By Faith Berewa

It was TD Jakes, American Pastor, Author, Film Maker, Influencer, Entrepreneur who once stated in his sermon, that a man whose wife is experiencing labour pains should not tell her “I feel your pain”. “I understand what you are going through” Because he doesn’t, he can never know. He cannot go through the pain caused by contractions of the muscles of the uterus and pressure on the cervix as the baby forces its way through the birth canal, agonizing birth pains only the woman knows and understand. So, when President Tinubu told Nigerians “I feel your pain”, and, “….. I understand the hardship you face…”, No, the president doesn’t feel our pain, he doesn’t understand. The pain that is so raw, deep, excruciating, beyond measure. The agony of parents seeing their children go to bed without food, not knowing where the meal in the morning will come from.

Political office holders do not feel the pains Nigerians are experiencing, they just don’t get it. The Nigerian State caters for them, feeds their wasteful life style with resources meant for all. That is why for instance, they’ll allocate themselves vehicles and without conscience justify it with arrogance and cockiness, the cost of which is enough to transform the lives of poor deprived children in their constituencies.

Nigerians are wondering how they would survive this economic madness brought upon the country by the political elite, who, in the name of democracy has ruined the country and subjected Nigerians to anguish and despair and misery…panting for survival. In the words of a friend from a West African country, “how can a people so ingenious be subjected to such sub- human conditions? How can a people so resourceful be going through such nasty experience?”. Corruption and greed by those who were and are supposed to manage the country’s wealth and ensure all citizens are catered for, has brought the country to its knees making Nigerians live destitute in their homeland. “How do we survive?” has become the mutter under the breath of the people. The lamentations are deep.
A viral video of people shouting at the president’s motorcade in Lagos “we are hungry” captures it all.

Our leaders are noticing the anger and frustrations of citizens, although their “concern” is suspect. They may not want to admit it, they are getting jittery. Citizens are getting restive over the biting inflation and the attendant sufferings and are taking to the streets and social media to voice their anger. Pockets of protests against high inflation, hunger, insecurity and general malady of the Nigerian State is unnerving the government. A hungry man is an angry man. After all Bread has been responsible for the fall of many a Ruler. The French Revolution began July 14, 1789, when the Bastille, the medieval prison fortress in Paris was stormed by those angry with king Louis XVI over the scarcity of grains to make bread. Against the backdrop of simmering anger, the monarchy was toppled. The 2019 civil unrest that led to the ouster of Sudanese strongman Omar al- Bashir was initially known as the Bread Revolution. There was the Bread Riots in the Southern United States in 1863 where “hungry men and women invaded and looted shops”
The Egyptian Bread Riots known as the “Bread Intifada” in 1977 manifested itself again decades later. Writing in Ahram online, Karim Hafez, an analyst stated “at the beginning of the revolution that saw the end of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, thousands shouted ‘bread’ across Egypt, highlighting the economic nature of the Arab Spring uprising. The chants represented the people’s aspirations for a fairer economic system, protesting high inflation rates, low wages and the unavailability of daily rations…”

I am in no way presupposing a revolution in our country, neither do I believe that the average Nigerian has the appetite to storm our streets days or weeks on end on empty stomachs.
However, the deep and vocal discontent in the land is echoing through the corridors of power across the country and typical with the usual knee-jerk approach to critical issues, the 36 State Governors and the FCT Minister were herded to Abuja for a crunch meeting with the President to proffer solutions. And the solutions? More policing, mulling of State Police, increase food production, security agencies to monitor warehouses against hoarding food items, setting up schemes to support food production, ‘discourage all forms of rent seeking associated with food importation’. Whatever that means.

At the meeting with the governors, a key line was “we shall not import food, we can feed ourselves’ Sure, we all know that. Is government walking the talk? Mr. President sir., we import food because we do not produce enough to feed a growing population. Not because we cannot. Agriculture that ought to be harnessed for our development has been neglected over the decades. Diversification of our economy has been mere talk. We are dependent on oil proceeds which has been stolen and grossly mismanaged.

The President with the support of his backers have been strenuously trying not own the economic adversity Nigerians are going through, putting the blame squarely on his predecessor. True, while the immediate past administration was characterized by chronic corruption, ineptitude, incompetence, nepotism, fraud, it is important to remind the president that because of political exigency he and others kept mum while the former president and his team were sending Nigeria to the gallows. Simply put, because of “emilokan”, he played safe for personal ambition, so he must own the rot bequeathed to him by his predecessor. Secondly, he multiplied the rot while making his grand entrance into the national governance sphere with his flagship economic policy. With the words hardly out of his mouth, his pronouncement on the removal of petroleum subsidy sparked a ripple effect that has made sufferings Nigerians endured during the administration of Buhari a child’s play. It’s no laughing matter.

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