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Nigeria: Obi Cubana and the “heroes” of Nigerian youth

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Few, if any, of the heroes of Nigerian youth are children of “great men” born with silver spoons. Those who are not fortunate enough to be born to wealthy parents, who have not been educated abroad, and who do not have well-paid unannounced government jobs reserved for them, are abandoned to growing desperation. If despite everything, they still get rich, regardless of the source of the money, they become “heroes” to their age mates and are called “successful businessmen”. Their success gives hope to the aspirations of young people frustrated by the geriatric policies that govern the nation.

Obi Cubana is one of those “successful businessmen”. He is not the child of a great man and was not born with a silver spoon. Indeed, he says he was born without a spoon! He made headlines when videos of his mother’s lavish and flamboyant funeral were posted on social media. He claims to be a self-made billionaire businessman, but the source of his “seed money” is opaque. Calls to investigate his wealth are based on the premise that those who earn money honestly do not throw it away with reckless abandon.

It’s easy to see why many people considered his display of wealth and cheerfulness to be “unseemly” of a funeral, but not everyone thinks the same. No doubt his excesses could have been refined and better managed, but it’s really neither here nor there. Whether or not a son buries his mother is not a matter of public discussion except when it comes to public funds. Undeniably, it was less about mourning the death of a mother who, according to her son, left prematurely, than celebrating the money. Either way, the pseudo-outrage of high-level critics is contrived. Their distaste for the impropriety of money frivolously wasted rather than used to improve infrastructure or raise impoverished people is somewhat quelled when dollars are sprinkled at social functions of senior politicians.

In truth, all kinds of “great men” publicly spray obscene amounts without reprimand. As a result, Nigeria has lost its moral compass and has unfortunately produced a generation of young people who revere money. The fault lies squarely with the political office holders. There is a trending video of a federal lawmaker throwing Naira mint notes onto a balcony while happily watching his impoverished constituents fight for their “democracy dividend.” It is evident that government officials are not committed to the concept of a “cashless society”. Not only is the Internet full of photos of them handing wads of cash to bandits, but also huge amounts of money are regularly stolen from government offices.

The “Honorable” lawmaker of Naira is not known to spend money on establishing a welfare system or facilitating much needed development projects, instead he chooses to demean voters by throwing money at them so that they can ‘they fight, rather than hand it over to them honorably. individually. Obi Cubana could have chosen to spend his money on building roads, hospitals or schools in his area, but as it is his right, he did not. Those who criticize him for not doing so are far from the mark. If he is in love with designer clothes, shoes, watches and trinkets, luxury hotels, beautiful girls and exotic cars, it is his prerogative. He is neither in government nor in charge of public funds. It is not his fault that political office holders, who control the budget and are mandated to develop communities, prefer to spend public money on official luxury vehicles, and award themselves unjustifiable allowances.

Neither Obi Cubana, nor any other individual, however wealthy, is morally obligated to take on the work of government. Wads of new Naira notes thrown away at the funeral have once again raised the question of how come the elites have so many crisp mint notes to throw away when Nigerian banks usually give their customers “ordinary” old and damaged banknotes?

Since 2015, the government has insisted on respect for banknotes and has applied the law which prohibits degrading currencies by spraying them on the ground. The problem is, the political office holders are the biggest culprits! It is difficult to apply the prescribed penalty for a crime when those who commit it are accompanied to the scene of the crime by their police escorts! Nigerians love ostentatious displays of wealth, and there is a belief that the only way young people can get legitimately wealthy is as artists, sports figures, or children of great men! It is undeniable that as a rule, rich young people who have made their fortunes outside these regions tend to end up in prison convicted of large-scale fraud. In response to this, leaving no room for exceptions, the police constantly harass law-abiding youth who are showing signs of success in their fight against poverty. This led to the tragedy of the #ENDSARS protests. That people like Obi Cubana are admired by young people may disappoint some people, but shouldn’t surprise them. Every young man wants to “live big”, but insecurity, unemployment and the low value of the Naira frustrate them. They see Obi as a symbol of rising above the mess.

Young Nigerians express their displeasure with their political leaders who have sold their honor and integrity. They feel betrayed by a political class that supports itself as citizens degenerate into poverty and despair. The government must take its responsibilities. Young Nigerians are full of energy and ready to work, alas their president made it clear that as far as he is concerned, they can have good qualifications and never find a job! There is a saying “you can’t beat kids and tell them not to cry”. Something urgent needs to be done about empowering youth and creating jobs to rekindle hope. If not, then any child of “common people” who manages to rise above parochialism, poverty, nepotism and lack of opportunity by any means will continue to be a ” heroes ”for young Nigerians.