Last week Thursday, I got a shark-bite feeling that fuel scarcity inflicts on one. I got the news that PMS was being sold at a filling station in Ajuwon and I harmed myself with a 25 litre keg, hoping that at least I could get a scoop that would be enough for me to power my generator (contrary to the ads, there hasn’t been power in my locality for days running) so I may at least submit my column for the week; but I returned home frustrated.
True to the news, fuel was being sold and I quickly joined the long queue. For several hours that I was there, I couldn’t get to the nozzle even though I saw that the product was being dispensed. Some street urchins came with a truckload of kegs, hijacked the nozzle from the attendant and sold the product to themselves. Immediately a keg got filled, they would move it few metres away from the filling station and start hawking it at Two Hundred and Fifty Naira per litre (the pump price from the filling station was above the official rate).
When Innocent (fictitious), the attendant summed up courage and came back to his duty post, he wielded the power of a blind tin god. He chose who to sell to. Every second he would walk away from the nozzle feigning tiredness and people, both old and young would foolishly fall at his feet, addressing him with some outlandish and high-class appellations. Innocent became a superstar as he would raise his shoulders and walk back to sell for the next few minutes and return to catch some rest. I looked at Innocent as I recollected that I had given him a tip at one time or the other. I had thought of his survival on his meager salary at those tipping moments, but today, Innocent didn’t think of my welfare or that of any other person. He was just enjoying the temporary euphony of a momentary god.
I watched as this went on and on and left when it was obvious that my continued stay in that particular station will not yield any result.
I went to another filling station. There were two ‘soldiers’ helping to maintain decorum and I felt happy that in no time I would be attended to here, but the attendant charged about two hundred naira to sell into kegs even though the dispensing price was unofficial. It would be a bad economic decision for me to buy fuel in that circumstance as I only had a thousand naira.
I returned home thinking; is this the kind of CHANGE that we all are touting? Change in this vicious cycle? Maybe we all thought once GMB got sworn into office everything will become new and our old paths shall be trod no more? CAPITAL NO.
In any fuel crisis situation in the country, the fuel station attendants/owners, the black marketers and the buyers of such black market are the worst set of people that I wouldn’t like to touch with a long pole; just like Satan. They drive you nuts. I even saw a high-ranking law enforcement officer patronizing the boys peddling/hawking fuel in kegs. One wonders when this madness will be nipped in the bud.
How long are we to continue living in this jungle that we call a nation? What if we don’t have fuel, how would we have been living? I am sure some of you will say writers should use their pens to write good about their nation but wouldn’t it amount to gross rape on people’s conscience if they follow such irrational admonition? If you want us to talk good about our leaders, then leaders should act responsively and responsibly. People ain’t asking for private ownership of rockets for crying out loud.
Yes, Okonjonomics has been proven to be laced with nothing but lies, just as the past few days of this present administration have proven, the more, that we have a wicked sitting President that we all can’t wait to give an Otuoke valediction to; but truth be told, the system produced the kind of leaders we have just as it is said that “the people deserve the kind of leaders they get.” The people make up the system!
Politicians will come with Mosaic-meekness to solicit votes; they will even sell manifestoes that may include a free passage into Paradise. People will defy all odds to vote for them having been fed with hopes of sweet nothings. Once the politicians get into office, they become untouchable, riding on the heads of the populace that voted them into power. PEOPLE will usually (in a foolish way) deify, worship and bow to them. If such politicians arrogantly or reluctantly perform their official responsibility, the people will stupidly roll out drums of celebration and make a big banner inscribing THANK YOU… on it. Each time I see that, I say to myself: but this thief is only rising up to what he swore to, he hasn’t funded the sorry borehole from his father’s pocket for crying out loud! A man admitted responsibility for his failure as a President and acknowledged his defeat at the polls, yet you want us to knight him for acting responsibly for the first time in his public life? OMG!
The allegory (the event was real though) of Innocent is just a monad of the humongous problem we all in one way or the other contributed and are still contributing to in this land. We heap this chaos on this nation every time at the slightest instance, and as the new dispensation starts in a few days, let us not allow the usual innate wickedness of politicians take advantage of our humble stupidity. Stop making a banneret out of any politician that performs his responsibility. Stop reclining on the old chair of tokenism and start holding the political elites accountable. Let us assume we would forgive our old buffoonery and understand that “he who must come to equity…” , we all must be ready to change in our small space; then and then can this change be total and visible.
Adebayo Coker is a wordsmith. Societal Fragments, A Man Like Me9Noteography Of A Father To His Son) and Wobbled Words are his published works. firstname.lastname@example.org , @adebay_c