Northern youths as Solomon’s heirs apparent
Sir: I woke up the other day to the news that certain youths from the northern side of the country are allegedly blocking food trucks from ferrying goods down south. It juxtaposed well with all the other strange happenstances taking place in the country, immediately serving as mnemonic to the story about the ‘nigger’ Jim and Huckleberry Finn in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
As it concerns the blockage of food convoys, there cannot be much to unsay. After all, as we learned in O’Level economics back then, trade is controlled by demand and supply. Taken down to its brass tacks, farmers only toil in the field because they know there are hungry mouths out there. Likewise traders: they only stock goods they know their customers are in dire need of.
From the above scenarios it can be surmised that any break in the link blows neither side no good. Thus the need to reiterate that the farmers and traders above are not doing their respective customers a favour. A trader who stocks goods must of needs pray that buyers do come along to buy them up ASAP. That way he’ll be assured of a quick turnaround so that he can restock and make more profit, given the high cost of capital in this day and age.
This is even direr when the object of trade is perishable like a foodstuff. Food convoys, depending on the item, run on borrowed time. For some, any slight delay immediately translates to the items perishing, translating to incalculable loss. Even assuming the goods must have been paid for by southerners, where will they make the money for future orders? And what if payments are made on the spot as the goods arrive?
What this means is that those behind these diversions and blockages are only erring on the side of reason. They must indeed be those idle and lazy youth of whom our amiable president once had reason to castigate upon some time past. The goods being ferried apart, have they thought of the value chain involved in the transit? What if the drivers of the vehicles? Are they all from the south? Where will they find employment opportunities when the cast die stabilizes and there are no goods to transit?
What of the transport workers and owners? Will they have any alternative means of livelihood at the ready? Save, of course, they’ll join those already in the bush. I wonder.
And it doesn’t stop there. There are the mechanics working on the vehicles. And hawkers of wares and passion ever at the service of these road warriors.
Need we talk of the umpteen security agents as well as touts surviving on the endless money collectible from the vehicles as they ply the road?
In the long run, it must be stated that there must be a limit to this madness. I don’t want to talk about the outcome of possible reciprocity by southern youths. That would amount to fanning the embers of a fire that has the capacity to burn the nation down.
The time has thus come for concerned patriots on either side of the divide to leave their fences. Like the singer and songwriter Sting sang in one of his compositions, ideology apart, there is biology, and only through symbiosis can we make ends meet. More so in a multi-blessed nation like Nigeria.
Isidore Emeka Uzoatu, is the editor of the personal finance webzine nairaweb.ng