President Buhari, on Monday, after receiving a briefing at the Presidential Villa in Abuja from the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; the Minister for Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, declared that the Nigerian economy is getting better. I wonder what sectors are improving particularly. Why were the figures not released? For the masses who have been in the period of recession for months unending, do we not deserve to be told in details that we would soon be out? If so.
Surprisingly, this has not caused an uproar from Nigerians like one would have expected. Or do we all agree? Is the economy indeed getting better? Maybe we no longer mind that, fish, which used to be affordable, is now on the high end too. That garri is no longer a ‘poor’ man’s food, or that travelling outside the country has been relegated to our politicians who are the only ones who seem to be able to afford it.
I was pondering on this and someone reminded me about the threat by the military to comb through Social Media for hate speeches. While I agree that this movement or intended movement or rumoured movement (depending on who’s speaking) came from a place of concern, as most utterances by Nigerians are outrightly traitor-material, and do not aim to make anything better, one begs to wonder, are we losing our freedom of speech? Are we cowering under our beds whispering our grievances against the Democracy governing us? Have we suddenly lost our voices?
There’s another option one has to consider; that we’re tired. The saliva has dried in our mouths from speaking since 1999, asking for the democracy we expected. Our fingers have lost their prints from venting and cussing on Social Media. We’ve left our patriotism on the streets of our beloved country and retreated into our homes. Our focus is our families now: to put food on our tables, to protect our children, to thrive. We’ve left our economic problems in the hands of our Government. We’ve done all we can do.
But have we really? Google defines economy simply as “the state of a country or region in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services and the supply of money.” This definition clearly means that both the government and the people can plug in to determine the state of our economy. We must not leave the ‘production’ aspect only to the government and dwell on ‘consumption’. We must all plug in. It’s easy to point accusing fingers up but try pointing it inwards and you’ll have to endure the pain on your wrists. Why do we accuse only the government about our economic situation? Because it’s easier.
Aside from arguing at beer parlours and WhatsApp groups and trolling on Facebook, what are we doing in our little spaces to help our predicament? Or do you not know that your business idea can help Nigerians? That a ‘little’ effort from you could cause a dent on this wall that is now our economy? Imagine if all of us thought ‘nation building’. Imagine our songs upheld us to be better Nigerians, that our speeches on Social Media were not so ‘doom-ey’, that we had businesses that could solve our power problem one home at a time. That you had an idea that could make your neighbour smile home.
Imagine that the president says that our Economy is getting better and it was actually true because we’re doing our bit. Imagine.
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This article was first published on 29th August 2017 and updated on July 5th, 2018 at 5:55 pm