Don’t gamble your life away

Gabriel Osu

Gabriel Osu

A young man was lamenting recently at a social gathering. He was telling all who cared to listen how he had gambled away his life savings in a ponzi scheme that promised a huge percentage interest for any money deposited. Hear his story: ‘I am a civil servant at one of the federal ministries. One of my colleagues introduced me to a business proposal that promised huge returns on investment. He showed me evidences of having been a beneficiary of the same business and so invited me to be part of it. At first, I was reluctant, but seeing that many of my colleagues in the office had embraced it, I decided to give it a try. Thus, considering that the yuletide was about a couple of weeks away, and having been assured that the interest on my money would be 30% on the invested fund, I withdrew all my savings; N200,000 and put it in the business. Alas, some days ago, I was reliably informed that the business has crashed. Now am in ruins.’

Many of us can easily identify with the young man above who invested his hard-earned savings in a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme only to lose everything. My word of advice; dry your tears and move on, wiser. With the recession biting harder each day, many of us are ready to embrace any business that promises to uplift our financial status with minimum stress from our part. We know it is wrong but the temptation seem too great to resist. All over the world, it has become fashionable for people to play lotteries and gamble away their resources, hoping to get that big break that would end all their financial woes. True, occasionally, we hear of a man or a woman somewhere in a far away country who won millions of dollars or someone who inherited large sums of wealth bequeathed to him in a will. But for many others, their quest for the elusive fortune is like an attempt to hold water in a basket.

Is there anything really wrong with investing in ponzi schemes like the ‘wonder bank’? My answer is, why would any sane human want to reap from where he or she did not sow? Are we all not witnesses to the ever-green financial scandals of the 90s in some parts of the country when many lost their deposits to some unscrupulous financial institutions that promised to double their money? Why must we always allow ourselves to fall victims of pranksters masquerading as genuine businessmen?

There are many other ways we gamble away our lives. When we fail to face the reality of our situation and look for a realistic way out, we are gambling away our lives. When we put our destiny in the hands of fake men of God that promise you miracle in exchange for cash, you are gambling away your life. When you fail to invest on your spiritual growth, you are also a gambler, hoping against hope that all will be well at last. Why settle down for second best rather than the main deal? For anything that is original, there is always a counterfeit. The original has lasting value, though sacrifices are required to attain it. Not so for the counterfeit. It is easy to get and with little or no pain. But it does not last. It is fake.

The world is daily bombarding us with adverts for quick fix solutions to our problems. For those struggling with weight gain, they are told to consume certain drugs and watch all the fat fade away. Lies. For the barren woman, she is told witches are behind her plight and that she must perform some rituals. She runs from one church to another and still no solution. At the office, you are old that the only way you can be promoted is to befriend a particular boss. You comply, only to be sacked a month later by management. As a jobless youth, you are lured into carrying drugs with huge prospects for riches. You are caught and thrown into jail. End of dream! Can you identify with these trends?

Every day, we are confronted with two options in the decisions we make; embrace original or the counterfeit.

When you go for the original, though painful at first, you are eventually assured of success and rest of mind. For the counterfeit, it comes so attractive and painless but ends in much pain and regret. So, why gamble your life away?

• Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications

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Gabriel OsuPonzi scheme


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