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The People Began Thinking Ablank

The People Began Thinking Ablank
It is usually the face-me-I-slap you tenement where I better pass my neighbour smoke belching electricity generators whine away in high decibels and compete for space with kitchen cupboards, fowls and goats. Apartment rats here do not respect territorial integrity. Twitching their you-can -do- me nothing whiskers, they dart from room to room with stamping feet, wreaking havoc on cloths, carelessly dropped Naira notes, exposed loaves of bread, biscuits, uncovered amala wanting to get down with unsexy soup  and, most disastrously, toes of sleeping tenants. Cockroaches, the eternal paratroopers with brown jackets and nauseating exoskeletons, fly from one end to the other as if on war reconnaissance. Worse still, toilets and bathrooms are used on first come and first served basis. In such environment, short fuse is ever on display and trouble or mayhem is sparked at the drop of a hat.

Ironically, it is possible to know whose mother’s stew smells best or who uses the most delicious crayfish or locust beans or shrimp or periwinkles to temp many olfactory lobes. And so, sometimes in September 2016, a man could not resist the aroma of his neighbour’s  jollof-rice at Olayinka, A.J. City, Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State. Hunger was gnawing at his internal organs and dancing samba within him. He was in his own apartment when a woman, Iya Peter, was cooking jollof rice, its good smell wafting all over the compound, creating admiration or irritation or envy or a combination of the last two. Only God knows what spices she computed into the system, he thought as he peeped through the window with the leer of a professional thief.

The egbon whose name’s Egbon Muri with left samba-cut on his face, lifted his nose in the air like a supercilious camel, his Adam’s apple making horizontal clicks as he sniffed the way a blood hound would, near the hole of a rabbit. Then he hatched a plan in his own delicate brain matter to the effect that Iya Peter would not eat that jollof rice with her two children and amiable abino escapee Southern husband alone! A neighbour, Mr. Tony, whose nickname (abrosey) originated from his age-long narrated what happened to JWealth Media that when the woman finished cooking, she left the pot on the stove and went inside her apartment. But, according to Abrosey, when Iya Peter came out to dish food for herself and your two sons, she discovered that the pot had developed wings.

In Abrosey’s words: “She started asking who took her pot of food but nobody owned up to it. But a young girl told those who had gathered that he saw the guy taking the pot into his room. When the girl said that, we all rushed with the owner of the food to the bros’ room only to see the pot of rice half empty.” He added that the bros, an alfa who usually pray for seekers and teach children Arabic, “confessed he stole the jollof rice because he was very hungry and “had not eaten for three days. The egbon knelt down and started pleading with Iya Peter to forgive him that people that usually give him money after praying for them no longer coming. Iya Peter, being a religious woman, forgave egbon and told egbon to always come to ask food openly not stealing secretly."

A neighbour, flexing his muscles and tendons, offered to deal with the food thief, but the jollof rice owner, a religious woman with deep sense of piety, promised she would not invite the police. For this reason, according to the report, people, especially those living in multi-tenant houses, face-me-I-slap-you in the area have devised new ways of protecting their pots of food as it rends. “They either lock the pot inside a small cage or padlock the pot itself with a cross bar and multiple padlocks until they are ready to eat.” Abrosey also added: “I know the egbon very well. He is not a bad person but I think the situation in the country is pushing people into things they would not ordinarily do. I am certain the worst is yet to come.” Hmm! A sign of prophecy from Abrosey.

True, the economy of Nigeria has taken such a whack something people outside Nigeria would call “weirdo whacko” many Nigerians have devised horrifying ways of survival by less-fair or much-foul means. The ruthless and callousness policies out-formed by the temporary demigod, President Muhammadu Buhari  which has put many companies, institutions and organizations in havocs are now reacting by slashing salaries/retrenching workers. People now withdrawing their pupils from schools, landlords super-busy evicting tenants, the numbers of non-corporate and corporate beggers in the alfresco skyrocketing, patients in the hospital dying, market women and their stocks not smiling, prices of commodities tripled. This is nothing but what I called dark-cloud covering the sun from shining and preventing the rain from falling and the winds thereof.    

Acknowledgement of the Economic Situation

President Muhammadu Buhari, on 1 October, Nigeria’s Independence Day, made a broadcast to the nation under a different cloud, the one with no close resemblance facing the masses admitting that indeed, the economy is on clutches. In his words: “I know that uppermost in your minds today is the economic crisis. The recession for many individuals and families is real. For some, it means not being able to pay school fees, for others it’s not being able to afford the high cost of food (rice and millet) or the high cost of local or international travel, and for many of our young people the recession means joblessness, sometimes after graduating from university or polytechnic.”  

