Naijahusband vs Highlandblue: The Rejoinder

You might want to read this first.

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Good evening listeners and viewers at home. Good day Mr moderator, impartial panel of judges, esteemed co-debaters and members of the general public.

I am here to argue for the motion that Naijahusband and Highlandblue are one and the same. It is hoped that my appeal to your higher rational faculties will be as succint as it is comprehensive.

The fact that most people are what they tweet is among the most absurd arguments ever to grace this revered podium. It is easily demonstrated that most people live boring lives and come on Twitter to find expression for their otherwise inhibited selves. The appeal to anonymity is a strong one, giving lesser mortals the opportunity to freely express views that would be frowned upon based on their perceived social status. It is true that people may be their tweets but this persona has as much bearing on the projected real life characters of those behind the Twitter handles as the shadow of a man has on the colour of his apparel and the countenance of his visage.

What I am saying is, it is very possible for one person to hurriedly project a quiet, real life introvert for a few uncomfortable minutes as Naijahusband and then log into his other account to tweet freely without fear and favour, as Uncle Efe is wont to do.

The overwhelming similarities between Naijahusband and Highlandblue have already been alluded to by my opponent. I will attempt to reveal the holes in my opponent’s reasoning with a few considerations of common sense.

Uncle Efe once tweeted regularly about Woji traffic especially in his single days. However, such complaints have all but ceased in the last five months, suggesting he may have moved to some new traffic free location. Coincidentally, the time of this move coincides with the birth of the Naijahusband persona in the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere. Do you still stubbornly believe in coincidences? I urge you to reconsider.

The difference in writing style between Naijahusband and Highlandblue is not even present. Uncle Efe owns a blog he hardly writes on, often instead provoking others to write in special series that run almost the entire year while he chips in his quiet footnotes and advice with little interference. The gentleness of both Highlandblue and Naijahusband is another so-called coincidence. To further buttress this point, the few times Uncle Efe has written on other blog series, notably on the Naked Convos, his stories have been deep, reflective ones (citation, Colour Purple in the monologues, Banga Soup in the Pounded Yam series, and Envy in Sins of the Father.) The odd sprinkling of understated humour is a mark of Highlandblue and Naijahusband, visible to even the most inelegant students of literature. Besides, could it be that Highlandblue hardly writes on his blog because he fully applies his literary skills on Naijahusband?

My opponent alluded to the fact that Uncle Efe may be an avid computer game lover, a football enthusiast and a strongly masculine engager of men. This is her description of a handle that many people sometimes mistake as female! I challenge her to cite a single tweet of Uncle Efe or a single picture or screen shot of Uncle Efe’s so-called computer games. She will even be at pains to name his favorite football club in the Premier League! From all tweet indications, Uncle Efe loves Tinsel, Fashion Police, Masterchef and America’s Next Top Model, most likely due to the extreme pressure of the assertive Naijawife.

The clincher for my argument is the persona of Naijawife herself. Being an expressive and outspoken woman, she may be loathe to operate two Twitter accounts as her husband does, preferring instead to be true to her offline extrovert personality. After all, an already outspoken person in real life would not need to have an outspoken outlet in form of a second Twitter account. While we might meet Uncle Efe offline and find him to be a quiet smiling Naijahusband, it is almost certain Naijawife will have an offline personality exactly as her tweets portray. The fact that Uncle Efe hardly tweets about his wife, despite the fact that he is happily married, might just be because he is already tweeting about her, but in the name of Naijahusband!!!!

I hope with these few points of mine I have laid to rest the debate and proven to all and sundry that Uncle Efe and Naijahusband are one and the same person.

Thank you for listening.

Naijahusband vs. Highlandblue

So many people have asked me if I’m Naijahusband. Well, Eloho my friend thinks it’s absurd that anyone would think so. Here’s her argument. Enjoy

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Good day Mr Moderator, Panel of Judges, Accurate Time Keeper, My Esteemed Readers and my very able co debaters, I am here today to argue against the motion that “Naijahusband (NH) is the same person as Uncle Efe.

