This oil drought in Abuja

Abuja at the moment is experiencing the worst form of fuel scarcity, the worst I have seen in recent time.  The streets are now so free. Most of the cars are at the filling stations. Routes along major filling stations have now been blocked off by cars waiting and waiting to buy fuel. The crowd at the bus stops is unbelievable. People scramble and elbow their way to seats on the few cars that still manage to be on the road. The transport fare has expectedly shot up. That should be expected when a liter of fuel is going for as much as N300 (as against the official N65) in the black market.

Yesterday, a cab to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport charged me N4000.00. The normal cost is usually between N2000 and N2500.00. The driver told me a tale fit for a best selling novel, of how he had spent a full twenty four hours at the NNPC Mega filling station before he could fill his tank, of how his wife had continued to call him perhaps scared that he might have spent the night in another women’s bosom, of how some smart women have quickly raised up makeshift restaurants around the filling stations to provide food for the drivers who now have an abode there.

The only bright side to the whole situation is that the normal traffic on the roads leading to the city center has disappeared. Yesterday I got home at 6.00pm which is a miracle by all purpose. Well that was because I was lucky to get a car. For many, despite the fact that the roads are free, they got home late at night as there were no vehicles to convey them.

This morning I got to work by sheer dexterity. I wouldn’t bother you with the graphic details of my martial act skills that helped me secure a standing space on the big mass commuter buses which luckily are still on the road. In the bus, I over heard many civil servants complain bitterly. Many can not make it to work. Many have sworn not to bother if by tomorrow the anomaly has not been rectified. Many just hiss and curse.

As usual, there is really no explanation for what is happening. I listened to the NNPC Spokesman (the one who used to anchor a late night talk show on NTA a while ago) do what he seems now so good at doing; differentiating between six and half a dozen. It’s been his burden to convince Nigerians (through word of mouth) that deregulation is the best option and now he struggles to tell us why there is a drought of fuel in Abuja. Listening to him, I got no answers. He blamed tanker drivers. Tanker drivers on the other hand blame the NNPC.

While all this happens, our President cools off in the ICU of a Jeddah hospital, adamant to resign, adamant to hand over to his vice. So we sit back and watch this ship without a captain sail in troubled weather to a destination that is nothing but doom.

Did I hear you ask about the FCT minister? Hahaha. I don’t think there is one. The person pretending to be one currently is as good as his principal. Species off the cuisine list of a sea food restaurant. Slow. So slow, he wished the FCT residents to be as slow by fitting all junctions with annoying speed breaks. I doubt if he is aware that there is a scarcity. If he is, I don’t see him giving a damn.

The situation forms the core of every discussion in Abuja right now. I was at the canteen for lunch and I heard someone say (with a measure of authority) that the deregulation has commenced. I think again between morsels of eba and egusi soup if the man really isn’t talking sense. Well, the NNPC people would not agree with him but I guess that’s the only truth about the situation. It’s all about deregulation. We have deregulated everything, from our elections to our sense of responsibility. Now, we have also deregulated truth.

I really wish Nigeria had oil.

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

The pumps are dry.