By Promise Adiele
Iyabo is a mother of three. She sells crayfish, melon, pepper, tomatoes, and other food items. Her husband, Jamiu, is a commercial motorcycle operator in Lagos. Responding to a government’s directive, they gathered all their savings in old naira notes which amounted to eighty-five thousand naira and deposited them in one of the local banks. Two weeks later, they could not withdraw the money from the bank. Jamiu could not work due to petrol shortage. Where there is petrol, he can’t afford it at N350 per liter. There is no electricity in their two rooms apartment, and their children are hungry. Iyabo and Jamiu have PVC. How are their minds working? In a chat with Jamiu, he concluded thus, “look, this government is wicked and does not care for the ordinary citizens. How can they come up with this kind of policy without considering poor Nigerians. We will vote them out, simple. We have suffered enough. This affliction cannot continue”. The fore-going captures the mindset of millions of ordinary people across the country and how they feel before the elections. Yet many more feel betrayed, battered, and disgraced by the current government but prefer to express themselves with their PVC.
Perhaps, an effective mechanism that will reveal how millions of Nigerians are thinking and how their minds are working towards the 2023 general elections will be a good idea. But with the benefit of hindsight, given all the despair and misery across the country, Nigerians are not happy. From the East to the West, North to the South, the story is the same, people of all ages, different categories, the rich, the poor, all ethnic groups, irrespective of religious inclinations or other considerations, everyone in Nigeria is crying and complaining. Nigerians are victims of the government’s insensitivity, lack of planning, and self-serving convictions. The result? Millions of people have been thrown into unprepared anguish. It is not enough that the people are grappling with hardship and almost impossible economic situations in the country, yet, the powers that be, in all their wisdom, contrived to plunge the people further into the abyss of near-death conditions. Now, people who have money cannot access their money. The naira redesign policy was not well planned and thought out. Suffering is the result – real consistent suffering that acquires new apparel every day. It is congruous with APC’s ideology of mindlessly inflicting suffering on the masses.
To escape the wrath of the masses, banks are shutting down, the ATMs are not dispensing cash, and the masses are frustrated. People are suffering, families are crying, small businesses are closing down too. There is no patrol across the country. Where the golden liquid is available, it comes at exorbitant prices. No one knows the exact price of petrol in Nigeria now. Oil marketers and filling stations sell according to their avaricious persuasion. The country is near to anarchy. Indeed, Nigerians are not and cannot be happy in the present circumstance. Unfortunately, the families of those who inflicted the bedlam on Nigerians are shielded from the present collective predicament. They already have the new naira notes in millions while the poor masses are scrubbing and scavenging the earth for their money. Bank managers are having a field day. They are making brisk business with politicians, those who are responsible for the misery in the land. Nigeria is indeed long overdue for a total overhaul. With the presidential elections very close, how will Nigerians vote?
What are Nigerians thinking? I am trying to find a shred of reason, no matter how small, why the current government should seek a continuation in power. I am trying to understand under what principle, terrestrial or ecclesiastical, will warrant the APC government to seek the vote of suffering, impoverished Nigerians. Although Mr President likes to patronize himself by regaling us with how he has delivered on all his campaign promises, Nigerians know the truth – perhaps the president is trying his hands on comedy, that current artistic cash cow. Buhari has failed woefully in all his campaign promises and he knows it. Intriguingly, the APC presidential candidate Ahmed Bola Tinubu has promised to continue with the Buhari legacy. That singular avowal is Tinubu’s greatest undoing in his desperate bid to become Nigeria’s next president. The question to ask is, what are Buhari’s legacies? To promise a continuation of the Buhari legacy is the greatest insult any presidential aspirant can hurl on Nigerians. No Nigerian of equitable conscience will for a split-second wish for a continuation of the Buhari legacy. No one will be interested in a nightmarish, poverty-characterized, security-challenged, disconcerting legacy.
I am wondering – is it possible for any common person, majority of ordinary Nigerians, longsuffering and impoverished to wish for a continuation of the suffering in the land? Is it possible that millions of market women, artisans, low-income earners, civil servants, lecturers, public workers, business people, professionals, and many others will endorse the present parlous state of the country during the elections? Is it possible that the absence of electricity, fuel, the high cost of living, and all the other categories of suffering in Nigeria will be motivating factors for any discerning person to wish for a continuation? It is morally objectionable for anyone, no matter the level of awareness, to justify the current suffering and despondency in the land. Perhaps a brief metaphor will help the analogy. We are always quick to advise a woman in an abusive marriage to quit the union to save her life. Women who refused such wise counsel ended up dying in the marriage. It is the same scenario in Nigeria now. The marriage between Nigerians and APC government is hellish, abusive and suffocating. If we can advise a sister, a friend or any relation to quitting an abusive marriage but wish Nigerians to continue in the present abusive marriage with APC, then we are all hypocrites and the truth is not in us.
“I am wondering – is it possible for any common person, majority of ordinary Nigerians, longsuffering and impoverished to wish for a continuation of the suffering in the land? Is it possible that millions of market women, artisans, low-income earners, civil servants, lecturers, public workers, business people, professionals, and many others will endorse the present parlous state of the country during the elections?”
Do Nigerians have a choice in the current malaise ravaging their land? Are they all stuck in the mire with the APC government? Can Nigerians extricate themselves from the current abusive relationship with APC? Never mind all the social media banters and exchanges, Nigerians are suffering and will want to change direction with the current administration. Consistently, the APC government has demonstrated a remorseless, arrogant attitude which shows that in the tragic event, they emerge victorious in the presidential elections, Nigerians should be ready for pro-max suffering in all identifiable indices of existence. The thinking across the country must be that of change, a positive change anchored on the welfare of the ordinary man. Nigerians need a change that will uproot the criminality in the land, especially in the corridors of power. Nigerians need a change that is different from the beguiling change APC promised them in 2015. The change Nigerians are clamouring for, now, is a total break away from the sophistry of 2015. Nigerians should remember that suffering does not recognize ethnicity, religion, age or any type of persuasion. Although the vicious structures that kept Nigerians down would want to entrench themselves in power against the wishes of millions of ordinary people, the collective willpower of the masses will triumph as it triumphed against military rule in the past. A new Nigeria is possible. That is how every reasonable Nigerian should think.
Promise Adiele PhD
Mountain Top University