Whilst not a few people on these WordPress and Twitter streets have put forward several propositions, adducing to the fact that NH and Uncle Efe are one and the same person, for reasons I am about to present herewith, I wish to present a contrary position and I hope that at the end of my summation, I would have been able to present a superior argument as to how both persons are not one and the same and convinced us all to adopt this superior argument as well.

I am quite aware that some persons maintain well-managed Twitter persona, contrary to their real offline personalities and are able to present oftentimes unconnected projections of themselves to other tweeps with whom they carry out consistent interactions. But I opine that the skill is quite rare and with time, one is actually what they tweet.The tweets convey some weight, and a reflection to some extent of who the handlers really are. It may be very well managed as has been discovered around here in recent times, but to a large extent, over a measured period, each individual is their tweet/blog posts.

I assert that Uncle Efe is not Naijahusband for the following reasons

First, Uncle Efe is clearly of the Niger Delta extraction, first by reason of his name and then by reason of his expression and background to which he adduces quite often. He is someone who likely was schooled somewhere in the ‘Bendel’ region. Naijahusband is clearly of the Yoruba extraction and NaijaWife (NW) adduced to same without any equivocation in her post ‘In Sickness and in Health’ . It is unlikely that NH has spent much time in the Bendel zone.

Secondly, Uncle Efe resides in the Oil City of Port Harcourt as his traffic analysis via his tweets would reveal. NH likely resides in Abuja, seeing as his posts never seem to reflect the bustle of Lagos and considering that it takes him relatively few minutes to get to work as is reflected in his Shower post.

Thirdly, Uncle Efe is a more extroverted character, often times introducing conversations or being involved in conversations with an effervescent personality. NH is more introverted, deep and introspective as his tweets and posts reveal.

Fourthly, NH is rarely on the Twitter street corners, and when he is there, he is deliberate, responds to a few tweets and appears as though he can’t wait to sign out and meet his friends via his blog. Uncle Efe is here sometimes from early in the day and has a very visible twitter presence. He creates conversations from random tweets and tweets during the day. A rarity for NH except when there is a new post.

NH is clearly not a very ‘whatsup’ guy. He may not know who the latest star on the streets is and like NaijaWife’s tweets present,  he is very comfortable knowing some things last especially where they concern random events like a movie star or a pop star. Uncle Efe is clearly more hands on as definitely reflected in his tweets. Uncle Efe may be a PS4 playing guy who has no challenge spending some time taking on another guy playing games. NH may likely be the footie watching, no games guy.

On another note, clearly, Uncle Efe and NH both share aligned family values amidst other very admirable traits which are likely premises for the position of my opposition, but their language is very different. NH is formal oftentimes with a dash of rich humour whilst Uncle Efe is consistently more informal and vivacious on twitter. NH is way more expressive behind the lines that his posts present; shinning the most through his posts whilst NW reflects a more public facing tweet persona for the streets.

I hope with these very few points of mine, I have been able to convince and not confuse you that NH and Uncle Efe are not one and the same person, on twitter or off twitter.

Thank you.

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Any opposing arguments? LOL

There may be a rejoinder argument to this later today or tomorrow 🙂

Tell Me (Life test questions)

Life sets the test questions, I sit back and grade your scores

There’s the test of money. How long does money stay in your hand? Does it flee or does it come to you?

There’s the test of caring. Yes you care for me but is that your nature or you just doing a business transaction?

There’s the test of we against the world. If everyone in the world was against me and I was honestly innocent, would you stand by me?

There’s the test of physical attraction. Can your body talk to my body and we have an organic interaction full of soul?

There’s the test of maturity. What does external pressure do to you? Bring out the best or the worst?

There’s the test of stayability and finishability. Do you finish your long term projects or you keep finding new short term ones? Cos we in this for the long haul

There’s the communication test too. When we fight, can you still understand what I’m saying or you blank out and lash out wildly?

