traffic because few cars are on the road:When fuel price was N86.50 per
litre, Lagos-based Mr. Raji Olanrewaju used to fill up his Toyota car
fuel tank with about N7,000. Now that it is being sold for N145 per
litre, he now spends almost N12,000.
Two weeks ago when he drove to and fro Ibadan from Lagos (280km,
according to Google Maps) to attend a social function, he spent about
N4,500 on fuel at the old rate of N86.50.
A week later when the new price was announced, he spent around N9,500
to drive to and fro Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, from Lagos (174.6km).
Meanwhile, his salary has not increased and so he is unhappy…
Although fuel scarcity, coupled with high cost of buying fuel, had
persisted in the country since last year, it was last week’s development
that made Olanrewaju to understand the new reality.
He said, “Food prices have gone up. The amount to fill up my car fuel
tank has risen. But my income has not. Now, I have abandoned my car. I
have to face reality. I now go to work by public transportation. I go by
Bus Rapid Transit. The convenience is no longer there like what you
have when you drive your own car, but what else can one do?
“I used to take my children to school with my car, but now that’s no
longer feasible. They now go via public transport. They too are feeling
the economic reality. I hope things will change for the better later.”
A Lagos-based bachelor banker, Mr. Olatunde Ayinde, lamented to Punch
that between last Saturday and this Monday, he spent around N12,000 to
run his V6 engine-powered Lexus SUV.
Before, he used to spend about N5,000 to fill up his car fuel tank to cruise around the city at weekends.
“Now, there is no more cruising,” he said. “My income has not
increased and it will be foolish for me to keep spending such an amount
on fuel alone.”
Ayinde added he was going to take the car only to church on Sundays.
He said, “I’ve parked my car in my compound now. I have promised
myself to only take it to church on Sundays or maybe special functions…
To be hopping from one public bus to another is not easy. It’s not
convenient. But with the new fuel price, I’m going back to public
“Things are no longer easy, I must confess. Prices of foodstuff in
the market have also skyrocketed. Electricity bills have gone up.
Meanwhile, my salary has not been increased by my employer. So, it just
doesn’t make sense to live the lifestyle I’m used to.
“Now I have to cut down on some expenses. I don’t buy what I don’t really need these days again. It is not easy going back to an old lifestyle, but what can a man do but to adjust?”
A Lagos-based engineer, Kola Olaoluwa, bought a car for his banker
wife who works on Victoria Island in January 2016, even though he has
yet to have one for himself.
They live at Berger, 35 kilometres apart from Victoria Island, and
the purchase of the car was to make life more comfortable for her.
“I told her right from the beginning that she would be the one
fueling it. I didn’t want my wife sweating to go and come back from work
every day. That’s why I bought her the car,” he said.
But the new pump price of fuel, together with the usual daily stress
encountered on driving to Lagos Island, has made his wife dump her car
at home and go to work via the BRT.
Olaoluwa said, “My wife usually drives her car to work on Victoria
Island from Berger, but now she has started going by public transport. I
am not happy about this due to the stress involved when you go to work
by public transport.
“You get delayed sometimes due to the bus drivers stopping here and
there. Another passenger could be carrying a bag of tomatoes or onions
or pepper and be sitting beside you in a public bus. Before you know,
they can stain your clothes. I have experienced this many times.
“They have stolen her phone before in a public bus alongside some
money. When you look at all the downsides of public transportation, it
just makes sense to have your own car, especially in a city like Lagos.
“But with this new price of fuel at N145, she has gone back to the
previous lifestyle. She complained she was spending more money on fuel.
It makes economic sense to me too to dump her car for now, that’s why I
didn’t argue with her. She has to do other things with her money. I
would have been supporting her but I’m not financially buoyant now. I
just hope things get better soonest.”
An oil company worker who lives in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr.
Tari Sekibo, told Punch via telephone that the new fuel pump price was
also biting hard for him and his family.
Without the prompt payment of salary again by his employer, he said
it was “not realistic for now” to continue driving his fuel-gulping V8
engine-powered Toyota SUV.
He said, “It’s not funny anymore. I can’t remember when last I went
somewhere by public transport. But believe me, I did so last Saturday
when a friend of mine was getting married in Warri, Delta State. It
looked awkward, but I couldn’t pretend.
“Before, when the price was N86.50, I could just buy N10,000 worth of fuel to go for such a journey. Last week Friday when I calculated what I would spend if I should drive my personal car, it was around N23,000.
And for quite some time now, since last year when the global oil prices
fell, we’ve not been getting our salaries regularly again.
“Now our salaries are being paid on the 40th or on the 50th. You know
what that means? It means we now get paid 10 or 20 days into the second
month. I had to dump the car in Port Harcourt to go to Warri via public
bus. If not for the closeness to my friend, I wouldn’t even have gone.”
In Osogbo, Osun State, some commercial bus drivers were said to have
withdrawn their vehicles from the road “because passengers don’t want to
pay and we have to pay almost double for a price of one litre of fuel,”
a commercial bus driver said in a report.
Passengers trek short distances in the city, especially as the state government is owing workers for months.
A Lagos resident, Mr. Sola Gbadebo, told how his friend who lives at
Egbeda but works on Victoria Island sold his Mercedes Benz saloon car to
buy an 18-seater bus.
Though this is not a new development in the city, Gbadebo said his
friend did so last week when he heard that fuel price had been
“He just sold his car and bought the bus so he could be carrying
other passengers. I was marvelled. Now, he has some people who have
booked for seats in his bus. They also work on the island,” he said.
“By having more people using one vehicle, carpooling reduces each
person’s travel costs such as fuel costs, tolls, and the stress of
driving,” a Lagos-based economist, Babatunde Abraham, said.
Funny enough, this is what happens in other countries like America.
People don’t go to work with their big cars every other day, they take
public transport and use their cars only when very necessary.
meaningful, everyone wants to live big. That is why some guys resort to
fraud and ladies to prostitution. Learn to live by your means and grow.