Abuja artisans threaten to relocate over low patronage, blame Buhari
Some artisans operating at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on Tuesday lamented over what they called ‘continuous low patronage’ since the inception of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
The artisans threatened to relocate to more commercially buoyant cities if their sales does not witness positive turn around by year end.
In a special interview with TNG, the artisans recalled their ‘glorious years’ under the Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan administrations. When reminded that such initial difficulties naturally come with a new government that campaigned on ‘change,’ the artisans insisted that four years of hardship was enough.
“Majority of us came here during the Obasanjo era. We felt our businesses will boom more since most of the influential politicians are based here in Abuja. Its the nation’s capital for God’s sake. You can’t expect less. And we weren’t disappointed. Some of us had businesses in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba, etc. but abandoned them because of the good Return on Investment (ROI) on established businesses here. The trend continued throughout the Yar’Adua and Jonathan years. Our businesses expanded and we were able to empower those learning under us,” a spare parts dealer operating at the APO mechanic village told TNG on Tuesday.
Asked if his patronisers were those who reaped from the ‘free money flow’, the visibly enraged businessman who later identified himself as Mr. Ibe said he only received money for goods bought or services rendered.
“I wonder why you guys always believe that booming businesses are proceeds from corrupt deals. We make our money by rendering services or selling our goods. There is no free money anywhere. Since I came to this Abuja in 1999, I’ve never seen or heard that politicians are giving out free money. You have to render a particular service before you are paid your due workmanship. We agree that a new government under a new party is in place but four years is enough to right whatever wrongs of the past administration if there are any. I have over four fully loaded shops and warehouse before but all are gone now and I’m just surviving on this.
The man at the helm of matters is not helping. He was elected based on trust but he is there thinking every other person is corrupt. Nigeria can’t move forward this way. If things do not improve by December, a few of my friends and I have decided to move to a more buoyant city. It has really gotten out of hand and we can’t wait till when Buhari turn us to beggars before we take action,” Ibe said.
TNG also visited Jabi Market and the reaction is not far from reports earlier stated in this story.
“Cost of renting shops here is high, but business is not booming. I can tell you for sure that all those you see here come for petty things, in fact, others will want to take your goods and pay later. Things are really hard today.” Says Uche Okafor, who sells building materials.
Okafor described the Buhari administration as the `worst’ so far in terms of business-friendly government.