Monday, 12 January 2015

May your road be rough this year

The late Dr. Tai Solarin laconically explained in his article published in Daily Times Newspaper of January 1st, 1964 that this wish not was a curse.
So like he said, I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year.
I know in this age of excessive religiousity climaxing in the ruthless binding and loosing of the devil, this may come across as unintelligible, but may your road be rough.
The son of fisherman from Otueke hinted of that which is to come when he told his kinsmen on the eve of the New Year “everywhere will be hot from January 2”.
Sometimes I do not understand the proclivity of Nigerians to invent bogeymen or call down storms and then cry when the storms soak them.
The computer language says garbage in garbage out so Nigeria will reap this year from the past actions (or inactions) of the Jonathan administration.
The sliding oil price will push government to the edge. In desperate revenue drive, they will use every trick in the book.
To be sure, Nigeria might be getting only half of the revenue it derived from oil last year this year.
Anyone who thinks oil prices will rebound deludes himself.
By the end of last week, there has been a 57 percent drop in the price of Nigeria’s grade of crude oil. The price slipped below $50 a barrel as U.S. producers and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) remain in a standoff over market share.
Meanwhile, production from Russia and Iraq last month reached the highest level in decades. There is a glut in the market and from elementary economics, we learn that the higher the supply, the lower the price.
Buyers are becoming fewer by the day. China is taking advantage of the low price to stockpile while the U.S. is cutting down on its own hydrocarbon import. That country’s output reached a record 9.14 million a day in December. Obama and his people have since stopped buying oil from Nigeria and will be exporting soon.
To make up for the increasingly declining oil income, government has fallen back on the nation’s external reserve. Consequently, the reserve has undergone an exceptional diminution. The turgidity of Okonjo Iweala’s suppositions sounds the alarm bell in my head.
The foreign reserves which grew to over $60 billion during the administration of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Aduais today standing at $34.5 billion while the excess crude account has equally depleted to a mere $3.1 billion from a level of  $9.43 billion.
All of these can only mean one thing; pressure on the naira. Now you need N195 to buy a dollar. Nigerians consequently have lost about 15 percent of their wealth in three months. You think you’re rich? Do your calculation again brother.
For an import dependent nation like ours, pressure on the local currency auguries higher prices of goods and services.
And the general election is fast approaching. It is un-Nigerian for an incumbent to lose thus no resource will be spared in returning he who has so astonishingly transformed our lives. But after the election, how will they run this big government and sustain their grandiose lifestyle?
It is one of two options; go cap in hand to the IMF or extract as much as possible from the penurious citizenry. It is clear they will settle for the latter option.
Seriously, I am now compelled to enquire about the kind of education our leaders had that did not elevate their thinking above oil. Since 1960?
Jonathan, ettu? Since 2010?
You may have heard that a pilot is not rated by his certificates or his great looks. He is rated by how long he stays in the air. A sailor is also not judged during smooth sails. The best of sailors are determined by the storms they have overcome.
As you strive to navigate the rough terrain this year, may you always have walls for the winds; a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire; laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all your heart might desire.
More of my favourite Irish prayers:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand,
May you always have work for your hands to do,
May your pockets hold always a coin or two,
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane,
May the hand of a friend always be near you,

And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

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