- 3 commissioners suspended for improper dressing in Ebonyi
- CBN issues two new merchant bank licences
- Ekiti PDP accuses ACN of attacking members
- Daniel eulogises HID Awolowo at 97
- Jonathan hails Koroma's re-election
- Collapsed man: Edo dep gov threatens Airhiavbere
- Communal clash: Police arrest gang leader, 12 others in Nasarawa
- Corruption: There ‘ll be no sacred cow - Jonathan
- Amosun’s wife tasks students on reading culture
- Flooding: Dangote committee sets N50bn target
- Adamawa LG election conducted peacefully
- 1999 Constitution: Women group calls for amendment to gender-biased provisions
Moving forward amidst anger
FOR a lot of Nigerians, their composed, quiet, hopeful and prayerful side that had been taught them in the churches and mosques went out of the window after President Jonathan announced the removal of subsidy on oil on New Year day. The people became angry and raised discontent for the ‘enemy’. The Bible says pray for your enemies, many however were tired of praying and took to the streets. The Bible also says pray for your leaders; but that too was quickly forgotten as the people, individuals and collective, raised their voices, heart rates and blood pressures, in anger against the leadership of the country.
Their voices were a collective voice of disapproval at the increased fuel price (forget about the expression, removal of subsidy), as Nigerians in all the six geo-political zones revolted. The president, ministers and cabals, among the many were all fingered for the increase and they were the focus of the insult and outrage of Nigerians.
The Nigerian people were completely fed up of the situation in Nigeria and there was a small snap from too much of a pull.They voiced their displeasure with the subsidy removal and dealing with the hydra-headed monster, corruption, was rolled into the protest against the removal of the subsidy on fuel. For many, the feeling of being violated and betrayed became the general feeling by afternoon on Monday, 16th January. Some of them believed the episode was just a game and the Nigerian public were pawns. Strategy or otherwise, the government seemed happy and a large number of the people became dejected, hoping to fight another day.
Strategy is the watchword in business school and strategy was the name of the game that played out. The government of Nigeria monitored and managed the revolt, with help from different interested parties. The problem was that the movement of people did not have a communication strategy with the government.
As it is now, a few young people who have cars, might be able to buy half tank and at times full tank of petrol for their cars. Some women can raise the money, by ‘hustling’ or whatever means to afford the now expensive commodity. Spare a thought however for the daughters and sons of low income and unemployed mothers and women with no jobs. For these people, getting about N6000 to fuel the tanks of the cars or having extra ‘coins’ to do shopping in the supermarket is not the problem. These people are only hustling to raise the extra N200 to buy petrol for the tanks of their generators and money to buy more tomatoes, fish and meat.
These young men and women will be taking their hustling up a notch and this could be of great concern in months and years to come.
Cases of sexually transmitted diseases could be on the rise as a result of the extra hustling and cases of unwanted pregnancy will definitely join. This could lead to deaths from unsafe ‘back street’ abortions and increases in abandoned children. With the young men or boys we’d be fortunate if it’s just the issue of child labour or underage workers we will need to battle as desperation would increase, robbery of small items such as phones wrist watches and others could become the order of the day.
These, however, can be counteracted, not by the police arresting and locking offenders in cells, requesting bails they cannot afford to pay and putting pressure on families. This can be achieved by occupying the minds of children and young people, giving them skills they can use to build themselves and make money to benefit themselves and the society at large.
Majority of the key people in the Occupy Nigeria movement, are what the United Nations charter would classify as youth, between the ages of 18 and 35, with a large number of them working in the social sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
During this sensitive time, more will need to be done to bridge the gap between the privileged and the disadvantaged people in Nigeria.
Tax credits and accessible funds for the social sector should be made available. As much as the leaders would like to control the views and actions of the people, it must be remembered that in the expression of varying opinions fresh concepts are created.
Inflation is on the increase and so the Federal government agreed minimum wage also should be increased. However, not all state governments have implemented the minimum wage and questions should also be raised as to whether all private bodies will be able to meet this requirement. It can be argued that the agreed increased minimum wage is barely sufficient to enable comfortable living in Nigeria, especially in urban areas, where the living essentials are lacking and have to be supplemented. Regardless of who is paying the required increased salary, when it comes to compensating the people with more money in their pockets, there seems to be a bottleneck.
Going forward, the Nigerian government will need to strategise what is best for the people, excluding the interests of foreign friends.
Nigeria has a strong potential to be a nation which pays all citizens an allowance from its oil extraction. Following trends, history and with ears close to the ground, it can be believed that this will not be the last uprising we will see in Nigeria, if the government and policies continues to be business as usual.
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