Nigeria 2023; Living on tomorrow’s bread
By Prince Charles Dickson PhD
I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.
Is a strong seed
In a great need.
I live here, too.
I want my freedom
Just as you.
At the beginning of the year, I had promised that for 12 months, In Shaa Allah, I will once a month X-ray the issues around the forthcoming General Elections in the world’s largest black population and sufacracy. This is number five, and seven more to go.
On the French Revolution historians disagree about the political and socioeconomic nature of the Revolution. Under one interpretation, the old aristocratic order of the Ancien Régime succumbed to an alliance of the rising bourgeoisie, aggrieved peasants, and urban wage-earners. Another interpretation asserts that the Revolution resulted when various aristocratic and bourgeois reform movements spun out of control. According to this model, these movements coincided with popular movements of the new wage-earning classes and the provincial peasantry, but any alliance between classes was contingent and incidental.
However, adherents of both models identify many of the same features of the ancien régime as being among the causes of the Revolution. The French revolution was sparked off by a poor economic situation, an unimaginable national debt, both caused and exacerbated by the burden of a grossly inequitable system of taxation.
One of the many triggers that fired the unrest and subsequent revolt in France was the Roman Catholic Church, the largest landowner in the country, which levied a harsh tax on crops known as dime. While the dime lessened the severity of the monarchy's tax increases, it nonetheless served to worsen the plight of the poorest who faced daily a struggle with malnutrition.
All the ‘turanchi’ above Sylvia Neely's work A Concise History of the French Revolution, captures it saying the average 18th-century worker spent half his daily wage on bread. But when the grain crops failed two years in a row, in 1788 and 1789, the price of bread shot up to 88 percent of his wages. Many blamed the ruling class for the resulting famine and economic upheaval. On top of that, peasants resented the gabelle, a tax on salt that was particularly unfairly applied to the poor.
NIGERIA: A PEOPLE WITH NO SHAME! We do not resent anything, despite the famine and economic upheaval, we are just happy, we know the price of bread has shot up, at least the price of nomination forms for political parties is an indicator but we are just happy!
We are happy as supposed leaders attended Aisha Buhari’s Iftar Dinner, they broke bread and ate, exchanged banters, as a woman in captivity in the bushes of Kaduna must have started feeling pre-labour pangs, alongside several scores more.
No one single Presidential aspirant has said a word about how to rescue the Kaduna train victims! Everyone is ‘form-buying’ and ‘consulting’. We may be in agreement, that all is not well, poverty, economic deprivation, and skyrocketing price of goods, bread and services but I beg to differ.
My verdict is simple. Nigerians are happy, we are still high up there in the index of happy people, very and I add very happy people. Comedians still have audiences fill up their shows. Our politicians provide us with sobering laughable moments weekly; people kidnapped, robbed, killed, week in, week out. And yet thanksgiving services with dances of all types and executions follow suit. We are happy jare…
We remain a proud people, joyous in nature, never put down by 'little' setbacks. Like Yul Edochie giving us a satire on polygamy or the new Lekki Big Dogs. Visit a state where workers are being owed seven months salaries on a Saturday, you see women and girls adorned in expensive glittering ‘aso-ebis’. Thousands spent on event planners/transport/comperes and more. Life certainly must go on!
We are happy people, we love to party and forget the now regular kidnap stories from Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Plateau, we have continued in our happy nature unabated.
We attend 'suna' (naming ceremonies) and’ igba nkwo’ (traditional wedding) and ‘oku’ (funeral party) of the same leaders we accuse of looting us dry. Shamelessly bag branded rice for their campaigns without mouth recourse to reality.
We are happy people, the only people who after being used, abused, misused, disused, rust from un-use and are tortured with the flamboyance, and ostentatious living or our modern-day pharaohs. All we do is admire them and cling to hope—after all, ‘my turn will soon come’.
Happy people: very few countries can live the way we do, weeks without light because the power transformer is bad, yet you pay bills. Fuel stations have no commodity yet opposite those stations, young men sell the same fuel at hyper-black prices.
We are sad people, when the thief who is looting is from the other side, but when it’s from our town, we use the phrase "he is helping our people".
We bribe the police and accuse them of taking bribes. We don't really pay electricity tariffs yet we say 'there's no light', when actually it’s a case of Aso Rock owes DISco, DISco owes gas company, that one owes staff, the staff is in debt of school fees, rent and utility. We are happy people.
We grumble, complain but we are mute, gunmen ravage the once very peaceful southeast. We are just happy to pay in recruitment scams in the police, immigration, army, civil service.
A nation that has bribes for admission scams, or money for marks in schools’ scams. Rent without house agent frauds. Pension fraud, electoral fraud, where girls date six guys simultaneously and men date five women including their secretary, wife’s best friend and driver's wife and nothing happens...cannot know how to elect a good leader.
We want change, but don't want to change, and are weary of change. A Nigerian adage says an erect penis has no conscience. Nigerians are not ready for 2023, by their leaders you shall know them, our choices are a reflection of us, and our response to reality is even a deeper reflection of what matters to us. If Nigerians are hurt, if they desire to change the narrative—Only time will tell