THE above personification might leave many guessing that I intend waxing poetic about the famous prose which we were so conversant with during our salad days. While the Agu described in the popular Mastering English series might have been a fictitious character, his dream of an instantaneous accumulation of wealth is completely symptomatic of how desperate the average Nigerian could be.
When the famous Mavrodi Mondial Scheme popularly enthused as MMM burst its seams last month, I was sincerely yours, among the pessimists who saw its anticipated renaissance as nothing but a tall dream.
I wrote in a piece way back then that if opinions had been sought from a cross-section of participants probably moments before it ceded to the alleged heavy workload, many would have still described the money doubling scheme as God’s special manna in these hard times. The economy is in dire straits to say the least and the common man on the street could care less about hard lessons learnt from similar ponzi schemes in the past.
A former colleague of mine related how his hopes were salvaged through the ponzi scheme. According to his saccharine-filled narrative, his investments in MMM helped in offsetting his burgeoning debt profile. In a similar vein, a neighbour of mine revelled me with his new lease of life, courtesy of the fortunes accrued from MMM.
The more tantalising carrot was extended to members of the scheme at the beginning of December. The tagged ‘Christmas bonus’ ditched the thirty percent bonus by moving a notch higher to fifty percent. Did members feel the slightest foreboding at that juncture? I sincerely can’t tell. Enthusiasts kept defending that the scheme had remained resilient in the heat of so much bad-mouthing by the House of Assembly, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation.
When the death knell was eventually tolled, it was stated that the number of those who wanted to get help were more than those who wanted to provide help. If this is anything to go by, one is then bound to wonder where the returns were actually sourced from in the first place? Was the scheme truly sustained by some cryptocurrencies or the same naira which members deposited into one another’s account? Guess your hunch is just as good as mine.
Nigerians of course, were privy to the fate that befell naïve South-Africans and Zimbabweans who swallowed the MMM bait, hook, line and sinker. It was a gamble many thought they could enjoy and go scot free. A few many who were supposed to know better sentimentally gave in to the point that it came as a relief in harsh times. As such, they equally rebuked Nigerian Legislators for witch-hunting those who kept the scheme afloat.
MMM members were still hesitant in admitting that the deed has been done. Accounts have only been temporarily frozen, they say. MMM promises to bounce back stronger and better come January 14. The site still allows people to provide help, etc. Now that operators of the scheme seem to be ready to live up to their billing, I am left with no other option than to have a hunk of my humble pie. Need I still express deep condolences to aggrieved members who licked their wounds silently sequel to the impromptu hiatus last month? MMM promises to come back stronger than it was before. An avid participant intimated me earlier today that he was received a verification code to activate his mavro account before the d-day. Good news you say uh!
Drifting away from this deja-vu, it is equally apposite to ask if the typical Nigerian would still be willing to stake a lump sum following the unexpected black-out witnessed last month. Has the last four weeks or thereabout suddenly turned the table in such a way now that the number of people wanting to provide help dwarfs the overwhelming horde in need of help? Will this money-churning scheme blaze through the odds which similar schemes of the past had fallen victim to? It is better I rest my case before the teeming audience sees me as an overnight Prophet of doom.
On a lighter note nonetheless, the anticipated defreezing of accounts is reminiscent of the moonlight tale involving Agu; the wretched washerman and the Money Doubler who claimed to have been sent by the Marine Goddess. Agu’s joy knew no bounds when the few pennies in his pocket were doubled.
Spurred by this windfall, Agu added his nest egg to the lump sum which a friend lent him and gave it to the Money Doubler. Following the rituals, the money was kept in a can and Agu was instructed to guard it jealously for the next two days before opening the lid. Agu did as instructed and when he eventually opened it, he was left dumbstruck, to behold white papers neatly cut into the size of currency notes. Agu ran back to the river bank where he had first met the Money Doubler but as they say, the rest is history.
By Kadiri Tolani
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