HIGH COST OF LIVING IN AGBOR AND OTHER ATTENDANT UNDERLINED FACTOR
BY Chucks Dominic Morsi
For any rapid developing town or city anywhere, it comes with an attendant consequences and a price to pay. Especially for those towns which does not have strong economic base, suffer the most. And Agbor as it stands, falls within that category. However, in the recent times, ‘yahoo boys’ seem to have brought tremendous economic and social facelift to Ika Land. It is also important to say that, they came with the good, the bad and the ugly, making life in Agbor becoming unbearable. How do I mean?
Throwback to the 80’s and 90’s, life in Agbor was enviable and the sweetest. There were no worries about this or that. Everything was just fine. Those who left for the cities almost blamed themselves for their decisions after seen the hard life in the city. In those good old days in Agbor, insecurity challenges, money rituals like we have today, cost of rent, transportation and the common staple foods that ordinarily is locally produced here, today, has turned out to become gold. To the extent, common man can hardly afford them nowadays. It’s not funny! Practically, we understand the reality of today’s harsh economic situation going on the country. We equally understand the principles behind law of demand and supply. Even elasticity of demand, etc.
But in common sense, whatever we are experiencing today is more of man-made. So, it is by no means, a natural action. Fast-forward to early 2000, Agbor was relatively cheap though by then, during Obasanjo era in 1999-2003 fuel price was 35 Naira a liter. Then came in 2007 until 2010 before the demise of Musa Yar’dua, fuel pump price was just 45 Naira per liter. Goodluck Jonathan took over from 2011 to 2015 the price rose to 95 Naira which provoked public outcry. Then we had a listening government, compassionately, reduced the price to 87 naira. Buhari took over and caused a colossal damage to the economy. His eight years reign was marred by hunger, starvation and record high on bad economic management.
To make matter worse, fuel price moved from 87 naira to 145 naira, making life hard and miserable for less privileged Nigerians. With Buhari’s exit, Nigerians felt there was hope and would find solace with the new government of Ahmed Bola Tinubu. But that was not to be. He came with a shocker which up till now, Nigerians are yet to come to terms with the increase of fuel from the previous 145 to 535 naira. Bola why? Have Nigerians not suffered enough?
Now back to other reasons why Agbor has inherited suffering not just from government’s unfavorable policies, but with the emergence of the Yahoo boys who came and took over the economic space of Ika land, with particular reference to Agbor, again, the boys make us feel by creating a vague impression that money was cheap and easy to come by or perhaps, it is something anyone could easily pluck from a mango tree. With that illusion of falsehood, the idea of living a bogus life beyond what they can afford, crept in and went viral. Wasting money in clubs, going to the market and shops to buy at an outrageous prices became a habit and now, the situation is engulfing.
However, bogus lifestyle without a corresponding viable investment except for extravagant living, buying expensive cars and chasing everything under the skirt, will ultimately make you broke and dry. Noticeably, the spiral effect of all we see today among our generational youth population, in the near future could be a pathetic story to tell. The unabated expensive lifestyle was what the people saw, trust Agbor people, they began to take undue advantage of not asking where are these boys getting money from, provided the market women and landlords are benefitting from them, it is fine! With that wrong perception, the unusual began to happen, Landlords increasing rent arbitrarily, marketing women cashing in on that too, okada rider now making life a living hell for commuters is not the best of idea also.
By the way, who could have ever imagined that one day, a plot of land in Agbor main town would be as expensive as a Hundred Million Naira, but today the reality is bare. Where does civil servants who are not doing money ritual or yahoo, stand? On the part of the yahoo boys, unfortunately, most of the monies they are making is, easy come, easy go. At the end of the day, the young G-boy who was a few millions of naira richer yesterday, soon becomes broke today because of lack of proper financial planning. Logically, there is no way one can have a sustainable and enduring wealth without capital investment and consistent return on investment. This one common sense is what most of our youths who are making urgent money seem to lack. Remember, ‘maga’ no dey pay always. That’s a food for thought and a lesson to learn.
In all honesty, I would have loved a situation where our youths can have a fair value readjustment to reckless spending and extravagant lavishes. And wasting of lives.
Now back to rising cost of living in Agbor. Agreed, government is not helping matters. Imagine a country where its minimum wage is 30 thousand naira for civil servants, what exactly are our senators doing to deserve a whooping N29, 479,749 monthly and other frivolous misappropriation of public funds? If one senator is earning that much, what is left in the treasury, what is the future of Nigeria? Now, you can see how much of a problem we as a people have in our hands. Yet, we are blaming our youths, whereas, our leaders taught them otherwise. Whatever that is happening to our economy or the youths and high cost of living anywhere in this country, is not by coincidence. It is an evil engineered by our leaders to sink this country.
Anyway, in Agbor, I am just wondering why we are taken undue advantage of others just because we all want to make unjust gains. That’s not fair. Agbor has become so expensive to the extent even the things we produce by ourselves locally are daily skyrocketing such that many of us are becoming helpless. What beats my consternation is, there are no industries in this ancient town and if there are, very few. Agbor is a commercial town with a culture of consuming rather than producing. In that case, economic progress will certainly be slow. However, if we continue to encourage this cost of living and we keep pretending that everything is fine, no everything cannot be fine; because the reprisal effect of high cost of living in any town or city does bring about crime and criminal tendencies. After all, people who are criminally minded always find a means to measure up with the times and reality.
Now, living a life of ostentation (that is, expensive or notice-me kind of lifestyle we see amongst us just to impress people), you may end up displeasing yourself. An exaggerated display of wealth more that is necessary, is ostensibly a fake and false impression. In Agbor today, we see much of that. And for those we wish to keep their reputation by refusing to follow the trend, rather prefer to be gainfully employed and earn money legitimately are the ones that suffer most with regards to high cost of living. Virtually everything is outside within their reach. Like I said, there are no much company in Agbor to employ people and for the available few, they keep exploiting and by way of slavish intentions, they keep their workers poor. Because there is this general mentality of “employ but keep them poor!” That is treacherous.
When people keep earning paltry sums which is adding little or nothing to their economic lives, especially with the presence of today’s rising high cost of living, how on earth do we expect these people to survive? Of course, we are getting to a point where many cannot be certain of their future. And don’t forget, what affect one, affects all. Accepted, Agbor have had and is yet having a fair share of struggles and backlash from government’s bad policies and expensive cost of governance, yet, we must not keep putting a yoke of burden on our people especially you landlords and market women take note. Let us not compound an already complicated situation. Let us not make it more difficult for our people than it is necessary.
No doubt, if you choose to look at Nigeria and its economic woes through the eyes of much expectations, your heart will fail you at the end. If you decide to look at our politicians with all their frivolities, you will never be at ease. If you choose to count all their wrongs and mistakes in this country, the blame will be so long that it might be endless.
In Nigeria, whether it is Agbor or elsewhere, life is hard. In other places, people are providing soft landing for others. Agbor should do the same rather than punishing ourselves. In this country our livelihood depends on individual efforts and not what government of the day can offer. Apparently, they offer tears, hardship and sorrow! They have failed the citizenry. We must not also fail ourselves. A word is enough for the wise.