By Bashir Adefaka
For many times I have raised the issue about how the people in Nigeria’s followership are the problem of themselves but instead for my listeners to ponder over it, they take to unfruitful argument. At the end of the day, we are all landed here in the fitnah, challenge of Coronavirus.
Imagine in a country where people are more vulnerable than anywhere else, nose cover that sells for N50 on a normal day during dry season and in dusty area, my beautiful, energetic people in trade Nigeria, precisely Agege, Lagos this afternoon of Tuesday March 24, 2020 have hiked its price to N200. Ordinarily in Saudi Arabia and other places that I have seen, things like this that are essentially required in combatting a killer disease like this would be cheerfully distributed as charity to fellow citizens, not to talk of how government would ensure level playing field, meaning that no trader or manufacturer would be allowed to exploit with it.
Now, in a family of eight: parents and six children, they need at least one nose cover each, that is eight costing N1,600. That is exclusive of a pair of gloves. In one week if you need to change each of this nose cover two times, it means that family will spend N3,200. Imagine an average family of eight who situation in the society today has made poor and who need to be protected against the dangerous disease. Are you saying they must all die due to wicked capitalistic behaviour of some traders?
I later got to Ikeja at our Simbiat Abiola Road mosque and my friend who deals in such materials said he bought same nose cover wholesale yesterday for N250 per dozen. Okay, if a dozen (12) is N250 and one, in turn by the retailer, is sold to the end user for N200, what manner of money is any business person making that he or she would exploit people in this kind of pandemic situation?
I even heard that the hand glove is sold per a big pack of 60/100 pair pieces for N1,000 and that each pair used to sell for N100. At Abattoir in Oko Oba, I gathered that health authorities gave directive that anybody who does not wear hand gloves must not touch meat and that once the traders heard that directive, they started selling hand gloves for N500 per pair – 400 percent increment! How would they not want to cut corners and fail to use the safety measures put in place by government?
The way out I can’t say because government will not be in the market or street shop to see what the trader is doing. The last time I checked, this country had one of the best customer protection laws, but the problem is the people. Sometimes the cheated does not even allow the rescuer to protect him against the wicked trader and, if probed, it is found out that the cheated here also cheats in another way. Every situation thus becomes complicated.
In United States, Texas, at panic buying of food and other items, those stores and malls never ever thought of inflating their prices. It is the reason it is possible for USA to do total lockdown any time they want to. Any such attempt to order total lockdown in Nigeria, the moment government announces it, bad omen will have unlocked for Nigerians because traders and marketers in this biggest Black Nation are more dangerous than the Coronavirus we want to fight. They will jack up their prices just like many petrol stations in Lagos and Ogun states refused till now to adjust their pump price from N145 to N125 since President Muhammadu Buhari announced new pump price, based on consultation and agreement with these same marketers.
These are the same people, who would say Buhari has not addressed them on Coronavirus as if the information they got the day they, under few seconds, adjusted their pump price from N87 to N145 a joker the President used to defeat the marketers against their artificial queues at filling stations across the country was through a presidential address.
Is this a society that is ready to combat Coronavirus even much as Federal government is making effort? Do we not have to be thankful to Allah that Nigeria is not the first point of call for Coronavirus like it was China? Our situation would have been beyond control Auzubillahi!
I warn, and I mean my word, we are this still better because we have Muhammadu Buhari as President who does not give a damn as to what America thinks or feels about how we are in trade allignment with China and military pact with Russia. I hope it is not late before we realise. The man is allowing rule of law the America-based democratic manner, which is weak, and you, especially people in charge of commerce operating the nation’s economy, are abusing the opportunity by doing any how causing hardship for fellow people in the land. What manner of people do we have in Nigeria who only live to go to poll to elect people into Government but hate to support their government to succeed by not wanting to obey the law and not wanting to do things right?!
At the tail end of it all, they will be the same people who will take the lead in working for the downfall of their own government and they will be the same people who will lead campaign that that government must go for “a more capable government” to come in.
To me, we have a country but without good people in the followership. If we do, how would Lagos State Task Force operatives arrest a yellow bus for taking one-way or parking mid-way on the main road or even highway as Lagos-Abeokuta Road and onlookers would choose to attack the law enforces in support of the criminals? If we have good people in the followership, how would customers arrest smugglers of poisoned food like prohibited foreign rice, turkey and other contraband and you have members of the society video the enforcement, post it on social media and create sentiment that makes similarly senseless people to team up in attacks against the customs in solidarity with the criminals?
We must embrace change and move to the next level in this country as people in the followership so that our leadership can work for us.