We now have the distinction of having the richest black man and woman in the world coming from Nigeria. This is not exactly front page news here, and is by no means the subject of the free readers’ union at my local vendor or beer parlor arguments at Ekiyor’s Splash. Chelsea dropping out of the Champions league is still trending. However it seems to have gotten the goat of foreign commentators. I read this story on huffingtonpost.com earlier today, and it was clear what the world view is of rich Nigerians from the other side of Delta Air Lines. It was a mixture of the usual ignorance of all things foreign, perceptions of how money is made in Nigeria, affirmation of our corrupt nation status, and an open field for certain elements of “culture wars”. It was based on an article from Genevieve magazine which had featured Mrs. Folorunso Alakija on its front cover.
While the article was as shallow and vain as one would expect, by far the biscuit takers were the commentators. “Huff Post” is usually a state of the nation type of politico founded by Arianna Huffington, with a strong slant toward the US liberals. You can imagine the shock her readers got when they saw an article alleging that an African woman was now several hundred million dollars richer than Oprah. Trust them to bring in Malaria and African poverty, Obama taxes, the US elections, war on terrorism, etc., into the mix.
I thought it rather ill-advised that this woman should come out to the public in this manner. This in a season when our government is seeking foreign assistance to combat flood and offer relief to displaced Nigerians… But then again, somebody who made billions definitely has more brains than me, right? I thoroughly enjoyed reading the commentaries. It was a confirmation all over again of my opinion of the point of view of the West. There were also some Nigerian posters defending, showing aloofness and generally making it a case of you against us. Please read the article (see link below) and make your own judgment. Comments are welcome.