Ways to survive the present economic hardship
The economic challenges faced by Nigerians today contrast with the favourable clime enjoyed in the 80s.
In those days, life was good and prices of commodities very affordable; domestic animals would return home in the evenings swollen-bellied; there was access to food because herdsmen and bandits hadn’t been afflicted by demons, and farm produce happily waited to be harvested not by cows, but the planters. As if nature hadn’t been fair enough, diseases like cancer, ALS and hepatitis weren’t widely recorded. Above all, the Corruption Academy founded by Nigerian leaders hadn’t produced many graduates like we have today.
The hardship gathered momentum between 2015 and 2023 and exploded shortly after President Tinubu removed the controversial petroleum subsidy on July 2023. Since then a lot has gone belly up, with escalating cost of items driving the masses grumpy. Obviously, Satan, with sophisticated malware has hacked into Nigeria’s cyber space, bringing economic hardship to people. Fortunately, here are some survival tactics one can use in order to live.
Since the affordability of the price of petrol has become impossible, you should own a bicycle and go on Shanks’s pony, irrespective of the nature of your job. Carpooling is also OK. For those whose workplace is within riding and walking distance, such choice does your health big good. Don’t bike if you haven’t learnt cycling. Both the trekker (with soft shoes) and rider should have their protective and first-aid kits with them.
The textile industry is dead. Therefore, you should go for ‘okrika’ (second-hand clothes) and other like products in order to cut costs. Another survival strategy bothers on potable water, which is very important to life. Because the recent hike in the price (N350.00) of a bag of sachet water is an atrocity, you should boil your water in a large crucible, using firewood. After the water is cooled, filter it with a clean cloth.
Avoid companies fast food and ‘mama put’ joints, because your best restaurant is the kitchen you abandon in your house. Over-processed foods like those sold in Tantalizers and The Promise threaten your aging cells and drain your resources whilst ‘mama put’ impoverishes you in a subtle, harmless way.
The availability of farm produce, remember, is affected by the removal of subsidy. With this in mind, why not convert to a minifarm any piece of land in your house? Again, in time like this when the government has turned a deaf ear to the death rattle in the citizens’ throats, it’s wise you cut down on your daily expenses. If you love travelling a lot, you’ve got to clip your wings. For your car (not cars), do a half tank rather than a full. As a private car owner, try wearing another hat private car owner and commercial driver. To preserve your fuel, turn your ignition off when descending a slope.
Withdraw your children from those expensive private schools and get them enrolled in public ones. Avoid spending too much on your wedding and father/mother/in-law’s, etc. burial, and those after-work trips to the bars should be reduced. As a family man, install no washing machine in your house and visit no laundry when your hands aren’t amputated. The weeding and cleaning waiting in your house shouldn’t be given to a labourer, for it’s exercise that keeps one in good form.
See this: Being conscious of your electricity tariff. This requires you to switch off all electrical appliances before you go to bed and leave for work.
You can’t cheat nature. True as this assertion is, you can ‘cheat’ your barber sometimes. Allow your hair to grow well, say for a month before you visit a salon, if you’re not your own barber. Help your children cut their hair. If you live alone and don’t want visitors, all you need is a single plate, spoon, fork, chair and table in your house, as this plan saves you of unnecessary expenses.
Be economical with your cooking gas. To prepare egusi soup for instance, wash the pot and the ingredients. Then, add all the ingredients at once and allow to cook. Apply the same strategy to rice and beans after parboiling it. Eat rice or beans directly from the pot after it’s cooled. This saves you of wasting your soap. Very important, don’t waste or throw away food; visit the market late in the evening.
For those who don’t use cooking gas, this is for you: Construct your stove from an empty gallon or a paint can, and stuff it with sawdust whilst inserting a bottle in between to form a passage for fire. The nearness of a sawmill to your residence is an advantage. Because the early bird catches the worm, always be the first to arrive at a burial, wedding, etc. ceremony especially those of the upper classes in your society.
Diesel is more expensive than petrol nowadays; those lorries that dispose of septic tanks and sewage run on diesel. Ensure you reduce the number of times you bathe in a day. Pour into an open space the water used when you do the laundry. Don’t fill up the pit: the lower it is, the higher your savings.
In a high-tech world where almost everyone pays for the ‘air’time that’s given by God, do ensure you’re less addicted to your phone/laptop/TV by avoiding irresponsible data subscription. Quit Facebook if possible. Maintain good, personal hygiene and don’t fall sick. Avoid mosquito bites by having your doors/windows protected; this keeps malaria and its medical expenses at bay. Lastly, help those in needs financially/materially.
Chinua Achebe wrote, ‘Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he’s learned to fly without perching’. Poor Nigerians are hit by the subsidy removal and there seems to be no solution to their plight yet. However, the tactics highlighted in this article, if well adopted, will reduce the crime, death and prostitution rates in the country. The survival tactics may sound more queer than realistic, yet convey the urgency of the situation in Nigeria.
For President Tinubu to win plaudits, he’d first revive the refineries in Nigeria and establish modular ones even though these won’t make petrol cheaper and stop corruption. Will the refinery in Lekki and the ‘system’ in Nigeria allow the President to revamp the refineries in Onne, Warri and Kaduna and make petrol cheaper?
President Tinubu should ‘take back’ the funds stolen by the offices of the EFCC, Attorney General, Accountant General, NDDC; and reopen the allegations of sleaze levelled against other Nigerians. For the President to save the masses of further pains, he’s got to be genuinely committed to tackling critical infrastructure. He should evolve export-driven policies that will boost the economy, revive the ailing industries, attract private investors and create jobs.
To conclude, we maintain that whilst it’s necessary to pray that the ghost of Lord Lugard call Nigerian leaders to order, I firmly believe that Nigeria won’t get good leaders unless Jesus Christ and Allah, with more disciples, take over the Aso Rock Villa. Subsidy removal is the latest mare’s nest mesmerizing the country.
Sola wrote from Port Harcourt.
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