Connect with us


Opinion: Nigerians and the Art of Asking for the Wrong Things



By Abimbola Lagunju

We have all come to accept that Nigerians are as divided as we number on any issue. Not even poverty can unite the poor in this country. All debates on any issue, including pervasive national poverty in Nigeria are spiced with ethnic, political, religious, clannish, family affiliation flavours. In the end, the people remain as divided as they were at the beginning of the debate. Consensus does not exist in our national dialogue – people are rigid and unbending in their opinions even when these opinions are explicitly illogical and even to their detriment.

But in the midst of this national discordance, there appears to be something that Nigerians share across board irrespective of their socio-political leanings. Nigerians have this uncanny propensity to ask for the wrong things either as individuals or as groups. They ask for the wrong things from God. They ask for the wrong things from their government, institutions and fellow human beings. These bizarre demands symptomize either a mass confusion or lack of depth of thought process or an outright national psychosis.

When you listen closely to some prayers said over huge loudspeakers by Muslims or Christians to which adherents deliriously shout their “amen”, you will know that Nigerians put God to test more than any other nation or a religious group. They do not pause to listen to the wrong demands being put to God on their behalf by their frenzied leaders. The demands are frivolous and devoid of any logic vis a vis the condition and the reality of the petitioner. They are based on sheer fantasy fanned by collective delirium. “You will get that mansion!” Amen! “That limousine is yours!” Amen! “You will get millions this week!” Amen. “All your enemies shall die!” Amen! God must be wondering what the problem is with the mind of a Nigerian.

At the temporal level, organized pressure groups in Nigeria are not different. Recently, there was a crisis in the International School in Ibadan on the wearing or not of hijabs by female Muslim students. Of all the economic, infrastructural and security problems facing individuals in this country, the parents of these students felt that hijab-wearing was the most pressing for them. Over all the rights of Nigerians enshrined in the constitution that are being neglected, trampled and disregarded by the authorities, the most important part of the constitution for this group is the right to religious freedom as expressed by outward appearance. They are not bothered about the quality of education given to their wards nor concerned for future university admission of these children nor worried about availability and accessibility of good health services when these children will become mothers nor are they apprehensive about their ability to continue to be able to pay the school fees in this period of economic downturn. It is hijab the parents have organized themselves to ask for and for which they have gone to court. “Give us Hijab!” was their battle cry at the gates of International School Ibadan.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress have recently been threatening to call their members to embark on a national strike for a wage increase. They want a minimum wage of thirty thousand Naira or more. They want more Naira notes for their workers. The leaders of these unions have always asked for the wrong thing from the government. They prefer to cure malaria with paracetamol. They choose the frivolous over the fundamentals. They are not bothered about the state of the economy of which the most important that affects the quality of life and the purchasing power of Nigerians is the exchange rate. These leaders choose not to understand that the solution to purchasing power for their workers, and indeed all Nigerians is not in the thirty thousand or a hundred thousand as was carelessly promised by a presidential candidate but in the exchange rate. Just a few years ago, 100 Naira was being exchanged for one US dollar. Now, it is being exchanged in excess of 300 Naira to the dollar. And they are not asking questions. They have never threatened to go on strike for this anomaly. A weak currency is justified when a nation produces and desires for its products to be cheap in the world market. What does labour produce for export?

Being the largest organized pressure groups in the country, one expects these unions to go beyond shallow demands of wage increase and put pressure on the government to put a lid on the exchange rate. Of what use will the wage increase to thirty thousand Naira be if the government deliberately or inadvertently permits the exchange rate to fall to about 500 Naira to the dollar next year? I suppose the organized labour will again want to organize another strike. Whatever purchasing power the wage increase they are fighting for now will be undone by unfettered weakening of the Naira. The challenge before the unions is not the wage but the erosion of the purchasing power of the Nigerian which is tied to the exchange rate. The weakness of our currency is the root cause of our poverty.

Our lives will only be better when we start to think beyond the obvious and the frivolous and we collectively address the root causes of our predicament. In other words, we can only make progress when we deliberately learn to ask for the right things from our government and ourselves. Let the labour unions pressure the government to bring down the exchange rate to about 200 Naira to the dollar. This is worth going on strike for. And the lives of workers even at the present minimum wage will dramatically improve.

As we have learnt to say when reason and logic have taken leave of our numerous debates, “It is well!”

Abimbola Lagunju is a writer and author of several books.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


First Love Assembly Hosts Breakfast With Pastor Simeon Afolabi





It was a soul-stirring and spirit-lifting session of worship, praise, edification and counselIng as members and friends of First Love Assembly gathered for a unique programme titled “Breakfast With Pastor Simeon Afolabi”



Held at the prestigious Marriot Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, the event was conceptualised as a non-denominational gathering of christians for the purpose of networking, sharing ideas, edification and counseling


In his short exhortation, Pastor Afolabi said the benefits of the session included to help people depressurize, create a convivial atmosphere for networking as well as stem the tide of discouragement that has been a major clog to the personal development of a number of people.



He went further to outline causes of discouragement as: Negative reports, Unmet needs, per review and iron cast perspective about a subject.


According to him, in today’s world, we are swarmed with negative reports, noting that while bad reports tend to slow people down and kill their enthusiasm, good reports fire them up to achieve greater things.

Michael Effiong James, Mrs Arin Olabode, Mr Sola Olabode with Mrs Oluwakemi James

Michael Effiong james, Arin Olabode, Sola Olabode & Kemi James


He also stated that when needs are not met either by God or by man, that should not spell doom as there are still many rivers of life to cross. he said not meeting a need now does not mean it will not happen.

