With all the confusions that has recently hit our nation over the MMM scheme and the possibility of all the participants losing their hard earned money, we are talking of a situation where almost 3 million households could be affected.
“Only by speaking out can we create lasting change. And that change begins with coming out.” ― DaShanne Stokes
TRAGEDIES AGGRANDIZED BY THE “RIGHTEOUS”.
At a time like this, it is impossible not to remember the words of Edmund Burke:
“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing”
Tragedies and evils like in the case of MMM happen daily in our world, thanks to the so called good people. Our nation Nigeria has become notoriously famous for the silent of her best men. It has now become a thing of culture in our country for the clergy, the bishops the General Overseers and the men of God to keep silent on the issues of national significance. Prominent judges cannot talk on national matters because they don’t want to appear political.
Our country Nigeria is full of very important persons (VIPs), but yet when it comes to issues of national significance, only a few of them dare come out in the public to lend their voice to the cause of justice, freedom and truth. It is like personal comfort and domestic security has taken the place of the care for the general wellbeing of the populace.
Talking about the MMM and other similar pyramid schemes, there is no doubt that the enlightened Nigerians are well aware of the danger of these schemes, yet we could hardly count more than a few dozen who raise their voices to warn their fellow citizens from the impending danger.
WHERE ARE THE ELITES?
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner
Credit must however be given to the very vibrant media of our nation, which kept on sounding the alarm about the impending tragedies that could follow the demise of MMM. Since it doesn’t make sense to cry over spilled milk, I want to point out that the purpose of this article is for us as a nation to learn from the lessons of MMM collapse.
One of such lessons is the one which has always plagued our national consciousness that is – keeping silence when it matters most. This attitude could be justifiably traced to our culture of respect for elders. This argument often becomes the reason why even though we see the wrongs that are been perpetrated, yet we keep quiet so that we don’t sound disrespectful.
Another reason that our people will often give for their silence is that they don’t want the younger ones to insult them for speaking out against their rather dubious activities. In both cases we can clearly see that the concern for personal comfort overrides the care for the general good of the people.
For our country to move forward, you must arrive at a junction where we will all agree that the general good must be protected, before the individual welfare. If we will not care about the wellbeing of our nation as a whole, that individual security will soon be violated and abused by the disadvantaged majority.
SO WHAT ARE THE LESSONS OF SILENCE WE SHOULD LEARN AS A NATION FROM THE MMM DEMISE?
“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.” ― Albert Einstein
1. When the good people see an impending danger, they all must raise their voices to proclaim the truth on the mountain top.
2. It is not always right to leave everything in the hands of the government. The informed segment of the society and especially those who are privilege to be educated and the elites of our country must also become our gate keepers, to guide against evil and potential national tragedies.
3. We should not neglect or be indifferent to the examples and lessons from other nations. In the case of MMM, the collapse of this Ponzi scheme, had occurred in several other nations before Nigeria.
4. To the credit of the Nigerian media the MMM crash in Zimbabwe was well reported. There were reports in our national newspapers similar to the ones below.
“All along things were moving in the right direction and we now have nowhere to claim our investments,” said Mr Tinashe Muza of Harare. “When we started putting our funds in the scheme one could get assistance within seven days but things later changed to 14 days and when we were shut out the waiting period was 21 days. What it simply means is that the number of people in need of help has outnumbered the number of people joining. Right now we have nowhere to get our money which we invested.”
However, I think that when the media does its own part of the work of reporting, the elite and the good people of the land were supposed to turn this into a campaign of awareness among the Nigerian populace, so that people will get to know the real truth behind such organizations as MMM.
5. The government agencies in Nigeria were supposed to have acted on similar reports from Zimbabwe to use as an excuse to stop the operation of MMM in Nigeria.
6. While our government will use democracy as an excuse not to prosecute or prohibit the activities of schemes like MMM, other nations that have better records than Nigeria in democracy were able to act accordingly. In India, the government was able to act swiftly preventing a potentially larger catastrophe over there than even in Nigeria. In India today, Mr. Sergey Mavrodi has been declared wanted and the company operators in the country have been arrested.
“City economic offenceswing (EOW), probing the multi-crore fraud involving a private firm, Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox India or MMM India, on Tuesday arrested a Russian national and his Indian wife from Goa for their alleged role in the multi-crore fraud across the country.”
I don’t know what has stopped the Nigerian government from doing the same thing in this regard.
7. Talking about the silence of the righteous, a South African man Thendo Stivo went out of his way to actually warn Nigerians back in May of 2016 of the impending danger with MMM. Even though some media houses carried this report in Nigeria, what could have been done further is for more good men especially prominent men, pastors, bishops, VIPs, to lend their voices to emphasize the same warning from the South African gentleman. This could probably have helped millions of people escape the losses they stand to suffer.
8. Even up till now, some MMM participants are still feeding each other with illusions that the network will come back after the New Year and that they are only frozen for a short while. The truth is that it is the modus operandi of Sergey Mavrodi who by the way is in hiding and wanted in many countries. In Zimbabwe the same scenario played itself out. The people were told they were taking a break for 14 days and then for 21 days and it has remained like that until now.
In South Africa, the gullible investors were told, it was going to resume operations after a short break. That break that was supposed to last for a month is still going on since April 2016.
I believe that the Nigerian populace could demand from the Nigerian National Assembly and other relevant authorities like the EFCC to take action against MMM representatives in Nigeria. On the basis that the founder of MMM Sergey Mavrodi is a convicted fraudster in his own country Russia and declared wanted in several others. That alone is reason for the Nigerian government to declare this group illegal in the country as did China and India.
9. Even the Russian government is busy warning countries about the risk of permitting MMM to operate, declaring it as a fraud that will collapse sooner rather or later.
Yury Chikhanchin, the Director of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service in Russia warned about the future collapse of the MMM Pyramid Scheme of Sergei Mavrodi in China. Mr. Chikhanchin explained the risks at the conference “Risks and Challenges for the economies of the BRICS”, wrote TASS.
10. Finally, Nigerians have to be warned that as MMM is coming to its end in Nigeria, there will be similar organizations that will be lining up to take its place under different names. As a matter of fact, the same MMM group could come back under a different name all together, so our people must be warned against any scheme that is not having any legal or legitimate business, yet promising outrageous amount of income. They must be aware that it is a fraudulent scheme that is meant to deprive them of their hard earned money.
“his is slavery, not to speak one’s thought.” – Euripides.
Even though I am writing about MMM and other Ponzi schemes in this article, but really the lesson goes beyond the subject matter. The lesson is that we all are as citizens and government of the federal republic of Nigeria should declare war against the culture of silence. We should learn to raise our voices against any impending danger even when it doesn’t seem to affect us. We should make it our duty to always raise up our voices for whatsoever is good and true, no matter who it concerns. This I believe is one of the great lessons Nigeria and Nigerians could take away from the national drama of the tragedy called MMM.
“We who have means and a voice must use them to help those who have neither.” ― Jennifer Donnelly.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja