Open Letter to Mr President : “Things are Expensive” by Ismail

Permit me to start with this story;

In 1985, during the Buhari/ Idiagbon regime, there was a thing apart from the draconian law which the regime was popular for and that was the “ hard core disciplinarian” nature of the regime.

Although every military regime has this default feature but the Buhari/Idiagbon regime was much more than the others and was actually pro-people based except the draconian laws.

There were certain policies made by this regime and one of those policies which were structured towards instilling discipline into people was the price – control policy.

This issue which currently defrauding Nigeria currently was in the 1980s during the Buhari/Idiagbon regime was an issue which made life easier for Nigerians and here is how.

The regime was strict on the issue of price control. You could not change the price of your product at just a moment’s notice or the way traders of Nigeria today change the price of the product based on the excuse that the “foreign exchange market” is bad, Yet some of them have not seen a dollar before.

However, that is not the issue. Back to the story. During the Buhari/ Idiagbon’s regime, according to a reliable source who could be described as an “adult” at the time, “Things were never expensive” during this time.

Here’s a simple analogy of how the price control policy worked;

After the government has fixed a price, Government would send undercover agents called C.I.D to work undercover as traders and consumers, and if these agents found out that a trader was selling higher than the government’s fixed price. The shop of the seller will be closed and the next day every good in the shop will be set up for an auction by the government.

So with this policy things were never expensive, at least things we can’t boast of their prices today.

Now, this story, Mr President relates to you and is, in fact, a wonderful achievement but things have changed as you promised during your campaign in 2015. Is this change for better or for worse?

Now, let’s look at the issue of price control in the Nigeria of today and by that I mean during this your first civilian rule.

I would like to state a few real life accounts in today’s Nigeria;

First , on Sunday January  15th , 2017 , during the 13th anniversary of the late Gani Fawehinmi, the first wife of the late “successful” legal mind said “things in Nigeria are currently biting hard”, she then went ahead to mention the price of diesel and this generated a sympathetic cry from the masses who were the majority at the event.

She then mentioned the price of Kerosene, and this time almost everybody in the hall agreed even those who were not using Kerosene in their Homes.

A litre of Kerosene  in Nigeria today is sold at #300 and in the previous regime, permit me to say, the price was not even up to #200

Secondly, in the local market according to a trader as at Tuesday 18th January 2016, a bottle of palm oil which is not up to a litre is sold for #700, while before it was sold for #150 -#180.

Thirdly and lastly,  Justice Oputa’s son, Charly Boy is reported to have commenced a campaign “ Our mum don do” which means “ our foolishness is at it’s end” and I know you have the people ‘s interest at heart , but the question is , are we foolish or mumus to have voted for you in 2015?

I stated the first 2 examples based on the need to prioritise the problem and issue of price control which is one issue Nigerians agree on collectively ( no ethnic differences) There is a need to curb greedy Nigerians. Corruption is still a way of life and these examples are indications of how it has eaten into our Epiderms.

There is one fact I would like to state is that “ Nigerians are the one killing Nigerians” , the government is just aiding the process instead of kerbing it.

If you have the time , you could read 3 people running Nigeria.

Nigerians will continue to exploit Nigerians at every opportunity they get, this feature and character is not exclusive to any ethnic group.

You need to reduce the way Nigerians exploit each other and yet they would blame you( government ) for it and Justify it.

One of the argument of traders who increase the prices of their goods at this time is this;

For instance, if  a trader who sells palm oil was to state why he tripled the price of his product, he would say( I would use meat in this instance), the meat seller sells meat at an increased price, and when you askethe meat seller why he increased the price of the meat, he would say, the ram seller who sell the ram increased the price, and when you ask the ram seller why he increased the price of the ram, he would say the man who borrows him money to buy meat from the bureau the change, has increased his interest, and when you ask the bureau the change man , he would say, the foreign exchange market is affecting him, so is the recession.

Although I might not get the correct process , but this is the arguments put forward by the trader for increasing prices.

Fine argument, but at what rate should the increase be?

As I stated before, the rate at which traders increase the prices of their commodity or product is currently at Triple the price, whereas if the trader charges double the price for a commodity or a product, he will still get the money to buy the meat ( in this case) , but Nigeran traders and business persons want to eat their meat and still have enough money to buy another pound of meat and other things.

These traders are Selfish, and that is human nature which although cannot be changed but can be influenced or reduced.

Nigerians are complaining and the blame is on the government. Mr President Sir, there is a need to do something do something that will directly impact the lives of Nigerians. This policy of price control is a good example.

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You are the most powerful person in Nigeria and although some might not agree but yiu were voted by the popular majority.

I saw people after the Power Holding company refused to “ Hold electricity” as they normally do, went to viewing centers in droves to watch as the votes were being counted.

People dedicated their whole day to calculate , watch every procedding of the 2015 election.

People slept at polling booths , People stood under the Sun and the rain to make sure you were not rigged although some of the supporters of the incumbent also did the same , but the population that was for you  , the population that wanted change was obvious.

Nigerian really wanted you to win? How would you repay the loyalty and support? The #5000 monthly stipend is nothing. Check the simple problems that plague the policy.

Although people might bring up the argument that this is a democracy, you cannot enforce such policy on people but are you going to continue to leave Nigerians at the mercy of the selfish traders?

Sir, you are the most powerful individual in the whole country, if this one policy will make this traders call you selfish, let it be, but Nigerians would appreciate you for it, although traders and business persons would not like it. So the Question is, Between the Nigerian people and the traders, where does your loyalty lie?

Okay, let’s say you don’t want to be called a “tyrant”, you can organize a conference, call representatives from Universities( Students representing the youths), traders, and common Nigerians, Technocrats, political minds , Legal minds with great integrity and with your , MR President in attendance and discuss on the pro and cons of the issue.

If by the end of the conference, there is still no viable conclusion, you can organize a referendum, Let Nigerians decide what they want.

Also, you can campaign for the policy through Social media, I know many Nigerians if you ask them to support with proper information of what the policy is about, will certainly help you make it go viral.

                                                                                                                                                             Yours Faithfully                                                                                                                                                                   I.S.M

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