There’s really so much going on in the country right now. All the controversies about the wearing of hijabs and the Nigerian legal system sparked off by Miss Firdaus Amasa, and the arrest of the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Innoson Nigeria Limited, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma have got people reaching out for all sorts of ideological, political, ethnic and religious cards. It doesn’t take much really to have us scampering into camps and designing memes and GIFs for social medial campaigns.
These are very serious issues no doubt, and trust me, Nigerians have a lot of serious issues we contend with on a daily basis. As if we didn’t have enough problems harassing and hounding us already, or things to worry about even in our sleep, another Christmas suddenly creeps in upon us.
It really beats my imagination how this happens every year. It wasn’t like this some years ago. Even as children and young men growing up in Lagos and Port Harcourt, we kind of saw Christmas coming, many months ahead. Even though my parents had to fend for tens of us kids, it seemed like they were always prepared for each of us and our unique fashion and culinary tastes. From August, my mother would start taking us to Balogun Market in turns for shopping, and definitely by the end of November, we all knew what we would be wearing on December 25th and 26th and January 1. They were meticulous like that.
My folks were really about the Christmas spirit and good cheer, and till this day, it is still a mystery to me how my father, mother, five sisters and four brothers and I, all drove to Bar beach in a Peugeot 504.
Now, as a grown man with a family of my own, I try to emulate what I learnt from my parents, hoping to ignite in my sons, the same love of the yuletide – complete with a tree, cards, carols and decorations my parents instilled in me and my siblings as little boys and girls.
As I write this, it’s two days to Christmas. I should be busy planning to entertain friends and family, but not this year. Instead, I am spending the night in a queue at the NNPC mega filling station in Yenagoa that is already a kilometre long as at 9pm with no guarantee that I won’t be told, “oga, fuel don finish,” just as it gets to my turn.
I don’t know how they do it, but it seems the government at the centre has made the very same mistakes they accused past governments of making, and then fifty-five more. I know it is fashionable, and almost expected, to blame sitting governments for everything wrong in the system, including when the sun gets too hot, or when the rain falls too hard or not at all, but on this issue of making petrol available for sustenance and transportation during the Christmas and new year festivities, the blame falls squarely on the man in charge. For those who don’t remember, we do have a Minister of Petroleum who also happens to double as President.
So as we prepare for another Christmas, it looks like the most important thing this year is not Christmas rice and chicken, but Christmas fuel. Let me know if you agree, or disagree.