Monday, December 7, 2015

NAIJA TOUR (7)

I noticed something while at Keffi, then Lafia and on leaving Lafia for Abuja, and that is the fact that there was no masking of Fuel Price by the management of filling stations in those places, unlike in Lagos, in Filling Stations were fuel is sold at a higher amount than the approved pump price of =N=87/L, but isn't reflected on the meter, rather a calculator is used to calculate the value you'd pay for fuel without regards to the readings of the meter.  In these places, as exemplified by that filling station at Shabu outward Lafia towards Akwanga fuel is sold at =N=125 per litre (as against the approved pump price of =N=87/L), and that is what you'd find on the meter. Apparently, officials of the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, DPR don't pay the kind of visits they pay to fuel dispensing stations in major cities like Lagos and Abuja.

FILLING STATION AT SHABU, A FEW KILOMETERS FROM LAFIA, NASARAWA STATE WHERE PETROL IS SOLD AT =N=125/LITRE

This is much like when I mentioned NAFDAC in my last instalment in relation to drugs. Most regulatory agencies flex their muscles in their respective sectors in Nigeria, only in major cities, and even at that in the highbrow parts and never in the hinterlands and areas considered out-of-way even when not out of their jurisdiction, sometimes because they are understaffed, many times because they couldn't care less, with the jobs they do where and when they do them, only when they want cheap publicity, or want to appear to their employers (or as with the head to the president or supervising minister) like they are doing something to justify their paychecks. At the end of the day, it is the poor masses meant to be protected by the lawful activities of these regulating agencies, that suffer the most.

I arrived Abuja to meet up with appointments I had put forward the last time I passed through, and it felt right to have made that call, because I had less on my shoulder this time to see to the deal I had to seal in the nation's capital. By noon, I had what was left of the day to gallivant before heading out to Nigeria's South-South or Niger Delta region. The first time I visited Abuja was fifteen years ago as an undergraduate, and each time I visit since then, every other year, I see new things in terms of infrastructure and otherwise. It remains one of Nigeria's success stories though it has lots of ugly sides. A dynamic space, like a construction site in the midst of Eden, as the land continues to be raped by bulldozers planting infrastructure over virgin land, greenery and evergreen trees and shrubbery. With replacement foliage and flora tending towards the plastic, and the humans there living what I can consider a fake life in the main, though it is wrong to generalize in that respect. I do love Abuja, but I doubt it is a place I'd like to make an abode for now, or in the nearest future for that matter.

ABUJA CITY GATE

I went sightseeing after business with a friend, checking out real estate prospect and what is obtainable in some of the estates in Abuja. It's no news that most gated communities in Lagos, as well as Abuja provides you with social amenities that government will ordinarily strain to provide, or not provide in most cases, but the fact that they run cable TV cords into conduit just waiting for you to plug in, including Wi-Fi is a new one for me, and totally almost caught me yearning for the high-end life of Abuja, but somewhere in my mind I knew Lagos would've bettered that somewhere. Even in the University, we had DSTV wired to every room in the hostels by the time I was in my penultimate year, as far back as 2003 in Lagos.

The Tilapia Fish at what was formerly the games village wasn't bad at all, though the shawarma wasn't as good as the ones you'd get at several spots on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. Though the Fish took some time in coming, it was worth the wait, and for its weight in cash, paid for by my host. It went down well with the not so chilled bottle of water. That atmosphere, the setting and the meal made for fruitful discussions into the past, the present and the possibilities that the future holds. Lots of insights were shared on that table, the results of which will yield fruit in time to come. You just learn some things that you'd never learn in school when you share some time with people like my host for that day in Abuja. I didn't want to miss the bus to my next destination so we had to wrap up our discussion so I could leave, but not without buying some anti-allergy medication as I was beginning to adversely react to changing environment due to constant travel.

Abuja, wasn't like Lafia from where I'd just come and couldn't get drugs I needed. In fact, the pharmacy where I got my anti-allergy drugs was the second pharmacy I visited in Abuja that day. The first was on the recommendation of the friend I had earlier met. The only problem here is, while you may get medication relatively inexpensive (if they are available) in Lafia, while nursing the fear that it might be substandard or fake, you will have a hole drilled in your pocket buying the same in Abuja where you are most likely to buy the genuine one, with stricter control especially with non-over-the-counter medication.

ONE OF THE SMALL HILLS DOTTING ABUJA'S LANDSCAPE

The ride to Utako where the luxury bus terminus is located was another opportunity to sightsee Abuja. Unfortunately, it was much of the same things. I am of the view that Architects failed Abuja woefully, as there's no ingenuity in the way they put up towers, condos and other buildings, except for very few places. Even the National Mosque had nothing extraordinary besides the golden dome, which made me wonder if all of that is raw gold.

NATIONAL MOSQUE, ABUJA, NIGERIA.

Only the road network was something to write home about, but the curse of all cities, traffic is becoming an all too common feature, a reason why I always choose carefully my time when I come or pass through Abuja. I shouldn't go through the traffic in Lagos, and still come to Abuja to suffer same. I was glad to have made it in time to the terminus, but that didn't stop my debit card from conspiring to thwart my effort to leave Abuja that night.

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N.B. It came as a rude shock to me, in the course of my Tour to learn of the death of Alhaji Mohammed Chindo Yamusa II, Emir
of Keffi, whom I had paid glowing tributes to in my previous offering, as regards how he managed to maintain peace in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
May his soul Rest In Peace!

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