Pangolo Junction
Life, arguments, and kunu... with Max, Nat and Zack

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Daily Amebo - Government Sets Out 'Fuel for All' Plan

Dear Reader,

I'm sorry that due to a snowstorm of commitments, I'm not going to be able to recount the goings-on in the Junction this week. However, rather than leave you with a blank page, I've decided to publish this article which is a satirical take on the Nigerian Government's handling of the fuel shortages. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope to be back next week with more tales out of Pangolo Junction.



The Daily Amebo - Government Sets Out 'Fuel for All' Plan

By Basketmouth Jagbajantis

Staff Reporter

Concerned by the incessant fuel shortages being experienced in the country, the Minister of Energy, Dr. Edmund Daukoru has set out a 'Fuel for All' strategy to solve the problem once and for all.

Addressing journalists at a press conference held today, Dr. Daukoru said that he had been personally ordered by the President to devote his energies to dealing with this problem once and for all, now that the president has been informed of how serious it is. "I have it on good authority" said Dr. Daukoru, "that the President was notified of the fuel crisis while he was abroad attending an international convention on the Blueprint for the Evolution of Good Governance in the African Region held in Washington, D.C, where he was photographed no less than twenty-seven times with various global movers and shakers.

"In fact, he was notified by no less a personality than his good friend, President George Bush of America who was the host at the conference. Mr. Bush seemed surprised to see him at the conference, and asked him whether he had managed to obtain the aviation fuel needed to fly to America on the black market. When the President expressed ignorance of what he was talking about, Mr. Bush joked that he must have made a mistake, and that of course the eighth largest exporter of crude oil in the world couldn't really be suffering from a shortage of petroleum products.

"Anyway, as soon as he returned, the President ordered a high-level enquiry on the situation, and after months of deliberation and investigation, I am glad to announce to all that he has concluded that the stories of a persistent shortage of petroleum products are indeed true. This means that we can now proceed to take action to deal with the problem."

Dr. Daukoru announced that the first step to be taken would be declare than henceforth, petroleum products would be given away free of charge. "In the course of our investigations," he went on "we found out that high prices on the black market and fuel shortages seemed to go together. We also found out that lower prices on the general market and general fuel availability also seemed to go together. We therefore concluded that that the lower the price, the more available the fuel seemed to be. Consequently, we have decided to make the fuel free so that the availability will reach infinite proportions."

But Dr. Daukoru said that this regime of free fuel will have to be carefully managed. "As I speak," he said "there are enemies of this nation - I will not mention names, but the retired customs official knows himself - who are plotting how they will cause these measures to fail for no other reason than being bitter, jealous, inadequate and frustrated at the achievements of the President. It is for this reason that we will have to take special care to ensure that the fruits of this new measure are enjoyed by all."

Dr. Daukoru then declared that with immediate effect, all supplies of refined petroleum product would henceforth be transported to Abuja and stored in a huge underground reservoir to be constructed in the backyard of Aso Rock for this purpose. The President would personally watch over this reservoir day and night with cutlass in hand if need be. In fact, he had declared that he would treat it like one of the chickens on his Ota farm, and woe betide the bunkerer who thought he was smart enough to steal a gallon or two of petrol. "As the President put it, 'he will see the naked redness of my eyes'", finished the Minister.

When asked how Nigerians were expected to enjoy the benefits of the free fuel if it was under lock and key at Aso Rock, Dr. Daukoru said that anyone who wanted fuel was free to travel to Abuja and pick it up. "After all, since fuel is now free, the transport fare to Abuja should be ridiculously low, enabling Nigerians far and wide to travel to partake of this latest 'dividend of democracy'. However, anyone intending to pick up fuel would have to submit themselves to inspection by the President to ensure that they were not planning to use it for nefarious purposes "such as supporting certain ex-customs officials".

Dr. Daukoru went on: "Not only will there now be free fuel widely available, but now fatal explosions resulting from vandalised pipelines will be a thing of the past. And eventually, in phase two of his plan, the President even plans to dig up the entire Niger Delta - minus militants, of course - and move that also to the backyard of Aso Rock for safekeeping, so that oil companies can drill in safety without worrying about being kidnapped. So as you can see, all angles have been covered to ensure that Nigerians continue to enjoy access to abundant fuel."

As might be expected, reaction to the news has been mixed. While most Nigerians welcome the news that fuel is to be made free, there are some who are concerned about the repercussions of moving the entire country's fuel supply to Abuja. The Daily Amebo spoke to Kola Adenekan, a self-described "common man", on the streets of Lagos, and he said that it showed that the President was a listening president. "But he should complete what he has started. Instead of just making the petrol free, he should also give each Nigerian N500 along with each litre of petrol that we collect. After all, we should have our own share of the national cake", he finished, to cheers of bystanders.

There was some disagreement expressed with this view by Emeka Onuora, an importer of fuel. "This is an outrage!" he exclaimed. "The government is going to put Nigerians like me out of business! How will I be able to feed my family? Moreover, how can the government afford to spend so much money either refining or importing fuel only to give it away free? This is madness! Madness!!" However, he was unable to finish his speech, as he was cut off by booing, jeering and shouts of "Exploiter! Exploiter!!" from bystanders.

"If Obasanjo likes, he can hide the fuel in his underpants - we shall definitely find a way of bunkering it", said Hassan Okwego, Chairman of the National Association of Bunkerers, in reaction to the announcement. "We shall deploy our extensive resources to bribe, flatter, beg, threaten or cajole our way into that reservoir. And once we have access to the fuel in there, we shall bunker to our hearts content."

The reaction from Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta was more even more hostile. "If the President thinks he can uproot the Niger Delta and leave us behind, then he has lost all touch with reality", spokesman Jomo Gbomo declared. "In case he has forgotten, we are the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. In other words, our main mission is to emancipate the Niger Delta, whether it is looking out on the Gulf of Guinea or securely locked in some mad man's backyard. And emancipate we shall!

"Indeed", he went on, "after the successful emancipation of the Niger Delta, we may decide that the initials M, E, N and D still have a useful purpose - except that they will now stand for Movement for the Emancipation of Nigerian Diesel from the Aso Rock reservoir. After all, it is the least we deserve after our land has been ravaged by oil exploration."

However, there were some people who gave their complete and total support to the new measure. Speaking from his newly acquired mansion located a stone throw from Aso Rock, Brigadier-General (Apostle (Chief)) Kanganka O. Kanganka (rtd.), a seasoned political veteran said: "Yet again, this government has shown us how masterful it is solving problems that have defeated lesser administrations. I tell you, this strategy is absolutely petrolicious! It is kerosational! It is... it is.. dieselightful! In fact, to show my solidarity with the President, I shall be recommending my services in personally transporting a huge chunk of the fuel to the reservoir."

When asked whether he was not concerned about the danger of concentrating such a large amount of fuel so near a residence, Air-Vice Marshal (Engineer) Kanganka (rtd.) shook his head, smiled and said: "You journalists have come with your scepticism. Tell me, in the history of the universe, have you ever heard of an explosion happening when a reservoir is built near a Head of State's residence? No? Exactly. So don't worry... everything is going to be all right."


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