I don’t see the excitement of old anymore. Many average families cannot even afford to travel home for Christmas. The cost is too high. The city of Lagos used to look deserted close to Christmas, because virtually all the non-Lagosians would have returned to their villages to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their kith and kin.
This year, Lagos traffic is still as busy as ever. People are staying back. Even the more privileged families also don’t want to go to the village. They are afraid of being mobbed by all kinds of relatives looking for help. It is easier to tell people you did not see their text messages, or the account numbers they sent, even when you have not announced that you have surplus money to give away, but to go to the village and see them face-to-face, could be quite an ordeal.
I have listened to various tales of harassment, reported by persons who have had to tolerate that cousin who has just taken a third wife, who wants to be supported to maintain the woman, or that in-law who wants to buy a motorcycle and his body language is like if he doesn’t get the support he wants, he’d be tempted to recall his daughter! I really haven’t heard those peals of laughter that used to be the main feature of Christmas anymore.
What I see is the sheer anxiety on people’s faces. Christmas has become so expensive. Many parents are practically panicking!..."