Evidently mocking President Muhammadu Buhari over his comments that his Christmas message this year would be his last, the Presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar (GCON), has promised Nigerians that they will not spend their next Christmas queuing for petrol at filling stations if they vote for him in February.
Said Buhari in his last Christmas message to Nigerians: “For me and my family, this year’s celebration is unique. It is my last as your elected President. Twenty-two weeks from now, this administration will hand over to another.
“In the last seven years, I have had the privilege of receiving members of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) community on Christmas homage, except the year the COVID-19 pandemic denied us that opportunity. I will fondly remember them as my benevolent landlords and friendly neighbours.”
But Atiku, in his Christmas message, signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, on Christmas Eve, said the APC administration has set a new record of the longest petrol scarcity in the history of Nigeria.
Said Atiku: “Recall that the petrol scarcity started in January 2022 on account of the importation of dirty petrol high in methanol. The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, explained 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. Still, no one was sacked for bringing the country to its knees.
“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.
“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.
“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.”