Gibberish! Oh hell of shit! In his heart where Mr. Buhari stays, he has killed him long before the public. The Grambling man seated beside me has said bitterly. To me, clearly to the lens inside my eyes; could not only see his vein under his thick skin rising as though, Mr Buhari is standing right in front of him.  "Another lies from the hot pits of hell!"

Buhari: Pleads for patience and assures Nigerians
that the economy would soon improve… 

Also on 1 September 2016, Mr. Buhari was in Oshogbo as a guest of Governor Rauf Aregbesola to commission Oshogbo Government High School built by the State of Osun. He acknowledged: “We are quite aware of the pains and inconveniences that have been the lot of the citizenry in the past one year as we strive to faithfully implement our programmes in fulfillment of our Change Agenda. We are, however, comforted by the real change and progress we have made in fighting corruption and restoring integrity to government; providing security for lives and property; and positioning the government for effectiveness and especially deregulating the oil sector.’’ He reminded his listeners that his government promised Nigerian people positive and progressive change during the campaigns, resolving that he and his team would not and shall not be deterred from that noble undertaking.’’

“But as we have learnt from history, change has never been attained by any nation on a bed of roses, but rather, through patience, perseverance and steadfastness,” he said.

On September 1, 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, released a report on major economic fundamentals, like Gross Domestic Product, GDP; inflation, employment/ unemployment, capital importation, stating that Nigeria had slithered into recession. According to the Bureau, Nigeria’s GDP at constant basic prices, contracted in the second quarter 2016 (Q2’16) by 2.06 per cent after a negative growth of 0.36 in the first quarter. It said the non-oil sector suffered a downward spiral due to a badly battered Naira. Worse still, lower prices of crude negatively affected the oil sector. 

National Bureau Of Statistic - Analysis - Inflation Upstream

The Bureau added that inflation in the country increased to 17.1 per cent in July, because of rising cost of power, fuel and other consumables. The ogre of joblessness went haywire as it increased to 13.3 per cent this year. Among the youths, unemployment was 24 per cent. Taken generally, national unemployment rate increased to 13.3 per cent, compared to 12.1 per cent in Q1 2016, 10.4 percent in Q4 2015 from 9.9 percent in Q3 2015 and from 8.2 percent in Q2 2015.

The NBS figures, according to a medium’s analysis, showed Nigeria attracted just $647.1 million of capital in the second quarter, a 76 per cent fall year-on-year and 9 per cent down from the first quarter. It went further: “Nigeria’s economy was last in recession, for less than a year, in 1991, NBS data shows. It also experienced a prolonged recession from 1982 until 1984. The naira remained at record low of N423 per dollar in the black market, as dollar shortages curb activity on the official inter-bank market where the currency was offered at rates as weak as 365.25 this month before gaining ground after Central Bank’s interventions. The oil sector, the NBS said, contracted by -17.5 per cent year-on-year, compared with -1.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2016. The non-oil sector contracted by -0.4 per cent year-on-year, compared with a contraction of -0.2 per cent recorded in the first quarter 2016. For the non-oil economy, manufacturing contracted by -3.4 per cent, compared with -7.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.”

The Negative Effects Override The Positive Effects

These have seriously affected prices and, by extension, standard of living. As the country celebrated its 56th independence anniversary last week, some women in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) decried the continuous hike in the prices of food items in the market. Some of them, who spoke with the JWealth Media (JWM) in Abuja called on government at all levels to “introduce price regulatory system to protect the consumers from unwarranted price hike.” Mrs Folade Williams, a housewife, told JWM that some traders were using the pretext of the economic recession to hike prices of food items on a daily basis and indiscriminately. In her words: “My husband gives me N10, 000 for the purchase of food items every month for four members of my house. But now even if he releases N15, 000 or even N20, 000, it will not be enough for the list of items I normally purchase. I normally use some of the remaining monies from the market to cater for my needs. Now, it is not even enough for the items we need at home monthly.’’ What a government of no promise, she said. 

Buhari as Nigeria President, has he achieve anything as regards to his campaign promises? Yet many would say, there is no comparison between the former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to that of the current President Muhammadu Buhari, for on one is a junior and the other senior.


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