Back to the era of ‘Abacha stove’?


SIR: About two decades ago, Nigerians were axed by the economic hardship machete which resulted in stove technology. For us who can remember vividly, the Abacha Stove was usually powered by sawdust, making it the most economical means of cooking our food. This stove was not altogether a blessing, as it soon led to the destruction of our forests. Mad rush for sawdust got some of the stove dealers to ruthlessly destroy valuable trees in order to see their business continue and grow.

Those who cooked with it knew they needed not complain of the poisonous smoke to be inhaled from it. One pertinent question to ask is this. What actually led to this stove – invention? Scarcity! Indeed, kerosene was scarce, and where it was available, the prices were outrageous and budget-shattering. Some people reported that there was over 200% increase in the price of kerosene. The government at the material time could do nothing to ameliorate the needless pain and plight of the people. Faced by this biting challenge, we found a respite in the invention of the Abacha stove. We at least accepted the good and bad sides of our new invention.

Today, we are heading for Buhari stove. It seems to me that by some mysteries, Nigeria will always have a leader, whether at state or federal level, to remember for thorough hardship and infuriating price increase. As an aside, transport fares have doubled. For example, if you rode on a BRT in Lagos just a year back, you would agree that today the prices have astronomically increased. This happened with chronic insensitivity to the salaries of the masses. Back to the Buhari stove. It wouldn’t be a surprise, if we were ushered into the regime of Buhari stove. Prices of items are continuously on the rise, with the government seemingly helpless and hopeless. In fact, for those who can stockpile foodstuffs, now is the time. A visit to the same market in less than 48 hours will throw you into a moronic stance. Why? Prices have again gone up. I wonder if there is any item that has enjoyed stable price system in the last six months.

The prices of gas are busy running upward. Between today and next week, seriously, even economists can not categorically put the price at a figure. In the days of Abacha, we invented Abacha stove; today, we may well be on our way to Buhari stove. One thing stands for sure, a poor invention for purposes of economic survival is proof of insensitive and incompetent leadership.

  • Samuel Ogunnaike,


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