There’s the independence test. You have a mind of your own or you just do what makes your parents, friends and family happy? Cos it’s hard enough being with you. I don’t want to be with the entire village

There’s the test of caution. Can you call me to order when I’m making a wrong decision? Cos I do make a lot of those

There’s the homemaker test. Can you run a home? Like supplies, logistics, bills, comfort, security and peace of mind?

There’s the test of adventure. If I wanted to go exploring, would you join me or discourage me for no valid reason?

There’s the emotional attraction test. Will you tell me all you feel and let me in or you’d say you’re fine when you’re not?

There’s the friends test. Who are your friends? Are they kind, successful and willing to help? Or parasites and bad influences? Cos I ain’t choosing your friends or controlling who you talk to. I just gotta guard the entrance to my life kingdom, thank you.

There’s the ambition test. Are you just settled for the mediocre? Or do you have a dream?

There’s the God-fearing test. If you were absolutely sure nobody was looking or would find out, who would you be?

Eleven Months Like Christmas

I’m reblogging this from the Naked Convos here. I think it’s an important Christmas reminder. Enjoy and act

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Eleven Months like Christmas
A grungy look, the dust sprinkles on my neatly packed hair
Runny nose and crack lips follow suit
What a season!
Yeah, it’s Christmas

Moisturizer, check
Lip gloss, check
Lip balm
*sigh check

The season is dear to the hearts of many
Not just because it’s the end of the year
But because it’s the time thanks are showered on those who made the year great
We appreciate the gift of generosity bestowed on us by everyone

A kid has many wishes
I know it may seem too much to ask for
But all I want for Christmas
Is not just gorgeous pleated Louis Vuitton

NO! It’s not just an overflowing food store to guarantee that I don’t starve
It’s not just an academic sponsorship to a University of my dreams
It’s not just to have my home’s bank account grinning with enough
It’s not just a new school bag or school books, even though I need those…

All I want is that I’m remembered not only during festive seasons
Is that the love, charity and care of December spill from the first month to the Eleventh
That the warm embrace extends beyond open arms to available arms
In thoughts, I seek to be remembered

I need YOU as a guide in February
One to celebrate me when I’m crowned with success in August
One to hold me in June and whisper: “It’s alright… Ruth”
All I want for Christmas is YOU, you, and you.

My name is… Idada Ruth, I’m an orphan in September too.

(Compiled by @McBethThePoet, @segunAyoade, @toluOloruntoba and Old-Rugged)

Adapted and Read at the Christmas Charity Concert, Ibadan by Idada Ruth, an orphan at the Jesus Children Mission, Bodija (08033843762)

I Wanted To Learn

Please enjoy this poem by Eghe (@Euphoria411). Thought too hard for an intro but couldn’t find any.

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I wanted to learn and so went to school
Graduated and wanted to serve my Fathers’Land
But my accent got in the way
Guess this six feet under won’t judge me.

I wanted to learn and so went to school
Graduated and made my folks proud Alas!
So many potholes stood between us
“Yeee Oga driver look out!!!!” GBOOM

I wanted to learn and so went to school
Didn’t know I would lose my home
Please tell me its not true
That a great flood has washed away my history

I wanted to learn and so went to school
But ‘men-in-uniform’ chased me away
Do they mean my Dad is a fool
Since my tuition he couldn’t pay On time?

I wanted to learn and so went to school
Got involved in politics for positive change
But got my blood flowing in a pool
Guess I was in the marksman’s range.

I wanted to learn and so went to school
But I got bruised and smashed up
Stripped naked,bludgeoned and pummelled
I lost strength as my life flashed by
The crowd was jeering while I was roasting alive
They felt ‘cool’ while I was burning.

But I wanted to learn in Nigeria

I just wanted to learn

Dedicated to student victims of Nigerian society

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The remembrance procession for the four UNIPORT students killed in the Aluu communities was held tonight. Say a prayer for our Nigerian students.

