Stella Dimoko Weekend Arena -The Nigerian Badge Of Nationality Is 'OYO' (On Your Own)


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Friday, July 03, 2020

Weekend Arena -The Nigerian Badge Of Nationality Is 'OYO' (On Your Own)

Let’s not mince words. Let’s call a spade by its name. This is probably the worst time to be called a Nigerian. 

Official data from the government-owned agency, National Bureau of Statistics paint a very gory picture: unemployment is projected at 33.5% by the end of 2020; inflation rate is 12.4%; Hanke’s Misery Index already ranks Nigeria seventh on its scale. Brookings Institute’s World Poverty Clock had ranked Nigeria as the world’s capital of poverty, taking over from India, yet the country has earned about $236b in the past 5 years according to OPEC’s Revenue Fact Sheet.

This has hardly rubbed off on the masses.

The coronavirus pandemic has in more ways than one, proven, that the Nigerian badge of nationality has a hidden emblem: OYO…’On Your Own’. You need not look critically to see it. As a Nigerian, you are born to find a way around your situations. That is why everyone has become a government to his household. You create your special kingdom, contribute to build your roads, contribute to buy facilities for electricity, contribute to bribe officials to be linked to the grid, after which you are ‘rewarded’ with over-billing in the name of estimated bills, with a possibility of losing those facilities for defaulting in payment. Most of all, you spend your money to provide security for your household and neighbourhood.

We all saw how neighbourhoods in Lagos and Ogun, during the lockdown, formed ‘militia groups’ to protect themselves from the ‘One Million Boys’, whether real or contrived, as if the official security apparatus had collapsed. That is the regrettable reality of our times and existence.

While nationals of other countries were cashing out their palliatives given by their governments as support during the lockdown, we debated for weeks unending what our imaginary palliative should look like. From people who had less than 5k in their ‘akkant’ (as people on the streets describe depleted bank balances), it came down to people who had never recharged above N100 on their phones, until we started hearing that trillions had already been expended on the initiative. Up till today, everyone is asking someone to point at a known beneficiary. I pray to meet one someday.

So many suggestions came to the fore as ways of alleviating the suffering of Nigerians, who were locked down without incomes for months. Some suggested that each account holder should be given 30k. It never came; rather account holders are today being debited for stamp duties. Some suggested that electricity bills for three months should be borne by the FG. That did not happen; rather the DISCOs are sharpening their cutlasses, angling for higher tariffs. A new tariff regime almost kicked off this week if not for the national outcry.

 At the moment, majority of Nigerians working in the private sector, have had the jobs tossed aside, while a lucky few have to endure huge pay cuts. Teachers in private schools are the worst hit and it is obvious that no respite is in sight for them.

A few days ago, the government further proved its insensitivity to the masses, when the price of petrol rose to N144 per litre at a time the citizens are groaning under higher costs of transportation, occasioned by the COVID-19 operational guideline, which stipulates fewer loading capacity for commercial vehicles. The implication of this is a further hike in the price of transiting between points.

Of course, the people had heaved a sigh of relief, when the FG announced earlier in the year that it was planning to recruit 774,000 unemployed youth-one thousand per LGA in the country. The expectation was that it would help appreciably in providing incomes for some youths. The job, which is temporary, scheduled to last a few months, would have paid the beneficiaries between 20k and 30K, but today, it has been suspended as the legislators bicker with the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, over ‘who should handle what’. In all these, nobody has factored the impact of the fighting elephants on the grasses.

These economic woes have triggered a new high in the country’s suicide rate, especially amongst the youths, who are at the receiving end, with the newspapers and social media awash with such stories too often. A recent report by Obiora Jude Uchendu, published by the Faculty of Pathology, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, attributes the trend to depression, but the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, was quick to ban the open sale of Sniper, a brand of household insecticide which has constantly been implicated in most of the suicide cases in recent times. 

At the National Assembly, Rochas Okorocha, the immediate past Governor of Imo State, had ironically suggested the creation of a Federal Ministry of Happiness as the solution! A similar ministry was functional under him in Imo for 8 years, yet there was no proof of Imo citizens being happier with backlogs of salaries and pensions.

Let us continue to hide behind a finger. Let us continue to play the ostrich.

Beautiful piece...............Well coined to the last dot....KUDOS!!!!

