A million is not what it used to be but it is still no chopping change. For those who think is USD, that is about $2500 at the MasterCard Forex rate. There are lots of traders in Lagos markets , keeping a family and sending their kids to university with less than that as working capital. Add a lot of hustle, some advance payment from buyers, a little credit from suppliers and it all adds up. As a wise UK philosopher called Tesco once said, every little helps.
My first pay day as a graduate was about Twenty Five Thousand Naira. I remember that my mother, who had worker as a primary school teacher all my life, telling me that she had not earned as much in a single month all her life as at that time. To put it in context, by that time she had already managed to educate three boys to tertiary school level and also build a bungalow for herself. She never developed the habit of eating over priced popcorn while watching new blockbuster movies in a Cinema instead of waiting a few months for the DVD to come out.
I wished that her comment had gotten my attention but I'm sorry it did not. My generation lived in a spendthrift culture that new how to blow a million in a weekend and would often dpo so one presented an opportunity. I still remember like yesterday an office boy who, late one Friday had a few minutes alone at an open office safe and decided to help himself with it's contents and go on a spending spree. He didn't even bother to cover his tracks, he left the safe open and bolted from office.
He travelled to a nearby campus to pick up a girl that had been the prior subject of his lustful attention and proceeded to spoil her silly with a designer clothing shopping spree. And that was the best decision he made with the stolen sum. By the time the police would put handcuffs on his wrists sometime on Monday, he blown it all club hopping throughout the weekend.
So, what will you do with a million naira? The answer to that question says more about you than about the sum of money. Whether it was One Million Dollars or One Million CFA, the real test is whether you see it as a seed or as the fruit, whether you are a grower or a consumer. The hard thing of course is to husband the money and grow it carefully, any one can spend and make it rain. We gather money with table spoons but spend it with shovels.
Reading the news lately, we have been so numbed with huge sums of money in print so often that if it is not in billions, we are not to be impressed. A matter of a million Naira would rarely make the newspaper front-page, go big or go home. This an orientation born out of mindless consumption rather than creating value. Because when it comes to creating value, every Naira accumulated counts. Consider a street hawker getting his hustle on in midday traffic and earning a margin of hundred naira per item sold. He will need to sell ten thousand items to make a million. It puts a whole new meaning to taking ten thousand hours to achieve perfection. Put respect on that hustle.
What Can You Do With A Million Naira?
Photo Credit:© Scooter Lowrimore