These are not normal times. These are times when it takes no extra ordinary efforts on the part of those enamoured of patience and wisdom like that of the biblical Job’s and Solomon respectively to do the most untoward and the most irrational because they are in foul mood; because their nerves are jaded; because they have been driven by desperate times to take desperate measures. And the nerves are frayed to the perilous extremes on all sides – on the sides of the authorities and on the side of the commoners.
In situation like this, what is required is not the heavy stick on the scaly back of those already driven by the frustration of the bad times. What is called for is a soothing balm applied in the most tenderly manner to prevent the frayed nerves from snapping.
To be sincere, the hard economic times can drive even the most resilient to the edge. They almost always do as evidenced by the famine in countries like Sudan all ending in catastrophe though the situation in Nigeria is slightly different. Whereas leaders of those countries might not have prepared their citizens for the rough landing which they got after a very bumpy ride round the bend, Nigeria’s president Buhari and the ruling party had put all the cards on the table from the very day they asked their fellow countrymen to choose between the devil we knew, Transformation and the deep blue seas, Change. When Nigerians rejected transformation in a bold patriotic move, they were warned of the dangers ahead , and especially the dangers already lay by the alternative option we had.
The signs were clear. As you cannot make omelettes without breaking an egg, so you cannot expect to make a better country without bruises. Whether or not they understood what the full implications of the choice was, Nigerians all the same made the inevitable choice. The choice was that the new government should go ahead and introduce whatever change measure that were deemed capable of salvaging the country from worst to good.
Now the change has began, the economic lords at the corridors of powers must have gone out shopping. They returned with their brief case loaded with admirably adjustment package. They designed it to structurally adjust everything in the country; the quantity and the quality of food you eat, the quality of the dresses that you wear, the number of wives and children you can have, the journeys you can make both in Nigeria and abroad, the types of cars you can ride and the types of jobs you can be engaged in. Change as the name implies, maybe was intended , even as the authorities did not put it that way, to cut the excess out of our national life.
Yours truly believe and i hope you all will also agree with me that this are sacrifice that must be made if this country’s tomorrow should be better than it is today. We all have taken it in our stride; we have taken the pains and the hardship with the equanimity that could only have been borne of rabid patriotism. Though we are yet to be told how long the journey will last. The higher authorities have failed to tell us if it will last beyond 2019 or maybe the authorities does not know it or they failed woefully in their information management in spite of the eggheads at the ministry of information who keeps making headlines frequently.
But now that matters have come to an ugly head, what is required is clinical analysis of the situation, a careful stock taking so that the times ahead do not get rougher than the difficult times we are passing through. Hardening of positions will not help matters; ludicrous propaganda will not do the noble cause of this administration much good; if anything, it will aggravate the situation. In times of tension like this, it might be necessary once in a while to throw in some tranquiliser to calm the nerves.
Thus, Nigeria has become a cruel paradox. It is a land of great resources- arable land, velvety forests, abundant sunshine, abundant rainfall, enormous mineral resources- but these resources have been put to waste and the benefits therefrom lost to the generality of the people. Food is still being imported; factory raw materials are being imported; Machinery are imported; technology is imported, Very little is exported except oil. The nation has made an acute swing from a nation that hitherto exported much and imported little to a nation that imports much and exports little, one that imports much more than it exports. This is indeed a showdown and no body profits from an unnecessary showdown. The Federal Government should reasonably do a critical self-examination of its policies and the means to the ends. For now, This is the Nigerian paradox.