On Friday, the city of Lagos was on lockdown because of one wedding. The wedding of the daughter of the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote. I didn’t get the memo on time. Not until I visited social media and found that the first class wedding ceremony had not just been attended by the high and mighty of Nigeria’s corporate, social and political class, it also had in attendance one of the most famous people in the entire universe – Mr Bill Gates. And when the pictures taken at the event started to make the rounds on popular blogs and news sites, I fully understood why there was a huge buzz around the occasion.
The tendency of Nigerians to infuse melodrama into even the most mundane happenings didn’t help matters. I mean, this was likely to be the wedding of the year, even though we are only in the third month (let’s be realistic, who else has the clout to pull a figure in the mould of Bill Gates to attend a social function in Nigeria?) Social media was agog with the details of the event, especially, the table which sat dignitaries whose combined net is valued at more than 100 billion dollars.
Young people in the online community went on an “I will get there one day” and “God will do my own” confession spree. Others made jokes about what it would take to be worthy to sit at the special table which had several former and serving presidents, service chiefs, members of the national assembly and other important personalities.”A sit under this table is enough for me”, one Instagram user commented. The famous power table was tagged – Unshakeable. It was richer than many countries and had the wherewithal to save many nations from their debt.
The wistful comments and remarks riddled with longing as a result of the convergence of these first-class VIPs had me imagining on what it would actually take to be invited to such an event. I thought about the pre-requisites to be welcome in the midst of the super-rich and famous who are celebrated for being in the exclusive one percent of the world’s population, and I came up with these:
Come from old money: It’s the most guaranteed way to roll in the highly exclusive circles. While Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates worked their way up from little to much, you do not have to do the same if you are born into wealth. Your family name and pedigree can do the work for you. Forget the ignorant notion about wealthy folks being down to earth enough to accommodate regular people. It’s hogwash! Rich people want to be around rich people, period. They may extend a helping hand to poor or bourgeoisie’s of this world in a bid to enhance their philanthropic profile or on a generous whim, but when it comes to their functions and hangouts, they are not interested in sharing the same space with the common man. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles. So if you want to hobnob with the high and mighty, make sure you have roots in the high and mighty. It really is that simple.
Be a celebrity: Celebrities are not necessarily rich, but they have one thing that appeals to the rich – star power. Celebrities are sort after because of their fame. Nothing more. And that’s the reason you would find a number of them at a high profile event like one organised by a billionaire. Please note that by celebrity, I am referring to A-list stars only. Not struggling artists who are not known beyond some parts of Nigeria. If you are wondering how to snag an invitation to these kinds of events, just figure out a way to become a household name. Be a Genevieve, Wizkid or Chimamanda. Anything short of these, and you would be perceived like the average John or Jane Doe on the streets.
Be super talented: Talent is a dime a dozen. Being a regular run-of-the-mill talent will not take you to the zenith required to rub shoulders with billionaires. Your talent will make way for you only when you own the MC space like IK Osakioduwa does or are recognised in dance like Kaffy. You will not need to scramble for invites to exclusive parties and other events if you are, for example, Dangote’s personal tailor or Bill Gate’s chef. It’s the immense power undeniable talent wields. Time and again, we have seen previously unknown people come into the limelight because they do what they do far better than the average person. Talent opens doors that would otherwise have been shut to the bearer.
It’s time to stop fantasizing about sharing a meal table with the vice-president or having a tete-a-tete with the wife of the president. The route to making this a reality lies in the factors I have explained above.
Now, the truth is, if you were born into old money, you wouldn’t be part of the hoi polloi who are desperate to make it to some power table. You would be on the other side, hanging with the people that matter because you really are part of them.
So, for average Nigerians like me, the second and third options are the only realistic chance of fulfilling that dream. Either you take that step to becoming a celebrity or you work so hard at your talent that these moneybags are “forced” to seek you out. It’s your call