No end of year rice for Nigeria ~ By Prince Charles Dickson
By next week it would be December, the month of Christmas, better put the last month of the year, so just some 30 plus days to the year 2020 and again we will be wishing ourselves the best of the in-coming year. The year 2019 has come and soon will condemned to the back of history, with very little in terms of lessons learned for us as a people or a nation.
2019 is going, going and soon would be gone and those that have suffered most is the Nigerian masses, the large population that will be looking forward to the end of year miracle, signs and wonder, those that would just need only a measure of rice to make it count, and may just not see it; whether they (we) deserve the suffering or not is another matter. Our leaders have continued to play Mickey mouse with the future of Nigerians, and 2019 represents another year in which they have succeeded.
Every Merry Xmas since 1999 has witnessed an increase in the price of salt, bread, water, and when fuel has not been increased, it is the cost of transportation that would be increased, and this particular one, it will be rice, oops, did I say “it will”, it has been rice! Thank God they have no control over the air we breathe, they just might have privatized it or taxed it.
We have been on a progressive slide towards the tunnel of despair. Merry Xmas, how merry, on the lighter side of life a lot of Fowls have the Buhari administration to thank as they would escape the stew pot. Workers have either lost their jobs, or have not been paid their salaries, or those that have been paid, are in so much debt, to make a meaning out of the salary, pensions even after being disengaged is another tales by moonlight, and those that remain go through hell every day. We wake to an everyday existence of it is well when we know that all is not well.
Many a Nigerian family will simply observe the yuletide because for many it would be an observation rather than celebration. I feel that there is a growing level of disenchantment amongst the populace. In the last weeks across various states increase in crime is notable.
Look at the entire year in retrospect and can we really say that it has been a fruitful year, how much of corruption have we chased away, especially with the trend now in the private sector not just in government. Families have lost loved ones throughout the year in avoidable circumstances, can we say to them Merry Xmas, is it possible for them to hold on to anything for the New Year. The roads to ply during this yuletide season are not there, the air, which may be the safest, is not the cheapest, we may have to wait close to decades of yuletides and new years, countless Sallahs and Easters before we can see a functional railroad…
Markets are burning here and there, the same market that provides a semblance of hope for the ordinary man and no one really cares. Last year I cannot remember getting any Xmas hamper…This year, there will be no ham-when there is no rice.
How many Nigerians having been saving to buy a motorcycle, a television set, or a small transistor radio since the beginning of the year, now another new year in the horizon and our plans are still on the drawing board. It was late Fela that said every-time we almost buy the item, the item adds a Naira and the trend continues and no end in sight.
Another end of the year and Nigerians are finding it hard to really to say that we have been blessed with the dividends of democracy, in some cases we have seen the rich also cry which at least gives us hope that we have co-sufferers. The poor cannot cry anymore, the tears have long gone, we all suffer, cooking gas is more expensive than motor spirit, so as ‘poorman dey suffer’, we have animals in human skin fronting as leaders.
The borders remain closed and do not hold any hope for the ordinary man, as all that we can feed ourselves remain a mirage… so even eggs will not grace the table of the masses this yuletide. For Muslims, a fowl if available can take the place of a ram; a bag of rice in the last month of the year would be dream come true for millions of families. Do we remember that same bag of rice that was barely N3000 in 1999 sells for N20000 thereabout depending whether you are buying local or foreign, and things are supposedly at the next level.
So, as the year ends, many plan resolutions, those decisions that are made at the beginning of each year, it is like a promise to be of good behaviour, to the best that we can, a lot of us avoid it for many reasons, and strongest is the fact that we never keep to them or that we break them almost immediately. The resolution by the APC controlled government to the Nigerian masses is one that has never been kept. That which the government said it would do, it never did, that which it did, it never said it would. Nobody can even say this is the worst hit sector in Nigeria as the year rounds up…the educational sector is not well, the health sector suffers acute malaria…our transport is now a case of recurrent migraine, our polity has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. It is a sad Xmas in the horizon, families are groaning under debt, all kinds and manners. The robbers we have are not just touts but fresh graduates or those that have found solace in a system that has no future for them. Widows have multiplied; our society keeps no stats so we care less about the orphans let loose by our collective carefree attitude.
Sad end to a year, as the ‘haves’ will still be in London for their end of year break eating the same foreign rice for which they closed the border and the ‘have-nots’, better imagined than experienced will have no local rice. Nigeria is not the worst place on earth, there is problem around the world, but most of us hold the belief that things could be better, we have the resources, human, material and otherwise. Could it be that we need a silent revolution, a quiet questioning of the system by a new breed of Nigerians driven by a gush of hot patriotism? As we reflect, the year-ends soon, when will Nigeria and her people truly have a nation she can celebrate—Only time will tell