The I Miss You series continues tomorrow.

Why Do People Cheat?

Bolouere (@Boluxxxx) wants to talk about why people cheat. I’m interested in this conversation. So let’s kick it off

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This is an age-long question I like to categorise with other near unanswerable questions like “when will Jesus come?” “What do women want? Etc. Anyways, I sincerely don’t think there is an absolute answer for this particular question. I”ll just play around with illustrations and let’s see if we can come close to something . I’ve got 3
1. My former neighbours  Papa and Mama Tari had been married for 10 years then relocated to the US. One day, while shopping, mama Tari got a vibrator. Unknown to papa Tari, mama Tari had never had a real orgasm with him and had faked it throughout their marriage. As time went on , mama Tari got into her new toy and became really addicted. How we heard the matter was that papa Tari (whom I still hear mama Tari couldn’t tell he had poor bed skills) wanted a divorce. His point was, she had become addicted to her toy, used it all the time and till she forgot to do duties round the house as regards the kids and himself (sex included). Bottomline was that she was cheating(with a vibrator).
2. Mr Gbadamosi who was a very wealthy stark illiterate got married. He and his wife didn’t have any kids after 4 years and after bowing to pressure, he got a new wife and eventually another who both bore him 6 kids. One day Mr Gbadamosi(who loved his first wife very dearly still) decided to follow her for a fertility test and decided to take the test too to humour himself. The results were sent to madam since oga was illiterate. It turned out that oga was impotent. Madam quietly hid the results. One year later they threw a lavish party to welcome madam’s first child, God’s miracle to her after many years of waiting etc. She sha cheated. We know why.
3.  This happened while I was in the university. I had this friend who was just mean to his girlfriend. He beat her up occasionally too. I knew for a fact he loved her like real hard so I couldn’t get why he was so harsh. One day I summoned courage and asked him why. Here was the reason. They met in 200level, practically lived together in school, were inseparable and well known as a couple. She actually lived in Abuja and we were in UniBen but she had to be at home every weekend. Ordinarily she would have done road trips but he didn’t want his baby stressed so he paid her air fares almost every weekend for close to 2years. That’s about 60k almost every weekend. Anyhow, somehow he found out after a certain matter and nosy friends input (long story) that she was actually not going home all those weekends. She had a FIANCE in Abuja. So he was side boyfriend sef. This was cheating. Why?
In two out of these three cool tales, the women actually had reasons for cheating. The third girl didn’t have any reason to. For a long while, my take on cheating was that people only did when they weren’t contented or fulfilled in their relationship but as I observed further, I noticed some other people who had terrible relationships stayed faithful simply because they chose to or due to morals, ethics, whatever. Some others that seem to get all the good stuff a person could wish for in relationships still cheat. I know there’s a whole lot of answers and opinions but no absolutes especially because no two kinds of people or  relationships are alike.  All the same, let’s hear your take.

Why do you think people cheat? If you ever cheated on your significant other, what would be your possible story/reason?

Semi-Rant: Dear Girls

Bolouere (@Boluxxxx) has a point to make about keeping to the terms of the contract.
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Code name; B.

B- Buxom, Bombshell, Brilliant, Boss, Buoyant, Brassy, etc. Did I just describe Beyonce? Naaa, that’s a B-word too. **chuckles**

I’ve been in constant reverie recently inspired by events, happenings, doings, occurrences played out by females around me and I have decided that we girls are responsible for our troubles, drama and heartbreak.

