Nigerians have angrily reacted to Bayo Onanuga, News Agency of Nigeria boss, by asking him to explain how the number of people on an international flight had anything to do with economic situation of a country. They also wondered why his daughter was on board Virgin Atlantic instead of Arik air in an era of economic recession and #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira
This is following social media posts by the NAN boss who posted yesterday on his facebook page suggesting that the media and bloggers are painting a wrong picture of our economic situation
“My daughter was on the Virgin Atlantic Flight that took off from Lagos to London today. I asked her to find out whether the plane was filled up or going to London near empty judging by the noisy campaign from a section of the country about the ‘hardship’ in our country.
My daughter sent back this one-line text, after boarding: “daddy, the flight was filled up o”.
This makes me to wonder whether all the seeming orchestrated campaign in the media was not mere propaganda to make the Buhari regime look really bad.
I was in Bauchi and Jos at the weekend, I also found that food was cheap everywhere. In our hotel, we paid about N700 for a plate of semovita, or eba with a choice of cat fish or chicken. On the roadside, I found to my surprise that with just N1000, I bought over 50 oranges, two giant water melon and 10 pieces of sweet potato. I had experienced a similar thing in the market at Abuja, where I found that with N1,400, I could make a big vegetable soup, with tomato, pepper and roasted Titus fish.
Are the media and bloggers really painting a correct image of our country. It’s time for the media to objectively conduct a reality check about our reports, whether we are not over sensationalising so-called hardship that we talked about”
This comments did not go down well with Nigerians on social media, and they descended on the NAN boss.
But in an attempt to clear his name Mr Onanuga wrote
“I need to make myself crystal clear to all those who have responded, some with vulgar abuse, some with disparaging remarks, to my statement on Facebook on the situation in my country.
First is that many people demonstrated in their reactions that they did not understand what I wrote. They simply read my statement upside down or ill-digested it. Several points I raised were mere hypotheses, mere suppositions, not conclusions. I asked: is it true? Have we been exaggerating our economic conditions? Can the media conduct some reality check?
In saying so, I remember a photograph of kwashiorkored kids published recently by one of our respected newspapers to illustrate ‘the hardship’ in the land. Of course, the photograph does not reflect any true reality about Nigeria, it was lifted from a foreign publication.
I thank all those who responded by countering my hypothesis with their own propositions about our condition.
I agree we all live in different parts of the country and I fully accept we see things in different light.
Second, no where in my statement did I suggest that our country is not going through a difficult time and that our people are not going through some hardship. The President himself has admitted this on several occasions.
As the economic crisis rages on, everyone has been affected one way or the other, including those in government at all levels. Even Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has had his wealth vastly reduced by the economic crisis.
As Nigerians we need to understand very quickly that we are going through the worst economic crisis in our history. Wailing, apportioning blames are not, in my view, the appropriate reactions to the crisis. We need to begin to change the way we live. If you are used to consuming imported things such as Thailand Rice, American Long Grain rice, the times dictate we jettison the idea and go for local Abakaliki or Okada rice. If you like foreign dresses, it’s time to switch to the locally made fabrics. If you have a vehicle that guzzles petrol, it’s time to switch to fuel efficient ones.
And the latter reminds me of the American reaction when crude was trading at $140 a few years ago. Many Americans dumped their SUVs. Many of the rejected vehicles were shipped to Nigeria. Now that petrol price is high in our country, as a result of the Avengers crisis and the unfavourable forex regime, is it not time also we copied the Americans, dumped the SUVs and jumped on public transport or shared transport?
My takeaway from my experience today is that Nigerians seldom read critically any post. We read superficially and make comments, most often trivialising serious issues.
And finally, I have spent the past 36 years post-graduation defending the cause of the Nigerian people. Contrary to some opinions, my view is not influenced by my official position. Those who peddle such lies do not know me. I pray God to forgive them”
What is your take? What is the present economic situation in your area? How is the present crisis of Nigeria’s economy affecting you? Make comments below and let us know.