The image above shows a group of men from Edo state who were tagged “Edo big boys” over the internet some days ago. They had a party last week to celebrate their associations day in Italy and there’s really no big deal about that except for the flamboyant and tasteless display of money and the utterly classless manner with which they sprayed stacks of dollars! These guys showed absolutely no respect for money or its value. They obviously felt they had a point to prove in the finance department. In other news, an Enugu billionaire buried his mother in a Hummer Jeep as a casket and as well as $10,000 cash! And there goes my problem with new money bags…
Money is good no doubt. Wealth can rightly be considered a blessing in just about the same way many people see poverty as a curse. Truth be told, it doesn’t hurt not to have to worry about money. It certainly makes things easier. The fact that one doesn’t have to hustle endlessly and grow grey hairs prematurely as an aftermath of the pursuit of wealth is enough reason to be thankful if they are one of the lucky few to possess a considerable amount of it. However, there are 2 categories of rich/wealthy people -the old money which basically consists of those who were born into wealth. The families of this class of people have been wealthy for several generations and make sure to continue in the tradition of bequeathing great wealth and substance to their children and generations yet unborn. They are the thoroughbreds, the blue bloods, the authentic high and mighty in the society. They possess honor and high moral standards and are so accustomed to having lots of money that they are almost unaware of it. They live in some parts of Ikoyi and VI and the Government Residential Areas of Lagos. They are the epitome of simplicity and class. They are old money…they don’t show off. They don’t make noise.
On the other hand, we have the new money aka the nouveau riche; this class of people previously belonged to a lower social strata of the society but have within their generation or that of their parents found themselves being upwardly mobile and as such are now able to afford many of the things that were hitherto considered only a dream for them. They are debutantes in money having only recently experienced an upgrade in their position. Now, my problem with the nouveau riche is that more often than not, their lifestyle is characterized by ostentation and vulgarity. The “I have arrived syndrome” that the new money suffer from ensures that they lack the proper breeding, finesse, experience and system values that come naturally to old money. The average person who is newly rich wants people to know about his new status, so he moves from the mainland to Lekki and if he must stay among the mere mortals that live on the mainland it has to be somewhere in Magodo… the haven of new money. Flashy cars, blings, fake accents and a braggadocios air of superiority are all part of the package. The nouveau riche are showy. They try too hard. They are noisemakers.
Just 2 days ago, Prince William, a blue blood of the highest order and 2nd in line to the British throne flew commercial from Newyork to Washington DC and even shunned the Business class seat for the Coach. I also remember a picture of David Cameron which went viral, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom assuming a standing position on the London tube because they were no vacant seats. I am not sure many of those who belong to the upper middle class strata here in Nigeria (who mostly make up the nouveau riche) can see themselves suffering such “indignity.” The unfortunate thing is this- even though the nouveau riche may have escaped poverty in physical sense, they still surely suffer from mental poverty.