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Champagne on Less than a Dollar a Day

By on March 24, 2012

According to Tokini Peterside, marketing manager of  Moet Hennessy, Nigeria is one of the top 10 consuming countries of the premium champagne in the world.

In a country where over 60% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, it means that the income divide between the rich and the poor is not narrowing. This poses serious threats for national development as it means there is a growing anger in the majority of the population targeted at a political elite notorious for crass corruption and pen robbery.

Only recently a pen robbery attempt became public when Herman Hembe, a Nigerian lawmaker, made available a memo raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to “bribe” his Capital Markets committee with N 30 million. Now the jury is still out on who is guilty between the SEC officials and the lawmakers’ committee, however one thing is for sure, everyday billions of Naira that could have developed the country and eradicated poverty is diverted into private pockets.

These political and private sector profiteers then utilize these resources on luxury expenditure that does not benefit the economy of the Nigerian state.

For instance Louis Vuitton Moet y (LVMH)  is a foreign headquartered in Europe, so for every N 16,000 ($100), the Nigerian baller, shotcaller or middle-class wannabe spends on purchasing a bottle in a dark humid club, majority of that money is going back to Europe. The remainder will be utilized by the business partners of LVMH in purchasing property in Dubai, cars from Germany, and beauty products from France. Leaving a minute amount for any Nigerian expenditure.

It is a vicious cycle of poverty and neo-colonialism if there ever was.

The poor will continue to get poorer under such conditions and it will only lead to more unrest, kidnappings and upheavals.

Perhaps it is time for the Nigerian elite to turn a new leaf, and cast a blind shadow to luxury expenditure. A hard feat to undertake as even Keynesian economics state that as disposable income rises, so will discretionary expenditure. And what is more disposable than oil money that comes free to government officials.

Earlier this year, the minister for Petroleum Resources toted a Birkin designer bag to labour negotiations during the ongoing fuel subsidy. That singular piece of fashion accessory was worth several millions of Naira and could lift out a whole Nigerian village out of poverty if applied properly. Yet here is the Honourable minister, and you can bet she only carried it once.

These crass display of wealth only leads to resentment and crime. Only recently, in Abuja a serving Senator was robbed at gunpoint by his driver and dispossessed of a large sum of money. Before you could say Maybach Music, a German national was also kidnapped in the North by a terrorist group. Not long after a Lebanese businessman was also kidnapped in Edo.

The North would not be such a hot bed for terrorism if there was more education in the North. CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi said it was the derivation formula that favours largely the South that caused this anomaly. However the real culprit is the billions of dollars Northern leaders looted over a period of several decades.

Nigerians have to look inwards before it is too late. The Nigerian elite are sitting ducks, floating in a very vulnerable glass of champagne. Once the people decide Enough is enough, may it not then be too late.

One Comment

  1. Carlton Lynn

    February 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    great article on NIgeria’s wealth divide. Strange reference to “Maybach Music” , maybe the author is Rick Ross fan…