By Friday Olokor
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday told Nigerians that they would not spend 2023 Christmas queuing for petrol at filling stations, if they vote for him in February next year.
The special assistant to Atiku on public communication, Phrank Shaibu, made the promise in his Christmas message
issued in Abuja on Christmas Eve.
He said, “Atiku Abubakar hereby promises Nigerians that this will be their last Christmas that will be spent at a filling station queuing for petrol. Voting APC in February will be a reinforcement of failure which could push Nigeria into an existential crisis. To Nigerians, we say the ability to change your destiny lies in your hands. Merry Christmas.
“With the fuel scarcity now continuing till December, the government has run out of excuses even as most Nigerians are now at the mercy of black marketers who sell petrol as high as N500 per litre. The NNPC which is the sole importer of petrol has failed to live up to its duties, clear evidence that its privatisation is merely cosmetic.
“But the biggest culprit in this mess is President Muhammadu Buhari who is the minister of petroleum. It is saddening that he has failed to bring succour to Nigerians who are suffering from the worsening inflation, unemployment and insecurity.
“It is disheartening that a country that claims to spend $40m daily on petrol subsidy cannot still make the product available to its people. This is clear evidence that the monies are going into private pockets ahead of elections at the expense of Nigerians.
“The APC which is running for a third term through the person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu is now promising renewed hope after dashing the hopes of millions of Nigerians for the last eight years.
“It is exasperating that Tinubu is promising to remove petrol subsidy when his party has retained it for the last seven years and spent billions of dollars subsidising criminality. It is obvious that Tinubu’s statement is an indictment on Buhari.
“Nigerians have suffered too much in these last seven years . A country which has been unable to meet its OPEC quota at a time of oil boom is now witnessing an unprecedented petrol scarcity that has brought economic activities to its knees across the country.”
He continued, “The regime of the All Progressives Congress had set a new record of the longest petrol scarcity in the history of Nigeria.
“The petrol scarcity started in January 2022 on account of the importation of dirty petrol high in methanol, with the
Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari, explaining at the time that the petrol was brought in from Belgium.
“The House of Representatives led by Femi Gbajabiamila, opened a probe into the matter but nothing has been heard about the investigation till date. This is not surprising since it is an APC affair.”
Based on estimates from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, the media reported that NNPC may have spent about N201 billion worth of clean Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), to clean the 170.25 million litres of dirty petrol.
After a few weeks of respite, the petrol scarcity continued yet again in May as oil marketers complained about the outstanding payment of bridging claims incurred by dealers for the transportation of petroleum products across the country.
The NNPC claimed the queues in Abuja and most parts of the North were caused by panic buying.
The scarcity stretched into September with the NNPC claiming that the floods in Kogi and other states had prevented truck drivers from coming up north. In November the government again claimed that the petrol scarcity was caused by the road repairs in Lagos and the inability of truck drivers to move products timely.