The Hush, the Puppis and the rest of us



By Simbo Olorunfemi

The first I heard about Hushpuppi was probably a year or two ago. Something to do with a particular nightclub. Filed him away in a folder for his likes. But it was not until yesterday that I had a face to the name. From what I have read here, many had never heard about him until yesterday.

But here is an entry about him on Quora :

“Ray Hushpuppi, also known as “Aja Puppi” a.k.a Aja 4 is a basic Nigerian philanthropist who became famous after his struggle on social networks with Nigerian musician Davido Adeleke. He is a Dubai-base-Nigerian philanthropist, well-known for the sumptuous lifestyle he lives both home and abroad. Plus he is not a billionaire. He is 80+ million short of the billionaire status.

It is believed that his net worth is about 20 million US dollars. This is fabulous money; but only Raymond himself probably knows how much his net worth actually is.

Ray Hushpuppi, born as Raymond Igbalodely on the June 14, also known as ‘Gucci Master’ etc. He was born and raised in Lagos state, Nigeria a part of African nation; however, resides in Malaysia.”

Yet many of us did not know about this “Dubai-base-Nigerian philanthropist”.We did not know Aja Puppi. We thought we knew what was happening in town but we did not know about Raymond Igbalode.

It sums it up. We do not know as much as we think we know. We do not know how far adrift the society has moved away from us, from what we hold on to as values. The times have moved on. Ramoni has become Raymond. Aja ana ti da puppy.Igba lode.

If a visit to Twitter can be eye-opening, a journey to Instagram should tell you how little today has in common with yesterday. Igba lode. Ramoni is now Raymond.

We need to legislate a compulsory daily visit to Twitter. There is a wide gulf between here and there.There, it is a medley – all sorts. A marketplace. Innovation- young people with great ideas. Hot Gist. Life and the fun of it.

Here, there is still a healthy dose of enlightening debate around ‘serious’ issues, there is not much of that over there. The article on Adesina and Okonjo-Iweala took me there. It was hushpuppi, berywood I saw trending. It was on such visits months back that I discovered Mompha. A month ago, I got to know about Indabosky.

It is a sobering place – the inanities, loss of values, hopelessness and those things that ail us as a nation – in the worst dimension. Bigotry walking on all fours.

But it is where our tomorrow resides. Not here. We might be busy here talking political, economic, financial systems. They are there trending Victoria Kimani. We might be talking WTO and AfDB politics here, they are busy there with their bigoted version of the same matter.

The day before, it was South Africans trending South Africa first, railing against Nigerians. Within hours of hushpuppi trending, the ethnic colouration had been brought in, with some insisting that they had to trend Yoruba yahoo boys. It is what it is. It is where we are.

We are running on 2 parallel lines – 2 different directions. How do we get the roads to meet? The gulf between what we think it is and what it is, in reality, is wide.

We might try to hush it, but the puppies are roaming freely. They cannot see anything wrong with what Igbalode is alleged to have done. They cannot see what is wrong with the life he lived. He is a role-model. They are aspiring to surpass him. They are praying for him.

You see the puppy in photographs with someone who aspired to be President only yesterday. You see him with that other former Senator. We didn’t know him. Who knows if those ones knew him?

We have been paying a huge price in the international business space for loss of reputation on account of the sins of their grandfathers and fathers. Yet, their sons are busy roaming the net like puppies, eroding the little left of our reputation.

Hush it. Puppies at work. Ramoni, yesterday. Raymond, today. Maga has paid. Igba lode.

Sad. A kuku ba’nbe.

*Simbo Olorunfemi, a public affairs analyst, first published this piece on 11 June 2020