Balewa, the Hemifusis and how Nigeria’s bout of Affluenza began

Affluenza is not sea sickness, which many who typically travel by sea experience. It is a condition which affects those living in an affluent society. According to Merriam-Webster, is the unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence. According to experts, it begins when the flow of new rewards undermines the capacity of the individual to enjoy them. Much like continuing to pour the drink when the glass is full.

In the days leading to Nigeria’s bout with Affluenza, the days before oil was discovered in commercial quantities in Bayelsa State, Nigeria did not have affluenza. Many of the wealthy grew their wealth by thrift and prudence; by savings and investments and through delayed gratification but with the unprecedented wealth, created by crude oil sales, temptations soon found a new destination to ship their wares – the most exotic forms of indulgence soon flooded our stalls, homes, offices and markets. And we went gung-ho, gobbling up the offers, spending the petro dollars and never seeing the deep holes our new liaisons with indulgence created in our pockets. Of course as surely as day follows night, and as surely as indulgence eats up wealth, we ended up being poor, much poorer than we were before the Hemifusis set sail.

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