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Back to the days of endless queues? Part 2

02 October 2012, 11:13

I would have thought that by now the issue of fuel scarcity would have been long forgotten but how wrong was I? Rather than it getting better, what we keep experiencing is longer queues at gas stations with little or no attention given to this matter of urgency by the authorities in charge. I would have thought that such an issue like fuel will be treated with utmost concern but rather it is being handled with kid gloves. Now that it has been left to linger on, I won’t be surprised if the President soon comes up with a shocker......I leave that to your imagination though.

What baffled me and keeps baffling me is the fact that the filling stations seem bent on making life harder for citizens as if it is not bad enough that the fuel scarcity itself makes it hard. Most of them will rather sell from a pump thereby ensuring the queues are longer and more time is wasted all in a bid to fuel your car. This is sheer man’s inhumanity to man if you ask me. Thought it was bad enough that the government is oppressing us, why have we then taken a step further by oppressing ourselves. So sad!

My first and memorable experience today gave me an insight as to how bad things had deteriorated and I must confess, it left a bitter pill in my mouth. I decided to go queue at the Oando filling station close to Alapere, Ketu, Lagos at 6.20am and of course joined the queue as the last person. Of course as time went by, lots of people joined and I made an attempt to walk into the filling station and speak to an attendant at least be sure they were eventually going to sell fuel. I did and got the required info but instinct told me not to leave yet, so I decided to watch events unfold.

The first sign of things to come was a young man who tried entering illegally but was initially barred from entering; He later bribed the guys who prevented him and the same people ended up opening the illegal gate for him. This young man bought fuel and was really feeling fly with himself to the extent that he screeched as he made an exit from the gas station. I only shook my head at his ignorance.

From that moment onwards, it became freedom for all who were ready to bribe. The attendants made it their duty to successfully create an illegal queue for those who were ready to bribe their way and even made sure more cars drove into the gas station through the illegal entrance. I just kept asking myself if the money they are making today will be enough to build them a house....Short-sightedness I called it.

When it got to a point where it became obvious that those on the proper queue might end up wasting the whole day as this ‘business’ was booming for them, I walked up to one of the senior attendants and offered a solution to the issue all at my expense {since they initially claimed no one was allowed to enter illegally} Trust the young man, he refused my solution and at that point I was convinced they meant no good as against their initial claim.

Moments after, when I discovered that their own ‘business’ will ensure I stayed there all day and no one was speaking out, I walked there and gave them a piece of my mind including my fellow Nigerians who played to the gallery. At that point, everyone caught the ‘spark’ and we all had a common voice. When the senior attendant saw that I had ignited a fire that might spoil their business, he asked for where my car was parked and that I should bring it forward so I can buy fuel and leave {apparently for their selfish interest} but I stood my ground stating that I wasn’t going to buy fuel before it was my turn. I reminded them that Sunday was just around the corner and they all would go to church once again to pray for Nigeria when in actual sense our attitude doesn’t portray that of those who really want this country to get better.

When it was finally my turn, they also tried to extort me with a funny ‘policy’ of each car could not buy more than #1500 worth of fuel except you were ready to part with some cash. Of course, that wasn’t going to hold water and I didn’t mince words in letting them know I was not going to be a party to such. Gladly I had the exact amount of money needed to pay for my fuel, paid them and drove off but not with my mind pondering on this very true fact: We are indeed the architect of our problem.

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