I have this friend who had been in the process of setting a certain P for months. He was gonna be in some state in the Niger-delta region for christmas where “Miss P” is resident and yes they planned a hook up. Twas gon be sex, fun and games agreed. As his guy (yea I’m dyke in attitude), he gave me the gist as things went on. They hooked up, did all the had planned to, and finally had sex on christmas eve. Anyway’s he pinged me on christmas morning and goes ” Bee, she wants ‘talk’.”. In my mind I’m like “ghen-ghen, my guy don enter wahala”. We went on chatting and about ten minutes later I’m like “is she still talking”? He replied “yes”. I’m thinking WTF!!! Imagine me having a heart-to-heart convo, the “talk” with a dude and he stays chatting on his phone, that’s all the answer I need. (Well, that’s me). All the same, the summary of Miss P’s talk was; define this relationship. My friend’s reply was, we have a good thing going (sex) let’s not mess it up by starting something else. LoooOoool.

Fastfoward two days, he sends me a voice note he got from her. She cried on it, declared her love for him and said she felt used. See something oh!! Whose fault is it you caught feelings during an event that stated “strictly setting P”. He’s like “Bee what do u think?” My verdict; she probably likes you, wants a relationship, is automatically suffering from low self esteem because she f**ked you (dumb) and crying on a voice note, that’s simply a symptom that’s she’s a mildly psychotic chick (topic for another post). My guy, RUN. He did run.

Back to being responsible for our troubles as girls, much to my awareness, most guys don’t lie about their “wants” these days. It also doesn’t hurt to ask a guy what his intentions are if he suddenly starts paying you plenty attention. If he says he wants to shag, he means it oh. It’s left for you as the chick to decide whether you can do just that or not. Going into sh*t like that thinking he might have a change of heart and wife you is very unlikely and major self deception especially if he was bold enough to state that all he wants is sex. Yes we are human, yes we can’t help but fall for people at times. But he was bold enough to say, just sex, and that’s all there might ever be to it whatever you do. If you catch feelings, I’d love to say OYO but I’m nice so I’ll say DEAL WITH IT. And by dealing with it I didn’t say go and bombard peeople’s TL’s with irritatingly philosophical tweets like “why do bad things happen to good people” or “treat girls the way you want your sisters to be treated”. Personally I hate seeing such on my TL. It can drive me to mentioning you to amadioha and his strike is more painful than ASUU’s trust me. Get a grip, go about it in a mature manner. If it gets too hard, talk to pals or axe ya mummy for tips. *kidding**

My point (despite not being a feminist or softie) is, I think we as girls have what it takes to run the world and handle situations. If only we would man-up (ironic**sighs**) shun pettiness and do just that.

Dear girls, we are beautiful and have more power than we realise. Stop throwing blame flames at guys and hosting pity parties when things come up. Let’s learn to tell the truth to ourselves about situations and act accordingly not ruling out facts and reality.

More importantly, run YOUR world! Safe!!!

Chasing Pavements II

Franque continues his insightful rant here… Open your mind and share your thoughts in the comments if you wish.

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On January 1st, the Federal Government announced the removal of fuel subsidy, effective same date. People who could, rushed to the filling stations that were open for business and stocked up. Word got round and more people thronged to the stations. By late afternoon, the station operators stopped selling PMS and told the people waiting in the queues that had formed that when they re-opened for business, fuel would be sold at between N138 -N141/litre.
“Jokers!” Some hissed. “Rogues! Thieves!” Others fumed. “Let us see how long this will last. I bet you, you will revert to N65 before this time tomorrow. I am out of here.” They said as they got into their cars and drove off. Some others stayed back and filled their tanks and jerry cans with this liquid gold. Then the social media community jumped into the fray and, as is to be expected, while some hit the nail on the head, raising questions and succinctly pointing out the problems and dangers of this bold move, there were those who missed the mark by so wide a margin, one wondered what they were aiming for in the first place.

2nd came and 3rd too. The 4th came and passed as well, and in all this time the Labour Congress was quiet. The people they represented wondered what they were playing at. Then on the 5th they issued the Government notice of an indefinite strike action commencing on the 9th. This announcement was met with mixed feelings and for the most part it was a feeling of wary betrayal. “Yea, impeccable timing,” even I thought. “Some people were buying themselves time for…” I said. What I did not know was time for what?

……..

