By Zailani Bappa
I was reading an online story yesterday where it was alluded that President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to name five Nigerians who have no known business but are richer than Aliko Dangote. Nothing can be brushed aside these days as untrue until confirmed otherwise. So I set to confirm the story from reputable media organisations both conventional and online. I am yet to come across the story in any credible source.
However, whether PMB says it or doesn’t say it, we all have a hunch. Sooner or later, we’ll get to that bridge. It’s true that Aliko Dangote is quoted by Forbes as the richest African and black man on earth today with a net worth of over $12billon. This is a result of a thorough research in the world of business which is uncontradicted from any reasonable and reliable quarters. How can Nigerians begin to contradict this without any proof?
Simple. The world of business normally rate wealthiness from resources invested and circulated in the world of practical and productive business. Any money stashed away in banks does not exist in their radar of assessment. Dangote is in real business and his money is productive, being circulated in the economies of the world, providing employment, producing goods and services as well as financing other productive aspects of the world economy. That is why his money is a “living money” and hence, counted.
But known or unknown to the civilised communities elsewhere, in Nigeria, we have developed some crop of leaders in the last few decades who imbibed the habit of the mice and the cockroaches. I learnt these leaders began by stealing money appropriated in budgets for services but later graduated to stealing it right from the source. They now bunker the country’s oil and sell the crude in black market where they rake in billions of dollars leaving the smaller ones to steal from the public coffers. They could not, however, invest these monies in Nigeria because of many reasons.
One reason is the fact that they will expose themselves. Secondly, they are afraid one day the money and their investments will be confiscated by any daring government. Thirdly because such thieves are internally and spiritually wicked. So they stash away these moneys abroad in selected, safest banks. They also buy properties abroad. Their money is then “quiet” and unknown. It then, becomes dormant and docile wealth. It cannot be, therefore captured among available wealth.
But such wealthy Nigerians, who have at one time or another, ruled us, are believed to be stupendously rich, much richer than Aliko Dangote. The wealth they deprived us is equally not useful to them. These people are very influential. I watched a video clip where President Muhammadu Buhari wondered aloud the level of theft by some of these leaders and exclaimed, “Kai…!!! We can only put on record that we have done our best…” In spite, I am sure, someone will still doubt the truth in the existence of these thieves unless names are mentioned. And as I said earlier, we are going to reach that bridge, sooner or later.