Just a few days back, I went shopping in Grand Square, one of Abuja’s most popular supermarkets, where I witnessed a shocking incident that inspired me to write this article.
Few weeks ago, I wrote an article titled “One disease that continues to plague most AUN students” which triggered different opinions from people. Some of the responses implied that I had limited the disease to only AUN students while ignoring the vast population of Nigerians who suffer from the disease. Maybe true, but I had limited the said disease to just AUN students because I specifically wanted to pass across a message to them.
Today, I’m going to be writing on what I have titled “One disease that continues to plague most Nigerians.” While the disease I call “misplaced priority” could be detrimental if not attended to hastily, I believe there is another, even more deadly. You will find out what this disease is as you read on.
I had finished shopping and was about exiting the building when all of a sudden I could perceive the pleasant aroma of freshly baked bread. Overwhelmed by the smell, I thought I should spoil myself with just a loaf or two, and so, I proceeded to the bread stand where I joined a long line of waiting customers who were there for the same purpose. In front of me was this dude standing beside this babe who I observed to be his girlfriend. So, there I was, exhausted from standing when I overheard this babe asking this guy if she could go pick up a few items to add to what she already had in the trolley. He nodded and responded “Sure, why not… feel free to do so.”
She left, and to my greatest amazement, he tapped his friend who was standing in front of him and asked if he could borrow “additional” N6, 000 to the money he already had borrowed from him. His friend being displeased with his inability to tell his “girlfriend” he had no more money on him, responded to him quietly in pidgin English by saying “How long you go continue with this fake lifestyle when you dey live so?… Why you dey always make this babe believe say you hold when me and you know say nothing gum you? Na the girl wey you say you won marry be this oh..” The guy being impervious to his friend’s confrontation, pleaded for the money, obviously hoping to get it before his girlfriend came back with the items.
From where I was standing, I could see as his friend reluctantly reached for his wallet and counted N6, 000 and handed it over to his him. Then the guy goes “You be correct guy! No worry, na me and you go gbedu this life together.”
There I was, in total amazement, as I tried to compare the person I saw on the outside to the person he really is on the inside. Holding a Bold 5 and a LG phone of some sort and wearing a Hawes and Curtis t-shirt, with an Emporio Armani wrist watch and a Gucci belt, but yet with an empty bank account. It was easy to figure out because I had just witnessed his friend confronting him right there in the bread stand to quit his “borrow pose” life style and start saving for a living.
Although I wasn’t so surprised at what I had just seen since I get to meet a lot of people his kind at the airport, banks, offices, social gathering and even in the church. Truth be told, I’m more than convinced that we have a generation of people who claim to be on the outside what they aren’t on the inside- They advertise a product for which they have no capacity to deliver and so, eventually, they end up embarrassing themselves while leaving the people in their lives or those who admire them from afar disappointed. I think these set of people suffer from a disease I call “False advertising.”
Not that I consider myself to be immune to this disease, Absolutely not; for I would be a liar if I try to parade myself as someone whose got it all together. What really makes me cringe is the extent to which people have made it a habit to put up a front that has no proper backing. It’s ok when you try to showoff knowing you’ve got potential, but I think it’s a complete farce when you are just a packager with no iota of potential.
It would shock you to know that more than ever before, people now borrow money from banks or friends to buy expensive cars, live in luxurious hotels, buy designer wears and travel in first class to various parts of the world on “borrowed funds.” They sham a type personality to get you attracted, and the sad thing is, most of us see these guys and then wish to become like them with no idea of who they really are. The disease they carry is about to infect us.
I’m of the opinion that if you must borrow, it should be for an investment or to meet a pressing need and not for pleasure or to impress people. Hey, let me quickly issue a disclaimer here: Not everyone you see who drives an expensive car or lives in an expensive rented apartment is boxed up. We’ve got BROKE people in Nigeria driving expensive SUV’s and living in expensive rented apartments. I mean BROKE people. How then do they keep sustaining such a lifestyle? I’m glad you asked. Truth is, they keep borrowing from different sources to camouflage their broke lives. Ouch! I know that was mean… But the truth is bitter they say.
Sometimes people withdraw the last cash in their bank account to obtain things for which they have no means to maintain. Some ladies buy Brazilian hair abi morocco hair and then go hungry for weeks, sometimes months. I mean, why would someone in his right senses eat up his seed? You didn’t get that right? Don’t worry; you will get that next year.
So, it becomes a problem when you allow something that should be temporal take permanent residence in your life. There’s nothing wrong with being who you are even when others don’t like who that is. I believe that sometimes, if you are not careful you can become so much a “persona” that you seize to be a “person.” If you can’t afford a particular lifestyle, please don’t borrow to do so. Only borrow what you know you can pay back. If you can’t afford a plane ticket, please quietly go by road. It’s just a phase. Don’t try to impress people by shooting yourself in the leg. If you can’t afford to host someone in a Chinese restaurant please stick to Mr. Biggs or better still, invite the person for dinner at your place. Don’t try to advertise yourself falsely, and then go back weeping in your secret place. If at the present, you have the money to get yourself a place in Maitama or Ikoyi, but you don’t have enough money to keep you there, please you might want to consider another option. It is one thing to acquire and another to keep.
Don’t get it twisted, it is harder to maintain than it is to obtain. Don’t obtain a lifestyle you know you can’t maintain. Like the popular saying goes, “don’t live a champagne lifestyle on a coca cola income.” Wisdom is profitable to direct. Don’t become like someone who uses his public success to mask his private failures. It only piles up the embarrassment that awaits you.
As I conclude, may I say here that I’m not against having expensive stuffs or living a luxurious lifestyle. No! As a person, although I’m not really a gadget freak, but I love shoes and suits, and I know how much it cost me to buy them. But if getting those things would make my account go red, I would rather wait till I have enough money to buy them than look good with nothing in the pocket. I think it’s high time people begin to embrace reality and get rid of the false pretentious life to which they have become accustomed to.
How about I ask: Do you have the disease I call “False Advertising?” if you do, don’t you think it’s high time you visit a doctor? And yes! I’m visiting mine shortly.
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