Opinion: YULETIDE, A PROBLEMATIC SEASON IN NIGERIA – By GBOLAHAN ADETAYO

Merry xmas

As the celebration of the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ and New Year approach, a lot have been put in place globally for the preparation. One of which is to celebrate with one another by giving out gift items especially to masses. In advanced countries, yuletide is a charitable season, where goods are discounted. Particularly food items, home appliances and many more. In fact, in some cases, multinational companies also seek the season to appreciate its clienteles. But all these become mere history in the ears of self-serving Nigerians who picture the season in their minds as a period to enrich their pockets and inconvenient others.

 

These claims usually occur among the less educated Nigerians and some other industries that the government has control over. A good example of this is the increment in lubricant price allegedly magnified by big players in that sector without the government’s knowledge. Lately in Nigeria, starting from about 10 years ago, fuel scarcity has been a force to reckon with in Decembers either from the government or independent marketers, hoarding the fuel to create an impression that it is hard to get crude from the market. This, will automatically enable them peddle the oil at a price of their choice. This will not only inconvenient people but generate unnecessary traffic across the country especially in some commercial states like Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Benin city, Port-Harcourt, Warri, Kano, Kaduna and Abuja.

 

Another crucial sector seeking the government’s attention, not just during any season but at all times, is the transportation industry. In Lagos for example, anytime it rains or there is traffic which may not last for an hour, you will be overwhelmed with the crowd, standing at different bus terminals, hoping to see a bus going to their various destinations. The exercise may take quite a few hours and peradventure, after getting one, the price will totally be outrageous and when asked, you get trivial responses from the conductor and his driver.

 

It will not be fair enough, if the roles of traders and market women are not mentioned in the list of Nigerians making Christmas a hard time for people. This is because they are the force of all seasons. You will quite agree that at all Festive seasons {Christmas, New Year, Easter and especially Salah celebration} the traders and market women always increase the price of their goods, without any tangible reason.

 

One becomes frantic and frustrated because the goods are very essential to him/her but they are not affordable. At this point, a frustrated person may think otherwise and be lured into ungodly acts to make money, in order for the unaffordable goods become cheaper to him or her.

 

Those in the clothing and textile industry are not left out in this wicked act. Before yuletide, clothes, either locally made or foreign attires are always affordable between January and November, because the people patronizing them within that period do that by choice not priority. Some even go to them whenever they have family functions. Immediately after the yuletide comes, the clothing prices sky rocket.

 

Asking them why the goods are too expensive, they most time respond that they are collecting yuletide money “Owo Odun”. Forgetting the fact that the people buying these {goods, petroleum products or boarding public transports} didn’t receive “Owo Odun” from their various employers. The area in which the Federal Government of Nigeria and even state governments are lagging behind is decision making on some important national issues that will affect Nigerians positively.

 

In a situation where some filling stations are inflating the price of petrol without the government’s idea, it will be nice if such stations are shut down immediately while their licenses are revoked. The honourable minister for Transportation and Commissioner for transportation in every state in Nigeria should endeavor to monitor the activities running in each area of their states from time to time.

 

For instance, Oshodi to Iyana Oworo/New Garage initially has a fixed price of N50 but as soon as December syndrome kicked off, it has now escalated to N100 while some buses demands N200 whenever there is a heavy traffic. In this case, if the commissioner for transportation in Lagos state has been monitoring this pricing activity even before now, the zonal chairman of the terminal would be expected to be sacked or shut down such terminal.

 

One of the excuses given by traders and market women during festive season is that, there is always increment in transportation that conveys the goods to where they will be sold. The textile and clothing industry sometimes also complain of such. Invariably, government policy in the transportation industry is key to achieving a worthy and less expensive yuletide celebration.

 

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