When David posted his account details on his social media platforms, it was intended as a plain joke. He asked his fans to donate money to mark his birthday and help clear his imported Rolls Royce from the Customs.
Hundreds of thousands of his fans responded positively, and within 24 hours they flooded his account with over N140 million. By the second or third day, the total raised was N200 million. It was sobering incident that set off various interpretations and reactions, both positive and negative.
Notwithstanding the interpretation given to the outcome, one thing is very clear: Davido got such massive support because he is a rich known figure. If a poor man or an inconsequential figure made such a call, whether the person was serious or not, he might have gotten mixed reactions. But certainly not the quick response and the amount Davido realized. This has been the norm in the society where the rich always get more than the poor. Look at former United States president, Donald Trump, who lost election, but has continued to ask for donations from the political base of the Republican Party, and he has raised over US$110 million since he left office in January 2020. Meanwhile, he is a very rich person, a billionaire, and you still hundreds of thousands of low income, hardworking Americans donating US$5 to $25 to his campaign fund.
Suffice to say that it has been an age long model that has lived with us. Those who have more get more attention than those who do not have.
Now as the year is almost rounding off, most people would be travelling home for the Yuletide. The deep pockets of various families would get more attention than the have-nots. A former roommate, Quenette Owoeye, once told me a story of she had a fight with her mother because Mama made sure their much younger sister got more attention than the other children. Every time, her mother would ask openly ask about what Joan would eat at each meal time. Joan happened to be the fourth among the girls, who took the shine off her elder sisters. As a student she had won several awards and recognitions to the extent that two blue chip firms offered her scholarships that took care of three undergraduate girls in the family. Mama felt she deserved the best treatment as a way of reciprocating her support to the family. Joan is the richest among the girls, yet gets the best. Queenette in her little mind insisted her mother was being very partial. It was their junior sister’s time and opportunity to shine, that didn’t mean the others did not exist.
In the same vein, the churches also do not get it right at some point. Leaders and General Overseers of such institutions are naturally rich, yet, they get more from their congregants, who need their support. What most of these leaders heads get from members, the poor in the midst of such churches do not get. There are churches where committees are formed to see to GO’s itinerary for the year. GO would see the plan for his all-expenses-paid foreign trips, as well as hotel reservations, placed on his table for approval. Agreed such services are in order given the position of responsibility the GO occupies, but imagine in a situation where valid visa, flight ticket, hotel reservation and BTA (basic travel allowance) are procured and given to a poor member of the same church. Just imagine how that day would be! There are so many poor people in the same church who cannot get the magnitude the GO gets because they are poor. During the COVID-19 lockdown when the economic hardship was tough, same big churches gathered the meagre tithes and offering of the poor and donated to the rich state government while poor church members languished in poverty, sickness and hunger. That buttressed the fact that the rich would always give to the rich while the poor wait on God. Of what purpose were such donations to state government from churches where there were sick old people, mothers and children who needed the support including the youths whose teenage age should be guided through effective church programmes? Heads of churches neglected all those people but donated money to a rich state.
Again, it is common knowledge that rich people get more donations from their friends during their celebrations than the poor. During burials rich people, who have no need get huge amounts “sprayed” on them more than the poor. Not long ago, the friends of Obinna Iyiegbu, better known as Obi Cubana, displayed this when he buried his mother, Iyom Ezinne Uche Iyiegbu, in Oba, Anambra State. Of the friends rallied round him because he is rich. Have they all been doing so to other poor friends? If they had been doing so, social media would have showcased all that. The truth is that most of the things he got are the things he might not need. Iyiegbu did not need all the drama that his friends put up at his mother’s burial. He is rich enough to give his mother a befitting burial.
Interestingly, same happens at wedding ceremonies where the rich get better than the poor. At wedding ceremonies of Nigerian Politicians children, it is always a case of who is the richest? The rich parents of the children get the best of the bests in terms of gift items. All manners of quality and expensive gifts both wanted and unwanted are presented to the school leavers newly-weds who have not worked for a day. The gifts they get are not because of them, but for their already rich parents. Some use it to queue into their social strata against the rainy season, political dispensation and a case of ‘hold it for me, I will need you sometime. Some of these politicians’ children get magnificent well-equipped edifice, state of the art vehicles, heavy bank accounts that would last all the days of their lives. But when a poor man’s daughter is getting married, such show of wealth would not be found around there.
Remarkably too, rich corporations and individuals get more loans from banks and finance houses than the poor. When rich corporations and individuals approach financial houses for loans, they get immediate response faster than the poor people even though financial houses hinge their facilities on the provision of collateral services. Agreed, rich people can provide surety, but why can’t the poor be trusted on integrity and merit? They might not have access to loan facilities because they are poor, but it might surprise the issuers that a poor man can live up to expectation more than the rich man. The likes of Dangote Group of Companies keep getting waivers and tax cuts for their various businesses while the poor remain where they are to buttress my point. Same financial houses mop up meagre savings from the poor and give to the rich as loans but will always deny the poor loans facilities when it is need. Government recently increased and favored the salaries of Federal Teachers who are financially better than their private counterparts recently. What then do they expect the private teachers to do knowing that both are in the same profession and render same services?
When the rich nation has disasters, the world donates the most in torrents, even when they know those nations can conveniently deal with the issues, while needy nations continue to lack. If a boss is retiring from the office, junior staffs contribute from meagre salaries and shower the boss with an expensive gift, but when a poor staff is leave, he would be on his own.
To this end, the rich giving the rich is a recycling system treasuring them to ‘keep this for me, at your time, I will do same for you’. It is an investment in their social status and visibility mantra. Giving to the poor may be termed charity, but giving to the rich is banking in the rick circle for their rainy day because no man is an island.
Dear People of God, let us all learn how to work hard and be at the top because there is enough space and it’s not crowded. A few people are there with enough space and they know themselves. The people there are not many, the downwards are choked. One might not even get a seat because it is a tight scene. In the middle class, the crowd is lesser but still like a living room, that is not where one want to be either. Let us endeavor to be at the top so as to be heard and be responded to when we make a clarion call like Davido.