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December is here

December is here

By Bayo Fasunwon
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It is a new month, the last of the year. Many are happy that they are able to witness the last month of the year despite the turbulence that characterized the year in Nigeria and different parts of the world. Nigerians cannot forget in a hurry the frenzy and fear that accompanied the 2019 elections, the renewed Boko Haram insurgency, the herdsmen/bandits attacks and the legal fireworks that pitched legal luminaries against one another.

Nigeria seemed to be at the precipice of disintegration, but like the cats with many lives, the nation still survived, and so did many of her nationals. The Nigerian workers could not forget that their hopes of a better life was raised, and dashed by a façade of wage increment that left bitter taste in the mouth of workers, upon the realization that nothing seemed to have changed in their earnings in the long run. While the government dragged its feet in the negotiation and implementation of the increase, it was swift in implementing a new tax regime.  There were floods, fire outbreaks, gas explosions and outbreak of diseases during the year, but the world did not stand still, and the earth rotation progressed in its normal orbit and brought us all to the last month of the year, December.

December is a much anticipated month in Nigeria, and probably in all nations of the world. It is a period of merriment, as it houses the Christmas and heralds the New Year. It is also the month of stock taking, when self, corporate and national evaluation takes place in order to prepare for the New Year. In those days, the Nigerian worker could hopefully look forward to the thirteenth month salary that is twenty five percent of their basic salary as an allowance freely given to subsidise the spending necessity of the beautiful month. The workers expected their organisations to compensate their labour of love and dedication with hampers, bags of rice, souvenirs, and paid holiday trips. December was always a ‘season to be jolly’. It is unfortunate to realize that most of this largesse has evaporated into the thin air as government and organisations continue to echo the songs of ‘lack of funds’, thereby making the season so gloomy. It is however ironic that while the workers bear the brunt of financial recklessness of people in power, the latter treat themselves to the best of times despite the paucity of funds. Governments who had subjected its citizens to a year of physical and psychological torture could assuage the accompanying depressions to her policies by making the month of December joyful to the suffering and smiling masses.

The new month however calls for caution to all Nigerians. The month represents a period of heavy traffic on the nations unworthy roads. Travellers should exercise the highest level of caution, safety and patience as they journey around. The various governments in Nigeria have embarked on a series of ‘cut and paste’ road repairs, deconstruction, rehabilitation and creation of roads all over the country. The implication is that there would be many diversions, gaping holes and hurriedly constructed roads that could cave in. In order to preserve lives, there is a need for motorists to observe the speed limits of a hundred kilometers per hour, make their vehicles road worthy and obey all traffic rules. The calamities attached to this beautiful month could be demystified if and only if caution and mutual respect on the roads is consciously applied by all road users.

The border closure would ensure that this December would witness mostly local celebrations. Santa Claus may not come to town, but the local masquerades would have an opportunity to earn a living. Given the high cost of rice (local and foreign); Nigerians would be forced to realize that pounded yam; Akpu and Tuwo are veritable delicacies in a season as this. In addition, there may be fewer accidents heralded by fireworks this year and many cobblers and local shoemakers could smile to the bank. The border restrictions have reawakened the versatile entrepreneurial of Nigerians, and has presented an opportunity for internally produced goods to thrive.

This December would give Nigerians the unavoidable opportunity to patronise and try on the various locally produced goods. For the entrepreneurs, their goods would be on trial. It would be an opportunity for them to test the acceptability of their products by the laws of demand and supplies. This December, Dentists should be put on notice that there may be an increase in their patients’ enrolment as many would have their teeth impaired by the stones that accompany the rice in their buccal cavity. However, I think it would be a wakeup call to the local rice millers to produce consumables that comes with no fear or tears.

While celebrations are on the mind of many in this month, a fervent call is here being made to all security organisations in the country for more vigilance and preparation for emergencies. December is a period charcterised by bank robberies, burglary, banditry attacks and terrorist insurgencies. More security personnel are therefore needed to provide adequate security in a time as this. In addition to this, fire fighters should up their game in every local government in event of a fire outbreak. Organisations, homes, markets and all others should also ensure that fire extinguishers are placed in conspicuous and strategic places to nip outbreaks in the bud.

As we all prepare for a low key and indigenous celebration, let us all remember the aged, elderly and poor around us. December is a good period to give a helping hand and put smiles on the gloomy face of any man on the street. A little kindness can go a long way in reducing suicides and give a fellow man, the hope to live just another day.

Finally, December is a month that makes huge financial demands on families. Many wives expect their husbands to double the monthly living allowances due to increase in living costs and the exigencies of the season. However, most families should also realize that December heralds the long month of January. January often demands the payment of house rents, school fees, and other living expenses. Therefore it is imperative that money must be spent with extreme caution this month, as no one knows what the New Year would lay on the table. December is not a time to spend to impress, but a call for sober reflection and prudence. Happy New Month.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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