For the last two weeks or so, Davido has had to answer some weird questions on his tour of US radio.
You may have missed the memo, but Nigeria is casted in the abroad. While Davido has been talking about his music, the radio hosts have also asked him about what life is like for the regular guy in Nigeria.
He’s been answering in juicy detail.
Nigeria, with all its 200 or so million people, has no middle class.
The gulf between the rich and the poor is so wide that if you’re one of the wealthy (or your father managed to gather wealth at the expense of the rest of us), you cannot help standing out.
In a country where you’re either rich or poor, most people assume to achieve wealth, you need to take advantage of everyone else, like a corrupt politician.
While that may or may not be true, it is a cross that most of the wealthy and (not-so-unfortunately) their kids have to carry.
So what do they do? Many of them take the easiest route; try to blend in with the rest of us poverty-stricken folk. Take Davido for instance, the first words he ever performed on a song are ‘back when I was broke yo’, even though he’s never been broke his entire life.
Did Davido pull it off? Not exactly. Take it from me. As someone who’s been shepeteri all his life, I know how to not be the typical rich kid.
It starts by staying as far away from a microphone as possible.
It’s easy to convince yourself that you have talent when Wande Coal let you destroy his song for your 12th birthday.
But no matter what you do, never get involved in music. Here in Nigeria, music and football are incubators for rags-to-riches stories. It’s part of how the world works on this side. Rich kids go to school and collect degrees to work in their dad’s offices.
Poor children sleep in the studio or on the pitch and wake up decades later with one hit song or an invitation to try out for a Turkish 5th Division club.
Davido and DJ Cuppy are testaments to how hostile Nigerians can be if they feel you’re getting a free ride on your father’s money in a field where only the talented should flourish.
Getting any form of success in music while your dad’s stashing money in the family home in Orlu is bound to get people digging, which brings me to my next point.
If you don’t have the padlock on your social media, DO IT NOW.
You may not have noticed (thanks to those thick Balenciaga glasses rendering you legally blind) but there’s unemployment in the land. The average 25-year-old is spending way more time than they should on Instagram, digging through photos and making connections like a digital Inspector Bediako.
We all know social media is for sharing stuff with friends and all that. Guess who doesn’t care? Instablog9ja.
You may think it’s just your friends checking your photos until one day, someone reposts one of you rocking Virgil Abloh’s new Off-White collab. Then, you suddenly get 1000 followers from the same side of town as Brother Shaggi in one afternoon. Sooner or later, Instablog9ja comes calling.
To prevent this, make your friends swear a blood oath to not post any photos of you in compromising situations.
Of course, if you have good friends, one of them will empathise with your situation and volunteer to make life easier for you.
How? By being your Man Friday… or whichever day of the week you choose.
His sole purpose is to be a front, to be the one whose name appears on the receipt when you buy something expensive. He’ll be the one who everybody celebrates as the innovative CEO when you buy a company with your father’s stolen money and use connections to solve all its problems. Depending on how much his extended family depends on your ‘kindness’, he can also do jail time for you.
You could totally employ someone for this role too (because you actually have money so you can buy a person’s time and attention for as long as you want).
Speaking of problems, I’m sure you never thought of your great dress sense and massive wardrobe as one. Well, think it again bro.
Regardless of whether they attend Pastor Lazarus Muoka’s church or not, most people like to look good. And while all that money means you can actually afford to, rocking Louis Vuitton like ‘Hushpuppi’ could literally be the most stupid thing you could do.
Because Nigerians are funny, one moment, they’re hailing you as a style icon. Then your father’s name gets mentioned by the EFCC and “news blogs” put those photos of you looking like HushPuppi as the cover image.
I can already see the Whatsapp BCs; “While you blind yourself with kerosene lamps and pee inside buckets, comman see what the son of our leaders are doing with our MONEEYYYYY”
*insert photo of a young man dressed as a wealthy Igbo time-traveller here*
To be fair, all of this is enough to distract people from the fact that your gut is fattening on taxpayers’ money to an extent. But it’s not enough.
Everything we’ve said will be completely pointless if you do not have something to show as the source of your wealth. You don’t want a random Joe to stumble on your LinkedIn and find that the only employment info on your LinkedIn page is from that time in 2009 where you called yourself your dad’s assistant because he asked you to transfer money to MC Oluomo.
So get a job. If you have to open a brand new company with a strange name that does everything on paper and nothing in real life, do it. Employ people who regularly retweet your meaningless tweets because loyalty, print identity and business cards, have company retreats.
When they ask you why you’re paying them even though they’re not working, tell them their job is social welfare and you’re using them as the first example. It makes no sense but by the time they figure it out, you’ll have left the building in your helicopter.
Save for some spiritual intervention or hidden cameras (Shout-out to Jafaar), anyone should be scandal proof if you can manage to live life on these terms.
You’re probably wondering why I’m dishing these tips out for free. Well, call it empathy, but since I became, you know, an adult, I’ve come to understand that dirty money doesn’t care who you are inside.
So this is my contribution to all my friends and foes trying to make sure the dirty money they’re spending doesn’t stain their white.
Eat your cake and have it, my dear. Nothing do you.
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