On January 1st, the Federal Government announced the removal of fuel subsidy, effective same date.
That same afternoon a call went out to all Labour leaders across the country, the subject: “Holiday is over.”
That same evening a meeting was convened between Labour leaders and the Government. Each half of the table had their say and the meeting ended in a stalemate; Government: “No going back.” Labour: “We will get back to you in a little bit.”

Before midnight a caucus meeting was held between Labour chiefs and other sympathetic high profile persons, a section of the elite. They admitted knowledge that this day would come, but did not think the Government would be so foolhardy to go ahead with it so soon. They were caught off guard, yes, but this action had only forced their hands. It was time to implement a measure they had started working on when the first murmurs were heard about fuel subsidy removal.

The first step was to set aside emotion and the things that Government had used to thwart past efforts: religion, tribe, politics – all of them tools of divide and conquer.

The second step was the selection of clear leaders, each responsible for a zone or section according to how the federation had been divided. These leaders were to organise protest matches and rallies in as peaceful a manner as possible.

Next action would be to close down all Government parastatals – indefinitely. Till the govt decides to acknowledge us and the people we have sent to represent us. Only essential services providers would be allowed to function: media, telecommunication, healthcare providers, banks will run a skeletal framework (but only because people will need cash)… These people will be allowed to come and go without hindrance. Markets would be open and the shops and kiosks in the neighbourhoods will open.
Research had shown that the reason past strikes had broken down was because it had been initiated as a ‘lock down’ rather than a ‘tools down’. Everything was usually on lockdown, and since the masses for whose benefits the strikes were staged could not afford to pay the price of a total lockdown, after three days the same masses usually called on the Labour groups to dialogue with the Government and reach an ‘amicable’ compromise. And the Government is aware of this. In fact, the Government is counting on this.
The truth is, the Government can not afford a prolonged strike and neither can the cabal, the puppet masters.

Considering how much they have amassed over the years and how these monies have been invested in businesses, not lying under their beds, when they realise (and they will realise very quickly) how much they are losing while the strike continues, they will want to talk.

Now do this math: 14mill Nigerians buy 1ltr of fuel @ N138, N73 more than they should, for 14days. This gives N14308000000. If the average fuel purchased per individual per day is 20ltrs (and more than 10% of the population will buy this fuel) we are looking at roughly N286,160,000,000.
Bear in mind this calculation is based on PMS alone. Then think of the other sectors they will make money due inflation caused by the subsidy removal. Tidy scam, no?

This might look like a lot of money, but it is chick feed compared to how much the country, and by extension her rapists, would lose if there is a lock down of all ports (air and sea), and everything else.

What we have in our favour is number. We out number these few. We voted them into office, they should fear us and not the other way around. So they will want to talk.

Part of our demands then should include sacrifice on their part. Half of what they have budgeted for their foibles: feeding, watering gardens, refurnishing offices we do not even recognise, bulletproof cars – hopefully the picture is getting clearer – these they will put into fixing the refineries, one refinery at a time. Then fix the power sector as well. It will take time to achieve, and we will return to work while work is ongoing, heck it would even employ the labour of the hundreds of thousands who are qualified but out of work. We will also give them a period to evaluate their progress, and if in six months nothing tangible happens, we go back again. We will wear them down.

We will not stop there, unlike in the past where we rejoice at the reversal of fuel prices and let bygones be bygone, we will ask what happened to the monies made on PMS between Jan 1st and the date we the price is reversed.
And we will make them accountable to the people for, maybe the first time in our history.

This is just an idealist speaking, but this idealist is also a realist. This is what will most likely happen:

We will embark on this ‘no focus’ strike on the 9th, it’ll be called off before the 14th. Government may shift grounds a little to maybe N100/ltr (maybe not), and if they do, we will be so pleased this has happened, we wil not ask what happened to the monies made on PMS between Jan 1st and that date.

