Blog entry by Ogbonne Adesoji
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Government declared a lockdown for affected states. When the lockdown was eased, the Lagos State Government rolled out the guidelines in line with NCDC’s recommendations to curb the spread of the disease. Essentially, they were measures to foster Social distancing, self-isolation and general cleanliness. One of those directives was that markets will only open on certain days of the week and be completely closed on the alternate days.
I wondered how this would work for the Lagos traders. If you live in Lagos, you would have probably thought the same. You see, before now the markets are always bursting with life and lives, pun intended. Walking through the Lagos Island market was always chaotic. It was no different in the Yaba, Ladipo, Oshodi and Computer Village markets. Incidentally, the Lagos State Government has done a fine job at implementing these laws effectively. I visited Saka Tinubu yesterday to replace my charger and to my surprise, it was completely closed.
I had the privilege of discussing with a few of them on how they feel about this new way of doing business and I was shocked to learn that they actually enjoy it. One of them reported that they are more relaxed now and have time for family and leisure. When asked about its effect on their revenue, one said “if I was making N1m in a day for instance, I am now making sales of N800k so there is no much difference. But we now have time for ourselves”
Is it safe to conclude therefore, that we Nigerians do not know how to relax and take care of ourselves except it is forced on us? I recall that two years ago, HR of a particular organization had to circulate a memo that insisted that all workers must go on their annual leave. They had seen increasing cases of people slumping at work from stress and noticed that most people would rather monetize their leave. Meaning that they work round the clock so that the money accumulates.
If this rule was not forced on the traders, there would always be that pressure to beat your competition and ultimately make more money. Therefore, no matter how I feel, I must be at my shop every waking day. There was nothing like leave for the average trader in Lagos. The pandemic has forced them all to go on compulsory leave and it is refreshing to know that they are enjoying it.