A HASTY glance at the dictionary today, gave the meaning of an enterprise as a project or undertaking, especially a bold or complex one. This means, it would take a lot of courage, for anyone to venture into the endeavor of any complex errand, I suppose. And my mind quickly rushed with the feelings of pity, for our President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, because of the herculean task ahead of him, pursuant to the difficult promise he made to Nigerians, who accepted to send him on a thankless errand. Yes, thankless. Leadership in Nigeria is a thankless task, that is both difficult and unpleasant, but never appreciated by the people.
Sometimes early last year, shortly after he was declared the winner of the presidential poll, and while answering the title of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, assured Nigerians that he would be the chief servant and serve Nigeria with all his strength. “I will serve you; be your servant and not your leader. I will work with you and make Nigeria a great country. Tinubu made the promise at the Presidential campaign office of the APC, in Abuja.
On the day of his inauguration, right at the podium where he took the oath of office, President Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy, in what some believe to be the beginning of the excruciating pain that has since visited Nigeria. Since that day, the price of everything in Nigeria commenced climbing the ladder of excessive exorbitance. The yell of the poor in particular, has become a constant in reverberation and resonation. Everywhere in the country, the cry is that of hardship, because Nigerians are experiencing the excruciation of errand in the endeavor of an enterprise.
Even the rich is not exempted. Indeed the situation is harsh for everyone, including the perceived well to do. An unconfirmed cliché is circulating in the social media, attributed to Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the man that is rated on the Forbes Daily billionaires ranking platform, to be worth almost $10b, but reportedly crying of hardship. The cliché in Hausa, reads: “Nafi yan Nigeria shan wahalar tsadar rayuwa”. The literal meaning of the phrase is that, Dangote is more pained by the economic hardship in Nigeria than all Nigerians. So in experiencing the excruciation of errand in the endeavor of an enterprise, the richest man in Africa is confirming the old saying that, wealth and success do not necessarily equate to happiness. But like I said, I have not confirmed the authenticity of the cliché, I only saw it on the social media.
Recent reports have it that people are increasingly protesting in various cities of the country, for reasons that have to do with hardship, a situation that is pushing the President to contemplate opening the doors of the strategic grain reserve of the country, for immediate public consumption.
Without doubt, since the announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy, the anger of some Nigerians has graduated to anguish, despite the President’s sympathy over the pains that have accompanied the bold and inescapable decision. The President said and I quote: “I feel your pain. This is one decision we must bear to save our country from going under and take our resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements. Painfully, I have asked you, my compatriots, to sacrifice a little more for the survival of our country. For your trust and belief in us, I assure you that your sacrifice shall not be in vain”.
In one of such broadcasts, the President went philosophical, by borrowing from the popular American English proverb, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. While the President is pleading with the people to get rid of the syndrome of sarcasm and embrace the syndrome of sacrifice, it seems, a lot more needs to be done to make Nigerians appreciate the effect of experiencing the excruciation of errand in the endeavor of an enterprise.
In something that looks like attempting to heighten tension, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, have collectively issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government, over what they called, the failure of the President to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023, following the removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit known as petrol. According to them, that is the single reason responsible for the untold hardship in the country today.
If my memory is not rusty, I would paraphrase a quote from the Analyst magazine of yesteryears, accredited to the former Governor of former Kaduna state, late Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, thus: “We are living today in times of great changes. The old order is crumbling fast and new systems of life are emerging. Our task is to understand these changes and utilize them for Human progress”.
Yes, Nigeria is experiencing the excruciation of errand in the endeavor of an enterprise. But without a proper understanding of the Government’s sincerity and good intentions, detractors would only be moving from one goof to another.
Ibrahim is the director, publicity for the APC.