By Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu
Ember months are months of joy and happiness due to its culmination in December, Christmas. They are months of expectation, fulfilment and hope. Ember months are special seasons in Nigeria. The ember months snowball into the yuletide. Ember months carry a lot of responsibilities, goals and demands.
The ember months signal the last quarter of the year. They are months of stocktaking, accountability and gratitude. A lot of things, activities, plans, quests go on during the ember months. We may not be able to reel out all that the ember months carry but we do know that the ember months are jampacked months.
Sadly, as the ember months set in, in 2023 Nigeria, there was a great lamentation, wailing and weeping. Many Nigerians were worried about whether they could afford cups of rice not the bag come December. Very few talks about making a budget, family tradition and charitable giving.
Travel plans and area to decorate is not being processed. Some seasonal fruits which should be shedding their leaves, preparing for fruition are just standing. But the question we must ask is: does the Nigerian Government want the citizens to enjoy the yuletide holidays even Christmas? The ember months are traditionally seen as a period of great economic activity and social upheaval but can someone testify about what is happening in Nigeria presently?
Every year in Nigeria, as the ember months set in, anxiety, fear and obsession follow as well. Christians and non-Christians prepare and await the ember months. Not just for the celebration but for the tidings, hope, joy it brings. Focusing on the negativities of the ember months would make us weep and shed tears. Why? Even the government most times do not want the masses to remain thankful towards the end of the year.
Leaders who are smart are marked by their selflessness. The compassion, kindness and generosity in the heart of a leader is what stands him/her out. In the last 8 years, Nigerians have witnessed the worst form of cruelty and wickedness from their political leaders. All over Africa, citizens remain cursed by their political inclinations. It baffles the senses that Octogenarians struggle for seat of power in Africa.
If not for anything, they will amass wealth, use the nation’s resources to elongate their years and increase their lifespan. Some have died in office not necessarily because of old age but decisions for a lifetime in office. Most of them even travel around the world seeking for relevance and global recognition which the citizens could not afford them.
Furthermore, hopes, desire, envy, materialism and competition are always on the increase during ember months. Everyone wants to make more gain because of shopping and increase in demand. Everybody searches for the easiest way to increase profit, even defraud or take undue advantage of others.
Almost all the goods and services have a price hike during the ember months. Even the government indirectly increases the price of PMS, cooking gas, gasoline and other commodities at their disposal during the ember months.
Moreover, everyone wants to look different in December and the preparations start in September. Everybody wants to appear rich in December and the rituals start during the ember months. Ritual killings, kidnapping, robbery, cybercrime, deceit, divorce rates are always high during the ember months. Religion has not been able to reduce materialism, quest for quick riches in Nigeria rather it has exacerbated it.
As soon as students pay their school fees, they happily expect the ding-dong merry bells in the next two months. Workers and salary earners start making huge savings for the humongous expenses of the yuletide/Christmas holidays. Every heart is filled with gratitude for witnessing the last quarter of the year and at the same time, fear, trepidation for the evils, occurrences and betrayals of the season.
The corporate world and big institutions have special package, bonuses for the end of the year and these keep workers expectant and hopeful. The Christmas Day in December comes as a fulfilment of promises and so many expectations. A lot of hook-ups, heartbreak and betrayal happen during the ember months.
Matter of fact, students who get promoted or maintain their CGP, study harder during the ember months. The ember months are always memorable and exciting. Unfortunately, some of us experience setbacks, disaster or accidents during the ember months. The spiritual and the physical atmosphere is often charged in Nigeria during the ember months. Most revivals and crusades take place during the ember months.
To reach the ember months and survive it, is a testimony for many Nigerians. We must not fail to mention that the APC Government has changed the trajectory, tapestry and travesty of life of Nigerians. Survival in Nigeria has become knotted.
Petty businesses that wives, women do to keep the family running are not affordable these days. Selling biscuits, articles, pap to sustain a family is no longer feasible. The Agbado masters could not guarantee enough maize, grains for consumption, storage and processing. Everyday, every Nigerian is thinking, calling, begging for what to do and what to eat.
Must Nigerians continue to pray, submit and plead with the political leaders to ensure that the dividends of democracy get to them through sincere governance?
Finally, we must continue to shout and lament about the situation of the country at the moment. APC as a ruling political party, has turned Nigeria into something worse than a zoo. Survival in Nigeria is getting dicey and probable on daily basis. Evil practices and corruption emanate in new dimensions every blessed day in Nigeria.
If you have a car, and you enter the filling stations to buy petrol at the government price of ₦640:00 per litre, along the way in your journey, you would discover that air was pumped into your fuel tank. Who caused this? Why is it happening now in Nigeria? Worst things happen and would still happen as APC plans to relinquish power in 2033. Our judges are feeding fat while other labour unions and society groups make small noises. We don’t want to say that Nigerians are dying or that they are hungry. The present administration does not believe that any poor Nigerian should have access to fresh air.
Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu writes from Awgbu, Anambra State.