The super rich living amongst the super poor
The poverty rate in Nigeria is almost three times the size of the US’s poverty rate, but with an economy growing at more than 5% per year in Nigeria and a GDP of around $500 billion its’ difficult to comprehend how so many people can still be suffering. The first thing to keep in mind is that Nigeria has only been an independent Country since the 1960’s. The pre-colonial period was from around 1500 – 1800 and then the British owned the Country for over 150 years. Before that, Islam and Christianity exerted their influence as well as various other African cultures, so Nigeria has experienced prolonged periods of instability. I think that the British rule came at the most pivotal time for the colonised, as this was when industry and technology began to evolve at a compounded rate. As well as the birth of trains, planes and automobiles, there was also significant development in the legal and financial industries which are the fundamental tools used in birthing a capitalist nation. The Central Bank of Nigeria was set up just before the British decided to ‘gift’ them their ‘independence’ in 1959, the British leaving a few years later. By this time I can imagine the seeds had been planted for fiscal control, financial expansion and the permanent pound based pipelines keeping the colonisers connected and almost certainly heavily paid.
This interests me because I have heard that there are a lot of Nigerians buying up ridiculously expensive property around London, (Imperial Wharf especially), who come from family’s which have inherited wealth throughout the decades. Nigeria owes around $15.35 billion to the World bank in the form of Debt, as well as to various other Countries around the world, but at some point this debt would’ve have been issued to Nigerian financial institutions as capital payments ready to lend to the masses. The controllers of these financial institutions would’ve been pre-selected. Descendants from those who benefited from the colonisation of Nigeria are not only white elites but also the politicians, bankers and businessmen who took over from the colonisers in the 1960’s. These would be the families who are the most wealthy today, and this is purely a commercial concept, this isn’t theory or conspiracy. Part of colonisation would’ve been controlling the economy, making laws, setting up foreign trade routes, influencing education and managing health. When the colonisers left, part of the handover process would be to ensure these systems don’t descend into chaos by appointing leaders and cementing processes.
The existence of a super rich elite in Nigeria is understandable, but when people talk about ‘going back home’, ‘this not being our country’ and a getting back to their roots, they need to understand these places you call home are not controlled by the indigenous culture. The financial institutions have been placed there to ensure the Countries stay in debt, and only a few are able to ‘GET OUT’. Some of the people who are filthy rich may have got to their positions through luck, hard work and intelligence. Others, may have take advantage of systems set up by the colonisers and perpetuated by the first wave of Nigerian government. The inequality gap is always going to be significant given the framework, and there will be a huge amount of impoverished people which will lead to high levels of crime and the creation of radical fundamentalists. I always say this, but as individuals, groups or nations, we cannot change the systems set up by the people of the past because the pendulum has swung too far. Now we have to change our perception of what the world should become. If we live in a material world, and set material standards then it will be easy for those with influence to control. Understanding who you are as a person and exploring the confines of consciousness is the only way to free ourselves from the mental chains of material self worth we are all trapped by.