Having a crown as the logo of LLEM International is a meaningful and powerful symbol to me. The LLEM crown is a symbol of royalty and greatness and this is how I want all of God’s children to feel.  We are royalty. We are powerful. God created us to feel and act special. We are all created to be Kings and Queens by the creator and to live our lives to our fullest potential. With God’s full love and his grace, all people should have the ability to feel this awesomeness every single day.

Unfortunately, Nigeria’s vast economic disparity keeps people from feeling this awesomeness in their daily lives and this must change.

Can a non-profit like LLEM create economic equality in a nation plagued by “haves” and “have nots”?

Many people think all of Africa is poor, but this is a misconception. Africa has a growing middle class, and Nigeria in particular has a very rich upper class. A lot of wealth in Nigeria comes from oil production. Apart from petroleum, Nigeria’s other natural resources include natural gas, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc and arable land. The oil and gas sector accounts for about 35 percent of gross domestic product, and the revenue of petroleum exports represents over 90% of total exports revenue.  OPEC

Oil production makes up almost 9% of Nigeria’s economy. In fact, Nigeria is estimated to have 80 billion dollars in oil reserves! Nigeria is also home to almost 15,400 millionaires!  Are they doing what they can do to help lessen economic inequality throughout this great and vast country?

Despite a lot of apparent wealth, many Nigerians (both rich and poor) still suffer from what I call poverty mentality. According to Allen Weiss, Ph.D, one of the strongest beliefs in poverty mentality is believing that you are the victim of others’ decisions and choices.

In Nigeria, the rich hoard their wealth, unwilling to share it with those who really need it and afraid they won’t have enough to live out their lives in comfort, while the poor who have nothing depend on a nonexistent social safety net to help them better their lives. These groups really are not so different. Both groups live a less than ideal existence. Rich and poor alike should be celebrating what they do have, primarily family and God, but instead they are closed off and unable to see the great kingdom they are a part of. They don’t understand the purpose of life. I have always considered a life of no purpose as a meaningless life. Just as Socrates put it, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

My goal as Executive Director of LLEM is to help people thrive emotionally, spiritually and financially. I want to open eyes and help people lead happier lives. Rich or poor, we must level  the playing field and make Nigeria a place where economic inequality is the exception, rather than the norm, and a place where people feel blessed despite their wealth. I don’t have all of the answers, but I know that by working together, we can bring love and joy to all.

May it be God’s will.