Thursday, September 01, 2005


Fuels scarcity comes to America

I knew it was coming, I was afraid it will come. Gas shortage, or as we call it in Nigeria, Fuel Scarcity. Prices have skyrocketed and there seems to be no end in sight. Hurricane Katrina only accelerated and aggravated what was already a bad situation headed for the worst. I cannot believe I willingly paid $2.99 for gas on Wednesday. Usually I would drive past several and bitch about the prices before I settle on one to pump gas from. Just this morning, I saw a report about one station in Georgia selling its regular gas for $6.00. The owner must be a criminal to do something like that. Here at home in NC, there were lines at gas stations, a sight so reminiscent to the ones in Nigeria. Long lines filled with rickety yellow Volks Wagen 'gombi' buses, also know as 'danfo', mammy-wagons, molues (yellow school buses, converted to public transit buses) and 504 Pea-jotes (Peugeots). Days like those called for mandatory exercise, walking from Lagos Marina to the Mainland, because all vehicles, both public and personal, are standing in line for fuel. My brothers, when they got older, didn't know that the luxury of being able to drive also came with the suffering of going to hustle to fill up the tanks and jerry cans with fuel. Some times we’d be lucky to get a free jerry can or two, courtesy of some students who felt the gesture and show of goodwill would translate into extra-credit from my dad. Now, whether the latter happened or not I really do know, but I am sure it is a gesture that many people can use in America today, because pockets are beginning to pinch.
The sad thing for us in the United States is that next to water, gasoline is an essential fluid. If you don't have it you can't eat, go to work or pay bills. In many places like NC the transit system is very poor and inefficient. Facilities, grocery stores, schools and work places are so far spread out that one cannot even attempt or even fathom walking. In Nigeria, come rain or shine, no gas in the car or no electricity to iron your school shirt, we always find a way to IMPROVISE, and that is why I give mad props to Africans. Even I myself, with all my 'siddity-argh-a-spider-fronting', have walked several miles to get to school, the market, church and back because there was no gas. So don't be fooled, by that personality, there are five others, and one of them happens to be a gangster-mango-tree-climbing-hoe-weilding-cement-mixing-village-dancing-carpenter all in one.
The saddest thing is that regardless of how outraged we get, we remain helpless. It goes to show that democracy is very subjective. Imagine if this rubbish price hiking and gouging was happening in Nigeria. First of all, before Festus Keyamo, Adams Oshiomhole, the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Teacher's Union and the now defunct University lecturers union can gather for a press conference to announce their various strikes, the markets, bus drivers would have already shut down operation. The President, governors and the cabinet will be put to the real test. People would stop going to work because they cannot afford to get to work. They would not be afraid of being fired, which is the case for many here in the states. The much people can do is carry placards that read 'Honk if Gas is too high' at street corners while hoping and praying that corporate America and capitalists cohorts alike will have mercy. It's sad, true and I am drawn to conclude that it is shameful, but really what can the poor masses do.


Anonymous said...

For real this is a global issue.
We are all affected by it one way or another.
Help if you can


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