Money is a subject of great interest to most people and most people want to get more of it. The lawless ones among us see robbery, arson and other forms of stealing as their way to it. Others enrich themselves by using the posts they occupy in companies or government departments to collect bribes or pickups for the award of contracts. Those without financial acumen whatever will merely save any money they acquire by keeping it in the proverbial box under the bed or hole in the ground in which case, clearly it earn no interest. But most people with legacy to spare will think of some kind of holdings, acting on the sound principle that one sum of money can be made to grow into a larger sum.
This can happen in various ways. In Nigeria, small businesses are very popular; saving becomes the foundation needed to establish a provision shop, say or to run a taxi. Although this type of business entails some risks it also offers the prospect of fairly quick and sometimes quite healthy credits. Less enterprising citizens will prefer to put their money in savings or mortgage accounts in banks or they purchase interests-bearing government obligations or stakes in companies that pay a regular refund.
Trading in stocks and shares is what large scale financial dealings are all about and in Nigeria as in other countries these are entirely carried out through the Stock Exchange. The Nigerian Stock Exchange has trading floors in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano; it also has branches in Kaduna, Onitsha and Ibadan. The middlemen of the Stock Exchange are known as stockbrokers; they buy and sell shares on behalf of clients for which they charge a tax. Often the client is a company seeking to purchase shares in another company, sometimes with a view to taking over completely. The reason is that several companies operate in a particular line of business. E.g. timber production or textiles and each have a natural interest in driving out competitors and establishing a uniformity.
However, some of those dealing in the Stock Exchange are not there to further the interests of a company engaged in productive business; they are there merely to accumulate that is to purchase shares when they are relatively cheap and sell them again when they fetch higher price. At any time certain shares are increasing in attractiveness and price while others are less attractive and their price is falling.
Occasionally, there is a general loss of confidence in the Stock Exchange, people rush to sell all their shares and there may even be a worldwide Stock Market strike.