WHY NIGERIANS SHOULD BE
ANGRY WITH RICK ROSS.
So you start a music video with footages from Nigeria’s civil war history, from there you transport the audience to modern day Nigeria. A Nigeria that is yet to recover from its civil war past; a place where most of her citizens live in pitiful squalor. Butt naked children bathing in dirty water, desperate men and women angry with the government for failing them many years after the war. This is the core message an average American or any other ignorant westerner will digest out of Rick Ross’ - Hold me back Nigeria version.
In fairness to Rick Ross, both official and unofficial statistics do tell us that at least sixty percent of Nigerians live on less than $2 a day. True as this may sound, it’s noteworthy that the bulk of our ‘less than $2 a day’ Nigerians don’t live in Lagos slums-most of them reside in hinterland rural areas. And believe it or not, these rural areas most times (except in Oil producing zones) offer a more comfortable, picturesque and nature friendly habitat. They may not have electricity or pipe borne water but they are ‘getting by’. Most of them are farmers, and so when you pity them because they live on less than $2 a day which is an equivalent of about 300 Naira, you forget something.
In those Nigerian rural communities, a basket of staple crops, fresh from the farm and enough to feed a family of three could cost about 100 Naira, less than $1. In the deep North of Nigeria, many of those also considered poor by western standards are nomadic herdsmen who own herds of cattle each with a market value of well over $600, true story.
In the final analysis, poverty remains a relative term. To many African cultures, wealth is still determined by the number of wives, children, cattle or farmland at ones disposal. The ability to procure an ipad or access to state welfare services cannot be used as a yardstick to judge the well being of ALL rural Africans.
As the western world continues to dwell on Nigeria’s 60% desperately poor folks, can we at least give a hi-five to the other 40% of Nigerians who have worked hard to overcome extreme poverty against all odds?
From an estimated Nigerian population of 160 million, I’m talking about the 64 million Nigerians that have excelled in business, commerce, entertainment and fashion to name a few. I’m talking about those Nigerians who have successfully built small, medium and large scale enterprises at home and abroad. I’m making reference to those Nigerians who have emerged as the single most educated immigrant population in Rick Ross’s own country.
These are the Nigerians that are truly angry with Rick Ross’s Hold me back (Nigeria) video.
We accept that Nigerian governments have failed woefully at providing purposeful leadership, fifty two years after independence. However, some of us also believe that Nigeria is OURS to build and not for corrupt politicians alone. This other 40% of Nigerians are proud, confident, sometimes arrogant or whatever, but they are the ones that invited Rick Ross to Nigeria. They paid his fees, watched his stage performances and took good care of him during his stay in Nigeria. Courtesy demands that a guest shows appreciation to a benevolent host by commending their etiquette, not by resulting to slander.
A considerable number of African Americans are an ignorant bunch, still thinking that their native African cousins live on trees. A role model like Rick Ross could have at least explained to his people that he DID NOT visit Nigeria on a humanitarian mission but for a commercially successful ‘Summer Jam concert’.
Finally, I did not fancy that part in the video where these 'Maybach peeps' made a little kid run on water towards their speed boat, just to hand him a Dollar (or Naira) note?
So, Nigerians are that poor and desperate?
I challenge Rick Ross to publicly throw a bunch of crisp Dollar bills onto the banks of New York’s Hudson River and let’s see what happens.
Nobody can hold Naija back!