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Should You Pick Money At Owambes?

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This past weekend, I found myself at yet another owambe. My kaftan was ironed just right, the edges sharp enough to cut glass; my shoes shined so brightly they blinded passersby; and my cap, tilted at an absolutely devastating angle, seemed to defy gravity. But the real MVP was the black nylon I had nestled in my pocket. Don’t judge me, not yet anyway.

I have come to think of these owambes, lavish as they usually are, as avenues for revenue. I’ve seen people on social media say they want to begin asking for refunds when marriages they bought expensive asoebis for end abruptly. I won’t be doing that. Not when I finally see weddings, regardless of how the central relationship turns out, for the money-making opportunities they are. 

If you’re asking where exactly the opportunities are to make money during these ultra-glamorous wedding parties, then you’ve been attending the wrong ones. Or you’re yet to become a true businessperson, the kind who can spot a great deal from a mile away. Or maybe you’re just shy.

But you cannot afford to be shy, not in Nigeria, not in this economy. You need to abandon timidity in pursuit of your goal — the goal, of course, being some semblance of financial freedom. 

How many times have you been at an owambe and some real-life superhero grabbed a bag, pulled out a wad of cash with their perfectly manicured fingers and made it rain on the dance floor? If you’re the type of person I suspect you are, I can see you recoil at that showy expression of wealth; I can see the notes fall all around you, while you remain untouched, unmoved. Well, as my people say, “You never ready.”

I, on the other hand, am always ready. As soon as I saw the newly wedded couple enter the hall on Saturday, I knew that, in the famous words of that philosopher, “It’s about to go down.” I adjusted my seat but still felt too far away, so I moved to a different one, intent on being as close to the action as possible. The three tricks to success in this field are the same for finding success in real estate: location, location, location. 

It’s all about strategic positioning

You have to get close enough to the dancing area. Unfortunately, that could mean you have your back to the dance floor. To fix that, you position yourself in such a way that you half-back the dancing area but are seated at a tangent to the circle enclosing the sprayer and the couple. It takes some strategic thinking and practice but, as with most career goals, success largely depends on how hard you’re willing to work for it.

This positioning makes it easier for you to evade the camera while still monitoring the proceedings. Wait for when there is a bit of a crowd on the dance floor — this never takes too long — then go forth and conquer. 

I try to avoid picking money clearly meant for the couple, but this is no problem when the true big sprayers are involved: they typically share the love around, and I’m always willing to partake. I dance a little and I pick. I dance a little and I pick. Obviously, it’s best when the atmosphere is suffused with ₦500 and ₦1000 notes. Smaller denominations take too much energy. Every once in a while, there is someone spraying dollars. Happy days. 

Anyway, when the shower of blessings was over, my trusty black nylon was stuffed with a couple tens of thousands. I bought asoebi for ₦20,000. And if you factored in my transportation costs — I bought fuel for my car to get to the venue — and my ₦10,000 gift, that single session of unabashed picking had already made me a tidy profit.

A few more spraying sessions later, I had money to run through the week. This is a perk of having a businessman’s mindset. To be a hustler is to be nimble, to not just think on your feet but to grab a few notes while you dance to Wizkid. When I make real money, I will employ a guy like me because he can see opportunity where others see shame. He can stick his hands in the dirt and come up with dollars. I spotted a few people turning up their noses at me as I did what I could, but I didn’t mind. It’s jealousy. People are jealous when you achieve things outside of their own comfort zone. They cringed on my behalf; I made bank on theirs. The symmetry made sense to me. 

I had kept a budget for expenses going into this week, but I will be saving that. My wedding stash will take care of my expenses. I might even do a giveaway online. There are no weddings in the coming weekend, so I’ll be staying home. But if there is one in your area, drop your guy a DM. As always, my kaftan, shoes, cap and, yes, my black nylon, will be on standby. Yours should be too. (We are all about multiple streams of income in this house.)

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