Dear President Buhari,
I do not know much about politics and though I enjoyed economics as a course in school and even excelled at it, it wasn’t enough to prepare me for real life economics.
On this note, I am hoping you will understand if my words seem ignorant or if I ask any question you consider dumb. I will simply speak from my heart here.
I do not know how to run a country either, but i know i do not need that to notice what stares me in the face daily – the immense suffering your people are experiencing.
The start of our day till the end, even our dreams, is marred by hardships and I know I speak the mind of the majority when I say this: We are tired.
I am tired of the traffic induced by unbelievably long fuel queues. Of moments wasted waiting for a bus because most of the buses are on queues waiting for fuel. Of having to struggle for entrance with the now teeming crowd when a bus finally arrives and having my clothes or skin torn in the scuttle.
I am a young woman and it is public knowledge how vain we can get. The legs I used to call spotless is now marked with scars sustained while trying to alight from buses still in motion, whose drivers wouldn’t stop because the task force officials will arrest them and demand huge sums as payment, even when it is a bus stop. But that is not an issue. Wounds heal. It’s nothing compared to the lives lost in the North – a plague you promised would be past once you are president.
I am tired of paying three times the bus fare due to all the above while still earning the same salary. Of getting to work looking too tired and hassled to do any meaningful work.
But this may not concern you. After all it doesn’t affect you directly, but here is what does.
Plenty citizens making up the work force spend a lot of time in traffic, on fuel queues or at bus stops, time that would have been spent working and generating ideas. I know enough of economics to understand that this stifles the economy.
And after we’ve gone through these to get to work, we still can’t work because there is no electricity and no fuel to power the generator, so we work a little and when our computers go off, spend the rest of the hours fanning ourselves and discussing how bleak the future of our country is or what other alternatives to make money.
Unfortunately,even those who have gone the alternative route to fend for themselves aren’t better of.
I know you are too busy to listen to stories, so I’ll make this brief. There’s this cyber café close to my house where I go to work when there is no electricity and all my electronic devices are down. This café was always filled with people like me; young, educated, ambitious hustlers. That cyber café was like our government because it provided what our government should but wouldn’t – electricity and an avenue for young people to develop themselves.
You notice I speak in the past tense, that is because a while back there was a fault with the transformer in my neighbourhood. For four months we had no electricity. As can be expected this café was brimming with youths who thronged there like it was the Mecca of our careers. Then the fuel crises began and at first the proprietor could afford to buy at the exorbitant price. We all just had to pay extra for Time, but it was OK, as long as we could work. Then he couldn’t even see fuel to buy due to the queue.
Soon our place of refuge became a dark brooding place where we all just went to sit in the heat, intermittently calling the proprietor’s line to know if he’s been able to buy fuel.
Recently I went to the café to discover that it now belongs to a different business. The owner of the café couldn’t handle paying rent only to open a business that couldn’t run.
I am sad, not just because this our place doesn’t exist anymore, but also because the owner is a newly married man whose wife is expecting. Who knows what he will go into now? What options does he have? Internet fraud maybe. And who will blame a father-to-be for doing what he can to support his family.
If it is hard for I, who have a job and consider myself of the lower middle class, I wonder what it will be like for the lower class. I wonder how many hospitals have lost patients because of lack of electricity, how many drivers have gone home with barely enough to feed their families after the touts (agberos) and policemen have taken their cut. Yes, they still take bribe, these policemen, nothing less than one hundred Naira. It is common knowledge, but please don’t ask me for proof. I am not dare-devil enough to bring out my phone to tape them while they are at it.
I am tired of a lot of things. I wouldn’t even complain about the price of things in the market and the fact that I now claim to love hairy legs because my shaving cream is now three times the price, thanks to our weak Naira. No, I won’t complain of such which is as frivolous as that Frivolous Petition Bill. I’ll keep that to myself.
What I cannot keep to myself though is the fact that you have mastered the art of silence. I was thinking it must be because i do not have electricity to watch the news that’s why I do not hear anything from you, but I’ve checked the blogs and it’s the same – absolute silence. I agree, silence is golden, but what’s a relationship without communication?
I am tired of Nigeria as it is and need to hear from you, not from your Special Adviser, what you have done so far to give us the change you promised and your plans going forward. I need to know that things won’t continue this way for much longer.
I do not expect you to solve all the problems of Nigeria, please just solve the problem of power supply and I’m sure other things will fall into place. Then fuel queue will be less because we don’t need fuel to power our generators. Traffic jam will also reduce because people can work from home and our roads will be freer once there are no cars queuing by the side for fuel.
I understand not all of these are your job, but you are the head and have the power to influence your subordinates. If things aren’t going right it is the head who will be held responsible. Please become responsible for us. Your people are suffering in a way you will never understand.
Written to you from a bus in tight traffic, with an uncharged phone that is blinking a warning sign, about to go off.