Armed with his bed, blanket and pillow, he calmly drove his car to join the queue which is as long as the wall of Jericho,
placed his bed on the ground and lay comfortably awaiting his turn to buy fuel. The wind of change blew and soon, he slept off. Interestingly, he was not the only one who brought a bed.
For the past few months, Nigerians have been sleeping in fuel stations. Transport fares have doubled, the traffic has tripled and the frustrations and despair of Nigerians have quadrupled. The government led by President Muhammadu Buhari who incidentally is the minister of Petroleum have been dilly-dallying on resolving the fuel crisis. The back and forth on subsidy removal, the moribund
Unfortunately, the Minister of State for Petroleum and the GMD of the NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu is a technocrat that never keeps promises. He even told Nigerians that he is not a magician. In other words, to provide fuel for Nigerians is rocket science! To rub salt to the injury, there is no power while the slithering and biting heat make the fuel station a comfy place to sleep before Nigerians are suffocated by the heat in their homes.
Ironically, the purported giant of Africa is one of the biggest oil producers in the world but it cannot provide fuel for its citizenry.
Nigerians have experienced fuel scarcity since the inception of democratic rule in 1999. But, it has never been as ‘bad’ as this even if the country consumes 39.66 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). Perhaps, this is the time to find a permanent and lasting solution to a problem that has refused to go away.
The ultimate solution that Nigerians have been clamouring for is for the government to hands-off the petroleum sector i.e. deregulation. Hence, every Nigerian that is capable of importing fuel should bring it in and sell at their own price. And all this is hinged on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Successive members of the National Assembly have ensured that the Bill do not see the light of day. Even the 8th National Assembly does not seem too keen on the Bill as it prefers to gag social media rather than working on relevant bills that impact the lives of Nigerians.
Now, the citizenry is questioning the change they voted. They do not really like the democratic Buhari but they want the man that ruled Nigeria between December 11 , 1983, and August 27, 1985. The General who was ruthless, brutal and merciless in his quest to instil discipline in Nigerians. The General who sent agents to London to kidnap Umaru Dikko, a close ally of Shehu Shagari. Sadly, the ex-General has indeed repented because he is now a ‘reformed Democrat’.
In the meantime, Nigerians are groaning as mosquitoes have almost sipped their blood at the fuel station like when they sip a bottle of coke after a delicious meal. Besides, after buying the fuel with a litre costing between 180 and 200, the sneaky fuel attendant may sell air for you rather than fuel or in other cases, the pump must have been tampered with. Indeed, the disease of Nigeria, have been planted from the bottom and has grown to the top. As Ayi kwei Armah’s book is clearly titled the beautiful ones are not yet born.
For now, Nigerians hope that their siege at the petrol station will end soon. So that they can go home to have a proper sleep. Imagine the cycle-Work, heat, traffic, and fuel on daily. Perhaps this why the World Health Organization capped the life expectancy of Nigerians is 54/55. Nigerians are indeed resilient people! Kudos to the Nigerian spirit!
Written by: Adeniyi O.