In Nigeria, over the past five years or so there has been an upsurge of cases of yahoo boys, internet scammers, fraudsters and ritual killings. Over the past five years there has been an increase in the get rich quick mentality. Over the past five years there has been an unwarranted increase in unhealthy competition in money and other doings (Obi Cubana, Davido, etc). Over the last five years, there has also been an unprecedented inflation in the economy which has led to a very high cost of living without a corresponding palliatives or social security from the government of the day. As a result, so many investment platforms that promise over 200% interest on capital (too good to be true) have popped up and unfortunately have ripped off from some of us even the little hard-earned money we had (MMM, MBA etc). Many people are now into bitcoin and other crypto stuffs. The rush to make it as quickly and easy as possible has really been crazy over the last five years. This writer believes that one of the key factors behind the get rich quick mentality is the over dependence of the youths on the social media.
Studies has shown that an average young man spends well over five or six hours daily on the social media. The most used social media platforms include: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Tiktok. One of every three young internet user has at least three active social media handles. As the consumption is high so is its influence on real life of the youths.
Followers of Instablog or Yabaleft for instance, could testify that every day, there is someone (a young boy or girl) showcasing his newly acquired 2021 or 2022 Benz, or a Mansion in an Island in Lagos or Abuja; or there is a birthday or wedding party in a lounge where the celebrant is spread dollars or pounds. Everyday someone is showcasing his or her new designer clothes, jewelries, iphone 13, ipad, and other gadgets worth hundreds of thousands or millions of NGN. We see these, we love it and we desire it. There is a craze and a rush to also acquire these and to also showcase. The competition is really high. What we see we want to get with or without the means. We want to chill with the big boys, run kitikiti, katakata. We want to bam bam. But chill, isn’t there time for everything anymore?
We see people who are younger than us, chilling with the big boys, and big girls in town and immediately we feel we haven’t made it – we soon become a failure even before we have arrived at our various destinies. Somehow the sense of sight (the eye) is connected with desire. And desire when it is disoriented can be very dangerous. We are familiar with the popular Genesis account of Adam and Eve´s disobedience in the Bible. The holy writ highlights that although God had placed an injunction not to eat of the fruit of the tree, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Gen 3:6). I want to underline here “pleasing to the eye” and “desirable.” We always have the temptation to desire what we see especially if it is pleasing to the eye and we tend to care less about its moral implication of the desirable, that is whether it is good or bad.
Students who are barely 20 or 25 soon forget they are students. Many are no longer focused on studies. They say school is scam. Yet they forget that even the so-called yahoo boys, social media influencers who unfortunately some of them have taken as models are graduates. School is scam yet everyday people are applying to study masters and postgraduate in UK, Canada and USA. Those who are just employed barely two years in the various ministries or industries want to live large like they have been working for 10 or 15 years. Chill, there is time for everything. In life there is absolutely no need for the rush, it is one step at a time. The rush should be to lay a solid foundation for the years ahead. The foundation is not always seen, it is inside, inward, within the person but solid. But without a solid foundation the edifice won’t stand for long.
The get rich quick mentality has led so many girls into doing just anything, I mean just anything to make them get the “certificate” to chill with the big boys and girls. All form of caution has since been thrown to the winds. Of course, its nobody´s business, since nobody is feeding you. And so, the real yahoo boys (ritualists) have not lacked victims because they know exactly how to entice the desperate small girls with a big god. In the end, who pays the price? Of course, the poor parents, the families and relatives who have resolved not to ask the source of their daughter´s luxurious lifestyle with an iPhone 13, bone straight hair, living in an apartment of over a million NGN per year etc.
This writer is not against those who honestly work hard even as students, teenagers or youngsters to afford their luxurious lifestyle. The writer wants to encourage those who feel they are not making it just because their contemporaries are already chilling with the big boys not to feel bad but to take it step by step. Slow and steady wins the race. It is not about how fast but how far. Take it easy on yourself: there is time for everything. Take one step at a time!
Fr. Valentine Umoh
Humanist and Social Analyst
31 Jan 2022.