This is the Nigeria of my dream, sorryÔÇŽthe Nigeria I saw in a dream. The only thing is that I was wide awake.That fuel can disappear from filling stations overnight in Nigeria is no news. What is news however is that it is always available to those who can pay the right price or are rightly positioned. Ask Uncle Sege how many of his official cars have empty tanks. Did you say Haba! Okay, Uncle Sege is too big and high-up there to be insulted with that type of information. I swear, heads will roll if it ever happened.

Well, I am not talking about any of our public officials, either. Even if the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation depots dry up, there will still be enough fuel for this category of people. You see, they need all the things that make life comfortable so that they can drown us. And usually, that is why they have no idea the travails the ordinary man on the street, the very people they are supposed to be serving, go through.


They have boreholes that supply their mansions water and generating sets that are fuelled with tax-payers' money. The only thing is that, when they are not flying, they are subjected to the inconvenience of passing through neighbourhoods that have no electricity and roads that have suffered the wear and tear of many years of misuse and lack of maintenance.


What was I talking about again sef?  Oh, fuel scarcity! I thought I was privileged, by virtue of my position in the office, and so I would not be too affected by the current unending fuel scarcity. Actually, we operate a kind of prepaid system with a filling station. The agreement was that, scarcity or no scarcity, we would be supplied fuel on demand. After all, that is why we pay ahead of time.


The problem was that no one had any inkling that the present scarcity would hit town. Everybody just woke up one morning and gboza, fuel scarcity was slammed on our faces. I ran to our faithful dealers but discovered to my amazement that they too were caught unawares.


How for do? There would be fuel in four days' time, I was told. Did you say four days? Well, you know we have never disappointed you andÔÇŽ. In all honesty, they had never disappointed us. But that did not remove the dilemma we had found ourselves in. For the record, I had five official cars to fuel (not for me ooooo!), otherwise alarm go blow.


I got really mad when one of my immediate bosses told me that he went to queue up at one filling station and was able to get some fuel. How much time did he spend on the queue? Six hours! He left home at 7.00am and did not get to the office till 1.00pm. I am not an economist, but common sense tells me that that is wasted man hours or whatever they call it. I shiver to think of how many valuable hours have been lost since this fuel wahala started. But who cares, as long as we are able to sell some crude oil and distribute the money to those who have no idea how much it costs to refine one barrel of crude.


Well, I called up the station manager of our filling station again towards the end of the week. Good enough, he said that they were taking delivery of some stock that day. He advised me to bring in our cars the following day ÔÇô a Saturday ÔÇô as early as 5.00am. Me, take three expensive, state-of-the-art cars out of the office at 5.00am. God forbid! I told him it was not possible. The best I could do was send in the cars at 6.00am. He could not guarantee that we would still be able to enter the station at that time, but we wanted to give it a try.


The following day I drove out of my house at 5.30am to wait for our drivers at the filling station. Interestingly, we were able to get some fuel at about 11.30am. Tired, weary and disillusioned, I could not but wonder where we are heading to. The country I dreamt of in 1999, 2003 and even last year is not the same as this. Maybe I am still dreaming. I will let you know when I wake up. The only problem is that it is taking me too long to wake up from this nightmare!







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