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Opinion

TAXI FARE FROM AIRPORT TO VI. By: Tope Fasua

NURTW/ANCLA – N6,000 after begging
UBER/TAXIFY – N2,000 (u can even dash them another N500)

Lesson; the world is teaching us that we should stop profiteering from ourselves. Those old Babas who always quarrel with themselves at the airport and have no clue what an airport environment should look like, are profiteers. How did they arrive at N6,000? Just by sitting around some beer parlor, appoint themselves chairmen and conspiring against the people. They have been making super profits but their time is coming…. They and those lazy Lagos taxi drivers who are always sleeping all afternoon, or gisting and playing draft while groping some orange hawker or some girl who hawks Sobontone and Kpokriyon, or any other toxic concoction that promise to wake them up down below. If you approach them in their ‘union parks’ for a taxi, it always looks like you are disturbing them. And they will tell you “ahh! Lekki, N10,000! There is too much go-slow!”. “yeeee! Satellite Town! Ahhh N15,000. The road is blocked”. We used to have no choices but enter their stinking cabs and inhale much carbon monoxide.

But thanks to Travis Kalanick and Gareth Camp. For one we now breathe better air and are treated far more decently. To believe that they started this company in 2002, when they were 26 and 24 years old each!

Uber/Taxify and others are running a sustainable model which covers everyone’s cost and at the end of the month, drivers get as much as N100,000 after all said and done. I for one almost always give them tips – except they are untrainable and lousy. For one, thousands of young men – and hopefully women – are busy with something to do.

This is the realm of Behavioral Economics. Recall that our man, the author of Nudge (a book that teaches how governments should understand the people first and know how to well, ‘nudge’ them in the preferred direction), Richard Thaler, got the Nobel Prize 2 days ago, so we are on top. Yaaay!

So it’s the same penchant for simple profiteering that is responsible for galloping inflation in Nigeria. We need to understand that our economy (and our mentality) hasn’t reached that level where others are; where people are comfortable with a 3.5% yearly salary top up to cover inflation, where things increase generally at the rate of 1.35% yearly and survival, basic survival if youre a son of the soil, is not a dog-eat-dog affair. We are the country where those with advantage are trying to totally game the system; Banks, oil companies, your favorite butcher, Baba Luku in the market, the hairdresser, the okada and danfo driver, his conductor, the agbero that ‘shadows’ the conductor, the ‘yellow fever’ who obtains his own at the junction from each danfo driver, those guys who run clubs where a shot of Tequila (pronounced to-kill-her, though this time it allegedly killed him) is sold for like N5,000 a shot to the ‘ballers’ – otherwise known as young money-miss-roads – and even the danged government. Everyone is a pick pocket. They just want to have you for no reason. That is why if government increases fuel price by 10%, transport doubles for the common man, and remains there. How can 10% fuel increase double the entire cost of running a bus or okada? And how does that translate to double the price of chicken and tomatoes overnight? Profiteering is it – in a country with no rules and no fear; the FREEST country in the world. You best believe it.

And so the man who has nothing to sell – maybe because he’s a poor civil servant, waits for his turn and hammers everyone who has been making his life hell by simply converting the commonwealth to personal use. These guys are the wickedest when they get the opportunity. After all, the private schools his children attend has been showing him pepper since. There are also the sin-ators and reps and every overfed party bigwig in between, all ramming down the least privileged without mercy. Oops how can i forget those guys at NNPC, and the International Oil Companies who demand financing costs upfront and tell our VP how they want to borrow to purchase equipments abroad; equipment that their brother company produces and gives them on credit (because abroad nobody expects cash payment immediately)? They know we have no control and no input in any technology. And they know we don’t care. Meanwhile the same ‘financing costs make it into the PPPRA template for calculating our local price for fuel.

Where is the dirt being swept? Under the carpet of course… as NATIONAL DEBT for our children to pay. Someone needs to rescue the nation. Thankfully, some are organizing to do just that.

Tope Fasua is the CEO Global Analytics and Consultancy Firm  and also the National Chairman of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party  (ANRP).

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