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|Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan
ACTOR-ACTANT RELATIONSHIPS AND SHARP PRACTICES IN THE DISPENSING ARM OF THE DOWNSTREAM OIL INDUSTRY IN OGUN STATE
The desire for effective distribution of petroleum products for domestic and industrial use has led to governmental initiatives including registration of independent marketing companies and retail outlets to facilitate steady supplies. Notwithstanding, timely distribution of products to designated places and consumer satisfaction is still a mirage. Previous studies have examined issues on logistics and marketing. However, little has been done on manipulations in the process of dispensing products to the final consumer. This study, therefore, was designed to examine the Actor-Actant Human-Machine relationships and sharp practices at filling stations in Ogun state. Actor Network and Anomie theories provided the framework, while the descriptive design was adopted. Abeokuta, Idiroko and Sagamu were purposively selected owing to being major towns with large concentration of filling stations. In-depth interviews were conducted involving three filling station owners, six managers, and 36 attendants 12 each from selected towns . Key informant interviews were conducted with two officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources and three dispensing pump engineers to elicit information on sharp practices at the filling stations. Two focus group discussions involving eight participants each were conducted with commercial and private consumers in the three locations to examine the experiences of consumers. Calibrated kegs were used in purposively selected filling stations -four each of major and independent- from the three locations to confirm the quality of pump gauge. Transcriptions were content analysed. Consumers bore the burden as sharp practices was observed in all sampled filling stations. However, metre gauge was fair in Abeokuta and Sagamu compared to Idiroko due to the existence of black-market operations along border areas. Social construction of actors by members of the society, poor salary and poor monitoring were identified as factors influencing sharp practices. However, proper monitoring by regulatory agencies would reduce the sharp practices borne by consumers.
ODUNAIKE BOLAWALE is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology
ODUNAIKE has a Ph.D in Sociology from Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan