This is my first in the why is it series where I want you to help me find answers to mosquito questions, i.e, questions that don’t let me sleep well at night. In case you missed the introductory post, you can find it here. So here we go.
Why is it that the majority of success stories in Nigeria are from people originally of middle class or wealthy backgrounds?
I grew up believing that no matter you were born with, if you worked hard enough you could accomplish anything and it didn’t matter where you went to school, where you lived or who you knew, just put in the work and success would wiggle its way, slowly but surely, to you. I believed that till I found out about polytechnics, networking or should I say connection.
There are millions of Nigerians who go to polytechnics and have a permanent concrete ceiling trolling them harder than the fake news media covering Donald Trump. Their certificates are useless, in the sense that climbing up any cooperate ladder, no matter how hard you work, is next to impossible. If your polytechnic diploma gets you in the interview room of any serious organization, for any well-paying position in Nigeria, that right there is a sign that God called your pastor. The man is praying hard for you and you should seriously consider giving some prophet offering. Either that or your connection, I mean network, is more than Obasanjo’s own.
Speaking of ´connectwork´, let’s not pretend that if you come from poverty in Nigeria, networking is limited to very select places and people, which is my nice way of saying networking is making sure your oga-madam likes you…a lot. Someone might want to say social media and that is true on some level. Social media has made meeting and interacting with new people very easy but the chances are, if you’re living below the poverty line in Nigeria, you either cannot afford internet or a smartphone, or you live in an area where you realized that MTN is not everywhere you go. And if MTN is not there, just forget it. Nigeria runs on connections, everything, post proposal, from winning a contract to securing a bank loan is about having the right phone numbers or email addresses and connected people flow in separate classes. Classes that even Thor’s hammer finds difficult to break.
Then there’s our own form of caste system. Our bad behaviours that say if you and I cannot relate on some brother-sister-aunty-uncle level, you will not enter the kingdom as long as I have the keys, #DJKhaled, and what better way to relate than with money and social class?
Look around you, there aren’t that many rags-to-riches stories. Let Google guide you as you look up your favorite celebrities, politicians, business people, a lot of them didn’t start from ground zero. They may have gotten to that point at some time in their lives and crawled their way back up or as I like to put it many of them have lost money, but still had friends.
Don’t get this wrong, I’m not suggesting that these people had stuff handed to them, they fought and have the battle scars and blood stained clothes to prove but the simple truth is a lot of them and a lot of us started and are starting from a higher pedestal than most Nigerians and while the laws of working hard may apply as black and white to the privileged people, it’s very grey for most Nigerians. Why is that?