Nobody would ask, and they would quietly share it and “clean mouth”, leaving us feeling we have achieved something worthwhile. Rather than make them account for the money and put it into sectors like education or agriculture or tourism or even research, we would be too happy to pay N35 over the original price as opposed to N73 to bother about this minor detail.

I have heard some really funny things in this past week. I heard Government is ordering 1,600 buses to ‘cushion’ the effects of the subsidy removal. Talk about taking your citizens for a ride.
A shell company will be set up and awarded the contract to procure the buses and they will charge top Dollar. As we would say, “One person don hammer!”  Meanwhile, 1,600 buses will not suffice in Lagos alone, so please tell me what manner of silliness is 1,600 buses for the major cities of the federation?  Again, will the busses carry farm produce? Or do more than transport people? We know that the transportation of persons is not the only aspect this subsidy removal will affect.
And when an agreement is reached with labour, we will be lucky to 160 buses – forget where the money for the remaining 1,340 went.

Again I hear the buses would be handed to (bogus) private companies to run along the same lines of the Lagos State Waste Management Agency franchise. I do not want to get started on this.

This morning I received a broadcast message about Martin Luther King jr, and before that there was the one about CAN asking christians to fast and pray. Again I will not attempt to draw a comparison, we all can think for ourselves. All I want to draw from the actions of the former is that he desired something, sought it out in himself and changed it, then pursued that change with men of like conviction without counting the cost, and he paid the ultimate price: his life.
Today we are fighting slavery of a different kind, brought upon us by our own greed. Corruption has eaten so deep into the fabrics of this nation, it has become a question of the chicken or the egg. In our case it is neither; it is both.

We need to divest ourselves of the things that have held us bound, free ourselves from the shackles of corruption by purposing to change our country, our society, ourselves one person at a time starting with us; each man from himself. Only then can we make policies and put systems in place and allow them work.

Until then, all we would be doing is chasing pavements.

Chasing Pavements

This two-part article by Franque (@franque_521) raises some questions we need to answer as a country.

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On Monday I bought my first 20litres of petrol for N2,820.

When the attendant said N141/litre, it didn’t register. It wasn’t until I pulled out the third thousand naira note that I realised what had just happened to me. On Sunday when I bought the same amount of fuel, it was two one thousand naira notes and I got more than half of one note back in change; today it was three notes and less than half of one note in change – far less.
My neighbour who went with me had tears in his eyes when he told me that the 60litres he just paid for represented three-quarters of his normal monthly allocation for chop money, and his wife had reminded him as we were leaving home that even that had to be reviewed upward.
When we got home, a neighbour asked where we got fuel. “The station at the roundabout,” we said. “But all other stations in the area are beginning to sell so you don’t have to go that far.”
“How much?” He asked.
“N141 per litre,” was our reply.
“Is there a crowd?” He asked again.
“No o. You just drive in, buy and go,” we told him.
“In that case we thank God. At least there’s no tension.” My instinctive reaction was a shocked disappointment at how easily he rationalised over 100% fuel increase and the pending hardships. On second thoughts though, I realised it would seem we got off easy. In past situations, stations would hoard the product and create artificial scarcity forcing us to buy for as high as N150/ltr. Then there were the blackmarket merchants who would sell for as high as N250/ltr and we would beg them to sell to us. This is not forgetting those who would then sell adulterated products (20% fuel – 80% water) without recourse to its effect on the consumer’s machinery. A sigh escaped my lips.
I unscrewed the cover of the generator fuel tank, inserted the funnel and lifted the gallon to pour the fuel… I stopped, set the gallon down and slowly backed away. I just had a visual image of me holding a wad of naira notes and setting fire to them. That’s how real the situation had become to me.

We sat there, my neighbours and I, and discussed our understanding of the implication of this fuel subsidy removal.
“Do you know how many school proprietors are kicking themselves for not making a provision for this in the fees they gave you last month?” I asked. “They will make up for it within the first month,” Abdullah’s father said. “All they have to do is send out a bogus memo to parents requesting they pay for some activity or the other. Shebi we want our children in school? We will pay.”

