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Travails Of A Common Man


My name is common man and I live in Nigeria. I don’t think I have common sense. If I did, I wouldn’t be in this mess I am in right now. I was once blessed with the divine spirit of goodluck but like a biblical fool, I traded it for mirage. Now I am chasing the wind.

The carrot of change was dangled in-front of me and like a donkey I followed. I strayed from my fertile land and woke up in the desert. To my chagrin, I was lost and I couldn’t return to my humble home. I knew I was going to be in trouble for a long time. Once again, my name is common man and I deserve common sense to get back home.

If you can feel the pain and regret in the words of the common man then you too deserve to be given common sense. Welcome to Nigeria!

I always say all fingers are not equal. Even if the fingers are moulded into a fist, the inequality is still evident. As at last week, a litre of fuel was being sold at three hundred naira in filling stations across the nation. Some even went up a notch by selling a litre at three hundred and fifty naira. The black market was a no go area. While some Nigerians complained about the exorbitant price of the precious liquid others shrugged their shoulders. It was so bad that neighbourhoods occupied by the common men that became noisy at night all thanks to their “tuke-tuke” generators suddenly became graveyards. It was obvious they had resigned themselves to the hopeless fate and bleak future. Those of them blessed with “third hand cars” had long parked the death boxes and had resorted to trekking. Of course, the price of transportation soared.

In the midst of the frustration, I saw exotic cars with tinted windows wound up. Uh-huh. The airconditioners, I believe, were in full blast chilling the occupants.

Everything is stagnant right now for the common man. No food, light, water, fuel or fun. Banking halls are empty (of course it is only the common man who queues up to withdraw at the counter), shopping malls, low clubs, local bars, fast food joints and restaurants are all empty. Even “mama and papa puts”, the last hope of the common man is getting difficult to afford. A commoner can’t even get a full meal worth a hundred naira without having connections. You are either a regular face or you “held shares” in the long list of diners wooing the owner’s daughter.

The common man knows he is all alone in this cold country. He has since given up hope on the government and their incessant tirades.

Last week, the chairman of the common men union of Nigeria travelled from Portharcourt to Enugu by road. He paid a whopping sum of three thousand two hundred naira. He endured. Palmwine had to be drunk that weekend. He went to board a bus on his return journey and to his astonishment the price had swollen to four thousand five hundred. He nearly collapsed. He was lucky he hadn’t bought that extra keg when his friends jeered him.

All I am saying is that they (APC) don’t really care about us. So, I have realised that no matter how we scream, use hash tags in our tweets, post eye hurting truths on our facebook walls and blogs, things will be far from better. Instead of murmuring and complaining, let us join hands in fellowship and pray that something worthy emanates from these trips the President has been embarking on. If his trips yield good fruits, we will be nourished. If he fails then the prophecies of the wailing wailers will come to pass.

I think the President is only eager to inhale fresh air in faraway climes since the “fresh air” blown by the “goodluckers” has gotten the country stale. I won’t be surprised if fresh air starts being imported. I trust my Igbo brothers to take over the business once it is approved.

Meanwhile let us hope the President jets back from China with not just the two billion dollars but also with enough Chinese common sense to salvage his “beloved” country.

Have a lovely weekend!

Nwafor Emmanuel, is a lawyer, creative writer and poet, and tweets from @eyesiclenwafor. He lives in Port Harcourt.

Also by Nwafor Emmanuel: Nigeria – Divided We Stand

Views expressed are only those of the authors.

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