Monday, 16 May 2016

Story Story...Once Upon a Subsidy (Part 1)

So here is Mr. Okoro Gbenga Bello (OGB), a common Nigerian struggling to survive in the current economic clime. OGB hasn't received his salary since January and on the 1st of May, 2016 he was told that he had been laid off as his employers struggle to keep the firm alive.

OGB is confused and frustrated... no job, no money, power supply has taken for the worse yet the bills have increased, fuel has been scarce and he had been paying over N120 per litre, cost of transportation has gone up, food stuff too. He got home to see a white paper with green printings stuffed into the Windows of his face-me-I-face-you apartment...he definitely knew it was from those devils at PHCN. His electric cable has been cut and he was asked to pay N10,000 as bill plus reconnection fee. How could all these happen to him just when he has no job?

By the 3rd of May, OGB was really struggling...he called a friend to send him N1,000 and the friend agreed. OGB got an alert on his phone that the N1,000 has been credited to his account, but 5 minutes later he got another alert saying that N50 has been debited as stamp duty leaving him with N950. OGB was irritated and he asked a neighbour to explain -once more- what the stamp duty was all about. His neighbour explained that it was an avenue by which the government is generating funds because oil doesn't bring in much funds as it used to.  Hmmm...OGB just thought to himself "I was never even a common ward councillor, never was in a position to manage 1 Kobo belonging to the Federal government, never squandered public funds...yet I pay N50 whenever a small amount of money gets deposited in my account because of those who messed the economy up...well"

With N600 out of the, OGB managed to cook a small pot of soup...obviously without gallops (meat or fish), he was still thinking of how to get the soup to last a week or more when he got a call from a lady he wanted to marry. He had planned seeing her parents in February -once he had received his January pay -but this was May…salary e no see, job sef e no come get. The lady was also not in a good mood and gave him an earful, telling him that her parents were getting tired of waiting. After that call, OGB felt like all the heat-wave in Nigeria had settled on him. He needed to cool off...but there was no power obviously. The closest paper to him was the last copy of his CV and he fanned and fanned…the more he fanned the hotter he got…he fanned and fanned till the paper ‘died’. In that state of utter despair, OGB grabbed a jerry-can and ran to the nearest filling station for fuel.  Foremost in his mind then was to turn on a fan, cool and clear his congested head...but, first, fuel most be bought.

At the filling station, he spent hours, got into all sought of fights …he had 4 before he got to the top of the queue where he realised that he could only get 2 litres with the N300 he had. He decided to buy 1 litre instead and keep some money in the pocket just in case he mistakenly spills someone's oil on his way back home.

On the eve of May the 11th, OGB was sitting outside with his neighbours and they were talking about how hell-fire must be better than Nigeria. Some of his neighbours said it was Buhari's fault, others said it was Goodluck's fault...OGB as always sat on the fence. Of all that hurt them, the cost of fuel was the most painful...but OGB was of the opinion that Buhari wanted Nigerians to enjoy it at N86.50 with subsidy but saboteurs and greedy Nigerians keep hoarding and selling fuel at exorbitant prices. He believed that Buhari and his team would fight and fight until everyone sells fuel at 86.50…he felt sure of that.

On the 11th of May, OGB got another call from his fiancée after which he had that terrible urge to cool off. And to the filling station he ran again for the usual fights, screams and eventual purchase of a litre of fuel which would cost him N125. While in the queue, there were small talks of "no more subsidy", "fuel is now N145", "Buhari don finish us", "make dem kuku kill us", "make thunder fire change, fire all those people wey vote for change". OGB couldn't understand what was going dawned on him when the Manager at the filling station asked the attendants to stop selling fuel while they readjusted the meters to from N125 to N145 per litre...and all he had on him was N130. Just then an alert came in; a guy owing him N2500 had just paid in N1000. As he was about smiling, another alert came in and to say that Buhari had taken N50 as stamp duty...OGB went mad, he wanted to beat Buhari so much that he took it out on anyone available.

He got home -obviously without buying the fuel...and everyone in the compound was irritable especially those who never wanted Buhari as president in the first place. They wanted to go on demonstration, if possible riot. They wanted to vent their frustration, but why? All they could say was:
1.       Because they have removed subsidy and fuel price has gone up
2.       Because majority of the current APC members opposed GEJ's attempt at removing subsidy, so they should also be opposed.

And this is where I come in to try to make some “common sense”…

To be continued...

The Oracle has Spoken!!

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