A rich man’s world

Last sunday, on the bus on the way back home from church, there was an incident


an extra church member needed a seat and the bus was already full. He asked a 15 year old boy if he would have him sit on his lap. The boy said no. Everybody on the bus was irritated by this. For one thing, the bus was our district’s bus and had picked he and his father on the way to church for free but this man needing a seat was from our district. A fight ensued… Or word battle actually. 

The father defending his son’s actions and insulting everyone. At a point i remember him shouting,”do you know who i am? I can pay your salary. Is it because we are on the same bus? I can pay for this bus!”

And someone retorted, “if you are the big man you wany us to think you are, you won’t be on this bus! You will not have G-wagon at home and enter bus. People drive their range rovers to church! If you have car you won’t be on this bus!”


That’s Nigeria for you. Nigeria is a big man country. Big men dont use buses. The man was probably lying about owning a vehicle, but in truth, that’s a Nigerian sentiment. Big men dont use bus. And our definition of big is tanamount to pride. So when we see “big” people doing normal things themselves it becomes “wow, you’re so humble”.

Reminds me of a friend of mine’s dad who was seen on bus transit and started entertaining family the very next day, who had heard that they had fallen on hard times. It was a surprising story to the man who explained he just hadn’t felt like driving. This man had recently sold one of his houses for 55 million somewhere and he didn’t look it. He didn’t have any new cars. He wore agbada and apair of leather slippers. He did not appear to be “big”.

In the picture above, there are two world leaders and 1 normal leader. 1 of these 3 cannot carry his oen umbrella becauss he is a “big” man. Can you spot him?

Obama’s kid got a summer job and Nigerian twitter went ape shit about how entitled rich people’s kids in Nigeria get the biggest jobs whilst an obama kid was “humble” enough to tend the counter or whatever. Firstly, in Nigeria, we don’t do summer jobs. If you have needs as a kid, you meet your parents. I remember back when i was looking for ushering gigs at weddings and all that to get extra money. And one day, i thought, what if i ran into a family member at a party? It won’t be a summer job- humility poem, it will be the headline they will use to start declaring my parents must be going through hard times. It is only now that it is a bit common place and even then, not so common. So kids have an entitled sense that what is their parents is theirs. Till they get too old to ask their parents for things.

My parent’s house is pretty big even for the affluent estate we reside in. Its not really my concern, much to the annoyance of my father. He wants me to be well dressed as far as I’m stepping out of the house and to stop buying my 100 naira phone credits. But, I know what my account balance reads and i refuse to decieve myself and act all special-like. I try hard to live by my means. And not overspend. Of course sometimes, i get glammed up but once I’m on home-front, its rags. And wearing these rags has taught me a lot about humility and life. Seriously. I’m not bullshitting you.

People judge by appearance… They even treat you based on appearance. You can get carried away by this situation and feel like you need to “show them” and start dressing to the ninesss… Its a vicious cycle, because you never quite get there… Never quite look perfect.. I attended a university that thrived on this. That school housed the best dressed set of youths you will ever come across. You can quote me anywhere. Covenant University students?? My God. 

You will struggle to keep up… and then struggle some more to keep keeping up. It was fun though. But it was an unreal environment of people acting and dressing far above what they were to fit in. I knew someone who used half her school fees to go shopping?! And all the time, mummy and daddy were still sending 75% of us pocket money but we acted like it was OUR sweat and blood money and we were rich.

Cross section of CU students for a random church service


Or you can shock them into assessing themselves and enjoy the freedom that comes with it. My church has a fellowship in the estate and you bet your ass i go there in my rags. I also love to sit at the back. I was pretty much ignored as well as wiyh most back seaters, except when the women chose to be harassed by my wearing knee length shorts and accost me about it. But, one day,someone saw where i lived, someone asked the university i attended, another saw me driving, and i ran into one of the pastor’s in charge at a family party (i turn up to family events oh!! To the 10 zzz) and it was a shocker to them. One woman eventually asked me why i dressed how i did. I couldn’t tell her why.

 That i wanted to learn to be someone that values people for themselves rather thsn how they look and what they were.

… That i wanted to learn to treat people better because I had experienced firsthand what it was to be disregarded because people felt you were in a certain class.

… That i didn’t want to become a slave to buying the best and the most expensive to have people respect me…. 

But it wasn’t her story and she wouldn’t understand. So, I told her i lived in the estate, and dressing up to come for an estate fellowship after a day’s work was a waste of my time. She looked befuddled. But that was fine, my plan at life was different from hers.


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