May 13, 2016 – Nigerian Rains Curses On Politicians & Wealthy People Making Life Unbearable For The Suffering Masses
Eleda we have come forth, when heaven lies at the tick of a bomb, when hell blazes in the spoken word. We come for hope and truth’s pure ray. We come to wish our strife away. Life was not what we prayed for under Goodluck Ebele Jonathan – it got worse every hour. It is still not we prayed for under Muhammadu Buhari, every second, it gets harder.
Jonathan, the boy who had no shoes managed to snatch our dog-eared shoes from our feet. That self-confessed son of a poor fisherman came to snatch the few fingerlings we had in our nets. When we protested, he dished us tadpoles to eat and called it the rarest kind of nutritious fish. The one we hoped would accord us a breath of fresh air emerged to blow as another clean breath of fresh stench.
We have grown from the era when our grief was of fuel subsidy to the era when our grief is of fuel scarcity. When Ebele baba removed that mythical subsidy we barely enjoyed. Fuel we used to buy at N65 sold at N141, N150, and N160. Under Buhari, we have bought fuel at N150 through N500 per litre. Now, our almighty Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and company have pegged fuel price at N145/litre. Consequently, a decent meal has become the rarest luxury: vegetables and tubers, palm oil and vegetable oil, kerosene and gas, now sell at abominable prices.
We cannot afford to fuel our cars: N3, 500 can no longer fill our vehicle tanks, we have to spend between N5, 000 and N8, 500 – or more when the fuel marketers decide to hoard fuel in order to sell it at a higher price. The price of public transport has gone through the roof. Yesterday, we spent N250 from Sango Ota to Ado Odo; today we pay N600 just to get there. Iyana Ipaja, Ikeja to Owode and Agbado respectively now cost N700 to and fro vis-à-vis the initial N300, on our worst days. It’s scarier for those of us who work on Victoria Island.
Reluctantly, we keep faith in the incumbent regime, hoping President Buhari will remain a man of honour and keep his pledge to rid our lives of debilitating greed and corruption. But as we keep faith in Buhari, we remember how incumbent Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, taunted former President Jonathan’s bumbling oil subsidy and fuel price regime in 2014. Through spasmodic fits of politesse and duplicitous exuberance, he stated that: “Now we should be enjoying cheap fuel if the price of oil has dropped globally…If the price increases in the country when the price of oil goes up globally, then it should also reduce when the price of oil drops.
“PMS price reduction by N10. Now they listen. Oil the raw material drop (sic) over 50%, N10 is just about 10%. Good try but Nigeria can get a beta deal,” Fashola subsequently tweeted. He has been discomfortingly quiet since the government increased pump price of fuel.
Today, compatriots are saying that Buhari has forgotten his roots. They claim he has declared war on us whose fates he swore to protect. They claim that like Jonathan, he has chosen to wade deaf, against the storm and current of public opinion. But Camp Buhari would have none of that. Buhari apologists argue that his seemingly savage policies are fundamental to our healing as a people and a nation.
Do not be deceived by the furor of our hastily conceived citizens’ protests on Facebook, Twitter and the streets of Abuja, we shall tire of the novelty of revolutionary slogans and mass actions very soon. Our backs shall remain against the wall. When Buhari’s policies bite harder, we will simply crawl into the walls like irritating wall geckos.
Our labour leaders and columnists of note are quietly eating up their words in the wake of ‘crucial’ meetings with the ruling class. Soon, they will tell us to ditch the placards and save our chants till more auspicious hour. Whispers of currency shall smother our rant and the revolutionary cry. At the end, everything will remain the same. Our fates shall bend and break according to the whims of the ruling class.
Thus we seek the comfort of your infinite mercies against the scourge of our merciless leaders. We pray that you repay our leaders in their own kobo. Dear author and finisher of faith, please rewrite our pitiful fates as the Christians pray. And even though “the pen has been lifted” as the Muslims say, please rework our fates as you do to your most favoured faithful.
If our leaders are truly on the right path…if truly, they lead with honesty and unpretentious fear of you in their hearts, treat them as you would, your most favoured among humankind. But if they lead us with disdain and deceit in their hearts, treat them the way you treated Abu Ashram and the Abyssinians when they rose against Mecca.
Afflict their mansions to tear down the comfort they build to our discomfort. Upset their bellies and purge them of the provisions they gorge like gluttons. As we spend our finest moments in darkness, make their access to light a luxury of the past. Reorder their fates that they too may go to sleep and rise in darkness. Make their wives hiss and fret for want of fresh air like our wives do. Make their kids and grandkids flail and choke in the grasp of unforgiving heatstroke, like our kids do.
Bless them with noontime heat and bedtime heat even in the rains. And every time they seek from you the mercy they fail to accord us, treat their prayers the way you would, the wantonness of the gluttonous and accursed. Make their prayer points and praise-worship trail off in confusion. Smite their patronizing prophets till they become not much in sight.
They pledge that money they save from anticorruption campaign and fuel subsidy removal would be used to improve infrastructure, agriculture and health sectors; if they fail to live up to their pledge, make their kids expire to indecipherable sickness and malnutrition right before their eyes, like peasant kids dying in agrarian communities for lack of infrastructure, balanced diet and good primary health care. Deny their trophy wives and newborns of oxygen and the best medical care as they deny kids of poor folk breathing their last, while their mothers are still pushing, in hospital labour rooms and corridors of death nationwide.
Bless their kids with gifts of patricide and mindless violence like they do to our jobless youth for political gains, every day. Turn their swimming pools to raging deeps to drown their progeny and trophy wives, like the Oke Afa canal that claimed our poor, beloved folk fleeing from death, to their deaths, during the Ikeja bomb blast.
Subject their lives and those of their loved ones to the elements of bad roads as they do to us. Blind their pilots’ to the safest course every time they flee our land for overseas medical checkup. Make their planes plummet to crash on humid rocks and plunge in the sea, as our beloved’s in the throes of bird-strike, and our dreams in the face of stillbirth.
Let them not enjoy the fruits of their labour. Make their Ivy League-trained wards their sources of everlasting sadness. Make them the bad harvest of their inordinate lust for wealth at our expense. Despite their wealth, afflict them with the poverty of good health, peace and contentment. And for every one of them seeking our downfall, we pray: “Faja’alahum ka’asfin m ma” kulin.” Amin ya Rabbi! Amen! Ase Edumare!
[Oladapo Olatunji writes from Lagos]