Wealth means different things to different people and so is the value of wealth. Many people evaluate successes in life from the perspective of wealth, meaning that a wealthy person is a successful one. Based on this point so many have desired to attain successes in life by whatever means, fair or foul, by hook or crook. People want to best others in material acquisition because they want to be seen as the most successful. Little wonder they indulge in primitive acquisition by whatever means in order to arrive. It has worked for many.
Today for some, value of wealth is quantified in the amount and variety of luxurious fleets of cars, exquisite furnishings in homes, state of the art houses, exotic foods consumed, tastefully furnished apartments, fat bank balances, expensive wearing apparels made by the best designers etc. Quite often information filters to tell us about the richest people in the world, their rankings and their monetary worth. We know the richest persons in the world and in Africa each time but what we have not been told is the poorest person either in Africa or in the world.
We have been told that if we want to eradicate poverty in the world we should share what we have. I wonder how many of us have lived true to this statement. Virtually all religions in the world encourage giving and sharing ones resources. The law of sowing and reaping is common also to every religion just like philosophers, motivational speakers and religious groups have always spared moments to inundate us with the age long injunctions that we receive to the extents that we have given.
If this is the case why is the world still poor? Why are we not giving or why are we not giving enough. The wealth of this world is concentrated in the hands of a few. For instance in Nigeria, a 2009 World Bank data (you may consider this so old a record but still tells the story) stated that the poorest half of the population held only 22% of the national income. Oxfam research went further to alarm that the richest Nigerian will take 42 years to spend his wealth at a consumption rate of N1m per day. Continuing, it highlighted further that the amount of money that the richest Nigerian can earn annually is sufficient to lift 2 million people out of poverty for one year. According to 2015 Human Development Report, Nigeria had the highest number of people living in multi-dimensional poverty.
The figures highlighted above may have worsened drawing from the persistent crunchy poverty level that is manifest now in our land which has wiped away the middle class leaving a wild gulf between the few rich and the massive poor. This is the reason I get widely excited wherever I can find anyone who is genuinely committed to helping lift any group of poor people or the less privileged out of their situation. Genuinely offering them a cup of water still excites me so long they are not politically motivated. It is only during elections or close to it that we find our big men hobnobbing with the poor and throwing out all manner of empowerments. Once they secure their purpose they jump ship waiting for another four years to come so they can renew their mandate to continue their stranglehold on the people.
Last weekend at a remotely dingy Okuku community in Owerri West one young man popularly known and called Mopris bearing real name as Ekewuba Esonwune Ibeh excited his people with the foundation laying ceremony of a Cottage hospital which is conspicuously absent to replace or support a health centre that exists only in name than in function. He donated 10 plots of land for the purpose and promise to build the structure after which it will be handed over the government. Okuku is a community in need of help. Going to Okuku from Umuguma round about costs 400 naira on bike as there is no vehicle. By 4pm when yours sincerely was about to return there were no bikes going out of the community. The road is terrible with water logging here and there.
Under the road condition I saw I am sure that community would be experiencing numerous deaths if there are emergencies because the community has no where one can obtain medical attention and before one can find transport means to exit the place the damage may have been done. Mopris, a young man with a heart of gold reputed to have awarded several scholarships among other benevolent activities as confirmed by his people may not be the richest there but he appears to be the most concerned. He did not hide his love for his community promising that the project will be completed before year end.
During the foundation laying ceremony, Ekewuba had said, ‘a society goes great when old men and men plant profitable trees even when they are aware that they can’t sit in its shade. The meaning of life is isn’t just the fact that we have lived or we are living, but the difference, impact and value we exchange with or give to others around. A man’s value isn’t qualified by the level of wealth he amassed; neither is it qualified by the chains of skyscrapers he erected, nor his fleets of cars or economic security, but the extent to which his existence has positively influenced others around him, how much has it benefitted that ordinary individual, be it man or woman around you’’. This is truly the value of your wealth.
For me any wealth that is cumulated not just for the purpose of impacting lives is a wasted venture. Everything that we own in this world is loaned to us by nature because we came to this world with nothing and we will exit it with nothing. In between why would we cumulate what we will never take away at death and deprive others their value while alive. Humanity is one irrespective of colour, race or sex. According to James Matthew Barrie, those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
To some the value of wealth is to use it to oppress others. To others it confers some degree of recognition and power. What is the value of your wealth we ask again.