By Victoria Brown & Favour Ichemati
Most ordinary persons in Port Harcourt think their hardships would increase now that President Muhammadu Buhari has been reelected. Their utterances seem to indicate that the campaigns of the opposition blaming President Buhari for Nigeria’s economic woes were bought fully by the masses who may not understand how the economy works.
Interviews with street people and traders in markets reveal deep seated animosity in south-east and south-south Nigeria where people voted to end hunger and hardship believing the Buhari simply inflicted them with wickedness. They believed that had Atiku Abubabakar come in, he would have decreed end to hardship, an indication that had he won, he too would have faced mass revolt if hunger did not end in a short while.
None of those interviewed seemed to know anything about the crash of oil prices, recession, contraction of the economy, massive borrowing that caused huge inflation, rise in foreign exchange due to scarce income, huge importation, etc. To them, Buhari caused economic down fall and hardship.
Reacting to the presidential election held on February 23 2019 where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared President Buhari winner over Atiku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on February 27, 2019, the voices showed pain it seemed to be a blow to the individuals who taught it would have been otherwise. The city of Port Harcourt seemed as quiet as a grave yard; no joy for the masses.
In an interview to assess how the masses in the area felt, Mr Jackson Okoro said the election appeared to be a fraud. He said that the scores announced did not seem right to him. He expressed his sadness, saying he is unhappy for that President Muhammadu Buhari is coming back for a second tenure.
His major concern seemed to be the economy as he said there is nothing to celebrate about the economy. Okoro wondered how the masses would cope with the current situation of things and take care of their loved ones. He said he repairs electronic equipment such as radio and torchlight andsell them. He also sells chemical used in killing insects.
Another respondent, Mr John Ekone, who sells umbrellas said that there is nothing he will say that would remove President Buhari from the seat since he has been declared winner already. He however prayed to God to sustain him and his family during the period of this four years when he felt most commodities would increase in price.
To him, the masses would suffer and go through the ordeal, while the ones in authority would not feel any bit of it. He said as God has kept him, God will keep providing for him and his family.
Mrs Cynthia Nwokocha, a trader in Mile One Market in Diobu, Port Harcourt, said God knows the reason it happened like this for President Buhari to rule Nigeria again. She said the economy so far has not been favourable to her business.
To her, commodities are very costly due to transportation. Before, she stated, she used to buy a basket of mango at N8000 but now with the economy in bad shape, she buys it at between N12,000 and N17,000 with transportation being costly in bringing the goods to port Harcourt.