Austin Fair Nwaulu
Christmas, unmistakably the loudest and most celebrated feast in the world is around the corner again. But be it a Moslem, pagan or total unbeliever, the fact remains that its period conjures a mood, spirit and ambience that no one can afford to resist and thus must observe consciously or otherwise.
Coming a few days before the preceding (New Year), it is also laced with many public holidays that slow down individual and official activities. It is a time to take stock too – review and preview. So, everybody is involved.
However, one of the special menus that fine-tune the season, rice, will be visibly missing from many homes this year more than before. I grew up to identify rice as the first delicacy that spices up Christmas. And hitherto, no home goes without it.
Whether the government’s restriction on the availability of the commodity is religious, political or outright punishment for some as some people reason, I can’t tell. All I know is that this year, at the risk of sounding alarmist, many homes would be substituting rice with garri, beans or anything willy-nilly. They just can’t afford it or wont even want to swallow anything in the name of this GOLD called rice.
Our present government, apparently without a careful planning, love and care for the masses, thought it wise to close the borders which have been the source of the commodity for ages. Except, as we were told, that the action was taken to encourage local production and consumption.
But have you ever seen or heard of a baby being stopped from sucking the mother’s breast abruptly? It can only happen if the mother is found wanting. Otherwise even today’s mothers who don’t want to breast-feed for long, make adequate plans and provide alternative for their babies.
Our government did not care a hoot about us and simply took everybody unawares. That is how trivial the masses have become despite facing the toughest of times on other challenges…As it is, Nigerians have no parents again. Common rice that the haves used to dash to the have-nots?
Can you imagine that instead of subsidizing the cost for the citizens, state government and others are trading with it! Lake rice is sold at N17,000. What will happen if it’s sold at N8,000?
Popular Cleric, Primate Ayodele thinks that; “the Lagos State government has done well by bringing out the LAKE rice again. But I don’t think that is the best the government can do for the masses …the only way they can make Lagosians happy this yuletide season is by reducing the price.’’
Well, they said we should eat local rice but even the Nigerian rice
farmers whose association instantly welcomed and hailed the border closure you find out they merely appreciated the gesture for selfish reasons. I’m aware that rice [imported] once sold for N3,500 in this country. Five years ago, it was N7,000. It skyrocketed when those that claim to know it better ascended power and the rest became history. Rice!
In nearby Cotonou, a bag sells for about N2,000! It is now about N28,000 here and the locally-produced is N22,000. See how wicked, selfish and unpatriotic Nigerians are? Always out to exploit with every opportunity. Just what does it cost again to produce rice locally? Now, tell me the number of families that can afford rice these festive seasons.
Just who will save this hopeless situation? Is it the law makers that can afford it even at N50,000 a bag the pocket-rich politicians or other government officials? There is no hope again, fellow Nigerians. Manage what you see until we exit this stage.
This is the Next level!
First rice-less Xmas, New Year and…. Nigeria is a home you can never rely upon.