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CHRISTMAS: Nigerians Lament

21 December 2016 News

People all over the world look forward to a fabulous Christmas every year and those in Nigeria are not an exception even the non-Christians since it also falls at the end of the year.

In Nigeria, a lot of people travel to their villages to spend Christmas with their families, eat sumptuous meals with friends and visit relatives they have not seen for a long time. Most often, cities are usually very dry at this period but those who remain in the cities come together to also celebrate and have fun.

Christmas is significant with exchange of gifts and the show of love for one another and it’s that time of the year again. However, response from Abuja residence on their preparation towards Christmas revealed that many may not be having a jolly Christmas this year due to the economic situation of the country.

According to Mrs. Becky Otewe who is a wife and a mother, she would have to forfeit a lot of things. She said “the present situation of things in the country now is not favorable, I intended travelling with my family but the way things are now I don’t think we will travel again because I don’t have anything at hand. Everything in the market now is so high, a bag of rice now is about twenty something thousand.  I’m not happy that I’m not travelling, even my children but there is nothing I can do about because for you to travel now you will have to spend a lot of money.

“The economy is affecting the preparation of Christmas because the prices of things in the market have really gone up, from food to clothing to everything you can think of, so we just hope that come 2017, President Muhamadu Buhari and his economic team will take us out of the recession. Ben, a Nigerian youth who didn’t want to reveal his complete identity said.

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A retiree Engr. Stephen Akawe lamented that the non-payment of his pension is affecting him greatly. He said “the economic situation is affecting everybody, its seriously biting the healthy man, the lame man, things have really changed, thing are very costly in the market. Things are wives used to buy before for like N200 (Two hundred Naira) are now about N400 (Four Hundred Naira). For example, Regolis bottle of red oil used be N600 (Six Hundred Naira) but it’s now N1000 (One Thousand Naira), chicken we used to buy for N1500 (One Thousand Five Hundred Naira) is now N3000 (Three Thousand Naira).

“They keep saying rice is coming, but rice is not anywhere, the prices have soared and it’s increasing by the day but worst of it all, you can’t even preserve your food in the fridge because there no constant power supply so you will have to buy fuel. That aside, the police harasses you when you try to buy fuel to preserve your food in the house. The economic situation is biting hard and there is no relief coming from anywhere. People like me who are retirees, since December, we have not got a kobo of our repatriation, gratuity or pension and nothing has been done about it. It’s so sad. He added.

Luke Ibechukwu, who is a student, said “I’m still depending on my parents plus my siblings so it’s not been easy for them. My parents used to buy us Christmas presents but this year I don’t think anything like that is going to happen because my dad has been complaining of money. As it is now we are not even travelling, we are forced to spend Christmas here in Abuja because there is no money to travel.

“Honestly, with the situation of things in the country, it’s not very easy. Before, we used to contribute money in my office to buy a cow and share during Christmas but this time around there is no money for us to do that because of the recession so we are just praying that God will see us through”. Mathew Osemanye is a civil servant with Federal Ministry of Education said

Miss Shade Ajulogu a young entrepreneur who has been struggling to stay in business due to the economic situation she lamented since the recession has affected her business and the prices of items in the market are too high, this year’s Christmas would not be exciting for her. She said “previously, if you have to go shopping, a little money is what you need, for instance, items that should to be N5000 (Five thousand Naira) now it going for like 10,000 (Ten thousand Naira). Jeans trousers that we should to buy for N2,500 (Two thousand five hundred Naira) now is about N4000 (Four Hundred Naira). The recession is really affecting me very well because right now even my business is not yielding any profit; I’m just trying to make sure it does not crumble, so I don’t this year’s Christmas will be sweet like the previous ones.”

Another civil servant Mr. Yohanna blamed the economic situation on the government. He said, “the economy of the country is really bad and everybody is aware of that fact, which I put all the blame on the government. Since the inception of president Buhari’s government they have been promising that they will do this and that but up till now, there is nothing to show for it and there is no sign at all. I believe that the primary assignment of the government is to care for the welfare of its citizens but this government is not ready to take care of the masses”

“For instance, the previous government, once its festive period, some of the ministries will package some things for the masses but now they have stopped all those things. It simply means to me that this government has nothing to offer to us, so I put the blame on the government. He added

“For me I have not started any preparation because of the economic situation in the country. I’m working but they have not paid me my salary for like three months,  so how can I prepare. I have the plans but no money to do anything so the thing is bothering me. I had the plan to travel but now I can’t because I don’t have money, please you people should help us talk to the government” Luka Mande, who works with a private organization, said.

Though many of our respondents lamented over the economic situation and how it has affected their preparation for the Christmas celebration, but Mrs. Akawe who is also a civil servant was of a different opinion. She said “For me, there is no much different from the previous years, the recession has not affected me in anyway because I cannot say because there is recession I will not cook my rice with chicken on that day. I thank God for the federal government, at least they are still paying us our salaries, but if they can do something better than what they are doing now, we will enjoy it better.”

Many see Christmas as a time to have fun, wear new cloths and eat the best meals which is why they become depressed when there is not enough money for the luxuries, however people like James Ayuba see Christmas as a time to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God and its observance cannot be determined by the economic state of an individual. He said “For me the economic situation has not affected my preparation for Christmas because in my own understanding, Christmas is the celebration of the master Jesus Christ our savior, therefore, he is a very good comforter, he is the supplier of every good thing and perfect gift.

The celebration of Christmas for James is more of a spiritual exercise “Beyond physical aspect of celebration, the spiritual thing has nothing to do with the economy; the things that have to do with the economy are just physical things and are not as important as the spiritual ones.”

As the master is supplying peace and joy that surpasses human understanding it has nothing to do with the economy of this country. I believe that if I have contact with the master, he will handle the economic aspect so it’s an opportunity for me to use this Christmas period to cry to my savior and look up to him to supply my needs according to his riches and glory, so it shall be well. He added.

Though many Nigerians have lamented, we hope for a glorious Christmas and a prosperous 2017.

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