Pastor Simeon also noted that some people put themselves in a fix of discouragement by benchmarking their progress with those of their classmates or age mates. He said if this is not done with caution, peer review can be counter productive. He admonished all to live their lives according to God’s standards.

Noting that 40s is the old age of youth and 50s is the youth of old age, he revealed that life was all about perspectives and that people should always look at the brighter side of life.


He then urged everyone to not always wait for big wins before thanking God and celebrating but ensure that at intervals, they should celebrate milestones which will serve as a tonic to power them to higher accomplishments.


Pastor Afolabi also advised the congregation to always have the big picture in mind, revealing that the big picture is never achieved in a hurry but through a slow and steady process.





In addition, he appealed that people should consistently engage in words of affirmation . In his words “Words are powerful, speak to yourself” He then quoted Psalms 42 and 45 as Bible passages to illustrate this.



He noted that God has made a number of things available to us through the supply of the spirit. He urged all to allow God to act in their lives through divine intervention.


The session was attended by professionals from all walks of life, and many attendees acknowledged that they truly enjoyed the session and would like it to support and attend again.


In his closing remarks, Mr. Sola Olabode, who took testimonies from participants, noted that the feedback was positive and there are indications that this platform of Christians will continue. He advised all present to make use of the serene and conducive atmosphere to make new friends that they can connect with later.

Continue Reading


A’Ibom 2023: Umo Eno, Deputy To Receive Certificates of Return Today




Pastor Umo Bassey Eno, the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) who won the March 18, 2023 will today, Thursday, March 18, 2023 receive his Certificate of Return as the Akwa Ibom State Governor-elect.

Pastor Eno will be presented with the certificate at the office of the Independen National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Uyo, the State capital, along with his deputy, Senator Akon Eyakenyi.

The ceremony where his victory at the polls where he garnered an overwhelming 354, 348 votes to defeat his closest opponents, Senator Bassey Albert, 136, 262 ( YPP) and Obong Akanimo Udofia, 129, 262 ( APC) would be affirmed is certain to be attended by his family, friends and supporters.

Pastor Eno who had since extended an olive branch to all his co-contestants has pledged to deliver democracy dividends to Akwa Ibomites through the ARISE Agenda while running an all- inclusive administration.

The electoral umpire had on Saturday March 25 in a statement signed by the Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye informed Nigerians of its decision to present the certificates to the victorious candidates in accordance with the law.

The statement read in part thus:

“By the provisions of Section 72(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, the Commission is mandated to issue a certificate of return within 14 days to every candidate who has been returned elected under the law.”

“Pursuant to the above provision, the Commission has fixed Wednesday 29th, Thursday 30th, and Friday 31st March 2023 for the issuance of certificates of return to Governors and Deputy Governors-elect as well as State Assembly members-elect.”

He further explained that the presentation will take place in INEC offices in each state of the Federation as Resident Electoral Commissioners and Administrative Secretaries of each state are mandated to inform the recipients of specific dates for the presentation”.


Continue Reading


Akwa-Ibom 2023: I Am The Confirmed and Authentic PDP Guber Candidate- Umo Eno




Pastor Umo Eno
Pastor Umo Eno
Seasoned Entrepreneur, Pastor Umo Eno has declared emphatically that he is the confirmed and authentic Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in Akwa-Ibom State.
Reacting to speculations in the media in the past few days about his purported replacement, Pastor Umo urged supporters and people of Akwa Ibom to ignore the rumours as he was validly nominated and had gone through all the processes.
He noted that he was certain that he will overcome and that is reason he has remained unperturbed and focused on his campaign, telling people his agenda for the state.
Speaking at the Local Government Headquarters, Oko Ita to a packed-to-capacity audience, the gubernatorial candidate said he will introduce commercial agriculture to Ibiono in order to engage the youths and women in a big way.
He also promised to build modern market, roads and upgrade the schools in the area.
Pastor Eno who described himself as an adopted son of Ibiono Ibom promised to deliver more dividends of democracy that they would have enjoyed if their son was governor.
He noted that the next election is a battle between two kingdoms; the kingdom of light and darkness, and urged the people to support him so that the state will not go back to the dark days of killings and kidnappings.
He noted that having invested in the state for over 25 years, created jobs and impact communities, he was the best qualified gubernatorial candidate.
He said his economic blueprint encapsulated in the ARISE Agenda aims at Agricultural Revolution, Rural Development, Infrastructural Maintenance/Advancement, Security Management and Educational Advancement will bring the golden era in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking at the occasion, First Lady, Dr ( Mrs.) Martha Udom Emmanuel who represented her husband, Governor Udom Emmanuel urged all present to vote for the PDP because the party had consistently brought progress to Akwa Ibom.
She stated that Pastor Umo Eno was a a humble man of competence and capacity who will continue the giant strides of her husband by furthering peace and prosperity.
Speakers at the event which was also attended by Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, such as
Commissioner for information, Comrade Ini Ememobong, Chairman Ibom Airport Developement Company Limited, Dr. Iniobong Essien, Federal House of Representatives candidate, Barr. Ime Okon, State House of Assembly Candidate, Hon Godwin Ekpo, Abai Ibiono, Obong Nsima Umoh, Mkpisong Ememobong Essien, SSA Youths, Mr. Aniefiok Iwaudofia and others all affirmed that the people of Ibiono Ibom having benefitted so much from Governor Udom Emmanuel will massively vote for the PDP.

Continue Reading


%d bloggers like this: