Echoes From The Madhouse: Nigeria and “Money Miss Road”

By Akioyamen Josephine


The philosophy behind the “money miss road” age-old ribaldry epitomises how we treat paper qualifications in Nigeria and why the Nigerian formal educated is one of the least performing among his species in the world.

We see an informally educated man or woman with no paper qualification who has built a business running into billions of naira if not dollars. He is one of the best employers of labour. He speaks a staccato of bad English but understands the concept better than anyone else behind his business. What do we call him “Money Miss Road”! At the heart of this derision is a superior mentality or complex of those with paper qualifications inherited from an Ideology which looks at Education as the ultimate achievement or success instead of an avenue to success. No one wants to roll of his sleeves to do the dirty blue collar jobs. Everyone wants to be rewarded with white collar jobs. He is an elite now simply because he was able to graduate from school by regurgitating the information he was given at school.

Well, America used to be so too until it was rebuked and set on the straight road by no less a person than Henry Ford himself.

Below is a reproduction of a comment I made as my moniker in the Nigeria Village Square in 2012. It was at the height of derision direct at Mr Femi Otedola during the Farouk Lawal $620,000 saga, for his use of English in a video thus; “Anything done in darkness must come to lightness”. They called him money miss road, illiterate and fool and when all have are the paper qualifications wilting away in their briefcases. Even when they were never able to transfer their knowledge into reality.

This was me in 2012 as Yum on Nigeria Village Square:

“I have noticed that we lay great score in English. That language is nothing but a means of communication. Phraseology is not as important as the import of the words. For all intent and purpose, I understood perfectly what Otedola means. This is all that is significant and nothing more. I, myself, envy the Dame Patience prowess in what she does. That is communicating. Her target audience understands her perfectly. If you don’t then you are not her intended audience.

Grammar is not as relevant as communication in England or America. No one cares. Lately, the Society for Queen’s English said it was closing its doors for the first time in 40 years. No one cares.

The stupidity of this thread, unless of course it was started in light-hearted mode, brings to my memory the case of Dodge Brothers v. Henry Ford. This case stated the law for the first time that a corporation exists for the benefit of its shareholders but not for the community or its employees in Michigan.

Henry Ford was the majority shareholder in Ford Motor Company. The Dodge brothers were minority shareholders. As a result of creative differences, the brothers left Ford Motors to form their own Motor Company in direct competition with Ford even though they had most of their money tied down in it. However, to kill them off, Ford sent a warning to Banks not to extend any credit to them otherwise the company stops doing business with them. And to add insult to injury, when Ford Motor Company made a substantial profit that year, Henry Ford being the majority shareholder voted to plough back the profit for the expansion of the company instead of paying out the money as a dividend to the shareholders. He couched that move in these humanitarian terms:

“My ambition is to employ still more men, to spread the benefits of this industrial system to the greatest possible number, to help them build up their lives and their homes. To do this we are putting the greatest share of our profits back in the business.”

However, it was apparent to the Brothers that it was a shrewd move to further starve them of funds for their new company Dodge Motors Company. They sued.

At trial, the lawyers for the Dodge Brothers concocted a ploy to bring out the Ignorance of Ford to the public for the first time. In their cross-examination, they began by asking him questions of this nature:

Lawyer: What is the tensile strength of the rolled steel you use?

Ford: I don’t know.

Lawyer: Who invented the first steam train?

Ford: I don’t know

Lawyer: What is the capital of the State of New York?

Ford: I don’t know.

Lawyer: Who is the second president of the United States?

Ford: I don’t know.

Lawyer: You don’t know all of these and you think you have the ability to decide what is best for a company?

Ford: Yes

Lawyer: With your level of ignorance why do you think you can run a company?

Ford: It is ignorant of you to think I am ignorant. I am not by any stretch ignorant. I just do not want to clutter my mind with irrelevant information that is not germane to my business. Yes, I know I did not see the four walls of a school. But whenever, I need such information I call upon smart people who I employ in my business to provide them for me. I hire people that are smarter than me. I just do not clutter my mind with the information you regard as intelligent. It does not make me less a businessman.

Otedola has never represented himself to us as an academic man, an English Language aficionado; he has always represented himself to us as a businessman which he is damn well good at whether by hook or crook.

Stop this nonsense about English and let persecute him for being among those that are responsible for our collective misery.”

It is time to stop our awe of paper qualifications and respect only those who have actually transferred that knowledge into real stuff.

Architect, Engineer, Doctor (PhD), Barrister, etc see themselves as elites even when they have never worked a day in their lives.

Come and see how a Nigeria PhD holder was visibly angry at a function here when his professor friend called out his name for recognition without adding the appellation Dokita!

Nigerians!!! una doo….

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