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The Hidden Billions And The Rest Of Us: Kayode Oyedeji

JLike the ancient tortoise, he kept over N3b in a cave. He kept it in the most primitive manner anyone could think of. He did not invest it to create wealth and employment. Here is a very primitive and shallow mind, entrusted with Nigeria's most prized assets. He was practically in charge of Nigeria's wealth, yet so primitive, so backward, so unenlightened.

So many lessons can be drawn:

Dishonest people always assume everyone is dishonest. You can only trust others when you trust yourself. Yak, the thief, trusted no one he could entrust his loot, he trusted no proxy. He assumed everyone was like him. So much of Nigeria's wealth has been spirited away into idle accounts all over the world.

The second one is that the most important thing in wealth preservation is the process by which wealth was achieved. How you "came" across wealth will determine your ability to preserve it or turn it into an enduring legacy. Indeed, ill-gotten wealth always grow wings.

Wealth accumulation is different from wealth creation. When you create wealth, you impact the society positively. You create jobs, employment. You make others rich. You help humanity. Wealth hidden inside a hole or cave as Yakubu did can never be of help to anyone. That is why we have mansions scattered all over without any form of organisation or development. From Third Mainland to Ajah, for instance, virtually everything is fake - only class and ambiance -no substance. We have more collection of exotic cars than any Country in Africa without good roads. That is what you have when people accumulate wealth.

Another is that the long term effect of corruption is always negative. It can only yield more corruption to form a cycle of corruption. Had Yakubu dropped dead a year ago, another corrupt man would have hijacked the hidden wealth, begin to build fake castles with it. Then it goes on and on. No Nation benefits from corruption. The long term effect of corruption is always negative. Indeed, only righteousness exalts a Nation. One thing that has kept Nigeria "at peace" with corruption is that everyone feels his or her own turn to steal and hide billions will come someday. With that mentality, our Country is condemned to perpetual poverty!

The biblical narrative of the "parable of the talents" in Matthew 25 verses 14 to 30 is indeed apt. The man with only one talent did exactly what Yakubu did. He dug the land and hid his Masters money. Yakubu too did dig the ground and hid Nigeria's money.

Clearly, Yakubu has only one talent. How did such a man that could barely think properly  rise to such a high office, becoming Nigeria's number one Asset Manager? Those who think people in authority know it all should draw a lesson from this. We all have to be involved and support leaders with objective criticism and suggestions. Contrary to what many always want us to assume, those in positions of authority are also mere mortals and they are not likely to be perfect in all things. Kayode Oyedeji

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