NAFDAC banned sniper indeed but did not move to make sure it is removed from shops selling them


  1. Nice one. Is Nafdac really doing their work?

  2. Our society is not structured properly, that’s why even the easiest of things seem such a chore.
    The easiest way to give cash to the public is through the bank account or vouchers - not all people have an account, not many businesses accept vouchers.
    How can you ask the DISCOs - private companies - to grant some months off for people to enjoy free electricity? That’s virtually a loan to the government, the same government owing them billions in unpaid bills?
    These are just 2 examples. We are really in trouble as a country. I wasn't surprised with the pump price increase.
    We just need a hard reset in this country, but who will bell the cat?

  3. We have always been oyo, but this pandemic made it clear that we are OYO. Ban of sniper,hmmm. People will look for another means to commit that evil act.

    1. Exactly, if one door closes another opens.

      It's not by banning sniper. Situations that pushes people to want to drink sniper should be banned.

      Every household is an independent republic o. It's only here citizens pay for transformer, road, water, vigilante.. Everything sef.

      Federal Republic of Oyoria๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿšถ

    2. Oh, you look good @picture ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  4. Nigeria is a joke.And it will continue to be until we the citizens put aside religious bigotry, tribalism and fear to fight together for the restoration of this country.

  5. Even the 774k jobs they want to create will last for just 3months,asin 3months within salary of 20k each month.what a country?
    Nice write up Mr Ngozi

  6. Good piece. This country is something else. I pray that God almighty would eradicate our suffering.

  7. The stamp duty ishh made me almost cry.
    The fuel price hike at this time is not the best, transport fare went up immediately. Trust bus drivers they swung into action.
    It is well oooo

  8. Nice picture Mr Ngozi.

    Which Sniper?the one,one of my friend wanted to take yesterday but God said no.Leave matter for mathias abeg.

    Nigeria have always been the more you look,the less you see.

    So we are on our own kno b today ,God has been good so far...

    I mostly feel for the private teachers to be sincere. How do they cope especially those that have no helper.
    God see them through!.

  9. All I can say is it is well while shaking my head.

    God will help the common man.

  10. I have nothing to comment. Life goes on

  11. True,this piece is accurate.
    I personally have accepted my fate of OYO for a very long time.
    Only God that can help us in nigeria

  12. Nice piece Mr Ngozi. Nigeria still has a long way to go but it's sad that now more than ever the decision makers in the Government are still seeking their own personal gains and stacking their safes so where is the hope for the common man especially those that think there's no hope (even if there is in Christ). God help Nigeria...God bless Nigeria.

  13. It is a dog eat dog world now,an average naija man is so helpless now,everything is in mumbo jumbo๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ

  14. Well written sir.. I googled about u some weeks ago and read some of ur articles.. Lovely pix sir..

  15. Mr Ngozi issa handsome man!

    The problem of Nigeria is too numerous to mention and yes OYO is the best way to describe our present situation but Nigerians kuku already have a way of getting by no matter the situation. We will sha keep keeping on maybe someday,somehow the change we desire will come

  16. One thing I love about all your write-ups is that it always reaches the grassroot as in concerned about the common man....๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  17. Nigeria is a dream killer, if you have opportunity to travel out please do, grass is greener in any other place except Nigeria.

  18. Ngozi writes really well.

  19. I don't see what the problem is really. You vote based on N2k and 3 cups of rice. Let them keep enjoying the pain they vote in. E no kwancern me. When campaign starts, the losers will be used as thugs by the politicians for some tokens. It has been happening for decades because Nigerians are very selfish. As long as the immediate family is good, everyone else can go to hell.

  20. Our number one problem in 9ja is not even our politricksians d problem is WE,we as a ppl are evil in d get,we are selfish ppl so when one gets into power his selfish character continues..secondly Nigerians manage too much,we keep saying it is well it is will never b well till we take d bull by d horn n say no to all this rubbish..can't we all just go in strike and protest against d government..we didn't work and move around cos of d pandemicfor 2months that and we still survived,that should make us know that we can all close down the country for months protesting against d whole system of government..let d idiots in power know we r tired and let d world know what we are going throug as a country..enough is enough d power is in our hands..let's all break down lets all say no enough of it is well,enough of managing..taking any shit thrown at long as we keep managing they will kip saying we r fine and keep looting out moni.mayb b wrong or ignorant but this is my 1kobo thought


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