Surviving Under The Change Mantra: Abuja In Focus

Surviving Under The Change Mantra: Abuja In Focus
August 22 17:29 2016 Print This Article

By Ayobami Joel, Abuja

Calculatively, it is over a year – nearing two years which the ‘change’ enforced on Nigerians has taken its stand. Yes, the change came, saw and conquered the Aso Villa. But one would expect, of course, a very rapid development in some spheres of the economy and total overhauling of the necessary sectors, considering the huge promises made during electioneering campaign.

Now that it is over a year and some months into the administration, efforts to achieving these feats promised have proved abortive and left everyone thinking if there would still be light at the end of the tunnel of the ‘change’ government. Hope has been lost and dashed. It does suffice to say that the economy is on standstill as nothing is working yet.

Unarguably, the Change mantra has in one way or the other affected every Tom, Dick and Harry. Nigerians have been driven to an uncharted territory where lamentation seems to be unending after a lot of sacrifices dispensed to actualise the establishment of ‘change’ in the country. The rich complains while the poor are dejected.

However, when it comes to analysing the pros and cons of the present administration, virtually everyone has a story to tell – the good, the bad and the ugly side of it all.

Obviously, residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have more bitter and bewildering stories to recount, ranging from the issues of accommodation, school fees payment, transport fares, purchase of building materials, e.t.c.

Regarded as the seat of government, Abuja has been a Mega City where situations therein can never be compared with what happens in other states – a situation where people get just a village room for the same amount that could be incurred on a 3-bedroom flat in other states, say Ibadan, Oyo State.

From the testimonies of some residents, the administration is doing more harm than good and, even, many will not point at a reasonable thing achieved so far – since last year. Many now feel disappointed in the change.

In the course of writing this article, some residents in Abuja were approached to express their thoughts and, fortunately they happily bared their minds on different issues which the change of government has terribly bastardized.

To some, the time which the APC government has used would not have been able to achieve the expected change, while many have criticized that it is from the little time that one knows a responsible and listening government that has a clear cut agenda to move a nation to the next phase of growth and development.

DRUG SELLERS

To start with the traders, “even a deaf and dumb practically knows all is not well with Nigeria at the moment because there is no money everywhere and that’s what we hear everyday”, a trader opined just like another trader in Gwarimpa market noted: “for many months now, things have really changed. Our markets have not been moving like before, because people are complaining they don’t have money. So, we decided to accept our fate.”

FOOD STUFF SELLERS

Recounting her ordeal was another trader who sells food stuffs. She argued that “there is absolutely no where this situation has not touched. We are only struggling to survive everyday. Things are hard and we cannot shy away from that fact. I can tell you that price of food stuffs are on the increase everyday we go to market. Even, we are being forced to sell it at a rate it does not pay us. We hardly get profit. A bag of rice is more than minimum wage. That is why people hardly come to get food stuffs from us.”

To another respondent, “our market sales have really dropped and we don’t know what to do. We come to market and go home with very little profit because of low patronage of our goods. At times, some of us don’t even come to the market because we use much money on transportation too, and don’t want to keep wasting money. It is only God who has been saving our lives”.

SCHOOL PROPRIETORS

Further insight into the administration of change engendered some comments from school administrators in Abuja. A school proprietor, Mrs Adebimpe Ajani of Supreme International School in 2nd Avenue, Gwarimpa, in Abuja, who was briefly interviewed, posited that “Let me say the situation has not been the same. There is now a shift in the system.

“Parents can no longer afford to pay their wards’ school fees. Their wards no longer go for summer lesson. This is to tell you we are battling with a very big problem. And we are afraid that the situation must not persist, for avoidance of imminent doom. We now pay our teachers their salaries late and it is reflecting in their countenance. It’s just a difficult time which I think would pass away”.

Another Proprietor of school, Mr Adewale Solarin, expressed that “these are really hard times like people would say it, or permit me to say perilous times. We are not in a country where we are still safe. I believe anything could just happen at anytime. In the last few months ago before pupils went for holiday, we witnessed change but a bad one as we witnessed a shrink number of them. Now that they are on holiday, we don’t know what may happen next, but we hope they shall all come back in full”.

ACCOMODATION

For many years, accommodation has become a very big issue in Abuja; let’s say it’s a no-go-area for one who needs to consider his pocket before settling in the City. Even, some people have said that those who stay in Estate in Abuja must be thieves, ghost workers, ritualists, big-time prostitutes, politicians, business-men, 419ners and the rest, due to the costly amount it takes to rent a room, let alone build a house in an Estate.

Mr Olaoluwa Segun, who is planning to leave his current room at Lugbe Area to relocate to a village in Gwarimpa 11, recounted his ordeal to FrontiersNews, saying “for now, I am looking for a landlord that can 6 months rent from me because my house rent has been increased by 5 per cent. When I got to the new place I plan to get, I was asked to pay 180,000 for a room self-contain. Please, where will I get that for just a room, considering my current condition?

Another Abuja resident, Femi Ayoola has suffered demotion as far as accommodation issue is concerned. In his confession, he explained: “I must tell you my brother, things have gone worst. My own case is just like moving from frying pan to fire. Where I stay before, I was paying 250,000 for a room in an Estate. And now, to pay just 150,000 for a room is difficult. I hope I will not go back to my village soon. Things like these get me sad.”

COMMERCIAL MOTORCYCLISTS/ DRIVERS

Many commercial drivers and motorcyclists have raised issues concerning the hardship being experienced on a daily basis, rising from the increment of fuel price and other challenges.

A driver quipped: “you will see a big man, well-dressed, begging you that he has 50 Naira to pay for fare instead of the normal 100 Naira. We drivers too know that the economy is not friendly with anybody. So, we try to adjust to yearnings of people some times. But we are being affected seriously.

Another said: “Many beg us because they don’t have money to pay. But if we continue to continue to convey people, displeasing ourselves, how do we get money to feed our children and wives at home? We also have responsibilities to shoulder. May God help us.”

An Hausa motorcyclist, when asked why he inscribed “CHANGE HAS BEEN NEGATIVE ALL THESE WHILE” at the rear back of his motorcycle, he said: “you are still asking me questions? Are you not in the country? You yourself, are you not experiencing things in a negative way? Oga, let us not deceive ourselves, we all know the truth. Many people are now motorcyclist. I don’t know where they are coming from. Will I blame them when things no dey work for the country again and dey wan chop? Abeg, make I no talk jare. I dey vex”.

CHILD ABUSE

Without doubt, the advent of change has caused many wards who are supposed to be given proper education and home training to be abused domestically inter-Alia. A young boy who confided to this writer said that “our parents asked us to go and get firewood because they cannot buy kerosene to cook again. They said it’s too costly. So, that’s why we go into the bush almost everyday to fetch firewood and carry it home. And we must not complain or else they will beat us.

After all said, it is believed that there are angry citizens across the country who are in dire need of government’s help to salvage their situation. And the question that comes to mind is “what is the government doing? Is the government even aware that Nigerians are suffering more than one could imagine?

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