The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation NDIC has been saying that only two percent of the 70 million bank account holders in Nigeria have up to N500k in their bank deposits and that even the N500k is usually in transit. That translates to only 1.4 million people. That also means, no matter how posh or how tastefully branded most of us may look, ninety-eight percent of Nigerian savers, do not have up to N500k in their bank accounts.
But apart from your bank balance, how much exactly do you think you are worth fairly? Assuming that you were going to be put up for sale like a professional footballer, how much do you think you will sell for in your own field? Or if a magic wand was to instantly turn you into stacks of money, how much do you think you will drizzle into?
When we were children, the highest denomination of cash was N20 Note. Anytime someone gives us N20 Note, our elder brothers were fond of taking it from us and giving us two pieces of N5 notes. I particularly will happily run to my mum and proclaim that ‘brother has taken my one money and given me two money”. I did not know that my one money had more value than the two money my brother gave me, combined. The value written on the paper was of no interest to me because of my ignorance.
Fast forward to when I became an adult, I now realized that the paper money, for which I was gleefully hopping over as a child, doesn’t even belong to me or anyone for that matter. The paper money actually belongs to the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN. We only own the value written on the notes. That’s why it is a criminal offense under the CBN Act, to spray, trample on, deface, or tear the Naira notes or coins. They don’t belong to you even if the money is yours. CBN owns them. You can spend the value. It’s yours.
What differentiates these notes is not just their colors or the quality of the paper used in printing them, it is also the volume of value that any denomination can purchase in exchange. The derivative value I mean. Though all men were created from the same dust in the image of the same God, all men do not have the same value written on them. You know what I mean right?
The venom of the deathstalker scorpion, for instance, costs $39 million US dollars a gallon. While the venom of honey bees costs less than 100 USD per the same gallon. Yet both are extracts. The reason is simple. While honey is used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial agent, which have other commonly available alternatives, scorpion venom is useful in solving more complex and complicated problems like killing intra-erythrocytic malaria pathogens without harming the erythrocyte. It also contains antimicrobial peptides that are effective against yeast, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. It is also a source for the isolation of anticancer molecules and is extremely difficult to find.
Now we go back to how much money you are worth. You are worth as much as you can solve. Are you honey or are you scorpion venom? What problems can you solve? How much of you does your street, your community, your State, or your country need? In what area of your life can you stand up to be counted when the chips are down? What denomination are you? As a journalist and writer, I strive every day to keep ahead knowing that I cannot afford to just be honey where there is an opportunity to be scorpion venom. Are your skills scarce commodities or readily available commodities with multiple alternatives? Did you come here to serve or to be served?
In the end, until these posers are deliberately attended to, before we can fairly know our true worth, a man or woman who knows his or her true worth, may not be the richest person in the world, but can never be stranded in an abundant universe.
Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, a Cross Riverian, and writes from Lagos.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.