Not poor not privileged
Dour and disadvantaged
A working class oppressed
Oppressed yet not distressed
Men I m hard-pressed
To find the right words to express
The feeling of distress
The masses are really stressed
Today, I want to report a murder to the police station of the Internets. The crime was a crime of passion. The crime started when the assailant married the victim about 51 years ago. The marriage like all marriages had so much promise in the beginning. There were some initial skirmishes but the marriage held its ground. Unfortunately over time, the marriage turned into a hostage situation. The assailant tortured the victim for years and has now killed the victim in Cold blood. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the assassination of the Nigerian Middle Class.
I know that some will argue that the country doesn’t have a middle class or that the middle class is a very small proportion of the population. I m not here to argue that. I do think we could argue that once upon a time somewhere between independence and today there was a middle class. Whether or not there is a middle class by international standards, there is a working class. A group of people who have jobs or own businesses and are able to feed themselves. These group of people are under threat. I m not going to be a prophet of doom and say more today than ever. I would rather say, it has been a geometric progression of torture targeted at the hard working people of this nation. Assaulted from all sides, whether its by sickness, rising prices of commodities, falling value of their currency, road accidents, corruption, crime, poor power supply, insecurity and all round lawlessness.
One might even argue that there is a serious conspiracy to to kill off the middle class. The middle and working class are the people who are literate, who have some form of education. They are the ones who are the backbone of bureaucracy both in the private and public spheres of business. These are the people who are struggling to make the best of the education system before them. They have school fees to pay, mothers and fathers in the village to take care of, extended families who keep bothering them for money because they live in the city. These are the people that are in traffic with you everyday in the city. These are people who if they collectively decide to rebel against the system can topple any government of the day. They are the educated people that lead the masses to revolution. The learned Lenin in a sea of poor disgruntled masses who guide the anger of the masses to start a revolution. This is why there might be conspiracy to keep these people down. Wreck the hope of a Nigerian dream, I say Nigerian dream because the dream of any country can only be viewed through the eyes of its middle class. The Nigerian dream seems to be to make the middle class impoverished and watch as they struggle amongst themselves and rush to the upper class and government big wigs for contracts and patronage thereby helping to keep these people in power.
I m not going to argue the pros/cons of removing fuel subsidy but as an avid conspiracy theorist especially on Nigerian matters I will say this, the money from subsidy will most likely go to fund the behemoth and colossus known as the PDP. A group of people that have shown themselves bereft of any human sympathy in formulating policies. People are dying from violence and you think of prostitution bill so that you Mr Big Senator with the big pot belly will continue to drive around the streets of Abuja and steal young men’s girlfriends brazenly in the daytime (not that this doesn’t already happen).
Granted, I hear removing subsidy makes some form of economic sense but is not there a way to cushion the effect on the people. If austerity is the way to go, I would like to see some leaders give up sizable chunks of their allowances and security votes to make this happen. This coupled with a currency that is going to hell makes it almost a certainty that the prices of commodities shall rise and of course I doubt that the salaries or earning power of the people will rise commensurately to the rise in price making the average Nigerian poorer for it. In the midst of this, the extra money from the removal of fuel subsidies will be secretly funneled to people’s account and of course we wont hear about it until years later. Have you ever wondered if when someone is caught with stolen money in Nigeria, EFCC doesn’t calculate the interest the money accrued in the account? Because if you stole a billion naira and over the years it accrued an interest of 100 million, the Nigerian people want the interest too.
If you think I m overreacting listen to my layman’s reasoning, lets look at agriculture. A lot of food is grown up north and transported to southern cities such as Lagos by road. Increase fuel prices and transport costs go up, People who distribute food stuff will be forced to increase food prices and in an unregulated market it might even rise to as high as 50 percent above what it was previously. The Nigerian economy runs on fuel, increase fuel prices and the cost of business will skyrocket because the businessmen and women must buy fuel for the generators. In fact eh, like Chris Rock once joked people will start sleeping with each other for fuel.
I m sure many people have talked the death out of this issue and I m late cos I started this but was so busy and couldn’t finish for the past 2 weeks. Seriously, the little middle class that Nigeria has is about to go up in smoke. Mr President and leaders, do something about this. This is not the fresh air you promised us. In fact, you are prime suspect in this murder investigation. Maybe if you give me a little bribe I will blame this on colonialism. This one don pass my power o, This might be a job for Sherlock Holmes (babalawao/spiritual konji version).
Is there hope for the middle class? Is this end? Or is it? Will the Middle Class make it? Is there any solution in sight? Will there be more churches and mosques and fighting once the middle class become poorer? Stay tuned for part 2 (In the next 50 years…)
because half the stuff Fela sang about are still happening and…
2010 don pass o and light still no dey. We don almost add 2011 on top sef.