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Nigeria, Fuel Scarcity And My Ordeal With Spiderwoman by elmatino: 4:40pm On Apr 14, 2016
It was 5:30am and I was already on the queue. This is Ibadan so being out this early meant something serious was up.

The time crept away rather too slowly. One hour became 2 and then 3 hours all gone with some Ibadan side attractions, better than the scenes from many Nollywood movies. We were not moving, we were waiting; waiting for our heroes – the fuel attendants.

And so they came in, in slow motion, like Spiderman coming to save Mary Jane; but this time, they were Spiderwomen coming to save our fuel tanks from the abyss of emptiness. The fracas of the previous night continued as everyone struggled to get in.

Then there was the first anomaly of the day. As I drove into the filling station and took my place, some young men approached asking for “queue money”. No! They did not beg for it, they demanded. “Oga owo wa da”, one shouted. With an insincere smile that carried with it so much derision, I brought out “their” N100 and acceded to their demand. Everyone there had accepted this inevitable evil so I had no choice than to oblige.

But there was even more to come. As it got to my turn to fill my tank with this golden commodity from yonder, the fuel attendant – my Spiderwoman – with a stern voice, a straight face and an Ibadan accent, demanded that I part with an additional N200 irrespective of the volume of fuel I buy. Of course she felt justified because they sold at the normal price. The man before me had tried to protest but met with a hostile response. “If you no fit pay, make you go buy from people wey dey sell for N180 per liter. Una no dey appreciate”.

So I too had to “appreciate”.

I was exploited but this time, neither Buhari nor Kachikwu are to blame. It was not about the little money involved but about the principle behind it. We are always swift to castigate the government but we look away from our own many ills. We forget that our leaders are a reflection of we the people – they come from within us. We
exploit those beneath us, we vandalize public properties, we throw wastes on the streets, we fail to pay our taxes, we disobey traffic laws; and yet we rant about how much the government has failed us. No! We have all failed ourselves.

I believe the real change will have to start from us. We have waited too long for our leaders to change all to no avail so I have given up on them. We may not be able to change our leaders but we can change ourselves as most of us are leaders in different capacities.

So just in case you are the next Spiderman or Spiderwoman, kindly save Mary Jane without exploiting her - that is the beginning of true change.

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