By Abdullahi Yusuf
It is no longer news that the pump price of petrol has soared, with a litre now selling for N540 or N550, sending the commodity beyond the reach of multitudes of motorists.
The painful development was caused by the recent withdrawal of subsidy on petrol by the Federal Government, which elicited a national uproar, as it were.
It is also not news now, that many, if not most motorists in Kano, are taking their vehicles off the roads and parking them in garages and improvised parking lots due to their inability to fuel them because of the prohibitive pump price of petrol.
What is news now, is how the price hike has removed from the roads virtually all those jolly riders,fancy riders and merry-go-rounders(“Yan Fafa) who took advantage of the subsidized fuel prices that Nigerians savoured over years and embarked on frivolous intrastate and intracity movements, to the chagrin of the real riders.
You longer see this category of riders cruising in high speed, blowing their car horns recklessly and with enhanced silencers,constituting traffic nuisance and endangering the lives of other road users, including commuters.
Even the power bike riders who used to recklessly hit the streets of the state capital, especially in the evening and in the wee hours of the day, and in high speed,have virtually deserted the roads,no thanks to the fuel price hike.
Nobody would have thought all these jolly riders,most whom are understood to be home boys and other souls who have excess cash, would leave the roads the way they did, without any prompting either from the security agencies or from concerned road users.
What should be celebrated here is not the constraint brought about by the ensuing cut-throat fuel pump price, but the traffic sanity it has brought about,consequent upon the departure of people who have little or no business being on the road.
Because being on the road is all about going to places of importance such as work, market, worship centres and social functions which necessitates riding vehicles,most of which use petrol.
In this perspective, therefore, the real motorists are those who role out their vehicles such as cars,buses and motorcycles to the roads to discharge those functions, but unfortunately, many of them too, have fled the roads due to the prevailing fuel situation.
They have resorted to cheaper means of transportation such as trekking and tricycles(A Daidaita Sahu) in order to conduct their day-to-day activities which they deem essential for their daily lives.
Meanwhile, feelers from car dealers and mechanic workshops have it that many car owners are submitting their vehicles to them for sale, blaming the decision on their inability to cope with the fuel situation.
Among them are the real motorists who have been torn between buying fuel for their vehicles and attending to more pressing needs such as feeding, paying house rent and school fees.So,they decided to abandon the former and settle for the latter.
Those that have been lucky to sell their cars,it is understood, have used part of the money to purchase motorcycles which are cheaper in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance.
But the most real among all the motorists are those that have persevered in fueling their vehicles with the expensive petrol and continued with their routine activities.
Although they are not purchasing the commodity in large quantities like before,they still manage to buy whatever volume they can afford and move on with their lives.These are the genuine road users.
And as the fuel predicament bites harder,the real motorists that remain on the roads have no option but to continue to persevere as the withdrawal of subsidy on the golden commodity,fuel,has come to stay.
They can however, adopt measures to be saving whatever quantity of fuel they are able to purchase,which I understand many of them are already implementing the cost-saving initiatives.
The steps include but not limited to switching off their respective vehicles’ engines when caught up in traffic jams and cutting off unnecessary trips from their movement schedules.Desperate problems require solutions.I salute the real motorists.