Tomorrow is Chris-tmas. For Nigerians, this Christian feast to mark the birth of Christ, the Saviour, has come to hold a special significance. It is about the only time in the year when many Nigerians choose to take their vacation. For most people and communities, it is the time to hold many personal and communal festivals and feasts. In tune with the sentiment of love, the reason for Christ's epiphany, Nigerians use this period to exchange gifts.
In the past week, there has been increased tempo of activities on the roads and in the markets. Many commuters have been travelling from the cities to the villages to spend the Christmas weekend with their loved ones.
In a manner that departs from the previous years in the sixth Christmas since the advent of the Obasanjo Administration, commuter bus drivers, and shop keepers report only marginal patronage. This means that fewer people are shopping, and that fewer goods are being bought and sold.
There is every indication that this may yet be the bleakest Christmas in the last 10 years. The reasons relate to the persisting parlous state of the economy. There has not been any let up in the erosion of the economic power of almost every family in the country. Increasing deficit and acute inflation, unleashing huge increases in the price of goods and services, have left household with little to spend.
Life has been rough for many this year. There have been more job losses in the private and public sectors this year alone than there were in the last two years put together. Even those who still hold their jobs have had to worry about receiving their salaries. Previously, workers in the public sector were paid promptly. That pattern changed significantly this year. Even the Federal Government...