When Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja Federal High Court ordered that Shamsudeen Bala, son of former FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed be remanded in custody over money laundering charges to the tune of N1.2 billion, it raised eyebrows.
And that was not because he was going to spend a few nights in Kuje cells, but because of the unbelievable images of sheer opulence for a man that was still under-30 and with no clear means of livelihood!
Inside Shamsudeen’s garage which he consistently flaunts on social media, was an exotic fleet of cars including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porshe, MaClaren 650S Coupe, and G Wagons of different grades. Intriguingly, he is said to use the MaClaren 650S Coupe for only pleasure driving and car racing activities on the highways of Abuja.
Shamsudeen’s ultra-luxurious and public- insensitive lifestyle strikes a familiar vein with Jamil ‘JAMBOY’ Abubakar, son of former IGP Mohammed Abubakar. In a clear breach of protocol, Jamil, who is said to be working as a pilot with a private airline, often went around and posed for photographs with policemen armed to the teeth. But that’s not even the main focus of this piece.
Jamil also proved how shallow and insensitive children of top Nigerian government officials – elected or appointed — often are! Like spoilt kids living in a bubble, completely detached from the realities of the Nigerian situation and who don’t give a hoot!
It seemed Jamil seized every opportunity he had; every camera phone in sight; every social media handle he could muster to flaunt in our faces his multi thousand dollar fast cars (all encrusted with the private number plate ‘JAMBOY’) and exotic collection of wristwatches.
And to what purpose really? To let us know that his father, who even as the IGP, could possibly not earn more than a million naira as official salary, was actually funding his ultra fabulous lifestyle? Give me a break!
And it’s not just the men that love to luxuriate in displaying suspicious affluence on their Instagram handles; the daughters of some Nigerian men, people in power too, love taking self-indulgent delight in letting Nigerians on social media know the stupendously stream of wealth they daily swim in. The designer bags and dresses just must be exhibited on the web!
Abisola Kola-Daisi, the eldest daughter of Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi appears to have made a habit of showing off multi million naira designer bags and shoes, while students of the partly state owned university, LAUTECH had been grinding at home for close to year over unpaid salaries of their lecturers.
Abisola loves to wear luxury dress, shoes and accessories of the world’s top brands, take pictures of herself in them, and then post to the social media. Her Instagram page drips with some of the most superior and expensive clothes, shoes, bags and accessories in the world that she splurges on.
Kids Ostentatious Lifestyles: A Reflection of their Parents’ Values?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not on a rant against children of the high and mighty in our society or think it’s wrong to look good and resplendent especially on special occasions. I think that’s perfectly fine. I love a good look.
But how about toning it down a little and not rubbing it on the faces of Nigerians, especially under a harsh recession climate as this? And to think that the reeking flamboyance displays of these kids (Yes, I’ve deliberately stuck with the word ‘kid,’ rather than saying ‘children;’ and you know why)dwarf the statutory salaries and allowances of their parents more than thousand times!
Even if anyone tries to argue that most of these top government officials were rich people before they ventured into governance and public administration, does that still justify disdainfully flaunting those riches to Nigerians who are mostly poor and can only ever dream about these things?
One question that’s begs to ask is how do these children of people in power hope to continue to fund their expensive lifestyles after the expiration of their parent’s tenure in office? For example, since his father was retired as the IGP, Jamil has curiously stopped his flashy showoffs of his multi thousand dollar cars and rare time pieces that cost a fortune.
Interestingly, there’s a curious familiar strain I’ve noticed about kids of current and past leaders and the kind of reputation their parents have or had.
Have you seen or related with Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s children? What about Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar’s children?
I’m not so sure any kid can boast of being richer than the children of Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. But check any authentic social media handle of Dangote’s children; and you’ll be shocked or impressed, depending on which divide you are. Same low-profile and calm-headed lifestyle like their dad.
Let’s not even begin to cross the Atlantic to compare with two sweet young ladies of the world’s most powerful parents for eight years! Sasha and Malia Obama. Or that 31-year-old tech geek and the sixth richest man in the world, the simple-dressing Facebook founder and who donates 99 percent of his wealth to charity, Mark Zuckerberg.
How about the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, who has actually stated he will not pass off his inheritance to his children? Who even knows Bill and Melinda Gate’s children? Have you seen pictures of Jennifer Katherine Gates? Or Rory John Gates or Phoebe Adele Gates and how folksy and people-sensitive they are?
How about the most prominent current US ‘first daughter,’ Ivanka Trump? Have you seen how quietly she has continued with her life and business despite assuming one of the most powerful statuses in the world today?
A Word to Nigerian Parents in the Corridors of Power
This is not a didactic lecture from me to top Nigerian government officials on how to train their kids. That’s not my place and I can’t teach them their role enough.
Neither am I saying anyone shouldn’t look or feel good. I simply have an issue with going overboard with it, especially in the face of the scorching economic condition of the average Nigerian. I’m saying: For crying out loud, be sensitive! And scream it down your children’s ears.
I’m also reminding them that their children cannot live off them forever and that they need to begin to cultivate the lifestyle and attitude of hardwork, discipline, responsibility and self-sustenance now.
And I’m reminding them that those in power are constantly under scrutiny and so should show more sensitivity and empathy to the general populace.
Whether it’s your genuine wealth or the plundered treasures of the people’s commonwealth, the average Nigerian citizen will always, always chose to view it as the latter.