We talked about transportation, and shared the different messages we had received about the hike in bus fares. “So everyone will travel by air then,” another neighbour said glancing in my direction. “After all, it’s PMS not Jet-A1 that has gone up.” I had a really good laugh at this.
“Not every machinery at the airports use Jet-A1. We have tugs, tow trucks, fuel bowsers, toilet bowsers, ramp cars, ramp shuttles, some of these use PMS. Then there’s the cost of generating power to run the different airlines’ offices, and the cost of renting office space since the concessionaires will jack up rental fees, and everything else!” I pointed out.

We were silent for a bit while we tried to digest what had been shared so far. I walked back to the generator but still couldn’t bring myself to pour the fuel into the tank. I walked back to rejoin the others.

“How are we going to do this on the same old salary?” Abdullah’s dad asked. Now that there was one million dollar question. Quite frankly, it’s a no-brainer – we couldn’t.

Think.
Nobody is getting a salary raise anytime soon. Not because employers will not want to, but because employers will not be able to. They have just seen overhead costs driven so high up and so quickly it is over their heads, so really, how can they?

Actually, one set of people will get a pay rise: the Government. They will cite the inflation, caused by the removal of fuel subsidy, as the reason why the N1billion budgeted to feed the President and Vice President will not suffice. They will put forward a figure, maybe N1.6billion. Now guess where the N.6billion will come from? I assure you it won’t be from the money earmarked to purchase bulletproof vehicles for His Excellency. Just think how much of the money we are ‘saving’ from fuel subsidy removal will be left when the Government finish marking up their budgeted expenses. My guess? Nearer ZERO.

“That’s why Labour has to go on strike!” Someone vehemently stated.
You think?
“This is the second day of fuel subsidy removal and what has the Labour Congress said about it? What have they done about it?” Silence. “And why do you think this is so? It is because they were caught napping!” Then I went ahead and made my case.
“They believed the Government when they said April 1st, and since everything in Nigeria is a get-rich scam for anybody with some sphere of influence, they were waiting for the festivities to be over before they will award, amongst themselves, contracts for printed material (shirts, banners, posters, face caps) and other protest items (megaphones, microphones, batteries and complementary items). With the subsidy removal coming three months early, they will need about a week to award these contracts and do the rush procurement and printing jobs.
“Again, what would be the focus of their strike? How have past strikes gone?” I stopped to catch my breath.
“In the past, Labour would purpose to embark on a week long strike, but it usually broke down by the third day because in a country where over 75% of the citizens depend on daily income, not a lot of people can stay away from their businesses longer than three days. Three days within which a deal would be struck between both parties; a deal demanding for the masses to make sacrifice if they want the government to relent. So Labour gives a little and the Government gives even less while telling us they have given more. We pack up and go, happy.”

At some point I finally refuelled my generator, turned it on and went inside to mull over what we had just discussed.

On Tuesday there were protest marches staged across the nation, and I applauded the initiative and courage of those who went out to participate. All I saw all over twitter was #OccupyNigeria and it got me thinking again. So there’s the #Occupy movement in the U.S, and knowing our penchant for ‘copy and paste’ without considering the thought process that birthed some of these ideologies, I wondered if our #Occupy movement will be as disorganised and ineffective as the Wall Street version.

On Wednesday I read in the papers that NLC had issued a warning to the Government that a strike action will commence on the 9th and again I wondered :
1, Do you warn someone of retaliation before they slap you? Or do you wait till after the slap has landed and your eyes have watered?
2, Why the 9th? What happened to the 2nd or 3rd (if my deductions as to motive were wrong)?

I am not against protest marches, or when it comes to that, strike action. All I am saying is that we should think.
Let us think of what we want answered; Who we want to direct this at; When we want it answered; How we want to present our case, and through whom.
For me, the one million dollar question is: if Government want us to make sacrifices, what sacrifices will THEY be making?

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Part Two comes up tomorrow…