The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Nigeria has exited recession. I believe that is the worst hate speech that has ever been made since we introduced that phrase into our political lexicon.
But rather than get arrested for this careless talk, the people at the NBS are shamelessly allowed to ‘back up’ their claim with humongous paperwork, which does not translate to an extra morsel of fufu for anybody – neither for the army of unemployed graduates pounding the streets for non-existent jobs, nor the artisans whose menial jobs have been taken up by Asians imported into the country by all manner of construction companies, nor for eager small and medium-scale entrepreneurs, who just can’t seem to access any of the many loans politicians establish and divert to themselves and their cronies.
People appear to be hungrier now than they probably were, last year. But NBS (and the APC government) swear by the deities of Daura that things are getting better.
It says the country’s GDP recorded a 0.55% growth in the second quarter of 2017.
Now, fellow Nigerians, take a good look at your bank balance, dip your hand into your pockets and observe the speed with which it gets to the bottom of the empty pocket, look at the hunger written (and want) all over the faces of your children, cast your mind back to the backlog of unpaid bills, and the endless pull and tug from hapless relatives, looking for financial salvation in those empty pockets of yours.
Now, tell me, is this growth that (like in the tale of Ali and the Angels) can only be seen by ‘good people’ – and by implication, only apologists of the new order, not a ‘hate speech’, intended to aggravate the anger of an already angry people?
Now, even at the risk of being accused of making a hate speech, let me say here and now that I don’t believe them. How do I mean? By simply looking at the reality on the ground.
Sallah has come and gone, but many of the rams husbanded by breeders and buyers for sale during the festive season have remained with the sellers, eating up all their expensive animal feeds, without any buyers in sight. Many people had no money to buy any rams. In fact, those of us Christians, who had always shared in the ram festival, waited and salivated all week, without any neighbours bringing us ram meat. Yes, in a country where wealthy Muslims (and even state governments, ministries, departments and agencies) used to make whole ram gifts to both Christian and Muslim neighbours and friends! Or does it so happen that the ram meat we’d been eating all these past years were also proceeds of looted public treasuries?
It’s either our pockets are lying to us or some people in power are telling us lies.
Everything reminds me of when Goodluck Jonathan and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala did their own economic abracadabra, and told us that they had rebased the economy and that Nigeria was now the biggest economy in Africa. But the majority of us remained wherever we were before their debasing rebase: Below poverty level.
Even as we had relapsed into recession as far back as late 2014, Okonjo-Iweala kept telling us that we could go into full recession by June 2015 (even as it was clear that we were in the mess already). And, of course, the governors, who went to court to not only compel Jonathan to share our entire excess crude income, but but also retain the fraudulent subsidy regime, provided then PDP government with a ready excuse for the looting bazaar that followed.
I suspect these incredulous periodic statistics make the people in government feel good with themselves. So, as we oscillate between recession and depression, they’ve cobbled some figures together and declared that we are out of recession. Story story…!
Incidentally, this was the same recession that even took this APC government so long to admit to. In fact, they only owned up after they perfected the narrative of heaping the blame for every misfortune in the economy on PDP’s alleged looting of the treasury. That was why we started with Kemi Adeosun, saying we were in recession only ‘technically’. The truth has since come to light.
We’re out of recession, yet there are no funds to fix roads, power, public transportation, health, education, etc. We’re out of recession partly because we’ve fought corruption. Yet, all the money they claim to have recovered from Diezani Alison alone is enough to offset the about N820 billion that forced ASUU to go on strike. Now, even though we have come out of recession, ASUU is still on strike and our children have been forced to return home. NASU and other labour unions in the university system have voted to join the strike. And only last weekend, Resident Doctors also began their own strike. Meanwhile, the ministers of Labour and Education are spitting into the air, collecting it with their faces and swearing that they are in charge of the negotiations (even when the striking lecturers are insisting on a more realistic government representation at the talks).
We are out of recession, yet we have lost count of how many months salary and pension arrears the states owe their workers and pensioners. We don’t even know how many states’ civil servants are presently on strike. Even the president has been on a pseudo-strike since his return from London (by insisting on working from home). Now, we have no way of knowing when he’s working or not – or even when his only working in ze oza room. But, I guess, all are different ways of serving the nation!
Very soon, if we, fathers, fail to put food on the table at home, our wives too would declare strike action in ze oza room. And the children? They’re already on strike. They no longer listen to us because we have continued to fail in our responsibility to them. They have been forced to fend for themselves. And when we can’t afford ordinary sanitary pads for our teenage daughters, we soon lose the moral authority to question where they’re getting the money from.
But, I don’t want to be accused of making a hate speech, since they have yet to clearly define what constitutes hate speech. So, I believe them. We are out of recession. You can take that to the market. I just don’t ‘standasan’!
But I don’t want to commit suicide by interrogating the matter any further. If I want to commit suicide, I know a ‘sweet’ way to go about – so sweet that even my kinsmen would not blame me. I’ll just go look for a certain Zaynab Otiti, the woman formerly known as Olori Wuraola Ogunwusi.
I’m told there is now a caveat emptor (albeit traditional) on this paragon of beauty, warning prospective suitors to stay away. I just can’t understand why such a beautiful woman should now go to ‘waste’, simply because she was married to a king. A deity, or in the least, the traditional deputy of the Almighty (Igbakeji Orisa).
Ifa authority, Chief Elebuibon, says the woman has seen ‘god’ in his full glory. And since nobody can see god and remain the same, the former Olori is basically, no longer an ordinary woman and can, therefore, not remarry until certain rites are performed.
The snag, however, is that some of those rites may need to be done with the consent of her estranged husband. I’m told that it’s the tough demands of some of these rites that has seen even widows of some dead kings, preferring not to remarry. And don’t go thinking that they can always ‘moonlight’, without remarrying. For even that is forbidden. Even if she emerges unscathed, her loverboy might not.
However, I have this feeling that all hope is not lost for those of us eyeing the ex-queen. The same Yoruba ‘science’ that invented Magun (to keep philandering men away from other people’s wives), turned round to not only invent the antidote, but also invented a counter-acting charm that neutralises Magun as soon as the philanderer ‘touches’ the magun-guarded wife of another man. I no know book o!