Almost everyone living in Lagos knows that Christmas and New Year season is a time where everywhere is bubbling and there are so many activities going on everywhere that you can’t help but be caught up in the fun. You see a never ending series of end of the year parties, several end of the year shows and countdown parties so much that everywhere you turn, there will be no doubt in your mind that the festivities are in full swing.
Moving away from events, people at this time of the year are usually more cheerful than they are at the moment and there are so many reasons why that is. I honestly do not know where to start from, because the list of things that have made people wear long faces is long. From the automatic change expected from the new government that is supposed to begin with us, the recession that is threatening to send this country back to the stone-age.
Nigeria has been experiencing recession and in my personal opinion, 2016 has been one of the toughest years for a lot of people. The rise in the cost of living, food and general expenditure has also increased. The dollar to naira exchange rate has also put a dent on our regular spending and online shopping. So many people lost their jobs this year and I know a lot of people are just eager to see the year end with the hope that next year will be better.
How can you be expected to celebrate when you can’t even afford to eat three meals a day or basic amenities anymore due to the hike in the price of virtually every commodity in the market. Everywhere you go to buy something that once used to be a certain amount, you will be told that the price has gone up and you are left to either buy it or do without it. So a lot of people have been struggling to survive on the barest minimum with the hope that things will get better.
Nigerians are generally happy people and we always try to find a way to make ourselves happy, we make fun of tough and sad situations as a coping mechanism to make the situation better. We try to see the fun in every given situation but this time, Nigerians are not smiling at all. This year’s festivities, apart from the banks and companies putting up light and decorations, the celebratory mood is not in the air and though its only a few days to Christmas, it could as well be the middle of march.
For Lagos residents, it’s even worse because the harmattan season has refused to come. At least if the cold hits, that end of the year feeling will set in. Nigerians always talk about Christmas rice and stew, this year for some people, with the cost of food, Christmas might be the only time some people actually get to eat the Christmas rice. Don’t also expect as many fireworks as last year because I hear even the cost of banga has gone up. We are still thankful we get to see the end and we will celebrate it the way we can.