All over the world, fes-tive periods are al-ways times to look forward to… activities like shopping for new dresses, shoes, food items and other goodies. At these periods, traders usually make a lot of sales;consequently prices of goods and services witness a rise too.
But as there are different festive periods like Christmas celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ,New Year and Eid-el-kabir so also the level of preparation by especially Christians and Moslems respectively.
For instance, it has been discovered that faithfuls of the two popular religions: Christianity and Islam usually take the celebrations of Christmas, New Year and Eid-el-kabir more seriously than any other like the Easter,hence the prices of goods and services usually sky rocket. Even traders get more patronages at Christmas, New Year and Eid-el-Kabir than during Easter.
No wonder this Easter, a time when one would have expected to see Nigerians trooping to the market, expecting a hike in prices of goods and services, increased market activities and sales, everything appears ‘ dry’ and normal. Activities at markets across the country are still business as usual with little or no difference to show that Easter is here. There seems to be calm everywhere with the absence of the normal hustling and bustling which usually characterize the festive periods.
However, tracing the history of Easter celebration before 2013, observations were made that Christians used to celebrate it in a bigger way in the past. As a matter of fact, it was perceived that Christians and Muslims in Nigeria have generally dwindled their approach to the celebration of festivals. Why is there a low spirit towards this year’s Easter? Why are children not getting new dresses and shoes at this time? And why are traders not smiling to the banks?
Some Nigerians have blamed the cause of the low disposition towards this year’s Easter celebration on the poor economic situation in the country.
Obinna, 47, a trader, thinks the economic situation in the country has gone so bad that the masses can no longer afford three square meals. He then reach conclusions that if Nigerians can’t afford to feed well, why will they remember to celebrate festive periods? Obinna then had a nostalgia to the era when Nigeria still had almost everything going for her. He remembered a time, back in his village, Umueze in ImoState, when as a child, his parents would have started the preparation for Easter three days to the D-day.
“I will say that the situation in the country, economic wise is really bad. In fact, it’s worse than in the olden days when we were younger and our parents would have started preparing for Easter three days before Easter. Things were much easier then, not now that Nigerians can’t even afford a three-square meal. How can a hungry man who is still thinking of how to survive remember that a festive period? Jonathan should do something about this before Nigerians become a set of boring people who don’t even know how to unwind and celebrate.”
Daleko Market situated around Papa-Ajao, Mushin, is known for it’s specialization on food items like rice, beans, garri and groundnut/palm oil. Traders who were opportuned to secure shops in this densely populated area enjoy massive patronage as buyers from within and outside it’s environs troop in all day to buy stuffs in larger quantities. Traders in Daleko especially get more buyers as the market has been known to sell raw food items at cheaper prices than others who sell at nearby markets like Mushin ,Ojuwoye and even Oshodi markets.
When our reporter visited Daleko Market to witness buying and selling activities at this Easter period, it was a shock to see that some sellers were bored.Eid-el-kabir. Some could even afford to leave their shops to a different location at a time when all hands ought to be on deck. Buyers just strolled into the market like every normal day, no rush, no noticeable increase in the number of buyers, just the normal “customer come and buy” slogan.
Approaching a rice seller simply identified as Mama Tawa, she complained of a normal sale with no increase in prices of goods. For instance, a bag of rice which sold between ten thousand to twelve thousand naira depending on quality still remains the same.
At Mushin Market, items like fresh tomatoes and pepper, onions seem to have flooded the market with sellers almost forcing and dragging buyers for patronage.
“Nothing special about this period o! In fact, I don’t think Christians take Easter serious again,” a tomato and pepper seller told the reporter as she hurried to attend to a customer approaching.
Meat, fish and Turkey sellers are not left out in the struggle as they dish out patronage calls to buyers who flocked the market in good numbers as usual. The only difference is that 1kg of Turkey which sold for N700 now goes for N750. Yet, buyers seemed to be undaunted by the huge status-difference between Turkey and fish, as most prefer to go for iced fishes.
Another site to behold as market activities went on at Ojuwoye Market, was that buyers who would normally have opted for unsmashed tomatoes now rush the smashed ones. A conversation which went on between a pepper seller, Mama Tobi and one of her usual customers whom she later described as a banker was one to behold. The banker who was decked in a well cut blue jeans and blouse with slippers to match came for the usual day’s ‘ game’. But when she approached Mama Tobi to purchase some pepper and tomatoes, it wasn’t business as usual for the seller who was already smiling at her dedicated customer from afar. “Ah, customer, welcome! How work nah(how is work?)” “Fine o,” the banker replied. “Make I sell your usual(should I package your usual demand)?”, Mama Tobi asked enthusiastically.
The banker settled for smashed tomatoes instead of her usual.
Trying to know why the banker lady had gone for the inferior tomatoes instead of her usual, Mama Tobi quickly summed, “this Easter no pay at all. It’s like there’s no money in the country at the moment. You sure say Nigerians even remember Easter at all?”