May 24, 2018

This recession, everywhere is dry- Olubunmi Ajiboye

This recession, everywhere is dry- Olubunmi Ajiboye

I went to the market the other day and everywhere was just dry.

I had my money but there was nothing to buy. My essentials (and I never ask for too much) were mostly unavailable. I proceeded to the big, fancy stores at so-and-so mall (I will use their names to cover their secret) and my essentials (some of them natural hair products) were again either absent or criminally expensive. To think that when I first transitioned in 2013 I had naively thought natural was synonymous with inexpensive and affordable.

Over at the market, like something out of Queen Premier English, everyone kept chanting the famous dollar rhyme:

The dollar

The dollar is king

The dollar is a’balling

Time it was when we bought second-hand clothes because they were cheaper than the ‘ready-made’ ones and you could buy in bulk for an amount that wouldn’t even come up to snuff at the “boutiques” (complete with air quotes). Well in these hard times the tables have turned and those so-called ready-made products; many of which I suspect were designed, sewn, tagged and packaged in this our naija, are now way more affordable than the fairly used ones. And the reason? You got it:

The dollar

The dollar is king.

The dollar is a’balling.

If anyone sends you money from the US in these times it’s Ka-ching baby! And a literal smiling all the way to Sabo. But if you are a trader whose hustle is inextricably connected to the fluctuating relationship between the dollar and the naira; fluctuations that really are determinedly in two directions only, upward and upward, your goose is well and truly cooked. Or as my cousin Endurance will say, “your own don don.”

Economic recession….

Finally looked that one up in the dictionary for a formal meaning because one cannot continue to imagine America in 2008 when one thinks about the term as though that is the only archetypal pointer to it.  So Economic Recession according to is a decline in gross domestic product (GDP) for two or more consecutive quarters. GDP is the market value of all good and services produced within a country in a given period of time.

Now because my mind sometimes thinks up the darndest things, the word ‘recede’ shows up in my mind right beside ‘economic recession’. Then another word ‘hairline’ shows up. Then a phrase ‘receding hairline’. Next is a picture; one of the memes from the last Nigeria vs Kenya twitter war, of a normal head juxtaposed with another photo of a wickedly shorn head with the bulk of the front shaved off leaving an overwhelmingly receded hairline. It is a horrible sight and then there’s the caption (a Kenyan roforofo mudshot spattering all over the pristine smugness of naija twitter) reading: Nigeria before and after you-know-who took over and became president. Ouch!

Next darndest thought is a name ‘Afariogun’. Mr. Afariogun was one of my English language teachers in secondary school. He was brilliant by the way, one of the best I ever had. Translated from Yoruba and depending on how you pronounce it, Afariogun (re mi mi re re) literallly means ‘the shaver of the head of war’.

Another allusion to receding hair or receding economic graces or dwindling fortunes all nonsensical, whimsical thoughts, but my mind’s way of infusing humour in the direst of situations.

I was chatting with a UK based family friend recently and he was telling me about where he worked at some sort of assembly plant and I immediately thought or more like shouted inwardly Eureka! Industries! No matter how hard, people will always find work in Jand because not everyone is queuing up for a nine-to-five. I’m commuting here in Ibadan and there are physically and non-physically challenged people here and there risking their lives and manoeuvring the hair’s-breadth between cars in mad traffic just to catch a hastily-thrown five-naira note and I’m again thinking or shouting inwardly Industries!!

Some of these are potential industrial workers who can be so trained their abilities will oil the wheels of the economy. And they can become so powerful that if they embark on a strike for one day the whole nation will ground to a halt. We need our industries back. I guess its a no brainer that we now have to start making what we will eat, what we will drink, what we will wear, what we will drive and all because there is a recession and every where is DRY .

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