The Fuel Scarcity Crisis That Was….
Every crisis in Nigeria has a story that follows it, some sort of adventurous tale of success…sometimes (most times) failure. But nothing, I mean nothing beats the tales that accompany the occasional Fuel Scarcity crisis in Nigeria. I just got Fuel (PMS/Petrol) now, so allow me to drop my “liquid gold”.
As we all know the power situation in Nigeria lacks Vitamin E, E for electricity. Let’s just say it makes it seem like there’s no brighter side to life (I could go on with these puns but I’ll be turning off the generator (gen) soon, so no time). Over here, if you don’t have a gen or an alternate source of power then you don’t want to drink cold water. As luck would have it, I had used up all the fuel in the gen, I planned on going to the gas station to get some more then I heard “Fuel is scarce”….Fuel is scarce, how? when? But Buhari just won…change! I shunned the news and postponed going to get it at a later date. Little did I know things were about to look realer than life.
This particular Fuel scarcity wasn’t caused by lack of PMS/Petrol. This was due to several unresolved issues which eventually erupted into this into this. According to the papers,
“The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the real causes of the debilitating fuel scarcity across the country are the looting of the $12 billion domestic gas fund under President Goodluck Jonathan’s watch, the Administration’s failure to pay fuel subsidy and the cost of interests on bank loans to oil marketers, thus making it impossible for them to begin another round of importation of refined petroleum products.” You can Read the full story on Diaspora Community.
I shook my jerry can, I don’t know why I did that since I already knew it was empty. I decided to go to the gas station to join the queue. First thing I noticed on arrival was a line of jerry cans which made so many curves in the station. I took a deep breath and let it out, it was going to be a long night. I sat on my can being the 100-and-somethingth person in line, patiently waiting. A fight broke out; apparently the station’s attendants were selling petrol at black market prices…INSIDE THE GAS STATION. After a while it died down, people lost hope and walked away quietly with their empty jerry cans (Anyone know why they are called Jerry cans? I haven’t quite figured that out yet). The station’s lights were turned off, more people left. The exit of the hopeless gave new hope to us the strong ones who believed the station’s attendants were waiting for the crowd to disperse so they could secretly sell to just a few. WE WERE WRONG!
The longer we waited, the number of the attendants reduced till there was one left. At this point I was touching the nozzle of the Petrol pump, it felt good. Why couldn’t I just make it magically give me what I wanted? Suddenly I hear people talking, pointing and necks were being stretched like a celebrity had walked into the station.
“The Manager don come, him fit sell fuel, Thank God oh!” folks whispered.
I couldn’t express my Joy, everyone acted like school students trying to be quiet each time the “manager” walked by. An hour passes us by and everyone is still star-struck, this man passes us some more and raises our hopes so high that a lady amongst us goes to meet him and commends him for his service. He smiles…She also asked him if he’d be selling petrol to the few of us standing there.
“No, I can’t what’s left has been reserved for White house” was his reply. (White house is a popular restaurant in my neighbourhood)
When everyone heard that we our halogens of hope began to dim. He walks by us a last time, whistling some Yoruba tune, everyone hails him, and he gives the “presidential wave”.
“Bros, I hail oh!” A new guy joins the team in the waiting game.
“Who’s everybody waiting for? These guys aren’t selling” We all look at him with what-is-this-one-saying stare. Someone interrupts him and tells him the manager is around, therefore we will leave with fuel. Everyone points at the manager. This new guy spots this manager and sighs.
“That’s not the manager, that’s a Policeman. They call him Saudi”.
White house….I then realized he was talking about the one in Washington DC, he was mocking us. Somehow I found myself on my bed, I called it a night!
Presently the situation has died down, Petrol is being sold across the nation by some Fuel Stations, others have decided to play peek-a-boo, selling for a while and closing up shop at other time, we still see short queues of Jerry cans…But it’s better than not seeing at all
With the guys with the brooms sweeping into power at the end of this month may this situation become part of folklore that we can share with the future generation and not a continuous legacy!