I’ve seen a lot of his Petrol stations dispensing fuel during difficult times in Nigeria that each time the monster of fuel scarcity roar, the only thing that comes to my mind is “A. A. Rano”. Before seeing his picture today as posted by a friend, my mental picture of him was that of an elderly man advanced in age and no longer attracted to the allure of easy money. Seeing his youthful face hit me like cold water in harmattan. He is within the age bracket when aiming to be a multi-billionaire is a religion. Yet, Rano doesn’t seem inclined to take advantage of the hardship of ordinary to build his castles.
I don’t know how he does it that anywhere you see a long fuel queue in major Nigerian cities it is most likely one of Rano’s Petrol stations dispensing fuel at approved rates to the general public. Even on ordinary days, most people feel more comfortable patronizing A. A. Rano Petrol stations because they are assured of fairness and value for their money.
A. A. Rano is a good man, the kind Nigeria is lacking to support its journey to greatness. I’ve heard stories about his ‘tank farms’ and oil connections which some people believe were behind his ability to keep his stations wet even when NNPC Mega stations and other stations owned by more connected oil moguls like MRS and Oando remain perpetually dry.
Knowing almost next to nothing about Rano, I’m not in position to ascertain his influence in the downstream sector much less, agree or disagree with the ‘theory of connectivity’ said to be behind his success as a petroleum marketer. Still, I can comfortably assume, even if influential, he couldn’t be more influential than all the big names in the downstream sector including giants like Total and Mobil whose stations seem as dry as their reputations in oil marketing used to be reliable.
I think Rano’s functionality is more about patriotism, kindness and fear of Allah. Let’s even assume he owns ‘tank farms’ and import oil with ease. Could Nigerians stop him locking up his tank farms with millions of litres of fuel to create artificial scarcity and cash on the benefits like most people in his business do regardless of the hardship they unleash on ordinary Nigerians? I admire and respect Rano for refusing to cash of the hardship of Nigerians to maximise his profit margin.
For each litre of Petrol he sells at N145, somebody of his class and category must have sold same at N200. Simply put, for each 1 million litres he dispensed to the public at N145/ltr, he has willingly let go a princely N55m that he could easily shortchange Nigerians without questions asked.
The President in his new year speech said thusly:
“Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.
The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.”
It’s heartwarming that we have the assurance of the President to prevent unpatriotic cartel in the oil sector from manipulating the system for their selfish benefits without considering the welfare of millions of Nigerians. In the same shot, I pray the President identify good people like A. A. Rano and involve them in designing and supervising a workable fuel supply chain complete with the power to identify and sanction fraudsters in the system. We need to involve patriotic Nigerians with an excellent grasp of the tricky oil industry and a generous dose of human kindness like Rano to put an end to the embarrassing periodic fuel scarcity.
Of equal importance is the need for President Buhari to investigate the activities of the Department of Petroleum Resources. DPR is a culprit in this sad drama. The way and manner they award licenses for building and operating Petrol stations is far below what’s obtainable in regular societies. Petrol Stations are built with reckless disregard to safety and without proper supervision to ensure they operate within the boundaries of regulatory laws of the sector. It’s so bad that Petrol stations are now competing with residential buildings for space. When will somebody ask DPR why there’s not as much fuel to power the vehicles of Nigerians as there are countless Petrol stations in every city, perhaps in every major street of any Nigerian city. DPR need to account for this oddity if we are to see an end to needless fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
May Allah SWT continue to increase A. A. Rano in wealth, good health and kindness to continue to serve Nigerians with the kindness they deserve.