Nigerians are really feeling the heat of the biting economic and social hardship that seems to be increasing on a daily basis. However, Nigerians, being resilient as always, are finding ways round the hardship and have continued to survive the pangs of the troubled economy. Biola Azeez, Sam Nwankwo, Hakeem Gbadamosi, Tade Makinde, Jude Ossai, Yinka Oladoyinbo and Ayoade Aderinto spoke with a cross section of the citizenry on the various methods they have adopted to survive.
Kazeem Amubiikaun, Barber in Ibadan
The hard time is really affecting my business because I hardly make up to N300 each day again. In the past, I took home between N800 and N1,200 daily, and not less than N2,000 on weekends and public holidays. People are complaining and groaning. I fuel my generator once in three days now, against the usual two times each day and thrice on weekends. When I buy two litres of fuel at N290 instead of five litres each day, I only put it on to barb hair. I don’t put my generator on just to shave anybody again. It is not worth it. Again, I now collect N20 each from people who want to charge their phones. I have more people who want to do that than cut their hair.
Pastor Archilles Edwards, Ibadan
Well, what is happening now does not surprise me. There have been worse times as reported in the Bible, but those who know God will be spared. I know that Nigerains are struggling to survive, I am not. If you think that’s because I am a pastor, let me tell you that I don’t have a church and I don’t have a congregation. God has been faithful to me as He sends me helpers when I need it. The best way for Nigerians to escape the crunch is to pay their tithes and also pay offerings God will never be owed. If you pay God, He will not let you suffer. If things get worse, God has many ways of keeping His own. But Nigerians don’t prove God in their lives. That is why many are complaining. God is allowing this because He wants people to turn to Him and believe that He is more that a depressed economy. He can fix all things, including this country and even the entire world.
Buki Odesola, hairdresser, Ibadan
My regular customers hardly come around anymore. Those that I have their numbers always complain and the same complaint is that of no money. They don’t even come to do hair on credit because they are not sure of when they will be able to pay back. I am a mother with children too. Who will want to spend hard-earned cash on hair when school fees, rents must be paid and food must be bought? I have stopped driving my car to the shop, just as I have reduced the number of times I go to work each week. I only go to work on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. My apprentices are the ones who go to shop everyday for now. It makes no economic sense to spend over N1,500 daily to fuel car, generator, eat and you don’t make N500. Staying at home for four days in a week saves me almost N10,000 each week, while I make between N4,000 and N6,000 in three days. I am okay with that arrangement in this trying times.
Wale Oke, student, Lagos
The present economic situation in the country has taken a toll on my welfare. To be sincere, I am extremely unhappy with what is going on now. As a student, it has not been funny looking for how to feed and take care of myself on a daily basis when I have to add more money and spend far more than I used to without my basic earnings increasing. This should not go on for long and something should be done. It is not the best time to be a student.
Mrs Nneka Ogili, Ekiti
I am a housewife and I know that the economic recession is real. I have no choice but to help my husband in building the home. We have joint account. It helps us to think together and use our money well. We buy foodstuffs in large quantities so that we can cut cost. We spend less now unlike before when my husband was in politics. Kerosine price has gone up so we now make use of charcoal for cooking.
It is a period of adjustment and I have become prudent in spending by learning how to prioritise expenses and allocating larger percentage of my income to savings.
It has equally become difficult to start up businesses and business ideas are being put on hold. As a result, I have been on the look out for investors and making efforts to find supporting source of income. I am also avoiding debt as much as possible, which I believe is one smart way of financial management.
Mrs Abiola Yusuf, Ilorin
Only mothers can help pull through this difficult period by helping our families to cut down on expensive lifestyles, reduce social engagements, while priority should be given to bulk food purchase. Family heads should look beyond their normal jobs by exploring more opportunities to boost their income.
Olayiwola Ojo (DJ Larry), Entertainer, Ado-Ekiti
The recession isn’t a funny issue at all. We in the entertainment industry are not finding it easy one bit and I know this is the situation all over. This is because people who should be entertained are not getting paid. Their businesses are slow and they’re paying the same high cost for everything like everybody else. We are all financially incapacitated because what goes round comes round. Imagine the problems with public power supply and you are still expected to buy fuel at N145 per litre to play music just to create awareness at your shop/office with hardly any business coming in. How are you expected to pay your staff and how much of that can one possibly continue to do? We don’t get much ecents lately just as the parties are getting fewer. Everywhere is dry. All of us are just there, managing what we get and hoping for better times.
