Going by the state of affairs in the country, it won't be wrong to conclude that the Yar'Adua administration may end up leaving the country worse at the end of its tenure than it was two years ago. I pray this does not happen. It does not benefit anyone, not even the enemies of the administration, to wish this country any bad. But that does not mean that we should see the things and refuse to say them.
As far back as Abacha days, perennial fuel shortage has been our lot in this country. The reason for this is not far fetched. The poor and sordid state of our refineries is solely responsible. The Turn Around Maintenance [TAM] embarked upon was just an avenue to siphon funds. So much money was expended on-the project, but there was no value for it.
The Obasanjo administration inherited this problem and instead of revamping our refineries resorted to importing finished products for local consumption. If this was a temporary measure it would have been a wonderful one. Unfortunately, because of the selfish interest of the administration, and perhaps for its lack of vision for the sector, importation was allowed to continue unabated.
Few guys in the business of importation were made super rich to the detriment of the majority. For eight good years, not a single refinery was constructed nor the existing ones rescued from extermination.
It is reasonably expected that the YarÊ¼Adua administration would correct the ills of the Obasanjo era by proffering a permanent solution to the problem. Continued importation of finished petroleum products is a madness that must be dispensed with. The situation can be likened to a yam farmer who produces yam in large quantity but jets into Mama Cass or Tantalizer for pounded yam whenever he is hungry.
He would definitely get the shock of his life when he realizes that a tuber of yam that he sells at N200 is being sold to ten people at N400 each. Any person in his right frame of mind would opt for a mortal and a pestle to pound his own yam thereby avoiding the madness associated with the so called modern eateries.
We should not expect so much from a government that is still grappling with the Seven Point Agenda. Asking for more from this administration is tantamount to asking too much within a short spate of time. The status quo of enriching the fortunate few who find themselves in the business of fuel importation will continue but not without its attendant implication of impoverishing the unfortunate majority and throwing the better part of our national resources into fewer pockets.
Those of us fortunate enough to reside in any of the cities across the country may not appreciate the hardship of those in the interiors. We are arguing over N65 or N70 per litre when those at the wrong side of divide are buying twice as much. Some even have to make do with roadside sellers or black marketers as they are popularly called.
As long as we depend on importation for our domestic consumption, and we do not deem it fit to put our refineries on track, then we should be prepared for the long queues at filling stations, argument over appropriate pump price of products, NLC strikes, adulterated products etc.
Mohammed Ali Jnr.
Plot 225, Golf Course Close
Ungwar Rimi Road
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