So the hype around 12 Years A Slave is strong; Lupita Nyong’o is an overnight sensation, to some she is deserving of this and to others she’s just an African who got lucky for taking off her clothes and getting flogged in a movie. Whatever the case, she has an Oscar and bad belle haters can at least pretend to be happy for her, I mean, Designers send her clothes personally and did you see her pictures at the last fashion show?, she sat beside Rihana and people flocked around her. Lupita girl, it’s your time, enjoy.
The Hollywood breeze is blowing here in Nigeria too. After all, we are the giants of Africa and Kenya cannot be getting the American Media attention like this. First Obama of Kenyan descent, now Lupita. So as I was saying, Hollywood notices Nigeria too as our dear Chiwetel Ejiofor is also reaping the rewards of hard-work, and between the Awards and his Sister’s emotional outburst in the office, Nigeria has been mentioned a lot of times (and I choose not to hear the part about their mother not having access to clean water).
The Enugu State government was not to be outdone. Immediately Chiwetel won his award, they sent a congratulatory message to their ‘illustrious son’ who had done them proud. It is immaterial that Google search of his nationality puts him as being British. No! Ejiofor is an Ibo name and an ‘Illustrious son of Enugu he is’. Besides, if he had committed a crime, they would have called him a Nigerian. No pun intended to Enugu State since I had my University education, there but their act and indeed the reaction of Nigerians reminds me of a song my roommates and I used to tease each other with back then in Bello Hall.
‘Know me when I’m poor,
not when I’m rich
You claim relationship (2x)‘.
Yes, we Nigerians are just like that. Someone becomes affluent and suddenly he becomes ‘the son of our great grandfather’s sister’s brother’s friend who hunted with our grandfather so he is just like a brother. In fact, more than a brother to us’. That girl you never said ‘Hi’ to in your boarding house suddenly becomes your really close pal becayse she is now on the cover of a magazine and on various blogs.
It used to irritate me when a friend of mine referred to a popular model as her friend just because they attended the same secondary school even though this girl never acknowledged her because my friend used to snob her way back in secondary school. I cringed in embarrassment each time my friend sent pictures and messages to her ‘Model friend’ without getting a response. Haba, friendship no be by force now, but I guess to this my friend, it was.
One of the past Gulder Ultimate Search winners used to stay in the same hood with my brother in the University and I know for a fact that they never spoke to each other. In fact my brother never liked him and ignored him whenever he came to see his neighbors. I was surprised when my brother saw his picture on the front page of the newspaper and exclaimed ‘I know this guy now, he was my neighbor, we used to play games together.’ We would have ignored it if my brother didn’t call him up, congratulating him and asking that they hang out and even started telling everyone who cared to listen stories of their days in the University together. It took the combined yabbing of everyone in the family for him to stop his famzing and admit that they were just neighbors.
The truth is claiming relationships or ‘famzing’, as we Nigerians call it, is a natural human phenomenon. Even the Bible says ‘the rich hath many friends and even the brother of the poor do hate him.’ No disrespect to people who claim relationships, as proximity to success can create the feeling of success.
On the flip side, we could decide to do everything we can to make something out of ourselves. My father, of blessed memory, used to say ‘Don’t struggle to belong, struggle to become because once you become, you automatically belong’. We should hone our skills, pay the price and do everything right and honest to get to the top and then, once at the top, rather than famz others, people will famz us.
In addition to hard (smart) work, we should have our money work for us. I recently attended an event where the first personalized online stockbroking platform was launched (I think it’s called the Meritrade platform- you guys can Google it). Lucky winners of a raffle were given 50,000 Naira to start trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and from the speeches and fact books given at the event, it seems with a start up capital of N50,000, individuals can sign up to the platform and buy, sell and monitor stocks anytime, anywhere.
It got me thinking that a lot of these opportunities exist, one could purchase land in Estates with monthly installments as little as N25,000, not up to the cost of some of our designer shoes and in 1-2 years become a landlord.
Our lives and indeed our money is in our hands and we owe it to ourselves to make the best out of it. Paraphrasing the Richest man in Babylon ‘The journey to wealth begins when you realize that a part of all you earn is yours to keep and indeed invest’.
I urge you to take a step towards making yourself successful, study, make the first move, do whatever is necessary and when the money comes, invest wisely and make sure your money works for you.
And when you finally get to the top, enjoy the view and smile when random people start telling you that ‘their father’s sister’s uncle’s aunty and your mum are friends’. Guys, you can even go Olamide on the girls who dumped you in the past ( ‘Ya go lona, shey mo jo Yemi my lover ni?’), it’s your call, you’ve earned it and the famzing that accompanies success.
Everything else is Crinkum Crankum.
Photo Credit: jessieveal.com
Peculiar Okafor is a marketing communications executive and loves to write. Visit her blog www.designersuitcases.blogspot.com to read her stories.