Mazi Oluebube John, Enugu
The recession is real. It has hit almost every family. For me, I have stopped drinking too much beer. There is no money and salary is not regular. I am a staff member of a local government and we are being owed several months. Paying my children school fees is a big problem. My children now hawk banana and pure water to help the family. We have to survive. Thank God they are on holiday for now. All of us leave the house 6 a.m and come back late in the evening. Even my two children, university graduates in fact, help in my shop at Ogbete main market.
Mr. Sunday Agunbiade, Ado Ekiti
Things are not auguring well not just with civil servants, teachers or public sector workers but for the entire citizenry. I blame this on our over-dependence on oil. Since oil was discovered, we jettisoned agriculture and now that oil wealth has dropped, we are suffering. We are all also suffering for the mismanagement of what we got from oil when we had wealth. For instance, the only firm in Ekiti State, a textile had long died and this left government as the only employer of labour. We have cut our expenses seriously and reduced movement. It’s not easy at all.
Abdul Olaiya, Lagos
I just sublet a room out of my three-bedroom apartment to a corps member. Of course that is wrong, but am I to turn his offer down when money is involved? The guy told me he is sure to be retained where he is presently serving and would need a place because he would be ejected from his present abode when new batch of corpers arrives in September. What I charged him is more than half of what I pay my agent yearly. To prevent this cash crunch from hitting me when my rent will be due in November, I have paid half of my rent to the agent because if I don’t do so now, it surely will be hard for me to raise it. I am only being proactive because rents and food are the most important things at times like this. I am an electrician, but guys like me don’t get the big jobs, only crumbs. Those don’t come by regularly too.
Mr. Bisi Ogunleye, Civil Servant, Ilorin
I’ve had to make a lot of financial cuts. Inflation has paralysed nearly everything in the country. Begin with petrol, which used to be N86 and is now N145. That is the official price. This has caused a sharp rise in the prices of goods and services. I now face only immediate needs. It is no longer possible to buy extras to keep in the house when you can hardly even afford your immediate needs.
Mallam Mohammed Makun Usman, a level 7 officer in the state civil servant in Ilorin
With N200, I buy vegetable or okra and pepper. We always have garri at home. Rice is now expensive and it’s only for the rich, so we vote for Tapa rice which is N400 per bowl and we buy two measures. We alternate it with garri. Sometimes, we drink garri and water. The time is hard, and if you say you want to fry akara (bean cake), you will be disappointed. If my children could get kulikuli with garri, it is ok. With the situation of things, it’s only God that can save us.
Abdullahi Mas’ud, Ilorin
I buy petrol from filling station with record of integrity and lower price unlike before. We use just one car now instead of two to cut cost. We organise our daily activities in such a way that can accommodate our using one car. Once I park the car in the office, I don’t use it until closing time except there are very serious cases. We don’t buy bread again but make our own at lesser cost.
Ayuba Abdulrahman, Ilorin
I have sought alternatives to imported items by patronising locally made goods to reduce the high demand for dollar. If we all do that, it will in turn help reflate the economy and help boost local businesses.
Taiwo Adeoye, Yaba
I now do petty business to earn extra cash. With that, I have been surviving. Please note the word- just surviving. We need to live in this country and just stop existing.
My brother, the fuel price hike and the state of the economy have been taking its toll on me, I now pick passengers on the road when I’m driving to work every morning, I use the money to buy fuel to cushion the effect which I hardly did before.
Odumaya Tobi, Lagos
It is not enough to stress what the eating situation was like before now. To add salt to injury, before now, eating three meals was by chance. Automatically, that means we manage to eat what we have and just live.
“For me, everything remains the same. Nobody has been able to save money in this country and the consuming power is reducing daily in the worst ways, but I have made some adjustments. I don’t buy what I don’t need anymore and I am more careful about wastage. I try not to waste money on anything and I am also more accountable now. I advise Nigerians to do the same and the government should get serious with business.
Sade Phillips, Banker
It is not a funny situation, but we still cope anyway. Prices of foodstuffs and transporation have gone up astronomically. I sometimes move about on foot because I cannot pay my transport fare. The truth is that I now cut cost anytime I have the opportunity whether it is transportation or food. I just make sure that at the end of the day, I can account for the money I spend.
Mr Akinsanya Kolawole, Worker
The situation is worst and it is affecting all us. The change has not been visible now. Generally, the situation is very bad. I am not a person that spend lavishly because when you save, you are safe. I don’t drink and I have also minimise my spendings. I only complain because people around are complaining. I hope things will change.
Mr. Aderibigbe Adewale, Entrepreneur
As Nigerians, we have a way of surviving in though times like this. For instance, business is no longer moving as usual, with this I have learnt to reduce my expenses and also caution myself on social life.I know we will survive as Nigerians. All we need to do is to tailor our spendings, according to the present realities. I also don’t live above my income. I thank God I am coping.
