CHRISTMAS & ITS FINANCIAL BURDEN ON THE POOR

Posted: December 24, 2013 in Articles
Tags: , , , ,

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

Christmas is coming, and prices are getting high
–Nursery Rhyme (Alaba Remix)

Two days ago I went to the park to board a bus going to Onitsha from Lagos, I was shocked to learn that the transport fare which was normally N3,000 has now risen to N8,000 (almost 270 percent increase). On getting to Onitsha I flayed down a bike to take me to my street only to learn that the price which was between N70 and N100 before has now gone up to N200 and above. Yesterday I went to the market to buy some stuffs, but I could barely purchase half of the items on my list. The prices were (and still are) shooting like rockets for Jupiter or Andromeda Galaxy. I was told that this is Christmas, a season of sharing, or will I say shearing…for my pocket have all been cut of like wool from an innocent sheep, and this has led me to the question; “What is Christmas really all about?”

Christmas; the christian festival to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. A season of happiness, sharing and love. A period when differences are set aside and co-operation is fostered. Many people (especially from the Southern part of Nigeria) return to their homeland to share their prosperity with their kinsmen…yet behind all these happy memories/advertisements of what Christmas should be lie this greed, this insincerity, this “un-christ-like” attitude which are growing year by year and are threatening to re-christen the Christmas Festival to Crises festival.

According to Ancient folktales; Nigerians are opportunistic people, who are ever looking for accidental avenues to make a few extra bucks. Whether it is by adding extra N50 to the transport fare of stranded passengers in Oshodo at Night or charging higher fees to helpless customers who are in dire need of our goods/services. We are always vigilant, ever business-oriented, perpetually alert to exploit the weakness of our fellow Nigerians. Why then will God be any different? It is now a norm to increase the prices of basic commodities during the Christmas period knowing fully well that people will try to celebrate the feast.

This has now made the Christmas period a huge burden on the poor who could barely afford certain commodities when the prices were fair, talk of when the prices are now fluctuating between the Himalayas and the Moon.

Some people now do their Christmas shopping in November, buying clothes, chickens and other commodities. I have even known people who send their children to the village as early as 16th of December and take them back to the city as late as 14th of January so as to escape the throat-cutting transport fare.
Initially the high cost of the transportation was been blamed on increase in fuel price during the Christmas period, but now that the price of fuel is steady all year round, I don’t know whom is to be blamed…(Boko Haram maybe).

Nigeria is a lawless country according to Oil Subsidy Cabals and et al (2012), and many of its citizens are suffering. I don’t know why people will be adding more sufferings to their lots in the quest for easy money. The Transporter increase the transport fare and then goes to the market to buy food stuffs which in turn is increased by the market woman, who also goes to the hair dresser to make her hair and is charged extra fee. It is a circle of increase, by the poor and the lower-middle class on the poor and the lower-middle class. The rich hardly notice the increase. They take flights whose prices are fairly constant, they buy from super markets and malls with standardized price. While the poor go about suffering themselves for a few extra bucks.

I feel that there is a great need for a re-orientation of the significance of the Christmas Period for we Nigerians. I feel that government should do more to sensitize the public on the ills of this mutual exploitation. The Christian Leaders should urge their devoted member to embark on 40 days dry fasting and prayer for the conversion of these greedy and heartless marketers that have besieged the Nigerian society.

Christmas is a period of love. A period when people should be given a reason to be happy and not to worry. A lot of Strokes related cases are reported in January after the “high-blood-pressure-filled” season of Christmas. Things should be made easier, cheaper for all. In abroad, things get cheaper during summer and festival periods in order to enable many to share in the hope that such festival like Christmas holds. But alas! in Nigeria, Christmas is far from such. It holds no hope or dream for most but more hardships, more worry, empty pockets and more debts for the poor…and will continue to holds such until we Christians, we Nigerians do something about it…Christ Help Us.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

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Comments
  1. LegendaryCJN says:

    Alas! Someone just said my mind:
    The poor always bear the brunt of it all…

  2. Anene Francis says:

    *Clap ovation* Another ill in our society identified and presented beautifully, backed up by wonderful suggestions and encouragement. Well done bro…

    Hiking of price during festive periods WOULD have being a normal phenomenon. Yes, in Economics, increase in demand leads to increase in supply and/ or increase in price (all things being equal). It is human nature in general. Nigerians are not devils and others are not angels.

    One or two FACTORS are checking this ill else where and not here. In my opinion, they are LOVE and GOVERNMENT. In the spirit of Christmas (or any celebration) and love which is the tenet of christianity, individuals can decide not to hike prices of goods and services (well encouraged). On the other hand, it is the duty of government to prevent these exploitation through policies and programs. E.g Mandating trade unions not to exceed certain price limits (we are practising mixed economy system). Providing alternate basic services like transport to encourage competition and force price down. These are not so here yet so Nigerians seen terrible.

    While we wait for government to wake up to its responsibilities or we rise to leadership positions at different levels in due time, we, individual Nigerians should for love of neighbour or country, maintain the price of any aspect of production they control, especially festive periods… Dooh

  3. Anene Francis says:

    *Clap ovation* Another ill in our society identified and presented beautifully, backed up by wonderful suggestions and encouragements. Weldone bro…

    Hiking of price during festive periods WOULD have been a normal phenomenon. Yes, in Economics, increase in demand leads to increase in supply and/ or increase in price (all things being equal). It is human nature in general. Nigerians are not devils and others are not angels.

    One or two FACTORS are checking this ill else where and not here. In my opinion, they are LOVE and GOVERNMENT. In the spirit of Christmas (or any celebration) and love which is the tennet of christianity, individuals can decide not to hike prices of goods and services (well encouraged). On the other hand, it is the duty of government to privent these expoitations through policies and programs. E.g Mandating trade unions not to exceed certain price limits (we are practicicing mixed economy system). Providing alternate basic services like transport to encourage competition and force price down. These are not so here yet so Nigerians seen terrible.

    While we wait for government to wake up to its responsibilities or we rise to leadership positions at different levels in due time, we, individual Nigerians should for love of neighbour or country, maintain the price of any aspect of production they control, especially festive periods… Dooh

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