Playing upon the intelligence of the people by Akin Atolugbokun

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Many years back and even till seven to six decades ago, house rats called ‘fan’ or ‘Olorogbo’ in Yoruba are common sight in most of the households in a community. They were rampant that even small children were not scared of them as they would of the masquerade in the bottle! It is the grace of God that those rats were not infested with Lassa-fever at those days otherwise almost everyone of the time would have passed on to eternity – heaven or hell! The relevance of those rats to this treatise is the parallel line they form with many people who play upon the intelligence of the people nowadays. The rats had perfected the method of biting the soles of human feet and palm of their hands without victims feeling any sting while the act is carried out; as they bite, they use their mouths to blow cool air on the spot they are biting – just the way you use your mouth to blow air on a piece of hot yam before throwing it into your grinding cavity. This is the reason why Yoruba people say “Ajeni-feni ni ekute ile” meaning the house rat bites and gives you pleasure at the same time. Yes, look out there and behold so many people in the society that behave like the house rats: they cajole, dribble, praise sing, pretend to be nice, hoodwink, tell lies, pull someone’s leg, intimidate, boot lick, deliberately being equivocal and ambiguous, deliberately committing or omitting all in attempt to play upon others’ intelligence in order to achieve their selfish aims. The society provides a fertile ground for these charlatans to thrive and blossom due to perpetual poverty that is waging war with the masses. They are also having a field day because of myriad of problems – both physical and spiritual – that are facing the people both rich and poor. As long as these two (poverty and problems) persist the tricksters will continue to feed fat unless people develop discerning minds. The Scriptures says the people are perishing because they lack knowledge.
If you say you cannot identify them, tune to any station on your radio, hardly can ten minutes pass before you hear of their advertisements in their various fields both mundane and spiritual! The era of wonder banks has gone – people were heavily swindled. Then came the time of gold and Chinese coins. These smart guys would ask for your physical cash to purchase gold or Chinese coins you cannot hold! I wonder if those who bought these coins are now able to buy things and properties internationally as the perpetrators of the scam claimed and where are those perpetrators now? They have succeeded in fleecing the poor people of their hard earned money and disappear into the thin air!
The current network trading is not new; it has always been a sort of inducing large number of people to work, very few of who will benefit with the originating company amassing huge profits. In the sixties (60s), my elder brother of blessed memory brought home the idea. He had staked his own two and six pence (2/6d) the equivalent of today’s twenty five kobo (25k) but with the value of today’s two thousand five hundred naira (N2, 500). He urged me to stake my own two shillings and six pence (2/6d) and get other four persons to stake behind me. He said by the time I got twenty persons behind me who had also staked their 2/6d, I would receive five pounds (£5). I extracted 2/6d from my wooden ‘bank’ and staked but I had the problem of getting four persons to stake behind me not to talk of getting twenty persons, none of my friends had such money in their ‘banks.’ What happened? You may want to know. My brother, his friends and I were unable to complete our 3 lines of twenty persons behind us and what we had contributed was not retrievable. The ploy obviously benefitted the initiator and perhaps some few people who first staked. The ploy naturally died off only to resurrect at the onset of this millennium! It follows the same strategy; the first stakers are induced to gather large followership who will do the slavish work. I know a man who is into this network business matter since 2004. He is so engrossed in the shadow chasing business that he abandoned his motor mechanic job. He even advised me to resign from service to join the network trading! I said ‘mo ti gbo’ but let me resign from the service first before I resign my appointment to join your uncertainty. He is networking for one of those ‘Oyinbo’ companies that sell food supplements. Fifteen years after I knew him with the company, in 2019, he was still shadow chasing. I asked him, “Lord conquered” (that is what his name translate to in English) why are you like this? He was wearing ‘bosikoro’ and his sandals were dust laden! Where is your car and mansion you were so sure of getting between 2004 and 2005? He said he would soon get them! It was my turn to advise him to go and dig out his working tools and start his workshop again – more so that there are more vehicles that ply the roads than fifteen years ago. Those ‘Oyinbo’ people are very clever at playing upon the intelligence of the people in order to sell their products. They would tantalize those at the lower rungs of their networking ladder by compensating very few at the upper rungs with gifts of houses, cars and overseas tours. Many that are on the lower rungs will remain the “rugbe-rugbe” that is the stirring lots until everything becomes “pafuka” and quench! Where are some of the foreign companies now? They came, traded, profited, enriched very few and impoverished so many. A friend lost up to six hundred thousand naira (N600, 000.00) and another one lost up to three hundred thousand naira (N300, 000) to one of such companies that operated in Ogbomoso recently – it was gathered that the guy who was acted as front-man of the company has absconded to overseas!
