Earned Money Versus Made Money
By George Eze Emeghara
One evening I visited a friend of mine, an entrepreneur who has done so well for himself that he cannot be described as poor by any standards.
At some point he walked to the dining table and picked up a nicely packaged bottle of whiskey. He brought the bottle out of the package.
“Do you know how much this is selling for?”
“No,” I replied. But from the look of the packaging, it would be quite expensive.”
He said he had popped into a supermarket the previous day to pick up something and he was surprised to see the drink on sale for 103,000 naira.
He said he had no idea that it was so expensive.
“Did you buy it?” I asked him, somewhat surprised.
It would have been out of character for him to do so.
“Ah, nooo!” He exclaimed.
“My account officer gave it to me as a present.”
He said it had been lying in his office since then. He told about the burial ceremony of a man related to an eminent politician he had attended where that particular brand of drink was “flowing like coca cola.”
“The man must have spent a fortune on just whiskey. There were also a lot of other assorted expensive drinks being served,” he added.
We then launched into a discussion about the appalling and wasteful ways of some of our elite, especially the politicians.
A couple of weeks ago, a kinsman of mine who lives abroad and who is quite well off, visited me.
At a point, a certain politician who once held a ” lucrative” post was mentioned in the news on TV. My visitor said he had a story to tell me about the man.
According to him he and his friend were sitting in the Capital Bar at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, a few days earlier, when the man walked in with another man.
While they were there, they drank two bottles of a particular brand of Champagne after which the politician settled the bill with his card and they left.
My kinsman’s friend told him that the brand of champagne the politician and his companion just wolfed down two bottles of, was selling for at least a million naira in that bar.
He said he didn’t believe it. So his friend called for the wine list.
There they saw champagne the politician and his friend drank listed for 1.4 million naira a bottle.
He said he still couldn’t get over the display of crass extravagance in the face of so much poverty.
I laughed and pointed out that there were two basic ways of getting money. You either MAKE it or you EARN it.
I told him that what he saw was an example of how people who make money spent it.
I said if that politician had worked for, or earned, his money, he won’t spend so much of it on a bottle of champagne.
The politician in question is probably not richer than my entrepreneur friend.
My friend can afford to buy many bottles of 1.4 million naira champagne if he wants, but hell will freeze over first before he indulges in such folly.
That is the manner of people who earn their money. Those who make their money behave very differently. They fritter away vast sums on high living and frivolous items.
Unfortunately, it is such people who run this country.
They have acquired tastes and lifestyles which only easy money can bring about.
They need to continue making easy money to sustain the lifestyle and continue to indulge themselves.
In these dire times, what the country needs are people who have their earned money to manage its affairs.
People who know how to bake the cake.
The time for those who only know how to make money, how to grab large chunks of the cake has passed.
So many cannot continue to suffer, unwittingly and unwillingly funding, or subsidizing, the sybaritic pleasures of so few.
George Eze Emeghara is a Nigerian journalist, writer and public affairs commentator based in the southeastern city of Owerri. Money Palaver is his column for Nairaweb.ng.