I have just seen the following on Twitter:

@MrAyeDee: First time in my life that I’ve been in a hotel of this magnitude without power for this long. #Abuja #Hilton

So, a 5 star hotel like the Hilton in Abuja can stay one second without power, I asked myself? Obviously, unavailability of diesel to fuel the generators.

It is truly an era of change. But then, if Aso Rock, the seat of the federal government can suffer power-cuts and have to make provisions for generator procurement and services in the billions, in the national budget, then anything is possible.

Some years back, the immensely popular soap opera, THE RICH ALSO CRY aired on several television stations simultaneously. Whereas that was a fictional contraption, a real life equivalent, THE RICH ALSO SWEAT is currently happening, live, in our country. When there is scarcity of services / products, even the copious availability of money may not be enough to keep the headache of procurement away.

Unless you live in Aso Rock, you must be conversant with the fact that getting fuel right now is more difficult that a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Check thus out. The diesel runs out in your office or home. You have money to buy a replenishment, but diesel is simply not available. And the public power output (PHCN) has decided to smile on you by blessing you with murky darkness.. no electricity supply in the past two weeks in your area of abode! The rich also sweat, especially in this inexplicably hot weather which has the most diligent fan failing in providing a cooling ambience.

The ‘suspended ‘ oil worker strike predicated on ‘stakeholders’ not being ‘carried along’ before the unbundling of NNPC has thrown the country into chaos, with people spending long period at filling stations to get fuel, and the serpentine queues at filling stations elongating and getting protracted like the IBB transition program of yesteryears.

The possibility of having money and not being able , procure your needs (in “war situation” as we have in Nigeria) demonstrates the fact that money on its own is useless. Money is useful to the extent of the availability of what it can procure.

The wealth of a nation (and individuals) is not in the paper worth, or the size of the stock market, but what is produced / manufactured, and the quality of the human resources. Your wealth is not determined by how much cash you have, but in the abundance of your wealth producing assets. That is amply demonstrated by the recent exchange rate of the Naira to the dollar which reached N407 and has now fallen to N315. Money is exchanged for goods and services, but cannot replace goods and services.. That means somebody who had savings of N100 million in the bank can have that sum eroded by as much as 25% in a single month from the widely oscillating exchange rate. Investing in butter like cash, or shares has its perils!

Therefore , let us know that, contrary to popular saying, cash is NOT always king. If you need water to drink, a billion dollars would not save you if you are in a desert and cannot have access to a glass of potable water. Your REAL ASSET (not necessarily cash) is king because in some periods, you cash would not save you.

Let us therefore, individually and nationally, build our assets more in the less tangible things like character, and focus more on nurturing real assets, as opposed to dissipating energy on paper assets like cash, stocks, bonds and shares. Or, building castle in the air on a shaky foundation made up of oil (literally and metaphorically) .

The precipitously consistent fall in the global price of oil has revealed that our country is mostly a fake economy, built on straw. It only takes the continued relative irrelevance of oil to show that true wealth (of individuals and nations) is measured by true production and productivity.

We are better able to stand the vicissitudes / uncertainty of less tangible assets when we focus more on tangible assets. And we would likely be spared when the ‘rich’ have to cry despite their paper money, or their paperweight oily economy. .

Fuel for thought.

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