Monday, February 1, 2016

Borrowing From Peter to Pay Paul: Our National Assembly and Buhari's $3.5 billion Loan

In foreign policy, there’s a term for governments that don’t govern. We call them failed states. A state can fail for many reasons, but weak or clueless leadership is usually a factor. In a failed state, insurgencies grow, warlords arise, and chaos reigns.” – William Saletan, 2016
As usual, Nigeria is all over the news, foreign and domestic, all for the wrong reasons. According to Financial Times of London, “Nigeria has asked the World Bank and African Development Bank for a $3.5 billion loan. The request comes as Africa's largest economy grapples with a $15 billion budget deficit in the wake of the oil crash that has seen prices fall about 70% in the last year and a half.” There is no doubt that Nigeria’s economy is in dire straits and we urgently need a fix for the peculiar mess we found ourselves. What is in dispute is the willingness of our political leadership to take responsibility for their profligacy that brought our economy to its knees.
Our former president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ), the man who presided over the highest income ever generated by any Nigeria government, and who sadistically spend all on trivialities struts around the world capitals celebrating how he successfully handed over an empty treasury to his successor who by the way, handily won the election! As Punch newspaper editorial rightly quoted Christian Welzell and Ronald Inglehart, “Students of democracy increasingly emphasize the fact that democracy implies government by the people, not mere ‘electoral democracy’ in which elites have elections, but the citizens have little real influence on their actions.” 
To add insult to injury, our National Assembly, is busy sharing the loot called the national treasury by buying expensive and luxurious “state of the art” cars for themselves. When they take time off from looting the already depleted treasury, they fiddles while Rome burns, cue their current effort to pass ordinance that will ban “the internet from publishing negative articles about politicians” to quote one of them.  
It is in the mix of all this, that President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), approached World Bank and African Development Bank for a $3.5 billion loan. My first retort is to urge an opposition to that loan request until PMB can prove that he and his party are capable of managing the out of control and profligate National Assembly. Why should we continue to mortgage Nigeria’s future to make rich a conscienceless elite ruling class? PMB must guarantee to us that none of the loan will be use to pay National Assembly or the Executive branch emoluments or salaries. He should be made to guarantee that none of the money will be funnel through the office of the National Security Adviser to fund governorship election as GEJ did in Ekiti state. He has to guarantee that the loan will be transparently deployed for the benefit of the suffering masses of Nigerian and monitored by independent Nigerians who are not beholden to the current political class in Nigeria.

We have had enough of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul,  so as to enable  Paul to be able to build skyscrapers in Dubai and jet off to Caribbean Island where they have plush homes. It is time we send a message that the only thing standing between full scale revolution in Nigeria and our profligate ruling class is PMB commitment to anti-corruption and time is running out for him. Nigeria has no faith in party politics and politicians who will steal and loot the treasury in other to win election. So we say NO! to borrowing from World Bank and ADB so the National Assembly could pay themselves mega salary. We say NO! to loans so governors could ride rough shod over us. Our current National Assembly and state governors have to agree to cut their coats according to our falling oil prices for us to move forward. Nigeria meets the definition of a failed state, we have clueless leadership, growing insurgencies, north and south and chaos reigns everywhere. NO! You don’t reward clueless leadership with $3.5 billion loan. It is time we start mobilizing the streets to come out and send that message to those in power.

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