If you don’t fall for network business, you may likely fall for interest free loan or gift of huge sum of money campaign. The perpetrators of this ploy would say you are sure to obtain an interest free loan of huge sum of money or receive a huge sum of money as gift. To make it appear genuine, the forms for the opportunity are given freely but each person that collected the form would pay two thousand naira (N2, 000.00) as processing fee. ‘All na lie’ – think of thousands of people who would not care to pay just N2, 000.00 in order to benefit from the jamboree! They would collect these processing fees that run into millions of naira and vamoose into the thin air! The perpetrators are clever; they even employ the services of men of God to distribute the forms and collect the processing fees. I don’t want to believe that such men of God both in churches and mosques have a cut in the proceeds of the processing fees! O ti o, they are only being used. Men of God should beware in future in order not to soil their white garments. Who knows, since about two years ago, someone who have obtained the loan and receive the cash gift? What you may next hear is that the fund is now ready for disbursement but it requires each prospective recipient to pay one thousand naira each (N1, 000.00) to revalidate their application forms! Why wouldn’t any applicant want to further pay just N1, 000.00? That one too will run into millions of naira for the gang!
If you are in a social gathering and a musician or a praise-singer or some ‘all right sir’ boys are giving you the high names or statuses that you are not, know that they are just mounting you on cockroach and make you think you are riding on a horse just to play upon your intelligence with a view to letting you part with your hard earned money – So, be careful, and know when such people are recognizing you or when they are just cajoling you.
Like I mentioned earlier, poverty and problem both physical and spiritual make people to become gullible; swallowing every deceit, line, hook and sinker. Can you discern how lottery and raffle draw organizers play upon the intelligence of the poor masses? Millions would buy tickets; or some may even buy tickets in multiples in order to increase their chances of winning. When the raffle is drawn, just a few would benefit out of millions of subscribers!
There are now in action smart men of God who go on the air armed with their bank account details. They would capitalize on masses’ poverty and afflicting problems to preach miracles, wealth and deliverances. At the end of their brainwashing and stage managed testimonies, some may start utterances and stage managed testimonies, some may start dictating the amount of money you should part with as offering, some may call out for the first fifty people who can sow the seed of two thousand naira (N2, 000.00) in order to receive an awesome uncommon favour before sunset of the day. Think of gullible thousands of people who would want to receive such uncommon favour from above! Obviously, the ‘man of God’ is millions of naira richer in a twinkle of an eye! Since he called out for just fifty people to be so endowed, would he be righteously honest enough to return the money of those who paid after the fiftieth (50th) person? Another question is that how many of the first fifty people actually received the entangled “uncommon favour”? One of such new breed ‘men of God’ is said to be demanding that people with problem that go to him for healing or deliverance should first sow the seed of their most valuable property in order to get healed or delivered. One wonders what the work of God is turning into nowadays! However, these Apostles of deceit should know that if those they are deceiving do not know, God knows.
Much has been said about the Nigeria’s politicians’ antics in playing upon the intelligence of the poor citizens – all boiling down to the fact that they are unrepentant liars! Those of them that is very negligible in number! They lie when soliciting for nominations for a position, they lie when they campaign, promising heaven on earth, they lie if they lost elections; complaining of election malpractices, they lie when they are in position; giving unconvincing reasons for not meeting their campaign promises, and what’s more, they lie when they leave offices, trying to cover up their atrocities while occupying seats of power and authority. Would the poor masses learn? Inherent poverty may not let them learn but divine intervention may bail them out.
A lot or horse trading camouflaged in bureaucratic procedures is being carried out in Nigeria! Some powerful Nigerians must be feeding fat on Boko-Haram matter? Otherwise why would the ‘giant’ of Africa with all its Armed Forces, Police force and several para-military groups not able to crush a group of terrorists for over ten years? Why is the president foot-dragging to meet the legislators on security or insecurity matters? Why would the First Lady want to relocate to another country? Does she doubt her husband’s ability to ‘change’ the country for the better? Some of federal government’s loud mouths belched and maintained only ten (10) boys were kidnapped at Kankara College as against over three hundred boys that were actually kidnapped? Why are they belching such horrible lies? Anyway, thanks to God that the boys were rescued. However, would it not have been highly commendable if the dispatch by which the college boys from the president’s own state of origin were rescued had been applied in the case of Chibok girls and Sharibu Leah? Every finger used in carrying out deceit and insincerity by the Nigeria’s ruling class is actually pointing to where the nation is heading to.

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