Friday, May 25, 2018
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New York, USA

e pay tribute to your energy, resilience and sheer drive to survive.

You are the pillar of the Nigerian economy, the soul of Nigeria and a testament to her great potential. To every one of you, we take this moment to salute you!

In the last four years, Nigerians have suffered one of the worst economic crises in her 57-year history. The brunt of this economic crisis is borne by everyday people, whose suffering stirs intense feelings of frustration and scathing remarks from within and outside Nigeria. Instead of amplifying the negative impact of the economic hardship on Nigerians, let's turn attention to the strength of those causally labeled the masses in Nigeria and take a moment to pay tribute to their strength, energy, resilience, and perseverance. These are the non-elite class - they are people who work hard and do their best to play by the rules; they are folks whose hopes and aspirations for a better life have been dashed repeatedly by the elite, those who have been misled and fed false promises; they have no access to power or the vaults of cash, have little or no chance of getting stuffed "Ghana-must-go bags." They are those who suffer frequent power outages but cannot afford a generator; those who cannot afford to send their children to school abroad; they are on the streets, farms, markets, government offices, schools, and hospitals, striving to earn a living without support from those in charge. They survive at the whim of chance and the informal economy; they are the skilled, semi-skilled and dedicated workers; the clerks in the ministries, factory workers and foremen, office supervisors, nurses and head nurses; secretaries, security guards, shoe cobblers, cooks, bartenders, waitresses and waiters; cleaners, cab, bus and trailer drivers, and the debased domestic helps.

They are the more than 70% of Nigeria's approximately 170 million citizens that live below or straddle the poverty line, they are the youth, the unemployed, the parents of the one in three children chronically malnourished and at risk of death; they lack access to quality healthcare, and are likely to fall within the lowest life expectancy age of 53 years; they lack the tactical schemes to gain the upper hand and rely on their domesticated instinct for survival.

We pay tribute to your energy, resilience and sheer drive to survive. We pay tribute to the women who dutifully go to the farm, haul cassava, yam or firewood on their heads to prepare a meal or sell for a pittance. We pay tribute to the traders, women who sell okra, tomatoes, fried bean cakes, dumplings; roasts suya, plantain, and pay their children's school fees from the proceeds of their hard labor. We pay tribute to the honest masons, the carpenters who toil on construction sites across Nigeria every day to earn a living. We applaud the mechanics, welders, vulcanizers, who through human effort keep cars on our poor roads rolling. We pay tribute to the office clerk, the driver who dutifully drives his boss, madam, and their "entitled" children and depend on their gratis to survive; the transport vehicle driver, who keeps goods moving and people connected. We applaud the teachers who still maintain a commitment to educating and imparting knowledge. We appreciate the lecturers, who do not trade grades for sex; managers who do not view female employees as "fringe benefit", doctors who are compelled to work with crude equipment or without vital lifesaving medication. We pay tribute to the honest police, customs, and immigration personnel (yes, there are some) who try their best to enforce the laws despite the corrupting noxiousness to which life in their work environment has descended.

To all these Nigerians and those not listed, we say to you are more than a simple representation of reality; you are the pillar of the Nigerian economy. You are humans, not defined by tribe, economic or social status; you are the soul of Nigeria and a testament to her great potential. We are you and you are us.

The usurpation of political authority by the ruling and elite class and the rationalization thievery masked by the never-ending stream of false promises has ironically reinforced your resilient and enduring character. Despite your hard work, you face a broken economy, leaving you in a perpetual mode of survival. But you are the energy that powers the nation. You strive to survive, without being helped. They made your world so hard, but every day you strive to survive and God has not let you down in that he gave you the will to persist. To every one of you, we take this moment to salute you! A d oo! ?mela; Daal?! Ese, Ose! Nagode! r s! Ss, Ess!, M sugh u!, Wa D o! Anya! Una don try!

Again, thank you and God bless!!!

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