Hushpuppi: On Nigeria’s Vanishing Values
At the height of his power and influence, many courted him, from beauty queens to senators and even a presidential candidate. He was the poster boy of the good life and “industrious youth,” with millions around the world fawning over him.
Hush. Ray. Billionaire Gucci Master. Bro. Zaddy. Words of approbation poured on his head like March rains. Only a few bothered to ask what he did for a living, or how he made stupendous sums of cash.
And then news had popped online of his arrest by the Interpol in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At that point, the news had no credibility, coming from what might pass for the gutter press: copy-and-paste blogs with no reputation to worry about.
I had enquired from the Interpol and even the FBI back then to confirm the arrest of “Ray Hushpuppi” to disabuse the mind of the public from what was then mere rumour. I got no reply. So, like a few others out there, I decided to watch and see.
One thing was apparent almost immediately: influential figures were beginning to unfollow him on Instagram, the billboard of his acquisitive lunacy and ostentatious preenings… a Tanzanian beauty queen, some South African rappers… man, the list long eh.
I knew because although I wasn’t following him on Instagram, I was following people who were following him, key figures in Africa’s pop culture, a field that’s detained my interest for years now. And I was monitoring his account, too, @Hushpuppi.
Ultimately, what had passed for rancid rumour was confirmed globally: Ramoni Abass, alias Ray Hushpuppi, was arrested in Dubai on fraud charges.
The details of his criminal enterprise — or his larcenous odyssey, if you please — are all over the Internet, so I think it otiose detailing them here.
But suffice it to say that Hushpuppi is a splendid example of the putrefaction of values in Nigeria. Another example, equally putrescent, is the corrupt Nigerian politician.
Both examples are intrinsically related, rapacious and pompous, and both thrive and will continue to thrive because Nigeria’s values system is completely eroded.
If, like me, you are millennial, you probably recall the halcyon days of values in Nigeria. Family values. Societal values. Values. You recall the days when you were forbidden from visiting some people or talking to and about them because they appear shady, with dubious sources of wealth.
Those days are gone, man! Those days are gone, replaced by the seething putrefaction we are contending with right now. For the most part these days, people tend to judge you based on your possessions. If you don’t have the latest cars and the latest designers, you are treated as a disgrace and an object for disdain
In Nigeria, it is the money that counts now — the money and the lunatic display of same. To question a person’s source of wealth is to be branded a “hater,” “broke ass,” and generally humiliated.
The story of our decline will make a tome. While I am disinclined to dig deep into the story, I state out loud that having recognized this decline we ought to start at once to reverse it.
This would mean elevating, once again, the values our progenitors once held dear, that of dignity, rectitude, honour, and by asking questions about people’s sources of wealth and refusing to be impressed by the display of same.
If we should follow this path, we might be back in the armour of values, long lost.