Naira malaise

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Naira malaise

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Naira malaise by : 1:37 am On July 24, 2021


I feel so sorry for the Naira. The constant depreciation is depressing for so many people. Naira has really suffered, as we say in the Nigerian parlance. If not for condition, why would anybody compare Naira to weak currencies in the world? A whole Naira! How the mighty have fallen! Naira that was stronger than the dollar in the early 70s and 80s.

I hear those who could afford to would travel out of Nigeria just to spend a weekend in London. I’m certain if mobile phones were in use in the country, many a jet setter would travel to recharge their phones in Paris or London. Life was indeed good. Naira had swag and was well respected; it was a currency held in high esteem. Today, many people treat it with distrust and disdain.

What is more worrisome is the value; the amount people spend in exchange for essentials and food items. To buy a bag of rice, some people will need to empty their bank accounts. Nowadays, when you buy a bunch of plantain, it will be accompanied by the Ameno song popularly known as Dorime that is used as accompanying soundtrack to announce the purchase of very expensive liquor in Nigerian night clubs.

If Naira were a person, it will be a poor orphan maltreated by all and sundry. Just look at how bus drivers and conductors, food sellers, artisans, young, old, rich and poor treat the Naira. Even in local markets, Naira is squeezed and imprisoned in places you wouldn’t wish for your enemy. The continuous mishandling is not peculiar to particular strata of the society; it is a circle of guilt. The consequence of the flagrant abuse is evident in the dirty and mutilated notes in circulation.

At many Nigerian parties home and abroad — be it wedding, birthday or burial ceremonies – Naira is subjected to all kinds of indignities from all manner of persons. You will weep when you see the way some people spray notes — well it depends on which side of the divide you fall into; have or have-nots.

More infuriating is how others pick it from the floor after a round of spraying, notes are squeezed into bags for safekeeping. Every currency has suffered indignity at some point in their lives, but Naira is at all time low.

Just look at what the dollar and pounds is doing to the Naira. Everyday, it is trounced in the international arena. For many people with obligations abroad, their take home in Naira cannot take them home.

To make matters worse, Naira saw hell in Oba last week, a town in Anambra State in South Eastern region of Nigeria. It was kicked like football, trampled, thrown into a crowd, used and discarded like you-know-what; subjected to all manner of ill treatment. I have never seen Naira so disrespected and disregarded. Painfully, this maltreatment was amplified for all to see through viral videos.

Again Naira has really suffered. Not so long ago, it was driven in a billion van to a palatial residence. But see the fate that has befallen it, this is really saddening. The fall of Naira did not begin in Oba, but today is not the day for history lessons.

While I bemoan the fate of Naira, I must also mention that not everyone is sympathetic. I hear some people are angry that they couldn’t make it to Oba to benefit from the downfall.

For those who made it, they can’t stop regaling us about what went down in the town; it is still a trending topic that continues to gain currency.

Now, before paid keyboard warriors will accuse me of envy, I must state unequivocally that I am not jealous of the spectacle in Oba. I have no qualms about how anyone spends their money; my focus is the fall and fall of Naira. I will never maltreat Naira, I will treat it with respect, care and love. I promise to do this when I have one billion Naira in my account. I hope by then I will not be intoxicated by the sweet smell of money to act otherwise. Only time will tell. Just give me the money first!

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