The scent of Xmas… It’s four days to go
Cash crunch, fuel scarcity may mar celebrations
Christmas comes with high expectation. For companies, apart from it being a time to celebrate and appreciate staff and customers, it is a period to take stock of the firm’s financial position in the fiscal year. Individuals take time off to reflect on the passing year and visit loved ones.
Arguably the most celebrated event in the world, Christmas comes with a lot of festivities. Everybody celebrates it, which explains why both the young and old proudly wear and decorate their surroundings with emblems of the season.
Across Lagos, children are kept happy and busy with trips to visit Father Christmas where Santa Claus presents them with gifts. They are also dressed in some of the paraphernalia of the seas
Mixed reactions have, however, trailed this year’s Christmas celebration. Many Lagosians who spoke to The Guardian complained of cash crunch due to the uncertainty of payment of salaries and unending queues at filling stations. The respondents said that the lack of disposable cash, has led to poor patronage of traders of goods and services.
The festive season is usually characterized by massive shopping and it is a period when markets make peak sales. This is evident in the high traffic of movement seen in most markets during this time. However, some respondents say the situation is “terrible this year.”
Mr. Chukwuma Onuoha said in his 15 years of living in Lagos, this would be the first Christmas that he could not travel to his state to celebrate with other family members. He blamed the lack of money as the reason for his decision. He said he could barely provide for the Christmas needs of his family let alone bearing the expenses of travelling.
“Till date, I have not been paid salary for November let alone December. Without a means to celebrate Christmas, there is no reason to be happy,” he said.
Historically, street carnivals are the biggest socio-cultural events on the calendar of Lagos metropolis every year end. This is marked by the voyage of music, dance, and fun-loving youths from all parts of the cities to catch fun. From the popular Lagos carnival, Surulere carnival, Ajegunle carnival, Badagry carnival, the list is endless.
In Ajegunle, youths are engaged in a football competition, where teams put on jerseys of foreign clubs. “We do this to show support for our teams. This is the seventh year. That is the way we mark our Christmas here,” said Wasiu Iginla.
Roadblocks, usual avenue where street boys raise funds for carnivals, have not yet been erected in most of the areas visited. This may not be unconnected with the caveat from the state government on street carnivals.
However, the state government has called for mild carnival celebrations this season in view of security situation in the country. Chairman of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Task Force), SP Olubukola Abe, warned members of the public, particularly street urchins, against organizing Christmas and New Year carnivals that could cause fracas in order not to undermine the security of lives and properties of Lagosians.
On its part, the state government has modified the yearly Lagos Countdown crossover event to ‘One Lagos Fiesta’. The event, which will be staged between December 27 and January 1, 2016, will hold simultaneously in five locations – Agege, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and Bar Beach, and, with one million Lagosians and 50 artistes mobilised for the great event.
The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, said over 50 artistes are expected to perform for over 300 hours.
“It’s not right that only one spot enjoys; so this year we will be going to these five locations and definitely use more next year.
He said over one million people would welcome the year 2016 at the biggest crossover party in sub-Saharan Africa. “We reviewed the successes recorded so far with the Lagos Countdown and settled for a model that will turn the entire state into one community; celebrating change and the achievement of the past year with a strong expression of hope for the year ahead.”