Your Excellency Sir, I am addressing you not as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, a post to which you appointed yourself on the November 11, 2015.
You seem to have forgotten that you are the Minister of Petroleum Resources and may have completely relinquished your responsibilities to the Minister of State of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
You seem to have neglected the fact that you are directly answerable to Nigerians as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, and owe it to Nigerians to make the product readily available and affordable.
As a reminder of what you already know - fuel scarcity has fully gripped major cities in the country and is contributing negatively to an economy that is still struggling to pick its stand.
Pathetic as it may be, your Ministry has failed Nigerians over its inability to end the lingering fuel shortage, as this unabated scarcity of the product has contributed to the high cost of goods and services.
The Honourable Minister of Petroleum Sir, you are on your way to set the record for the longest reign of fuel scarcity in the history of the Republic under your watch. Since you have been sworn in, it has been from one scarcity to another.
Although, one cannot belittle or underestimate the efforts of the junior Minister of Petroleum Resources who also happens to be the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, in revamping the sector. But Sir, your unnecessary and unwarranted silence and carefree attitude before every short statement is issued on the lingering scarcity is worrisome. It suggests that you may have forgotten or may have become unconscious of the fact that you head the Ministry that is currently failing to make available and affordable the product that is key to the economy and the everyday activities of the people.
The unending scarcity that has in-turn led to an increase in pump prices of the product calls for your urgent attention in the sector and a swift reaction in finding a lasting solution to this menace. It is sickening and shameful that Nigerians would have to wait on long queues for hours that could have been channelled in doing other productive things just to a get a few liters of fuel.
Your Ministry cannot continually fail to provide the basic needs of the people and unnecessarily make Nigerians go through pains for a product we have in its raw form and expect the people to be pleased with it. All that you have said and perhaps done about the scarcity is still very much infinitesimal as compared to the pains Nigerians go through on a daily basis to get this product for their respective use.
You may have actually chosen not to react to the issue as the President, but you owe it to Nigerians as the Minister of Petroleum Resources. Nigerians see you as responsible for failing them in this regard.
Sir, if serving as both Minster of Petroleum Resources and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is too cumbersome for you, let go of one and concentrate on the one you think you can deliver better. Your excuses so far for the scarcity would not put food on the masses’ table and will not save the soul of those that have lost their lives as a result of this scarcity. Get the job done sir if you can. If you can’t, step down and replace yourself as soon as possible.
Those calling for the Minister of State of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to resign are muddling things up. They should be calling for your resignation, not his.
There is a reason why you choose to appoint yourself as the Minister of Petroleum Resources. But it’s a pity the reason is not being felt by Nigerians. Your self-appointment as a Minister in that sector has made little or no impact on the lives of the people.
Perhaps the Minister of State of Petroleum Resources is choked up. Maybe the work is too much for him. Maybe he is not getting the overall assistance he needs from you as his direct boss because of your busy schedule. Maybe he needs to share his portfolio with someone. A full Minister appointed to do the job will no doubt dedicate more time for the job than you do now. Think about this!
Nigerians have suffered so much and so long in the name of fuel scarcity and the pains are becoming very much unbearable. Every passing second that the scarcity lingers on is a slap on your portfolio and a shame on our nation which nature has blessed with the product in its raw form.
This is not an act of unnecessary wailing; it is a passionate wake up call to you and your Ministry.
Arrest the situation now and put it to rest once and for all.
Ogundana Michael Rotimi
Ogundana Michael Rotimi is a Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-economic & Political Commentator, and Public Speaker. He tweets @MickeySunny.