When I read this verse about 30 years ago, I wondered what the people did to the extent of being served the heartless dish of bread of adversity and water of affliction( Isaiah, 30:20). I also sympathised with the people in arrears as I wondered what it would be like when neither the food nor the water would give succour.
Now, I have seen it live; I am a living witness as the Government, which promised to lift us from top to bottom has concretely served us this bitter dish in the form of excruciatingly long queues for the troika of fuel, cash and PVCs. The oppressively hot sun is not making it any easier.
To further complicate matters, Nigeria, the largest concentration of black people across the world has in the process become the global headquarter of ‘whitemarket’ all over the world, with the historical black-market in its own currency, Naira, which sells at a margin of up to 50% depending on the desperation of the buyer and the heartlessness and greed-quotient of the seller.
Before then, there were black-market injunctions, judgements, security operations, certificates, pastors and bishops, subsidies et al. and we have moved from ordinary distress, to advanced distress, to multidimensional distress and finally to this current level of officially sanctioned suffering of the people.
I was involved in the last currency exchange done by this same Buhari and I thought that we have seen the worst. Many people now reject transfers and even the transfers are no longer going
But before this unpalatable combination of bitter bread and water, we shall interrogate some interesting developments around town. In 2016, Tony Momoh asked us to stone them (APC) if they failed to perform after two years.
Nigerians in their kindness and church-mindedness patiently waited for 7 years and then started stoning. So, why are people blaming the unknown stone men for what they should have started in 2017? Meanwhile during the heat of the campaign in 2015, Fashola urged Nigerians to vote-in and then vote-out PMB and PYO if they failed to perform.
Of course, the author and finisher of BATism had recently admonished Nigerians to ‘vote them out’. We are awaiting the verdict of Nigerians on 25/2/23. It is also funny that when the stoning occurred, the complaint was from PDP but when a PDP member was suspended in Enugu, the complaint was from an APC operative.
You see why I always talk about APDP. And of late, Tinubu’s diatribe is never complete until he throws punches at ‘him or them’: the leaders and members of his party! And Rufai supports him spiritedly. Sure, our oppressors are ‘eating their own flesh’(Isaiah, 49:26)
I was at Okota-FESTAC axis of Lagos over the weekend and I saw several emergency ndi-Igbo with red-caps and even titles. These include Ganiyu Johnson, Ladi Ajomale, Lanre Sanusi, Saheed Aregbe and Deacon Segun Adewale, who goes by the title: ‘Anya Ndi-Igbo of Lagos State’! I don’t blame them.
This is the season of election, when people suffer from pretend-brotherhood. Afterall PMB was crowned Ogbu-Agu of Aba and Tinubu’s son was crowned in Anambra just the other day. It was reported that the military had gone after the informal members of the Jagaban Army, those commanded by Oluomo, at Oshodi. They were even asking for information of where to get them.
But on Friday, 3/2/23 I passed through Oshodi-Oke and they were FULLY on duty, with more ferociousness. But methinks they should have gone for the official Jagaban army before looking for the black-market ones! The Nigerian calendar would soon be restructured by legislative fiat to accommodate June 31st the date when the Senate proposed that the currency swap should end.
And then, PMB is not the only one madly in love with Niger-Republic. Kwankwaso has just carried his presidential campaign to them in continuation of his ‘consultations especially his Afrocentric foreign policy’ . Finally, Wike has done it again: he had cancelled the permission granted to PDP to use the Amaseimeka stadium.
Last week, he had warned them not to dare him because he would cancel the permission and that heavens would not fall. I think they dared him or he woke up from the wrong side of the bed and decided to cancel it so as to know if the heavens would fall! 30 Atikulators were also arrested in PH and Wike responded: ‘wetin concern agbero with overload? Go ask the police’!.
And there is this beautiful ‘gal’ named BOO, running for state Assembly at Ijebuode. She does not bother about political philosophy, or promises, or record of past performances. She just posts beautiful pictures in different postures and different axis, showcasing her beauty and that is that. And I ask: Is this a political contest or a beauty contest? Anyway, at least, I noticed her!
Back to real business! We have been served an incomprehensible dish by the APC/PMB government of the day, even though many APCians are making futile efforts to distance themselves, belatedly from their ruining party, where a dog-eat-dog scenario is at an advanced stage.
We all know the situation of things. People sleep at the fuel stations or queue for 12 hours to buy fuel, which is being sold at N185 and N400 by stations sharing fences in the same economy.
On 3/2/23, when I was at the queue for 3 hours without moving up to 10 meters, a colleague-in-suffering left his car for his wife and joined the cash queue across the road. By the time I left in protest against the sluggish queue and blistering sun, he had neither cash nor fuel.
And the best that PMB, the Minister of Petroleum, with a ALL the executive powers at his disposal could do was to set up a committee. But before you go for fuel, you go to the bank, sleep at the ATM so as to get a tally and still spend the whole day where the bank would give you N500, N1000 or at most N5000, if you are lucky.
Read also: Nigeria, others to suffer increased poverty, food insecurity in 2023 – World Bank
Yet some of us have enough bundles to throw at parties; some can access the new gold in millions while even the bandits are making mockery of us, by displaying intimidating amounts of the new currency.
And you see Nigerians going naked, jumping on top of the counter, attacking the banks and bankers and going to the banks with their mattresses and cooking utensils… in desperation and frustration!
Somebody even slumped and died within a banking hall and many have been turned emergency beggars as they cannot transport, feed or treat themselves. I was involved in the last currency exchange done by this same Buhari and I thought that we have seen the worst.
Many people now reject transfers and even the transfers are no longer going. And the fidelity of our banks has been badly damaged because they can no longer pay on demand. The reputational damage done by the CBN, in addition to those caused by Emefiele’s presidential bid( abomination!) and the ding-dong with DSS, is incalculable.
The difference between ‘cash at hand’ and ‘cash at bank’ has become very glaring while a multidimensional blame-trading model between the banks, bankers, presidency, APCians and DSS is at work, with some banks being accused of hoarding and some not having enough.
And for the first time in history, ‘hard Naira’ is being bought in Nairex Market with ‘soft naira’, where the premium varies from 10% to 50%. I have already told my biggest customers (provisions and fruits) to open ledgers and accumulate the bills for me to settle when to amount becomes meaningful. How can I do transfer for a N150 purchase?
Worse of all, the politics of it all has overwhelmed the existential challenges and wrenching suffering which we are going through. Governors have undertaken a march on the rock while many APCians are alleging coordinated internal sabotage.
Even the hailers have turned wailers as Oshiomhole complained of buying fuel at N1000/Ltr, condemning the tainted subsidy regime in the process while LASG adviser on gutters and allied matters was stranded at the bank and was asking ‘who is doing this?’ If he ask me, whom I go ask?
Then you come to the PVC wahala, for which my sister had to leave the house at Midnight the day she eventually got her own. And the greatest singsong in Lagos is ‘PVC not found’! Some people are alleging political ethnic-cleansing.
It has also become obvious that we have abandoned the long-term strategic PVC quest in favour of the immediate needs of Fuel and Cash. Of course, it is natural, you have to survive today before thinking of tomorrow
Sure, we have been served the bread of adversity and water of affliction and I agree with the young lady who suggested that Nigerians should be given a two-week all-round leave at the end of Buhari’s tenure.