IN late 2016, the Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM) arrived in Nigeria. Over the ensuing months, it stampeded across the country, sweeping the majority of the people into its grasp. As a ponzi scheme, it was one of the biggest in Nigerian history. Raising such a storm, the government had to warn and implore the populace to steer clear of its machinations. However, due to the prevalent economic difficulties of that time and the seeming greed of those involved, majority jumped head in and the folly of their actions became clear when they couldn’t get their money back in the usual long run deficiency of ponzi schemes, such that the promised 300 per cent profit never came. Well, MMM isn’t back again, but it might well be. Loom, the latest ponzi idea, has taken over the country now. Everywhere you turn, and on virtually every social media platform, you’re being asked to join the Loom. On public forum groups or a group for school or work, it is right there with you. Even if you’re not on any groups or have muted them all, like myself, you‘ll still be hit with the Loom wave. People you know or don’t know will send you the link; a friend of a friend or a friend of an associate will proposition you to join. The youths have been swept up in its frenzy and are its biggest proponents as they’re all for the fast and easy money. The drop N1000 and get N8000/N16000 kind of schemes. So the question has really been: are you in the loom? Or more precisely, have you also been swept up in its grasp?
If you have, you obviously believe and assume you have a very logical reason for doing it, but it all boils down to ‘The Thirst’, – the drive to be something, to actually be way up higher than you currently are financially, and it’s because the society and media have made many believe that money solves everything. That with money, anything is possible and that it is the be all and end all. While this is not to say that having a thirst for money or financial success is a bad thing, the voracity with which the majority of our young ones/youths of today pursue the task of acquiring money and what they are prepared to do to get that money is disturbing. They would do anything and everything for money, even to the point of committing murder or other heinous crime. And you find that all this isn’t even for the ‘purpose’ of bettering of their lives or trying to make something of themselves. Rather it is mainly for the art of showing off.
In this wise, there was the recent reported case of a young apprentice who impregnated a girl and later had the girl delivering the baby. But rather than the boy being concerned about the weight of the responsibility devolving on him because of his sexual escapades, he was apprehended for beheading one of his master’s sons to raise money for the naming ceremony of his new baby! He was looking for money, not to take care of the baby, but to lavish on a naming ceremony and he was prepared to behead for that! And to believe that was just an 18 year old is disheartening, much as it leaves us wondering what has come over this society, especially the new generation. Reflecting on this sordid case however, suggested to me that we have three things to confront if we are to rise up to the growing immorality and irascible pursuit of money in our clime. One, the economic situation in the country at present is nothing to joke about. According to current metrics, almost half of the Nigerian population currently lives in absolute poverty. When this is the reality most kids live with daily, with their parents’ inability to provide their basic needs, fast money is a very inviting prospect.
Two, today’s parents are terrible at being parents and lack what it takes to raise a child. Most homes today exist as just boarding facilities, as each member of the family lives life that is free of the other’s knowledge or input. This creates a dynamic where most children are generally raised by their friends, what they see around them and on TV. Hence, a degradation in the morality level, such that it is disheartening to contemplate the deleterious effects. Third, the media today have a huge impact on our thinking due to it’s accessibility, especially the social media which fuels the prevalent show-off of one’s means of life. Don’t take my word for it, all you have to do is to turn on your tv, watch a music video, a simple log in to Instagram to understand the showy display that has become the norm of life. Everywhere you look, there is an aggressive show of money. It’s in the cars people drive, the clothes they wear and the houses they live in. The extremely rich have money and they want to make sure no one forgets it, all this in the midst of extreme and benumbing poverty. As a consequence, today’s youths want to emulate their stars and icons, even as it has to be stated that, many of these stars don’t have money past what they spend everyday on their showy life, past what is seen on social media platforms, as they are also only succumbing to the showy bug.
The bottom line however is that all these anomalies have led to youths who want to get rich by all means. The society is now saddled with kids/adults with little to zero home training, who are morally and intellectually dumb while pretending to be smart. We now have semi-civilised thugs and irresponsible slay queens who are all about the ‘hustle’ and the ‘street smart’. So, before you decide to convince yourself to join the Loom, ask yourself what exactly is motivating you? What business is powering the initiative and what is going to give you the extraordinary returns you are craving? And who are those you are joining? And by joining them, what exactly are you saying about yourself and the type of person you are? Let us remember that the current negative thirst is real and we all need to be careful not to be engulfed in its flames as it wreaks havoc in the society.
- Wale-Olaitan is of the Department of Computer Science, Kola Daisi University, Ibadan, Nigeria.