Dearly beloved Soliloquy readers, I apologise for my long absence. It has been hectic these past few months in the year 2023, the distractions that turned my face and mind from you have been dreadful and surprising.
For you and me, it was shocking that we couldn’t use and spend the old naira notes, notwithstanding that the purported new notes were not in circulation. My dear readers, to say that I thought I was only having a nightmare would be an understatement. I was literally shocked, my head ached, my heart skipped, my eyes itched, my tongue became dry, and I felt dizzy and weak, all at once. I began to ask myself the reason for the change in naira currency in the first place. I wondered why the ATMS were not dispensing cash. The more I thought of the situation; the cashless policy had put us in, the more I fretted.
All of a sudden, it became clearer to me, ‘tough times don’t last but tough people do’, of a truth, we were in a tough situation, a sudden panic situation. Within me, I knew that should I continue to ponder what was happening at the moment, I could develop high blood pressure and even die, then, what would be of my innocent children? I instantly launched into action, I fortified myself spiritually: I constantly prayed for God’s mercy, and then I asked the Holy Spirit more than ever to be my guide, my guardian, my director, my coach and my help. I began to constantly affirm Biblical scriptures: ‘ I will not be afraid of sudden panic for the Lord is my confidence’, ‘I will not be put to shame and dishonour’, ‘ No weapon formed and fashioned against me shall prosper, ‘ This will pass too.
I began to mobilise most of the retail shops in my neighbourhood to purchase the POS machine, as it would prevent them from going bankrupt as a result of the new policy and we, the customers will be to patronize them as well. I doff my hat to all those banks that lived up to their responsibility. It was really a peculiar, frustrating and challenging period in the history of Nigeria, as Nigerians could not have access to their hard-earned money. A lot of rumours concerning the policy developed wings like eagles and flew around causing more panic in the hearts of Nigerians. So many individuals were stranded, and people on a regular basis trekked from one location to another because they didn’t have access to cash. It was sad yet not surprising that a popular radio presenter in Ibadan died while trekking to work. Some died while waiting in bank queues for N5,000 which at the end of the day was shortened to N2,000. Some men lost their pregnant wives due to the inability to access cash because some hospitals rejected money transfers, their reason being that there was no network. The list is endless.
To God be the glory that we survived it. In all things, let’s keep hope alive and ask the Holy Spirit to direct and guide us regularly. At the same time, asking God Almighty to give us beauty for ashes. In every situation, we could allow ourselves to be made or marred, to acquire key lessons and be better persons or be embittered, sore and vexed in the spirit which could lead to an unhealthy mind and body. It feels good to write this article this night because I am grateful to God Almighty for His steadfast love that endures forever. The sky will never be our limit in Jesus name, continuously keep your hope in God alive.
Jane Ikegulu is a writer, an editor, and an oracy coach who loves writing about the home and its challenges. She is also passionate about young people as she believes that they are our future.