‘Happy Independence Day!’
Nigeria clocked a solid 60 years since it gained independence from colonial rule on Thursday, 1st of October 2020. It was only right that the Head of State, President Muhammadu Buhari shared a few words to his constituency. However, not many people were having it. In fact, his speech incited major backlash and spurred angry hashtags on social media such as #Nigeria60and useless.
What exactly did he say that made people furious?
Buhari had said, “Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point; Chad which is an oil-producing country charges N362 per litre. Niger, also an oil-producing country sells 1 litre at N346.In Ghana, another oil-producing country, the petroleum pump price is N326 per litre. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia”.
These statements alluded that Nigerians should not complain about the current fuel prices because it was only ‘fair.’ The President had also urged Nigerians, in a motivational expression, to follow his lead and work together to enable a strong nation.
While on the surface, all that was said rings true, the President forgot to mention important intervening factors. For instance, the minimum wage in the countries he compared the nation to is much higher than that of Nigeria. We do not have the spending power to carry the increasing prices of – almost everything in the country.
The President also didn’t take time to address major issues of insecurity in Nigeria and how they affect the nation’s “togetherness” and inspire patriotism or is it nationalism sef? It is very understandable that Nigerians are upset such that instead of looking at how far we’ve come at this major time mark, many are wailing at how far we’ve regressed.
All go dey alright las las.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks