When the Food Becomes Scarce



‘This thing wey hang for heaven so, if e reach ground, wahala go dey o’. I can fly, our keke rider shouted as he sped through Randle to Idi Araba. I had learnt his weird name and a few others from plying that route daily.

The sky was full and black. The type that would make one think Angel Michael was rehearsing. One would quickly ask God for forgiveness under ones breath just in case it wasn’t a drill.

Peep the afternoon sky and imagine what it unleashed

We had barely reached the busstop when the thing wey hang for heaven was finally released. It was wild!
I immediately unstrapped my umbrella from the net that hung by the side of my back pack. The umbrella barely covered my body, but it went with me everywhere. It was better than nothing.

I was to take another Keke going to Ilasa, but none was in sight. They came intermittently with long moments of waiting under the rain. Like every other busstop in Lagos, it was filled with impatient people eager to enter the next available vehicle.

No one pitied anyone! Not school children, not pregnant women, not elderly people with weak bones. It was an ‘all man gats hustle for him own’ situation.

What happened next was a comic situation.
Another keke had come. People scampered and dragged. A small school boy who was about to get in was yanked off by one Baba.
The rain was too heavy to pity anyone. I couldn’t believe an old man could push a small boy whose height was not beyond my waist. But it happened and it happened in Lagos!

I permitted my usual self to laugh but a realisation from my serious side who had just read an update from Statisense, confirming my clamour for more economically active regions in Nigeria truncated it.

NIGERIA’S debt profile had increased in the Q1 2019 to N24.9 Trillion ($81.2 Billion).
33 States out of the 36 cannot survive without Federal Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC allocation.
That most of the Nigerian States’ budget are 80% funded by the FG. That the FG had borrowed $3Billion recently from the World Bank to ‘reform’ the power sector. That the FG recently introduced a new stringent tax policy for all citizens, to fulfil the N30,000 minimum wage bench mark because the FG is broke!

That most of the States for instance have a gross of N59B for both IGR + FAAC allocation which is less than their Recurrent and Capital expenditures of N99.0B, with a debt profile for each of the State on average of $60B; invariably running at a deficit!

I almost wept. I became angrier. ‘How do Nigerians not realise that we are in a multi dimensional poverty?’

Most states are incapacitated to pay salaries. From poor purchasing power to scarcity of food to inflation to anarchy then climaxing to a pariah state. How do we not see this?

I imagined how that shameless Baba who cared less about the young school boy because of the unavailability of Keke would react if food was scarce and austerity high.
People might have their neighbours for breakfast.

Nigeria is amazingly poor and be aren’t buldging yet!