Emejulu Decries Inordinate Pursuit of Wealth, Says It Shortens Lifespan

Urges Nigerians to Stop Mad Rush for Money


The Executive Director of the National Institute for Nigerian Languages(NINLAN), Aba, Prof Obiajulu Emejulu, has warned Nigerians against inordinate quest for wealth, saying that people that engage in the mad rush don’t live long.

Emejulu sounded the note of warning at the 2023 Odenigbo Lecture in which he decried the manner people are chasing wealth, committing horrendous crimes and wreaking havoc in the society just to get rich quick.

The Odenigbo lecture is an annual lecture series organised by the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri in which Igbo intellectuals use Igbo language to deliver a lecture on a particular topic. The late iconic literary and intellectual giant, Professor Chinua Achebe, featured in 1999 edition.

Emejulu, who is a language and comunication expert, delivered the 2023 edition of the lecture series now in its 28th year.

In the 109-page lecture he delivered in Igbo entitled “Akwa Ana-Ebere Ego: Uru na Oghom Di Na Ya”, which translates to The Quest for Money: Its Pros and Cons, Prof Emejulu attributed many ills in the society to the reckless pursuit of money.

According to him, the Nigerian society is currently suffering as a result of the  greed, recklessness, callousness, insensitivity and inhumanity with which people seek money.

He reeled out the many heinous criminal activities that have characterised contemporary Nigeria society as a result of “unrestrained  and unethical pursuit of money”.

These include kidnapping, human trafficking, money rituals with human sacrifice, cannibalism, Internet fraud or yahoo-yahoo, use of charms to enhance business success, drug peddling, among others.

“It is the  ‘extra- terrestrial’ value placed on money that  makes some people vow that whatever it takes, come rain ,come shine, they must get rich,” he said.

Prof Emejulu(middle) decried get-rich-quick syndrome.


The 2023 Odenigbo lecturer harped on the downside of excessive and unbridled quest for wealth at all cost, using scientifically proven research to drive home his views.

The NINLAN ED stated that sociopsychologists have in their research found that people who are driven by excessive ambition to be rich may eventually get rich but all that glitters is not gold.

“They never get contented,” he pointed out, adding, “This lack of contentment drives them on in the  mad race for  money until they get into trouble.”

Referencing another research finding, Prof. Emejulu further stated that while “those who believe in unbridled rush for money may really get rich, those who believe in getting money through cool-headed approach live longer lives”.


According to him, some factors could push some otherwise normal people to join the mad rush for wealth acquisition and its attendant criminal activities.

He said: “Such triggers are penury and suffering, greed, laziness, fear of what people will say, competition, injustice, fear of failure, weak faith, indebtedness, among others”.

Nonetheless, Emejulu pointed out that money as a generally accepted means of exchange and measure of value was not to blame for the many vices linked to it. Rather, people, he said, “are to blame for the evil they do with money.”

“Money can do nothing except what  man wants to do with it. Money is not responsible for all the atrocities in the world today; men are the culprits,” he stated.

Emejulu: Gave people food for thought at the 2023 Odenigbo Lecture.


The professor of language regretted that man “has enthroned money as a king ruling in their lives”, and offered a number of admonitions as sustainable attitude to pursuit of money:

He said: “To work hard for money is not bad….We should be contented with what we have and avoid greed.

“Avoid living beyond your means. Remember , the more money one gets, the bigger one’s problems get.

“If you work hard for money but do not get much money, thank God all the same for God knows what is the best for you.

“God could leave you without surplus money but give you what is greater and better than money”.

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