As the place of manufacturing in the capitalist mode of production in Nigeria fades into oblivion, new definition of work place and labour relations creeps into the lexicon. As work and employment gradually goes into extinction, Nigerians are quick to fill in the vacuum. Thus; churches, mosques lead the pack as beer parlors, restaurants, private schools, call and viewing centers follow.
The urge to gamble is so universal, so deeply embedded in unregenerate human nature that from the earliest days the philosophers and moralists have assumed it to be evil. The Romans called it the longing for the things of the world, the naked, shameless greed for gain. It is the cause, perhaps of all our troubles. Yet, how easy it remains to understand the burning envy felt by those possessing little, for those endowed with goods aplenty. Gambling offers to the poor, the shinning chance of something got for nothing.
For some, the very process and practice of gambling is so immensely pleasurable. So pleasurable indeed that gambling needs for them, no spurious raison dieter whatsoever, no necessary prospect of the jackpots and the windfalls. Just the heady heavy opiate of the gambling game itself with the promise of its thousand exhilarating grief and dangerous joy. Every society has its own games, and the games are just as revealing of the society as are its customs.
Today gambling casinos and betting centers authoritatively compete with telcos and banks in the business space. An average Nigerian today no longer sees gambling which comes in different shapes as the exclusive reserve of the rich. Betting centers like its twin brother soccer viewing centers are ubiquitous sight within the cities, towns and villages.
It is a common sight as okada riders, daily paid labourers, hawkers, artisans, housewives and market women, even school children throve these ubiquitous centers to stake various amount of money in the hope of a win or even jackpot.
These two sinister twins provide for people in disillusion the opiate for escapism and hope of winning easy access to the gain and riches of the world. They possess little and envy those who are endowed with affluence. Gambling offers them that their government and religious faith cannot, the chance of something for nothing. In this trajectory of illusion, the poor become poorer and the rich become richer in the tradition of capitalist societies.
Gambling, for the rich is borne out of the naked shameless greed for gain. For the poor is quite the contrary; just the heady, heavy opiate of the game with the promise of its uncertainties and the dangerous joy. Does the joy ever come for the poor while in the illusion of a win or jackpot? No! Just like the age long illusion of a heavenly paradise in the hereafter. The realities of the global economic slump in general and the peculiar corruption and mismanagement in governance of Nigeria offers no hope for the poor.
This illusion must be shaken off like the dews, let the poor be emancipated and liberated by altruistic revolutionary leaders with socialist ideology for direction.
- Comrade Alex Ameh Ogbu is an Abuja based Media Practitioner and a prolific writer that writes mostly from Akatekwe Kingdom. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org
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