By Elizabeth Adegbesan

A bottle of soft drink that used to sell for N50 is now N150, while a bottle of malt drink has jumped to N350, from just N100, a few years back.

A pack of 5-Alive or Hollandia fruit drinks that was sold at just N500, has escaped the common man to sell above N2000.

So, how can we maintain the entertainment culture that has been part of our lives?

Assuming a family of five has another family of five visiting, on a weekend, as is usually the tradition of keeping close relationships in Nigeria, how much investment will such a family make in providing the drinks that can go round?

That is the headache in almost every average family today, which also has produced some inventions.

Like the saying goes: ‘Necessity is the mother of inventions’.

Now, families are seeking cheaper alternatives to sustain their entertainment culture, and Zobo (Hibiscus flower) and tiger nuts drinks are taking the centre stage.

To prepare a 10-litre gallon of Zobo, which can serve an average family of five for up to four days, if refrigerated, Economy&Lifestyle gathered that it may not cost beyond N2000, while that of tiger nuts may just be about N3000.

Yet, these drinks are said to be healthier than carbonated soft drinks and such beverages laden with much sugar and soda.

Materials for preparing zobo, Economy&Lifestyle gathered, include zobo leaves, flavour (optional), pineapple (optional), ginger or pepper (optional) and water, while that for tiger nuts are tiger nuts, dates and water.

They are said not to be too difficult to access and not too costly to buy.

A derica of zobo leaves (900g) costs N400, while flavour of various types, which contains sweetening agents, costs N100 per specie. These can prepare 10 bottles of zobo drink servings for a family of five.

A derica of tiger nuts costs N700, and dates go for as low as N200. These can also prepare four to five bottles of drinks.

Halimat Omotosho, a secretary, told us she now uses zobo and groundnuts to entertain her visitors, instead of her usual 5-Alive juice.

“The rate at which things are going, I have resorted to making zobo and frying groundnuts myself to entertain visitors.

“The cost of getting soft drinks is expensive. I am from a Muslim background and have lots of extended family members visiting. How do I entertain them from the meagre salary I get and foot other personal bills. I discovered that I can make use of N1,000 experience, after visiting a friend.

“I don’t visit people anymore, especially after my last visit to a friend. I was offered only water. Although we have always served food to each other during such visits, according to our are managing. The only time I experience sales is during the festive season. I just hope that sales will be better this year because people are after what they will eat before thinking about drinks.”

John Usifo, a lecturer, noted that the rising cost of goods and services accompanied with the depreciation of the naira have continued to limit the purchasing power of Nigerians noting that the artisans are mostly affected.

“I no longer go on visits anymore. The cost of transportation alone to see a relative in Ibeju Lekki, for instance, will break you. That alone will make you reconsider staying home and use the money to purchase data  to make video calls and see them, since that is what visiting is all about – to check the wellbeing of relatives and friends.

“Now is the time for Nigerians to spend wisely and plan for tomorrow.”

Entertainment of visitors is an important way of life in Nigeria.  Ethnic groups perceive it as a way to make visitors relaxed while creating bonds. 

Exotic drinks especially wines and soft drinks and food of all sorts are served to celebrate visitors based on the purchasing power of the person or family.

But, today, the state of the economy is gradually limiting the exotic entertainment lifestyle of Nigerians.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.