Why people are never satisfied with money —Oyeyemi
Friday, 09 March 2012 00:00
Kola Oyeyemi is the General Manager, Consumer Marketing of MTN Nigeria and the author of Wealth without Theft . He pastors the Chapel of Uncommon Grace Assembly, a church based in Ikeja, Lagos.
He recently presented his book, ‘Wealth Without Theft’, to the public. In this interview with OPEYEMI OLOWONJOYIN, he speaks on his motivation.
What inspired Wealth Without Theft?
The factors that inspired the book are around us. The society tends to accept as true the wrong notion that if you don’t soil your hands, if you are not doing something dirty or diabolical, you can hardly become wealthy. There is even a Yoruba adage that the foundation of wealth is dirt. It has become convention over the years that only those who are not so straightforward can become wealthy.
There is also what I call the devil’s theology, where people say that money is the root of all evil, claiming that the Bible says so, but there is nothing like that in the Bible. The Bible says that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.’
It is common knowledge that when you are in love you are willing to give for the sake of the relationship. The love angle makes its clear that when you have the love of money in your heart, you can give anything, illegitimate or legitimate to amass wealth, because love imposes the giving attitude; people tend to give their conscience away for it. When transported into the realm of wealth making, it makes it clear the person can do anything to get wealthy. That’s why you have people who are highly placed in society stealing. This can be seen both in religious and corporate circles.
What informed the title?
I work for the greatest marketer of all time, Jesus Christ. He started a brand over 2000 years ago and up till now it is fastest growing brand in the world. When it comes to the use of words, there is no better person than the Holy Spirit. So when he gave me the title, he knew what he wanted to achieve in the hearts of men. It is not because I know how to string words, it is not a product of my ingenuity, it is a product of the ingenuity of the Holy Spirit. So I can claim neither ownership of nor credit for the title.What are the impacts you anticipate the book will have on its readers?
The primary objective is to start a conversation. The conversation is in two fold, within and without. There is an internal conversation that is with the conscience, so the person on reading the book begins to do a soul searching, a self appraisal; probably reasoning, ‘I have led my life like this for so long. This book proffers an alternative ….’ So there is an internal conversation that makes the person reach certain decisions.
The second level is conversation between one another. Then there is a conversation between people, social conversation that can impact on the society and bring about change. For example somebody says, ‘I have just read this book and it says ….’ So we start having a group of people reason on what the book says. So we begin to aggregate and would possibly arrive at: ‘What’s going on here? We thought this thing was not possible.’ A group of people are saying it is possible. Thereby we can start a movement, a revolution, beyond the book to change the society. So there can be a mental, psychological, emotional and societal change.What in your opinion is the yardstick for wealth?
Wealth is first of all a thing of the mind before a thing of the pocket. No matter how wealthy one is materially or physically by virtue of what one has in the bank, cars or some other physical assets, if one is mentally poor, one can live in a mansion and one’s live will be like that of one living in the slum. That is why you see people with billions stashed in their bank accounts still stealing and you begin to wonder. That is because the person has a poverty mentality. It is a mindset thing. That is why you find men who misbehave about money though they have a wall chest of dollars stashed somewhere.
You can also have a man whose income is barely enough and he is habitually in a buoyant mood and cheerful. This is because he is not poor in the mind. You begin to wonder ‘what is keeping this guy going?’ Wealth is not a function of how fat your bank account is. It is a function of ‘can you meet your immediate needs without borrowing; and have a little balance in your pocket to take care of your neighbour, without debt hanging on your neck?
We need to do a redefinition of wealth, because you have people who are materially wealthy and they are hooked on drugs, not abuse, but they are not healthy. Their lives depend on those prescriptions. You can tell by the way they talk about their doctor. When you open their drawers and see the volume of prescribed medication there, you will be surprised. They depend on it, whereas, health is wealth.Do you think the present economic environment is playing any role towards acquiring wealth?
We should stop lying to ourselves that our environment is different therefore whatever operates in other parts of the world would not apply here. This is made very clear because if you take an 18 year old Nigerian and another fellow of the same age from Chicago and put them in a room, and try to find out their problems and priorities, you will be surprised that their aspirations are basically the same.
What that does for me is to say that these issues are not peculiar to any part of the world. The situation in India makes a good example. India is rated to be poor, a third world country but the whole of the first world are seeking medical and information technology solutions from India today. It is a mindset thing. They are not excusing their environment for failure. We should not excuse a couple of things if we want Nigeria to grow.
If I know that my employee is poorly paid and I allow the person to continue, the person is stealing me blind somehow, am not just aware yet. If I pretend, it is a mutual deception. If you don’t pay a man well enough, and you keep in employment, he will be augmenting his income somehow. It is worrisome that it can be that both employer and employee are thieves. It is all a game.
If I pay you a million naira monthly, the moment your family and dependents know that, there will be a change in expectations and demand. People that used to appreciate little things from you would begin to despise those same things, so the pressure is on. We are also a nation of financially unintelligent mass of people. A lot of us live for the day. When money comes in, we blow it away. If it finishes tomorrow, we go look for the other way. Everybody who desires wealthy lifestyle must plan and live according to his plan.What do you think can be done to change people’s mindset?
Many Nigerians believe in religiosity, that religious rituals are the sure path to wealth. Some believe in fasting, anointing oil, giving and other Biblical principles. But there are so many prayer warriors who remain remarkably poor. We live in a world that is overtly religious. The Bible says that you should remember the Lord your God for it is He that gives you power to make wealth.
Wealth answers to power. God is the giver of the power but man has the responsibility to exercise the power. Engage the power that God has given. That is why I discussed the four dimensions of power in the book including – power of divine ideas, power of divine favour, power of giving and power of the tongue. And for anyone who understands these four principles and exercises them, I have a personal conviction that he/she will not be poor.
Who are your target audience when you were writing this book?
The concept of wealth and the problems that come with it are not Nigerian. Therefore the book is targeted at the global audience, which is why I have tried to make the book available globally. It was printed in America to ensure that it meets the highest quality standard possible. The forward was done by Dr Myles Munroe, president of BFM International and chairman International Third World Leaders Association, Nassau, Bahamas and it is available on various e-book sites so that anybody anywhere in the world could have access to it.
The next level is to push it into the hands of those whose lives it should touch and change in Nigeria. For this, I shall be taking various steps to make sure the book is readily available, including encouraging vendors to sell the book for generous discounts. The essence is to make sure that the book leaves the shelves and stores and finds its way into the hands of the people who would read it.