I woke up on Easter Sunday morning thinking of what to do, considering that the Easter Vigil Mass I had attended on Saturday night was very rich in its mysteries that it never ended until around 11pm; this was a celebration that began around 7pm. Anyway, the Lord has risen, for those who believe in Christianity; Happy Easter.
Why pondering on what to do, as usual, I went online to my favourite forum group (Talkafrica) and was engaging other humans on some of the issues and events that had taken place in the country in the past 10 days. One of such key incidents is the emergence of APC presidential election candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, as the president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. While so many people have been sending congratulatory messages to him, it may seem that the historical act portrayed by incumbent president Jonathan may have overshadowed his losing out.
All of a sudden, everywhere is calm, particularly in the south; though I like to ignore the fact that ex-militants may be in to perpetuating evil again, having declared that they may return to the creeks. We have also heard of possible terrorists action in parts of the north. All these seem to me that they may just been enjoying the few days of action in this present administration because things are definitely going to change in the next administration. This brings me to the topic of this article: the effect of the Buhari administration on Nigerians.
There are loads of information on how Buhari administration will affect Nigerians as a whole, but I will like to look at the effect of all these good life that Nigerians are looking forward to. Just a day after he was declared president-elect, the exchange rate that rose to as high as N230 to $1 fell to N210, the stock market also began to appreciate as well with investors having confidence to put money in the Nigeria Stock Exchange. So many Nigerians are also expectant that the price of fuel will drop to as low as N30 per litre with the price of commodity dropping as well.
But, all these sudden change in the positive well being of Nigerians and general outlook of the country should call for concern. If fuel drops to as low as N30 per litre, it means even the common man can afford 10 litres of fuel for just N300. It means Nigerians will be empowered to put on their generating sets without feeling the economic crunch on their bargaining powers. It also means that the average man will enjoy the once exclusive domains of the well-to-do. Nobody should get me wrong: I am not against rapid development and changes of the living conditions of Nigerians, but I am concerned if Nigerians can really brace up to embrace them.
I foresee a situation where there will be abuse of economic resources at the disposal of the ordinary common man. There is a saying: give a man who has been hungry and see him eat himself to excess and get drunk. Nigerians have always been known to survive even in the most terrible conditions, but how can the lot embrace what they have not been opportune to in their lives?
Imagine the naira rising strong against the dollar to N100 or even N50 as few people have speculated, it mean more purchasing power for the ordinary Nigerians; it equally means that what people cannot easily afford in the past can now be bought. It means the price of goods and services may fall down tremendously. Let us take for instance the price of any gadget being sold for $200, it means one can easily place an order for it online by either paying N10,000 or N20,000 depending on whether it the naira strengthens to either N50 or N100 to the dollar.
Most Nigerians have never experienced this kind of life and it must surely lead to abuse of resources. Then Nigerians may become associated with sicknesses commonly found in western world: boredom, obesity, diabetes, etc. With the change in fortune of Nigerians, one wonders whether the culture of savings will persist or it will be just about spending and spending.
With Nigerians being able to easily afford any goods, the rate of those purchasing cars will rise up: this will also lead to increase in the rate of traffic on most commercial cities in the country. With the rise in traffic comes the need to expand roads throughout the country.
Another dimension to Buhari administration is that with the increase in living condition of the average person, the rate of Nigeria being identified as a religious nation will dwindle. Look around you, especially those in the southern Nigeria, most of the churches operating today will be closed down. This administration will also enable everyone to know and decipher the real Christians.
By and large, it is good to celebrate and rejoice in the coming of Buhari into the helm of affairs in Nigeria, but let us remind ourselves that the more development stride Nigeria records as nation, the more we alienate the Africanness in us towards a self-individualistic western way of life. Democracy, as a system of government, is alien to Africa and the more we yearn for the true dividend of democracy the more out thinking mentality change.
Finally, whichever side you are on, always remember: we will be faced with fresh sets of worries and anxieties and issues pertaining to poverty, when discussed in few years time, may just be alien to us; Nigerians, as we all know, never remember history and are nonchalant in historical realities of the past.
Avwenagha Edesiri is a Philosopher, Psychologist, and a political consultant to major political parties in Nigeria.