Does money ritual work? I mean, is it possible to cut a human being into pieces, eat a pepper soup prepared with the organs and then have money (cash) dropping on your bed like Manna in the desert? I want to know if the native doctor that prepares money-making charms abhors money. Is he condemned to poverty and squalor? Why is his shrine always dirty? Why does he appear in dirty clothing? Are the spirits that answer to his incantations such dirty spirits? Can’t they ask him to dress smart, maybe in a suit, at least, to convince me that his magic works?
As a student preparing for WAEC in 1988, I encountered a man who marketed a money making scheme to me. I was trekking from Fire Service to the state library by Wetheral road roundabout in Owerri. In front of Township School, a man greeted me and stopped. That was about 11am. He was dressed in a red t-shirt and a black trouser. For courtesy, I also stopped,. He walked back a little and greeted me again. I did not know him. But he went on to tell me about how we had all lost contact after the fire incident at the Owerri market. I thought to myself that we must have known from the market as I did some trading there at weekends and holidays to support school.
He then went to narrate how bad things became and how he ended up at a construction company in Ilorin. He told me that he came down to Owerri with a ‘business deal’. The deal? He said they were owed four months and the owner of the company, a ‘white man’, died after he brought in cash to pay the workers. He also said that scared that they may never be paid, workers looted the company and went away. He said he was able to lift the safe where the cash was and brought it down to Owerri in a taxi but unfortunately, his sibling, at whose house he wanted to keep the safe until he was able to unlock it had been transferred to Warri. Now his proposal: That I get a taxi to take the safe to a nearby bush where we will break it and share the cash. He put the volume at N950,000. As he spoke, my mind raced through several questions –how possible was it to move a safe from Ilorin to Owerri at night despite all the police and military checkpoints; how possible was it for one man to lift, and move, a safe? My conclusion: scam! I excused myself with argument that I needed to prepare very well for my exams the next day. The encounter was on a Friday. I however volunteered some advice; that he goes to Ogbo Osisi (timber market at the other end of Wetheral road.) I told him he will find immediate help there. He begged me for taxi fare to reach there. If I had, he would not have seen me.
When I got home later that night and narrated my experience to my mum, she danced. Her reason? She said she had heard of similar scam and the victims gave out their mother’s Igbe Akwa (box of wrappers). She was thinking of hers: the lace, the hollandaise, the george, etc. But my co-students whom I shared my experience with told me I had missed an opportunity to make easy money. “Money wey no sweat”, they called it. Well, it was an ‘opportunity’ lost. Another would come.
On Douglas Road, also in Owerri, I will be confronted by young men pretending either to be confused about where they are, or, to have lost their way. One stopped me as I alighted from a Taxi and said, “Akin Street”. Akin Street off Douglas Road? That was strange. I knew of none. As I told him that there was no Akin street off Douglas Road, he moved on casting that glance of an ITK (I Too Know) on me. As he walked on, another guy (his accomplice) moved in with a more convincing argument. “Bro, what did that man ask you?” He said he was looking for Akin Street, I replied. “He told me the same thing. But I think he is one of these Ndi Ibu Alhaji (Alhaji’s Luggage people) that come to town with goods from the ship but do not know where to deliver them. Why don’t we move in and take advantage of him and help him take the goods to a warehouse and later share it and sell so we can make money. Or are you not interested in money?” he asked me. I listened as he narrated how easy it was to make money off such ‘sailors’, as he called them. I stopped. Looked at the character and asked him” “are you interested in his money?” he said “yes”. Then, I said, “Go and meet him. I am not interested”. He left me saying, ‘you will die a poor man’. I haven’t.
I encountered several of his type subsequently in Owerri, Enugu, Lagos and even Abuja. They come in different forms: bags of dollars in the booth of a taxi; chemicals to double money; meeting an Ifa Priest to fix money-making charms (some are even now advertising on facebook and twitter); selling a kidney in India (that comes with pain which many do not want), stealing female undies, stealing antique wall clocks (several homes in my village were broken into in search of such clocks), mercury, hunchback and other lies including online money doubling schemes. All lies. Like the Igbo people would say, if vulture is edible, late comers to the market won’t find them. In all, there is only one money making scheme that actually works. It is called work. Whatever you genuinely do to earn a living, will make for you, the money that you desire. Anything outside this is scam.
In today’s world, ideas rule. Innovative ideas sell. A lot of young people have made good fortune marketing their ideas. There are several investors looking to put their money where the idea is. The most marketable ideas are those that add value to living and also, transform society. Facebook was an idea. Instagram was an idea. Innoson was an idea. Tesla is an idea. A Nigerian, Chinedu Echeruo, had Apple pay as much as $1b (it is believed) for his hopstop.com which makes mobile applications for both ios and android. Hopstop was just an idea. The ritual he performed to achieve that was to continually work to develop his ideas.
Unfortunately, youths do not think this way. They are carried away by the adulation of money as they see it every day on social media. They are given to how much Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi make per 90 minutes of football. They think of how much Floyd Mayweather Jr. spends on his cars and chains. They lose sleep over how much Davido makes per concert. They visualize Dangote counting his money but they burn their time in betting shops. Yet, with such mindsets, they challenge themselves to making money by all means possible even when not dignifying. Remember, there is dignity in labour.
However, I place the blame squarely on failure of families to remain families built around sound moral and social values. I also blame the penchant to believe whatever the pastorprenuer decrees as prosperity to which youths howl thunderous amen. “Money will locate you this week”… and we scream amen without asking that question ‘how’? Wealth cannot locate you if you spend your whole time at home reading your bible, or playing video games, or chatting away on social media, or watching movies, or listening to songs about money, or praying over your betting coupons.
You are better off knowing that the author of ‘How to Become Rich’, makes his money selling that book. He needs not necessarily implement ideas he espoused in the book. His market is defined because he knows that there are people out there who want to read ‘how to’ books. So, he makes his money selling the book to them. Similarly, the native doctor has no solution to poverty. He cannot make you rich. He makes little money off you by his charges which you pay. He gets food for his family from the yams and chicken or goat you bring. The native doctor always finds ways to discourage you by giving you what he believes are impossible tasks: bring a blind female ant; the heart of a male cockroach; the genitals of a 50 years old tortoise; a life Puff Adder with running stomach; an Eagle’s egg; the left eye of a rattle snake; a Tiger’s scrotum etc. Those are his money-making schemes. Native doctors can make you rich but only in Nollywood. The pain is that our youths won’t read, and they won’t learn that every blessing comes from ‘the labour of your hands’ and God. They prefer to copycat Nollywood products.