Fuel Scarcity in Nigeria, I see a bigger problem- Adetunji Adeniran
I drove through five states in the South-West and South-South of Nigeria in the past five days in a row. I couldn’t get to buy fuel before leaving Lagos due to the long queues, so I managed what I had till I got to Ibadan. I was lucky to have escaped the rush in Ibadan as queues were just building up. I easily got full tank after 30 mins of queue at a filling station around Sango towards University of Ibadan (UI). All through my stay in Ibadan, I witnessed a lot of stranded people especially along Iwo-road as a result of fuel scarcity. I left Ibadan after 2 days and headed straight to Osogbo for a brief meeting. By this time, I had decided not to use the Air conditioner in order to preserve my fuel which was supposed to take me to Benin City; getting fuel in Benin City wouldn’t be a problem since I have a friend who works in one of the major stations. I narrated this story so you can understand the level of analysis and thinking that goes into an average Nigerian’s journey to survival.
The crux of this write up is to open our eyes to an alternative scenario of this fuel scarcity saga. There is an alternative story that most Nigerians are not looking at. I see a lot of young people tweeting and creating memes pretending to protest to the government. This has never worked and it won’t work anytime soon. We are all aware that yuletide periods are usually the peak period for Nigerians and there is always a surge in demand at this period especially in major cities where people leave for their respective towns, villages etc. What I think Nigerians need to understand is not why the fuel is scare but why nobody is held responsible for the scarcity. Who or which department is our demand planner?
The current situation is just a good example for us all that the petroleum sector is not run by business corporations but by a group of cabals who don’t understand business or do not understand demand and supply. They are complacent with sharing the allocation which is usually large and more than enough for any serious planning. If this sector were to run like businesses, then they should understand the times and seasons and produce along with demand. Someone needs to be held accountable for these lapses. Past trends should have told us that this is the peak period and appropriate plans should be in place. Being reactive to situations like this by the NNPC is just for the government of the day to score political points.
Why does an average Nigerian depend so much on fuel? It now looks like our lives revolve around it; from our car to generator without which we can’t get cold or iced water, press clothes, power TV etc. How did we end up having these huge number of cars on our roads? These same cars on our roads are neither produced nor assembled in Nigeria. What then is our problem? We are looking for imported fuel to fill the tanks of imported cars in order to drive them on the road constructed by imported contractors. The only thing Nigerians know how to do best is consume everything. No production!
Between 2012-2014, Nigerians protested against the immediate past administration led by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Why have we not learned? The same thing we voted against is still hunting us as a country; this is to clearly tell that our problem goes beyond the person leading the country. It is a system issue. A system that runs independent of the president and/or the National Assembly. A system run by some selected few called cabals that are always present in every succeeding government. To get ahead, the system needs a restart. A new crop of leaders need to be elected if we are serious about breaking the stronghold of those holding us to ransom.
A friend narrated a story to me yesterday about a man he met at the filling station. This man had trekked from Ikeja to Ogba to buy fuel only to meet a long queue at the station. He leaned on one of the cars (also waiting for fuel) and made a call to his wife that he was too tired and weak to come back home. The wife who probably thought he was somewhere cheating hanged the phone on him after a series of abuses. The man further got distressed and sat there hapless. It is quite an unfortunate situation in the country. This is why a lot of people are making frantic efforts to leave the country even for less developed places in Africa. It is just a difficult time to be born in the country. The future looks bleak and no hope in sight.
Dear young people reading this, I implore you to take your future into your hands and go for the best things possible. 2019 will be the first true test of our determination as a group. If you are above 18, please collect your PVC and get registered in your polling unit or anyone near your residence. Do not sell your votes for any amount, rather vote the candidate of your choice based on objectivity and quality of their track records. The solution to our current tragedy rest on your shoulders and it starts with making the right choices.
Adetunji Adeniran; @adetunji1212 on social media