In my little study of history, there are two quotes that feature regularly. One says that those that don’t know the past are likely to repeat it, and the other says anyone who does not know the things that happened before he was born, will remain a child forever. History is a very interesting topic, believe me, and whether you study it in school or not, we all should be students of history.
The current wake of numerous HYIPs in the western city of Ibadan, has made me ask some fundamental questions, and indeed wonder, if there is a lesson or two we can learn from the history of this great town. The first thing I find interesting about Ibadan is the eulogy, popularly known as Oríkì.
“Ibadan ile oluyole, ibi tole tin jare olohun
Ibadan omo agesin kole, ibadan omo a joro sun
Ibi ole ngbe nja lolu olohun. Omo afikaraun foori mu.”
This is just an excerpt of the many lines that eulogizes Ibadan. In case you have no clues about what they mean, let me help you a bit. This eulogy – by definition a speech or poetry of praise for the city, describes Ibadan as the place where the thieve is proved innocent in the presence of the owners. A land where thieves rob in royalty, actually using horses and not considering it a secret. A land where the brave make do with what is available, where thieves don’t wait till you sleep or are not around to rob. Where people are creative and can use the shell of snails to drink pap.
Ibadan is historically a dwelling of warriors. Derived from the word eba-odan, which meant somewhere between the forest and the plains, Ibadan was discovered and founded by Lagelu, the Jagun of Ife (Commander-in-chief) and a handful of his soldiers. When a war broke out with the intent of destroying the town due to their ladies seeing a masquerade face to face, some of the men who were able to survive ran to a nearby hill where they survived on small fruits called “oro”, and used the shell of snails to drink pap. Events led to some seasons of peace followed by many of war. The men of Ibadan formed a coalition with a number of other cities to defeat the powerful Olowu of Owu. After this successful defeat, all the military men in this coalition decided to join forces and reside in the town of Ibadan. From here, the attacked other cities from time to time, and robbed them. This concurrent attacks made the people of Eba-odan fearful, eventually these military men took over the political terrain, changed the name of the town to Ibadan and it gradually grew from a political giant to an economic big trade center. I’m sure you can put the eulogy together yourself.
Back to current realities. In the last few weeks, many HYIPs have been springing up in Ibadan, the question that I’ve regularly asked is, does this eulogy apply? Are we going to indeed witness a scenario where the thieve will be declared innocent and the investors fraudulent? Are people being robbed without the cover of night? Are we witnessing the creativity of people doing what seems practical to survive? Are we having a replay of the past, or are things a lot more sophisticated for that? These questions have been very direct in my mind, but I guess we can all answer them. Let’s take a look at some of the interesting HYIPs that have emerged, we can be sure there is more to come.
Pennywise – The Newest sensation on the block. Many people have already called me and asked me questions about this. This one started with a promise to pay 100X the amount invested in 10weeks. This means 9000% returns. They called it pennywise, meaning it’s probably wiser to put in the pennies, but you can bet people are gambling with hundreds of thousands, and more. I sent a colleague to go check them out, and the report he gave me indicates that they have started defaulting in paying their members, their weeks which started out as less than 7days now needs about 21 to get complete. Instead of 100X in 10 weeks, they have also reduced their returns to 50X in 9. Beware of agents that promise you more (I hope they are not out to secure their own salaries :-)) Marketing has suddenly also increased, as new cash is needed to pay old investors. They said forex, oil and gas, e.t.c. I’m sure they are mostly into the e.t.c.
Cash Seed – This is also another new one, that is also budding in Ibadan. These promise more than 100X in 10weeks, with a slot being as low as N2,000. The colleague I sent to check pennywise out stumbled on this. Apparently, some of the disgruntled agents of pennywise had moved to this new kid, in their words, still paying it’s customers and is still less than 8 weeks as opposed to pennywise that is over 13 weeks. His tracking of Cash Seed took him to Abeokuta, which is where their own head office resides (coalition?), but with most of their agents in Ibadan. What are they into? Forex, oil and gas, and e.t.c.
Of course these are not all the sensations in Ibadan, they are just the newest and the most outrageous. Silvertrust, Treasureline (I hear is making late payments, with EFCC as excuse), Wealth Solutions, Wealth Spinners, Smartcash, Goldnaira, Divine Fortune, DC, e.t.c. Most of these of course operating with different names and with offices and staff that might scare you. Some people have made money from all these schemes, and some are still expecting. One question that bothers me, is what will people invest in when they make these money that will ever make sense to them? If I’m making 300% returns in 8 weeks without my brain, will a business that will do 40% in 3 months with the use of my brain appeal to me? Will people loose what they don’t use? If these schemes are making it easy for people not to think, and work, are people not setting themselves up for failure?
In another 5 months, if nothing drastic happens we’ll have 200+ of these types of investment schemes around the country, most of these without products or verifiable investments. Overnight they’ll fall like a pack of cards, and leave on the stage the few that are authentic. When it happens, these eulogy of the old wild west, might become a reference point. The ancient said it well, when they said, “look before you leap”. Half the sentence is sufficient for the wise, to the wise, I say, “Look”.