The Oasis Reporters
October 7, 2019
Ever tasted locally produced rice, like ofada and Abakaliki rice produced in Nigeria ?
It’s like none other, you know. Nigerians love rice in all shades and hues. Many can eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with just about any sauce, for 365 days a year. You can take that to the bank.
And now, the Nigerian government says we must come back to basics in support and encouragement of our local produce.
Good and laudable idea, excellent proposition if you may ask.
But the question is, what measures are in place to cushion this shock and rude awakening?
Do we produce enough of these various local brands of rice to meet the excessive needs of Nigerians, whose main and staple food is rice ?
What palliative measures have the government put in place for local rice farmers?
This idea of just waking up one morning and throwing things at the people is the main bane of this government.
The idea is good but the methodology is absolutely flawed ab initio.
Now, consider this: Ever since Mr. Biggs, the UAC Conglomerate’s fast food subsidiary and other eateries started selling Ofada rice, the price shot through the roof and it’s still hanging there!
Ofada rice has become unaffordable to the so-called poor who initially were the main consumers.
Ofada rice, is by far more expensive than the funny imported carbohydrates laden rice that Nigerians so love to consume.
Why should local produce be more expensive than imported and foreign produce?
Did this government and her policy makers even looked into this before jumping into this sinking ship?
This measure should have been introduced gently and subtly, in stages and people are given the opportunity to also adjust.
Local chicken is more expensive than the imported one called ‘orobo’ or whatever else.
I want to ask, does the government strongly believe these imported goods have stopped coming into Nigeria since the so-called borders were closed?
No! It’s business as usual, the only difference is that, we now have multibillionaire customs and immigration officers, who collect bribes and allow importers to use the alternative illegal routes to bring in contraband goods.
Are we not Nigerians again? We would find a way and make one where there is none.
We roll like that.
And on Sundays and Fridays, we troop to our individual worship places to offer thanksgiving for business breakthroughs.
It is unfortunate that, at the end of it all, it’s the poor consumers who would suffer.
No matter the condition, they would adjust to the new increased prices and life would go on. Just like that.
Nigerians body clocks and sense of reasoning have been thrown out of kilter because of excess suffering.
We are so malleable and so easily adjustable to any stringent measures and conditions without complaining.
Oh! Nigerians, the indomitable spirits which are innate in you are none to compare.
In another clime, this situation alone would cause a revolt that could call for a reboot of a Nation.
We shall overcome, come what may.
We are Nigerians and we roll like that.
Written by Portia Emilia Anthony.
Portia Emilia Anthony is a lawyer, businesswoman, Public Affairs Commentator and a rights advocate.