy titles without anyone asking about the sources of their wealth. The intriguing thing is that these kind of people will even press and pester others to be given honours they do not deserve. Some of them are even knights of the Church.

The other day I learnt about a knight who secretly buried his dead in the heathen way after a funeral Mass had been held. His action was witnessed by those who knew his background and tomorrow the knight would expect them to respect him and take his advice.

There are many people like this knight who by their actions have lost the moral right to advise others when they do wrong. This is exactly why many of today’s youths don’t listen to anybody. They look at their immediate society and see how criminals are idolized everywhere and the next thing is that they will begin to aspire to make money the way those people did.

Core values have been thrown to the dogs and those who insist on living right are ridiculed and scoffed at. The language is money and more money and when those youths who see what happens around them acquire money through killing people or robbing them, we cry that the heavens are falling.

Ritual killing is now raging across the land. People have killed their mothers, fathers, siblings and friends, just to make money. Our society has come to the stage where nothing shocks anyone again. But the terrible reality is that what we see now may just be child’s play to what will surely unfold tomorrow. We have just lost it and should blame no one.

It is clear that the society we abused yesterday is taking revenge on us today. Uwa ntoor.