Miss Abidemi Alade, Student
Now that the prices of things have gone up, especially prices of food items, I have reduced the number of times that I eat in a day. We don’t eat as much as we use to eat before. I also try as much as possible to avoid uneccessary spendings on certains things like shoes, bags, clothes and recharge cards. I plan for every of my spendings so I am coping with “plan before spending”.
Femi Adeloye,Civil servant
Eating three times a day is a Herculean task now. My family members have resorted to food rationing. We now eat once or twice a day. We either eat late in the morning and then in the evening. We have also cut down all unnecessary expenses as the basic principle of survival is what we are carrying out for now.
Biyi Akintunde, Ilorin
I buy fuel that is only required for a particular purpose as against filling up the tank as I used to do. I park the car at the office until closing time and I go on commercial motorcycles for useful and needful runs. At times, I park the car at home and go on public transport. At home, we use more of charcoal for cooking instead of kerosene and gas. I skip lunch or take just something when I can’t hold hunger any longer. I have changed from buying Milo and milk for my kids to Lipton and milk. Also, we put on generator only at night from 7.00 p.m to 10.00 p.m.
Nnamudi Okoronkwo, Enugu
I was a staff member of one of the courier companies in Enugu until I lost my job last year, because of the closure of the company. I now sell loaves of bread with my vehicle. I have a minibus which I use to move it. My wife, once a full-time housewife, is now operating a small shop near my house at Abakpa-Nike where she sell confectioneries. For us to survive the economic recession, we have to relocate from New Haven to Abakpa-Nike because of the high cost of rent. We have also withdrawn our four children from private school to public school.
Chinedu Ikechukwu, Trader
I think we are reaping the fruit of our electoral choice. We should just endure it and stop complaining. Now, there is hardly electricity supply and you’re to pay higher tariff. Fuel price has nearly doubled and there is inflation. The purchasing power of nearly everyone has reduced by about half and businesses are now crumbling. We rely on God alone to help our country because the signs are omnious. I don’t see signs out there that there will be better days soon. Personally, I have given up drinking beer. I used to take a few bottles daily, but I can’t feed this habit for now. That’s how much this recession has affected us.
Ambali Ige, Ilorin
Many people in the country are experiencing effects of this recession, even the millionaires. I am among people that douse the economic tension by putting my fate in God Almighty to salvage the situation. So, my family and I have decided to cut our expenses according to our purse by eating what we could get and not what we really like to eat. I trek many times to maximise little money I have on me. Also, we don’t use kerosene at home any longer. We now use firewood because charcoal is even expensive now.
I am not bothered about the economic recession. I was unemployed for many years and just got a job. I think this is the best time for me and and family. However, my distant relations and friends are complaining about the recession. I asked them how they are coping and they say to me,‘we have to cut short our expenditure.’
Mrs. Abimbola Arowora, Business Woman, Abeokuta
In this economic hardships in the country, we have been surviving by the grace of God. One of the strategies that I have been using is that I have reduced my spending on a daily basis because now N1,000 cannot buy many things as it used to. Everything is now expensive and we have been flowing with the trend. As a trader and businesswoman, I don’t buy much goods in my shop because of the way prices of goods change. Also, I have stopped spending on uneccessary things that are not beneficial to me and my familiy.
Mrs. Olubunmi Apalowo, Ado -Ekiti
I simply can’t explain how my husband and I have been pulling through these hard times. But I want to say that it is God that has been seeing us through. The economic problems of this time should ordinarily have crippled the country, but God has been the strength of Nigerians. All I can say is that it is a miracle. We should continue to pray for better days.
Akinlabi Ahmed, artisan in Omu Aran
Before, we used to eat wheat and semovita, but now, they are very expensive, we eat yam flour and corn. Yes, it is not as smooth as semo though, but that’s what we have to live with. We have voted for corn or millet which we grind into flour. At work, instead of proper lunch, I go for roasted or boiled maize.
I have taken to farming and it has helped in feeding my family. Though it was not easy at the initial stage, but we adapted and we are reaping the fruits of our hardwork now, we have enough to eat and give to others.
The only way I have been able to survive is by cutting down my expenses and having a plan for my income. In this period I can’t give room for irrelevant expenses I only get what is most important to me and ensure I don’t go against my income plan.
Mrs Taiwo Mustapha, Trader, Ilorin
Most customers now buy on credit. There’s no money anywhere and it is better to sell on credit than having the good stocked in the store. We hope our government will do something about this because if the workers are being owed, it will affect the whole of the state.