The average Nigerian despises the rich. There’s a pervading belief that every well-off person is in some way responsible for the widespread poverty in the land. As a result, the masses do not care whether the wealthy inherited their fat pockets on account of a line up of affluent ancestors or as a product of some business hocus pocus. The consensus is if they aren’t gnashing their teeth to put food on the table like the majority, they must have shortchanged the rest of us to attain such status. It’s a no-win situation for the well-to-do.
When Grammy-nominated talented maverick, Burna Boy took a veiled swipe at another music star, Davido, the natural disdain for the rich came to play once again. He had alluded to the latter’s success being the result of the influence of an affluent father rather than the reward for hard work.
It’s not the first time, Davido’s career achievements have been pooh-poohed on the altar of his ancestry.
An ancestry he had no input in choosing.
He is not the only one who continues to draw condescension and contempt because he unwittingly dares to the “one percent of the one percent” of society.
In the industry, he has a fellow victim in DJ Cuppy, the colourful disc jockey and daughter of billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola.
The young lady is often at the receiving end of snide remarks targeted at her attempts to make music. Cuppy has had to deal with incessant trolling from folks who are convinced she’s bereft of the talent to do what she has chosen to do.
Again, they chuck her enterprise up to a windfall from daddy.
It doesn’t matter that she is not one to flaunt her privilege or disparage others. On the contrary, she appears to be one of the most genial and unassuming people you could ever come across.
That many affluent people in Nigeria double as politicians who do not have a glowing reputation when it comes to the management of the nation’s resources is not in doubt.
The average politician is a double-dealing charlatan. Many businessmen are unscrupulous.
Nevertheless, many do not fall into this category. People who have in abundance today because they worked and continue to work hard.
What makes the denigration of the rich even more puzzling is that the same folks who rail at them want to be like them.
Every day, the Nigerian prays to be rich. He makes no pretence about it; it is at the top of his prayer request list when he goes to church. He can’t stop putting it out on social media. He is strategic about making friends with people he thinks can get him one step closer to his dream. He covets what the wealthy have; yet, he is the first to show up with a tyre—ready to lynch the ones he hopes to be in the near future—when the bandwagon comes for them.
The hate is premised upon the thinking that rich kids had a cheat code from birth. An unfair advantage that ensures they do not have to “perspire to aspire” like the rest of us.
They could choose not to exert themselves if they wished.
For the average John Doe who cannot afford to sleep for more than four hours in a day, (else he goes hungry), it’s a little too much to wrap the head around.
How can a few have so much to the extent that they can afford to take a detour to a country that had to business visiting just to take a cup of gelato?
Apart from the obvious fact that no one chooses their family, and all of us could have ended up at any spot on the spectrum of possessions, rich isn’t a synonym for lazy.
It is erroneous and myopic to assume that children who are born into wealth aren’t motivated to grind.
I am an ardent believer in hustle being an inbred trait. Drive is a function of personality; you either have it or you don’t.
Of course, one can learn drive from others. Friends are inspired when they see their peers pursue a goal with gusto, but in most cases, the motivation to succeed is innate.
It explains why a Davido would deem it necessary to forge his own path despite the senior Adeleke’s stupendous wealth. His burning desire to actualise his potential as an artiste is the antithesis of the normal.
People who own that much are not supposed to hustle like the commoners of this world.
But that’s what happens when we consider life through a single prism. If the narrative that the well-to-do are indolent compared to the poor were true, we wouldn’t have able-bodied young men and women who have condemned themselves to a life of begging.
Sometimes, I understand the angst of the common man.
He has little hope for tomorrow.
For him, the journey to financial stability is a long, arduous one, not the least bit assisted by thieving politicians and bad leaders, so he lashes out at anyone who bears a remote resemblance to this class of people.
However, he must rein in his inclination to be angered by wealthy people who have not wronged him and apply logic in reasoning.