On the Throes of Another Induced Fuel Crisis

by Peter Claver Oparah

As I write this, just three days to Christmas, Nigeria, the largest black nation on earth and the assumed African Giant is locked down by a conclave of crises, which to all intents and purposes, may take eon years to solve. It is leaderless, unruly and rudderless. Its supposed leader, who was imposed through the most dubious electoral fraud, is quarantined in a Saudi hospital and so far, no one can put a decent guess on when he would be free enough to resume duty. In his absence, has been revealed a deep layered crisis of confidence, which has ensured that his deputy is kept as far away from power as when the president was around. Every available indices points to the fact that Nigeria is cruising on an auto train, devoid of any driver and any sense of control. Everything points to the fact that it is headed to a certain rocks. The crash promises to be eventful and fatal!

Gradually, we have been forced to live in debilitating and sub-human conditions. In this state of rot and hopelessness, we are being made to believe that nothing is possible. We have given up on government and government has given up on us. It had ceased courting our understanding and rather devoted its energy to brow beating us into stupor. To it, that is the best possible way of getting us to conform to the state of borderless anomie it launders so freely and with reckless impunity on this woe-ridden country. We have been forced to live in pitch darkness while successive governments play tricks with worthless promises of miracles in the power sector. We are forced to live with grinding and excruciating poverty, collapsed infrastructures, unemployment, borderless state of siege, horrible and amenable roads, etc. We are gradually being forced to accept that this sorry state is the best we can get as a people and threatened to either live with these scary pictures or ship out. Gradually, these are becoming rocket sciences that are beyond the capacities of governments in Nigeria to deal with.

But so far, what has taxed the man in Nigerians is this endless fiddling with petroleum prices by each government since the Babangida regime happened on that sadistic weapon of mass punishment. The most intriguing aspect of this fiddling with petrol is that it is a natural endowment God blessed this nation with. But curiously, while it had fueled the elephantine greed and avarice of those that have so far, smuggled their roguish ways to powers at the various centers, it had bred the worst state of despair for common Nigerians. As I write this short report, Nigeria is facing a needless but very terrible artificial fuel scarcity. There are a plethora of reasons why the country is sentenced to this kind of punishment and as is common with Nigeria, with an inept leadership and poor information management portal, these reasons are mere rumours. If it was not because petrol tanker drivers decided to strike at this critical period, it was because NUPENG staffs have decreed a fatwa against Nigerians this Christmas for God-knows-what. If it was not because PENGASSAN members have decided that enough is enough, it was that the government has decided to make Nigerians yearn for deregulation as the solve-all panacea to the largely orchestrated hitches that have been made to straddle the petroleum business in Nigeria. But the sure picture is that petrol sells as high as N600 per liter in many filling stations all over the country (it is worse with many hawkers littered at every street corner of this petro-rich country)and prices of good and services have reached over the roof, especially as people try to give themselves a decent meal at Christmas. In short, Nigerians have been decreed with a nightmarish Christmas by those that have imposed themselves as her leaders.

However, what looks like official reactions to the present fuel crisis is Babel of cacophonous expletives that hardly agree on how best to navigate through this latest mayhem that was profound for the time it was launched. As usual, official positions on this latest state of fury have been riotous, uncoordinated, and haphazard and out rightly idiotic. It is one hell of a blame game that flies left, right and center. What remains of the government in Nigeria says it has enough fuel to go round this parched land. It blames independent marketers for the latest crisis while not forgetting to drum it into our ears that it was because we refused to accede to their latest bout of deregulation that we are being punished at Christmas. The independent marketers charge that government deliberately undersupplies fuel for whatever score it wants to settle against Nigerians, which is not far from its brutal prosecution of its so-called deregulation project; the only project that seems to have life in this unfortunate era! Both NUPENG and PENGASSAN, both umbrella bodies for oil workers in Nigeria are spilling their own stories and no one knows what to believe or disbelieve.

Both in all these, and with Nigerians, hoping to make the most of what remains of their lives this Christmas, what stands profoundly poignant is the great chasm that stands where government should stand. What is advertised in all these dirty shenanigans is that Nigeria is roaming freely and aimlessly in outer space, without an authority to look up to at this very critical doorstep of civilization. Even as one believes that the present contrived fuel crisis remains one of the trump cards what remains of government in Nigeria wants to employ to whip us into accepting its poisoned hemlock of deregulation, the situation has been worsened by the abject lack of character in the present government. The present fuel crisis, rather than advance the nebulous and self serving reasoning behind deregulation, have rather served to highlight that Nigerians lack a government. It has rather page-marked the deep vacuum that presently exists since Yar’Adua left to attend to his health, without conducting a proper handover. Not that the situation was better since he began his insipid reign or even better when Obasanjo was mischievously holding court in this raped and abused land but it robs Nigerians of any figure to vent their anger on or hold responsible for this latest imposition of pain. That is the much we can do as a brutalized and powerless people but we have been denied of that fun as a result of the inchoate state of the presidency at present.

All said, the present chaos is another reminder that we must do something very urgent to rescue this fast sinking ship called Nigeria or help it tip over for the good of all. With its notorious penchant to devour its inhabitants, Nigeria is fast becoming one big mass grave and this demands an urgent surgical, the present fuel crisis, which I insist is instigated, serves as a poignant reminder of the grim pictures ahead. For those who previously thought they would sleep over the huge problems confronting Nigeria, it is becoming clear, with each passing day, that they would not be guaranteed a good sleep, even as collaborators to the defenestration of the country. The clarion call is clear and loud; we must either save ourselves from an impending perdition or sink in the nearest future.

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