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7th October, 07:42

Like Magnus Kpakol would always do on his Show, let's look at the hidden economics behind certain numbers, released recently

Big Brother Naija ended last night, and a winner has emerged; smiling home with N60 million. Congratulations to her, and congratulations to the winner for "cashing out", big time. A staggering 240 Million votes was said to have been recorded BBN. Beyond this, the company behind this brand, raked in quite a lot from sponsorship deals. Don't begrudge them; they are smart business men. They understand Nigerians! That's a lesson for the entrepreneur; know your customer!

With each vote costing at N30, it means Nigerians spent N7.2 billion voting. What this means is that Nigerians spent almost the equivalent of the monthly IGR realized in Rivers State, on voting. This is not to criticize those who voted - they have a right to spend on what gives them happiness - but to highlight the hidden economics of the cost of frenzy, passion and happiness.

Recent figures released by a research shows Nigerians spend N730 billion annually on sports betting. This translates to N2 billion per day. What this means is that Nigerian punters can crowdfund almost 2 budget cycles of the Rivers State budget. This amount can fund almost the annual budget of an entire north-east geopolitical zone. From an infrastructure point of view, this amount can completely fund the 2nd Niger bridge, the Bodo-Bonny road and the East-West Road (May be just a few billions shy). The prospect of the ability of citizens to crowdfund governance is what struck me.

The report also shows over 60 million Nigerians are engaged in sports betting; spending over N3,000 daily, placing bets. That number, is more than thrice the number of voters in the last Presidential elections. Inference? Nigerians trust in an extremely slim chance at probabilistic "cashout", than trusting in electoral outcomes.

The annual amount generated from sports betting is only about N200 billion shy of the total IGR of all 36 states in Nigeria in 2017. It means the approximately 50 betting companies in Nigeria are more efficient than the 36 states Internal Revenue Service, put together.

The figure shows Nigerians would rather put their money in probabilistic chance event of betting and hoping for a statistical miracle. Perhaps, with all hope lost, they resort to trusting the extremely slim chance of winning a bet, than believe on the economic chance of entrepreneurship.

Looking at these numbers, you can tell we are a people in search of escape routes. We spend our way in a vain search for contingent happiness. We gamble away, to escape pain. No wonder, they say we are the happiest people. These stats agree with that. We are just happy; suffering, yet spending to escape the national pain within. Interesting research opportunity for the psychologist.