My time in Nigeria could easily be summed up by various quotes from Alice in Wonderland. This is a country of contradictions. Africa’s biggest oil producer yet most of its 150 million plus citizens go without power for months at a time. Some parts of Nigeria are safe and peaceful, elsewhere war is raging. When it feels like progress is being made, you will soon be reminded that many are pedalling backwards. Women can run things here – they can also be given as child brides legally.
And fuel scarcity is one such glaring contradiction. Fuel scarcity occurs in Nigeria when the supply of fuel becomes patchy or is rumoured to be about to become patchy. People descend on the petrol station like petrol-sucking vampires and stymie up major roads all day so you can’t go anywhere even if you have fuel. The price of fuel also hikes and people start doing nonsense like selling fuel in jerry cans in the traffic which is risking a hazard of such unimaginable proportions it’s just a bad time to be outside. So as our tank reached the half way point we restricted travel to the bare essentials – work and outside lessons (e.g. piano) – even violin was cancelled as the teacher ran out of fuel. Field Trip Friday had to be postponed.
And why does fuel scarcity happen to one of Africa’s biggest oil producers? It’s one of those very Nigerian phenomenons, a lot to do with corruption and lack of infrastructure and self interest. The political system here is mostly run by an elite rendered so detached by their vast ill-gotten wealth that they often resembles the guests at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”
To cut a long story short – we went to playgroup instead and then stayed home so the driver could go queue at the petrol station for 3 hours and get some fuel.
As Im running out of places to visit in Lagos, it really wasn’t such a big deal and the good news is I think its over now – till next time. :))