The lingering scarcity of petroleum products across the country and the hardship Nigerians are facing may destroy the last vestiges of confidence the citizens once had in our president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The hope of Nigerians was dashed with the January 2012 increase I the price of petroleum products and they showed their resentment by embarking on protests that paralysed the economy for close to two weeks before they were intimidated by soldiers who were deployed to quell the protests.
The citizens were still licking their wounds when the government hit them with another round of fuel price increase, albeit unofficially but those that have experienced how this government operates know the result of the current scarcity.
Another increase in the price of petroleum products. The long queues at filling stations and the illegal sale of the products at higher prices at the whim of the oil marketers are all familiar features of a planned increase in the price of the products.
The manner Nigerians are being squeezed is dangerous and the Federal Government would do well to do something better than rhetoric. As we generate our own boreholes and provide security in our neighbourhoods with the little or no government attention, Nigerians have continued to weep in silene but we fear that this silence may not last.
Petrol and diesel which have become the last hope of generating electricity and fueling vehicles to move round are becoming commodities difficult to come by and which prices have reached for the sky. The attendant results are being felt by Nigerians who have been contending with high transport fares and loss of man-hours spent at filling stations where they have to pay through the nose for these products.
How many Nigerians understand what it means to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry? How many Nigerians understand the abracadabra of fuel subsidy and the billions stolen in the process? A large percentage of the populace just wants to live but the movers and shakers of this country continue to make this dream an illusion.
Only very few of the high and mighty know what this current scarcity of petroleum products is doing to the majority of Nigerians and most of them are powerless. Must we allow a revolt before we put things right? Must we push the people to the brink before we start solving the problems? As billions of naira is being lost to oil subsidy thieves, millions of barrels of crude oil is being stolen by others but the federal government seems oblivious to these crimes, mouthing rhetorics about having the situation under control.
Who will save Nigeria? Is the current scarcity a presage to another price increase? Nigerians and groups have speculated that it is but must the price of fuel be increased to the detriment of the wellbeing of Nigerians on whose land the oil is found?
President Goodluck Jonathan may mean well but people that surround him are not telling him the truth which is: Nigerians are dying.