Fuel is the next best thing since oxygen. Its not called power for nothing.
People are calling it the Petrocalypse; the almost non-existent supply of fuel to meet daily needs from cooking to flying to keeping businesses afloat.
In Nigeria, our lives revolve around fuel. It’s amazing how fuel made from stuff that died millions of years ago could mean so much life today. But this is not a science lesson.
Because most of our daily activities revolve around this, an absence of fuel means total collapse, shutdown, and a painfully grinding halt. Of course this includes power stations which are run on fossil fuel too.
Let’s pretend for one deep breath that we’ve reached the grinding halt.
Every aspect of our lives will be affected. Except perhaps the cooking part. If you’ve forgotten or haven’t heard of it, you should find out what an Abacha stove is. It might come in handy.
Even though many other things will suffer, five things are most significant:
Transportation: some airlines have grounded domestic operations. People are parking their cars and walking to bus stops to meet rickety buses charging the price of flight tickets for bus fares, or even worse, no buses at all. Bicycles are popular again, and the winners are those trekkers who were trekking all over the country and have now fully gotten used to moving around with their feet.
The Economy: Businesses are closing till the happy fuel days are back again. Telecomm companies are sending out messages telling their customers to brace themselves, saying services are about to get ugly. And you start to wonder what beautiful feels like considering how ugly the service is now. Note that your internet is going to suffer too. Or die completely. Banks are closing early because they don’t have fuel. So out of fear, people are rushing to the banks to withdraw as much as they can. Cashless policy isn’t so attractive anymore. You realise how right your great-grandma was; keeping money in your wrapper is very reliable. Now with enough cash floating around in wallets and homes…your guess is as good as mine.
Security: What is interesting to note about crime is that it is mostly born out of desperation. Knowing that the statistics are in their favour, robbers, might tend to get fund of visiting. The police on the other hand are pulling off their patrols because, fuel is not your friend.
Health: Imagine holding the hand of a loved one on life support. The generators will be going off in a few minutes. You start to hear the generator hiccup as it gulps the last drops of fuel. Then it goes off. Then the backup batteries of the life support start to drain, and eventually die. That hand you are holding will start to grow cold. All the decades of medical advancement are reversed to the old, manual methods. Overwhelming.
Silence: Look outside and see how quiet it has become. The generators are quiet, the speakers are mute. You start to feel like you are in the village for holidays.
But then again, we haven't reached the grinding halt. Not yet. Not ever, hopefully.