So. Wednesday 11 April 2016, news broke in Nigeria that fuel has become N145 per litre. Because I filled my tank that same morning, I ignored the news.
After the gist left the internet and came into real life, I started to feel like I was dreaming. I started to wait for that moment I would gasp and wake up – and realise the past morning had been a dream. “Ope o,” I would sigh in relief.
Alas, my refusal to accept reality was/is the dream.
I’m driving to my workstation yesterday morning. There’s a hella traffic – but interestingly, the fuel stations on the mainland that usually had long queues hardly have any. And they have fuel. On the island, where the queues were traditionally shorter than on the mainland, they are as long as hellfire’s waiting line.
And on my favourite fueling station’s board, the red sign shows Petrol: 145.
At this point, I knew I had woken up.
Those closest to me – hell, anyone who reads any of my online presences – would know that I hardly talk about politics. There’s no point; because it’s the same thing we have been talking about since I left my mother’s womb. Has there been a time the Nigerian narrative has not included horrible power supply? Has there been a time bad roads have not been an issue? How about water supply? Has there been a time in the past decade we haven’t complained about fuel scarcity?
I don’t do politics because it’s the same bullshit. Different toilets, same shit. Different leader, same thief. I believe there’s nothing this government wants to do for the people, so you get as far as you want to only by the sweat of your brow and the grace of God.
But no matter how I try, it’s damn near impossible to be apathetic. I keep thinking about times all I had in my pocket was just a thousand naira – and I would use it to buy fuel because I had a meeting I had to get to, and the outcome of that meeting would determine how much I’d have in a few hours. How much fuel can a thousand naira buy now?
A reporter friend said he was made fun of when, forming big boy in his house, he gave a neighbour one thousand five hundred bucks to prepare stew. She laughed at him.
How much is a man’s life worth now?
I’m reminded of a certain Happy-New-Year greeting we had from a particular president some years ago. I remember the reactions, the violence and other things that trailed that event. I remember how several people who would usually be at odds with each other came together to fight and kick against the move.
And just a few years later, we’re right back to that. Except, then, a dollar wasn’t N360.
I can’t help but feel like we should have just left things the way they were then. It’s as though we just postponed the inevitable – we just shifted the date of the evil day. What did all that protests and screaming achieve?
I feel like everything was planned. This move is coming at a time when people are being strangled by lack of power, costlier food stuff – signs of a steadily-dwindling economy. It’s the finishing move; the coup de grace to kill an already-defeated opponent.
I know what would have happened some years ago. By now, the economy would have shut down. No work, no school, nothing. We would be stuck wherever we are and fighting the powers that be the only way we can – by showing them how relevant we are.
But now, some years later and things have changed. We’ve become so used to stress and inconvenience, we take something like a 70% fuel price hike in stride. All the rants and complaints have started as usual – and they won’t get past where they currently are – on the internet.
No Banking Day, anyone?
I start to consider my daughter and her mother’s desire to take her away from here seriously for this first time since she mentioned it. This is no longer the Nigeria I went to school in; me a wide-eyed teenager desiring to change the world. Now, the country is a mere shadow of itself. It’s become a story of ‘once upon a time’.
I finish this post and carefully fold away Nigeria and her problems. I have a deadline to meet; my people, I cannot come and kill myself. I’ve had enough thoughts about Nigeria and her problems. I should focus on Seun Odukoya and his problems.
I’m tired. And I’m sure I’m not alone.
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