#CostofCorruption: Corruption Cost Me My Fiancee

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Nigeria: Africa’s Fallen Giant And The Reign Of Political Kleptocracy

#CostofCorruption: Corruption Cost Me My Fiancee, By Ridwan Adigun Sulaimon

Nothing is more emblematic of corruption in Nigeria than the oil and gas sector. The long fuel queues, the resultant traffic congestions and the rampant extortion in the name of ‘there is no fuel’ are some of the offshoots of such endemic corruption. Sadly, for me, the fuel scarcity cost more than queues, traffic or money; I lost a woman I loved.

This piece was written by Ridwan Adigun Sulaimon. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

I had been in a relationship with Fareedah for over a year in the hope of marriage. Since she finished her youth service some times last year, we had not seen as she stayed with an uncle in Abuja for sometime, before she got a job. During the 2016 Easter weekend, she visited her ill mother who was admitted at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan and I had agreed to meet her there.

Due to financial constraints occasioned by the poor economy, a function of corruption, I could not visit her. Then I promised her that since she would be leaving by night bus on March 29, 2016 and I was expecting some money that same day, then I would catch up with her, since I had a bike.

READ ALSO: Nigeria: Africa’s Fallen Giant And The Reign Of Political Kleptocracy

When I received the money as expected, I had less than a litre in my fuel tank and needed a full tank to embark on the journey. First, I bought black market at N700 for two litres so I would have enough to queue. Then, the struggle started, with the pushing and the shoving, from one petrol station to the next.

Ridwan-2I searched from Ojodu to Igando to no avail. I even tweeted my frustration. In the search for fuel across those routes, there were only two filling stations selling, one at Iyana Ipaja, the other was the NNPC at Omole. So, I chose to queue at Omole. There, motorcycles were forced to pay some ridiculous entry charges before being allowed into the filling station. Sadly, I obliged because, you cannot be right when the situation is wrong. Later, the attendant informed us that the Manager had instructed them to stop selling fuel to non-four-wheels, so he stopped selling to those of us with bike, despite having collected illegal entry fees.

In frustration, I initiated a protest by motivating other Okada riders thus: “they want you to come pay money tomorrow again, that’s why they are doing this.” The video is still on youtube and one of the video tweets is still pinned to my Twitter timeline @SulaimonRidwan. Although I protested at the top of my voice, nothing happened. Our money was not refunded, neither was fuel sold to us.

Ultimately, I gave up. Since it was just 12pm, I parked in the office compound and went by public transport. I got to Ibadan at 6:15pm, thanks to traffic congestion. When I called Fareedah to explain what had happened, all she said was “thank you.” She was obviously angry. I could not even get to see her mother because I did not know where she was, given that the UCH is a huge complex.

Later, she sent me a text message: “If you had left Lagos soon enough, you would not have been stuck in traffic. I would have seen you before my bus left the park, I need a man who can be there for me: a man for his wife, not a slave to his job.”

She subsequently blocked me from communicating with her. I’m now alone again, courtesy of fuel scarcity. No, thanks to corruption.

Ridwan Adigun Sulaimon is a Programme officer with Media Rights Agenda, Lagos.

This piece was written by Ridwan Adigun Sulaimon. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Datboyjerry

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