By Ayodele Fagbohun
The recent subtle political firework displayed by the two main political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) canvassing for presidential polls on February 25, 2023 on perennial fuel shortage, hike in pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) accompanied with excruciating long queues at petrol filling stations, anger, untold hardship and sufferings of the people on the roads, should not be taken with pinch of salt.
The first salvo was fired by the APC standard-bearer, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu while reflecting on fuel scarcity and the naira design crisis, fingered the nefarious and unpatriotic elements and saboteurs to embarrass President Buhari’s administration and ipso facto scuttle the fast approaching presidential polls right at the corner.
While it is natural for the main opposition party, the PDP to instantly refute the charges of being privy to the problem of fuel crisis which is exerting much and grave tolls on the masses without party discrimination. PDP should be humble and condescend enough not to trade blames but accept the obvious and proffer way out from the crisis.
When the atmosphere is tainted, everybody is ill. It is insulting and unbecoming for PDP which had been in the saddle for upwards of two decades (16years to be exact) and APC, the ruling party for almost 8 years’ running fail abysmally to find lasting solution to the endemic oil.
Regardless of ideological differences if any at all in APC and PDP, it is cruel politics and shameless act in governance for both parties, bereaved of positive measures and political will of action of frontally address the problem of governance to give succor and relief to the people highly traumatized by hunger, want and unemployment.
Nigeria is the sixth (6th) world producer of crude oil alongside its munificent advantages to our privileged elite that represent the country in the oil cartel.
Nigeria has no business with the importation of fuel products to primarily benefit the foreign capital for the nation to remain subservient to foreign powers and our country as dumping ground for exotic and non essential products and goods.
The nation can afford and successfully put in place infrastructure to establish local refineries and fix the existing ailing ones scattered in preferred areas through past military government’s policy to favour particular section of the country.
Now, our petrol is either hoarded or sold at exorbitant prices in order to create artificial scarcity and black market to thrive. Services and goods are on sharp increase with corresponding devalue of Naira, our legal tender. Taxi and motor bike transporters have increased their fares. They now reject N50 from commuters, no matter the shortness of distance which attracted N50 before now.
Thus, making life more miserable and harrowing for the low income earners and those who have virtually no means of livelihood.
Are we not living in the George Orwellian’s “Animal Farm”? The political satire relates a sardonic spectacle of sort, that mimicks egalitarian society. Initially all animals are equal in the kingdom. Gradually and before their very eyes, it dramatically and cynically turns out that “some are more equal than others.
It follows from the backdrop, that only the privileged few who own the pipe can dictate the tune; few in the political class, their hangers’ on and cronies in the corridor of power, more often that not, dictate the pace for others to follow and conform more dogmatically.
In other words, the people are always at the mercy of the ruling caste who usually ram down the throats of the people such draconic measures, policies and programmes which are patently inimical to the progress and standard living of the common man.
The unspeakable spectacle the nation in painfully wallowing is creating artificial scarcity of petroleum products, untold hardship and total deprivation of the people.
This is considered a smokescreen to foist untoward unnecessary hike in price as fait accompli which Nigerians do not deserve at this critical phase of socio-economic, downturns around the globe.
Nigerians, all things being equal, should have access to petroleum products which must be relatively cheaper on ground of our country’s oil comparative advantage as 6th world producer of crude oil.
Poor Nigerians, we are literally and figuratively sitting on the ocean; washing our hands with spittle!
It is no longer sustainable to resort to importation of our crude oil to complement whatever quantum we can manage to produce internally. It is political affront and economic subservience and provocation in the extreme for Nigeria, as an independent and sovereign nation, to always go cap in hand to the West even the Eastern block for economic panacea whenever we are at crossroads.
The Western European powers and their institutions like the IMF only compound our problems rather than assisting us to grow our democracy.
Either we believe or leave it, the nation is experiencing the ripple effects of air tacit subservience and acquiescence to so called world powers, in the fuel and other essential goods shortage, socio-economic deprivation, iniquity and stratification of our society.
By all means, Federal Government with speed and promptitude should invite experts with right technology and drive in concert and synergy with our local engineers and other technocrats to fix our dilapidated oil refineries and install new ones to function it full capacity to serve the people under the no and crannies of the country.
We, as a sovereign nation, must pay their labour and allow them to train our own personnel in a specific time frame and send them back to their respective countries.
Equally, it is laughable, absurd and ludicrous as ever that Nigerians should be at the mercy of the shylock oil marketers who constitute themselves as an institution to exploit the ordinary Nigerians at the slightest increase of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The Federal and State Governments should actively move in, to checkmate the excesses of the untouchable oil marketers to give urgent reprieve and succour to traumatized people smarting under this self inflicted fuel scarcity and the attendant problems.
Powerful searchlight must be beamed on the subterranean activities of some personnel saddled with our oil industry; to ascertain transparency in the conduct of business and unravel the hidden agenda contrary to the Petroleum Industry Act. It is crystal clear that the cartels are hell bent to circumvent and profiteer in massive trends at the expense and material wellbeing of the suffering masses at the receiving ends.
The alleged oil scandal should be exposed to stem the crisis hitting oil industry to restore a new lease of life to industry.
The electorate did not know the octopus oil marketers or any of the faceless cronies of past and current government from Adam who in perpetuity constitute law into themselves as agents provocateur to haunt and hunt our fledgling democracy.
The electorate and the masses in general deserve to enjoy and savour the rich dividends of democracy and good government inclusive easy and affordable access to petroleum products without tears across the country.
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