It is no longer news that when faced with difficult socio-economic conditions, Nigerians often resort to desperate measures to cushion the resultant effects. Little wonder since President Bola Tinubu announced the discontinuation of the petrol subsidy during his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, and the hike in the price of petrol; Nigerians have devised strategies to ameliorate the resultant effects.
Nigerian workers are known for their resilience in the face of hardship. They have to deal with a number of challenges, including low wages, poor working conditions, and unemployment. However, they continue to work hard and provide for their families. There are a number of reasons for the resilience of Nigerian workers. One reason is that they are used to hardship. Many Nigerians have grown up in poverty and have had to work hard from a young age. This has taught them how to be resourceful and to make the most of their situation.
Another reason for the resilience of Nigerian workers is that they are family-oriented. Many Nigerians work hard to provide for their families and to give their children a better life. They know that they have a responsibility to their families, and this motivates them to keep going even when things are tough. Nigerian workers are resilient because they are hopeful. They believe that things will get better and that they will be able to achieve their goals. This hope gives them the strength to carry on even when things are difficult.
It’s important to remember that every individual’s circumstances are unique, and the strategies they employ to survive difficult times can vary widely. The general observation based on the Nigerian context has been made as Nigerians went into diverse survival strategies.
Since the prices of commodities have doubled and income has hardly increased, many Nigerians began to engage in menial jobs, as well as establishing small-scale businesses to generate more income to support their families. This include street vending, artisanal crafts, or starting small businesses.
Farming is a great traditional habit among Nigerians. No doubt, agriculture plays a significant role in the Nigerian economy, which is why during hard times, many people resort to subsistence farming to provide for their basic needs. Some of the farm produce may be sold to make more income, used as barter, or better still used as an alternative source of feeding for the family. Even though some workers may not be able to engage in rigorous farming, seeking family support is part of our societal life. Workers often turn to rural areas to gather food stuff from relatives.
For most Nigerians, seeking family support in times of dire need is usually one of their most viable options in a bid to ameliorate the hardship they suffer. This sense of community helps to alleviate some of their financial challenges.
Religion and community involvement can provide psychological and emotional support during hard times, offering hope and a sense of belonging. This is also one of the things Nigerians are currently involved in to ease the hard times. Churches are also there to give support, as many people that turn to churches seeking one form of assistance or the other. Nigerians have begun to seek financial help from the various churches they attend.
With no cash in pocket some Nigerians turned to barter system of survival. Before civilisation, bartering goods and services was a way to acquire necessities without necessarily using cash. This practice gradually found its way back into society as Nigerians now make frantic efforts to sustain themselves in the face of the growing hardship. As earlier mentioned, Nigerians often demonstrate resilience by adapting to changing circumstances and being flexible in their approach to emerging economic realities which eventually result in untold hardship.
Some persons have resorted to learning handworks such as mechanic, electrical work and even fishing. As difficult as this may seem, during challenging times, some individuals invest in education and skill acquisition to increase their employability or create new opportunities for themselves. This is one strategy many Nigerians have resorted to in recent times to improve their income.
Even as resilient as we are in times of hardship, there are some great pieces of advice for Nigerian workers and even employees to consider.
For instance, It is important to prioritize family and personal well-being, rather than being solely focused on work. Building a home and creating memories with loved ones is an important aspect of life. It is also crucial to avoid being consumed by work and to take time off to recharge and spend quality time with family. Competing with colleagues or bosses can be detrimental to one’s well-being and career, so it is better to focus on personal development and mastering one’s skills.
Having a side business and saving money are wise financial decisions for the long term. Keeping personal and work life separate is important for maintaining balance and harmony. Planning for retirement early and exploring other opportunities outside of traditional employment can help ensure a fulfilling post-work life. And it is essential to always stay positive, believe in one’s work, and strive for a balanced and fulfilled life.
– Abdul Aji, a journalist, writes from Lokoja.