There is a short video flying over Twitter that shows where a person, believed to be Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, was spraying money from his SUV. The sender of this video captioned it, “Gov. Akeredolu sharing 200 naira notes in Akura”. Of course some of the governor’s diehard fans claimed he was not the one. But then, sirens were blaring in the background and the black SUV looked like what is being used for election campaigns. However, the man that threw the money up wore facemask and the car’s plate number was covered, so you can’t really tell who committed this public offence.
But that is by the way. The thing that actually caught people’s attention in the video is the way people scrambled for this money. Let’s forget about the CBN financial act that forbade the spray of naira notes, because our politicians don’t observe it, and focus our attention on why adults will fall over one another on a highway because of just two hundred naira.
People that don’t go to market these days won’t understand why I said “just two hundred naira”. Some may go as far as accusing me of not understanding the sufferings people are passing through. But those are actually the reasons behind calling two hundred naira a “just”.
Now I ask, what can two hundred naira do for a person in Nigeria today? I mean, a cup of local badly processed stone-filled rice today is even more than that amount. If you take fifty naira out of that money, you will buy a bag of pure water with the balance. If you decide to buy kerosene with that money, you will have to go back home, find another seventy naira or more, add it to the two hundred naira and then buy a litre of kerosene. But here we see men and women diving into the road to pick two hundred naira.
Please, don’t laugh at these people or get angry with them; they are victims of circumstances. We all are victims of circumstances. Trust me, I cannot honestly tell you that I won’t dive for my own two hundred naira if I happened to be at the scene of this drama. Maybe I will recollect myself later but the reflex of rushing for the money will definitely be there at that particular time. Now why would I or anyone else do that? It is simple – poverty.
Poverty isn’t just about not having money in your bank account or being afraid you might not be able to eat your next meal. Poverty also involves the desire to collect and store because you don’t know tomorrow. It is possible that those people that rushed for the sprayed two hundred naira notes obviously had something doing they needed more. They are unsure of their tomorrow. If not, they wouldn’t fall into gutters to pick money.
But then, what about the politician that sprayed that money? What was his intention? Of course we all should agree that he knows that the money will do nothing for the people there. If he really wanted to help them, he knows what to do. So why did he spray that money on the road? Was it to entertain himself as he watched men and women fall on each other as they reached for the money? Or did he want to see if people are still hungry? Or was he hoping to win more votes from that?
Some people assumed that what he did was diabolically motivated but I wouldn’t stand for that. If you ask me, I will say that whoever devised that strategy wanted to test waters. He obviously wanted to see if poverty can still be used as an asset towards securing or manipulating votes in the upcoming election. The person knows that our politicians have been deliberately starving us and that we should be ripe for harvest. He wanted to know if we can dance to whatever music politicians beat so long as they promise us a slice of dry crusted weevil-infested bread. And did he get the answer he wanted? Oh yeah. His experiment rang positive.
It is a pity. Poverty is both an asset and a weapon constructed by our politicians to utilize whenever they need to. But it is left for Nigerians to beat their chests and say, “Enough is enough.” We don’t need politicians’ money to feed, clothe or find shelters. We shouldn’t let poverty turn us into morons.