With all the grandstanding, old naira notes are to be recirculated again. As if the thoughtless and callous cash policy is a revelation from God through which must be obeyed unquestionably in both letter and spirit, Governor Emefiele, with full support of President Buhari, unleashed the greatest hardship on the greatest majority of Nigeria. They both keep saying no going back on it. The hardship, first of its kind in the history of Nigeria, does not discriminate between the rich and the poor. It is worse than COVID-19; some called it COVID-23. I will explain.
A senior colleague this morning, in a mutual lamentation on how the policy has negatively impacted on our entire existence, asserted the policy is worse than the eight month hardship that university teaching staff went through when our salaries were withheld. I agree with him. And I will explain.
I, going through the news headlines this morning, saw a headline that reads “Supreme Court shifts judgement delivery on cashless policy.” Impatient to read the story, I soliloquised: “Only God knows when the Supreme Court will pass its judgement on this disastrous policy.” Note, it isn’t that the policy is intrinsically wrong or bad; but it is probably designed with wicked intention and thus implemented wickedly.
I was still in the mosque after the Friday service when a friend—a legal practitioner—called. I thought he called to make jest of me as he does occasionally. For, I had begged him for money (cash) earlier in the morning. (Please don’t laugh at me, after all, COVID-23 has turned all of us to beggars). In the course of our conversation, he told me the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the masses—in favour of the validity of old notes till December. I retorted; “I read this morning that ruling on it has been shifted.” Then, he said it was shifted only for one hour after which the Court gave its verdict. Oh! I thought it was shifted till infinity. Glory be to God.
This cash-less, thought-less, heart-less, kind-less, fruit-less, focus-less, meaning-less, clue-less, vision-less, and mission-less policy (for, it could not achieve its mission) is dangerous than COVID-19 in Nigeria. Up till today, there are millions of Nigerians who believe COVID-19 is a rich man virus (they may be wrong). Every Nigerian believes that Emefielesomiasis is real and both the poor and the rich are prone to it and are affected by it. Imagine a rich man who has millions of naira in his bank account but has to go from house to house begging for one thousand naira note.
The policy encourages, (is ‘encourage’ even the right word?) It mandates miserliness, tightfistedness, selfishness, greediness, and meanness. You don’t give charity, with this policy, anymore. You give sparingly only if you are very generous. Not only money, while you don’t give out money, you do not also give what money can buy. Think of them. That is to say, you don’t give out anything for the fear of exhausting the little you have. People manage whatever they have as if we were in a state of war.
Generouspeople essentially became miserly within this period, not because they are tired of being generous but because the government wants everyone to be selfish. If the government is selfish, must the governed also be selfish? This is another political theory which needs further exploration.
The government, after dipping about one-hundred and thirty million (130, 000, 000) of its citizens into its Worldly Hell to suffer a multi-dimensional poverty, as if that is not enough, mopped currencies in circulation so that there will be no rope to cling unto or hope to hope for. We shall disgrace Emefiele and all those who are behind this policy. How do we disgrace them? We shall remain resilient. We shall remain hopeful in the face of hopelessness. We shall not despair. We shall sabotage their efforts to make us hopeless by being hopeful.
If those who have money cannot assess their money and are dying of hunger, can you, wait for a moment, to imagine what jobless Nigerians and street beggars are going through? Do you know the number of people who died because they could not be attended to in hospitals for not being able to access their money? What of those who died because they cannot buy drugs with their money which they owned but could not possess? This regime taught us that it is one thing to have money, it is another thing to possess the money you have. How many people died in the queue in banks? I don’t have the statistics, but it is ugly.
Under Emefiele and his benefactor, money is sold and bought. You buy your money with your money in order to get your basic needs. You buy and deliberately sell at loss as if under a spell. A neighbour of mine bought a basket of tomato which worth N2, 000 for N200. Not because he is selfish, he would have paid more for it willingly but that is the only cash left on him. The tomato seller was very eager to have a N200 note from a buyer who is willing to buy with cash rather than from a buyer who will transfer N2000 into his account—the exact worth of his tomato. He happily sells at a loss for the fear of a greater loss. He could not bear the sight of his tomato perishing under his watch. There are many similar examples.
I said earlier on that the policy’s negative impacts are felt by the university staff more than their eight month withheld salaries. During that inglorious eight months, you can shamefully or shamelessly run to family and friends and neighbours for help. Some were able to get some bank loans to survive the pulverising jackboots of Nigerian rulers.
This isn’t the case with this policy, you are paid salaries but the salaries are as useless as balance sheet figures in accounting textbooks. Account balances of Nigerians are mere figures which give no value—courtesy of Emefiele. Many businesses have collapsed as Nigerians count losses.
While we await the next hardship to be unleashed on us in the next three months left of this regime, we hope this court judgement will be obeyed. It is one thing to win a case in Nigerian court, it is another thing for a case to be won. If you understand the difference between active and passive voice, then you get the point! I earnestly pray to our Creator to ease our affairs. We are indeed in serious PAIN. May we never witness Emefiele in our life again.