- "Shame is an ornament to the young; a disgrace to the old,"-----Aristotle
In the Yoruba fable of tortoise, it was said that the animal clothed with human wisdom was upbeat on all issues in his society, and his cleverness was acknowledged; his name crops up everywhere on everything. One day, the tortoise was preparing for a journey, and his wife, 'yanibo' asked: "Ijapa (tortoise) when would you return?" Tortoise replied: "when I am disgraced." The governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose is inching closer to a big disgrace everyday, and honestly he fits in perfectly into the picture of a character called drunken sailor.
What could make a district officer, a captain of a single federating unit to dabble into international diplomacy which is not only within his purview, but also beyond his job description? Certainly, the route to Honour could have a branch to disgrace. Having said that, I think we should embark on intellectual journey on the national debate on loan for deficit financing President Muhammadu Buhari proposed to obtain, for mental exercise and as our right as citizens.
There are debates raging on whether President Buhari should obtain two billion dollar loan from China or not. Those who want the loan premised their argument on the need to invest on infrastructure in order to reflate the economy directly and indirectly, but those who are against believe the country's future would be mortgaged, to them: "he who goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing."
One the one hand, the Economists and Financial analysts believe that debt is not hurting, as a matter of fact, all frontline nations are reeking in debt, because according to their argument no nation can harness the huge resources to provide life abundance, infrastructural development and overhaul institutions of state on its own. Hence, the need to borrow becomes imperative.
The Financial experts hinge on United States of America as an example, arguing that the superpower has the best military software and hardware, best intelligence agencies, best infrastructural development policies and programmes, very enduring institutions, has the currency used to dominate the economy of the world; it even doles our billions of dollars to developing nations as aides, yet it owes almost a jaw-breaking debt.
One of the analysts explains that America declares debt ceiling of 17 trillion dollars for President Obama, and if the population of 350 million is used to divide the amount, each person will have close to 44thousand dollars as per head debt profile in US. Yet, people from the countries that owe less want to run to US for better life. Besides, citizens of US would carry their international passports with pride and can migrate anywhere they like without visa, except in some pariah states like North Korea.
As scintillating as the argument of the pro-loan was, the antagonist argues that Nigeria is rich enough to source for two billion dollars within its internal mechanism, Femi Falana a senior lawyer even asked the President to go after the looters and recover the loot worth of 200 billion dollars, arguing that Nigeria would even has more than enough.
Besides, Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU) wants the President to forgo the loan and source for funds for budget implementation within, fearing that the loan would make Nigeria subservient to its creditors.
As beautiful as the two arguments are, my take on the first line is, does Nigeria as a nation has the discipline to administer any loan for the purpose it is meant for?in the past, no! Because evidence abound that the loan would be heard, the project would be mentioned in the media, and the funds would sink in some private pockets of few individuals on the corridors of power, but with the new order being projected by President Buhari, the story may change. I am confident that if the loan is secured, the targets would be hit.
Then, must we borrow? Yes, we need resources from any credible available sources to drag our country back from the edge, and to develop it in such a way that no other nation will be more attractive. And an example should be drawn from micro level, how many of us who are house owners could boast of using our money to build without loan? The difference is when we obtain bank facility as an individual, we administer it to the purpose meant for, but as a government, our people have learnt to steal funds meant for public utilities.
In that wise, let Buhari secure as much loan he can he muster to jumpstart the economy of this nation, let the President even borrow more to assist industries, infrastructure, small scale and medium scale industries; let us borrow more to invest on modern technology for agriculture; let us borrow more to build houses for the poor people to live; let us borrow to fix power and create jobs. After all the value of money is what money can buy, not the legal tender itself.
However, we must not borrow to pay salaries or service the luxurious lifestyle of some individuals on the corridors of power or buy SUVs for the lawmakers whose personal interest overrides the national interest or pay funny allowances or fund elections. As a matter of fact, let those who take delight in acquiring latest cars pay heavy taxes, let the President, governors, lawmakers, Ministers, Commissioners, Special Advisers, big religious leaders with private jets pay "killing taxes" to service our local debts.
Also, as much as I would have loved to go along with the ideologues on using recovering loots for deficit financing, it should be known that recovering system takes time that a tenured President does not have, and the delay would not be an excuse later. How come we have not recovered completely what Abacha looted? How come are the big looters are storming our courts with 99 lawyers? How come are the senior lawyers hiding international criminals in their cars to evade justice? How come are some judges have become billionaires over criminal compromise?
So, when I read that the "boy scout" of Ekiti, the "misadventured"governor of the state described as land of 'Honour' Ayo Fayose wrote the Chinese authority to undermine his Commander in Chief as touching the bilateral concerns between the two countries, what came to my mind is: "it can only happen in Nigeria".
To the best of my knowledge, individual authority has the limit of its power, the President is voted to tend our diplomatic relations, while a governor is the captain of his state, but for a governor to write the President of another country to undermine our collective sovereignty, it is out of bound, and such a person should be invited for questioning and psychiatric evaluation.
Honestly, Nigerians should rise against this "deranged element" who wants to make mockery of our national integrity, because he is concocting alibi for his looming trouble in the future. Seriously, I cannot imagine a Chinese governor writing a US President on any issue concerning diplomatic profile. We should shelve politics in this, and protect our institution or else doom is the story.
By and large, let our government demonstrate sincerity; let us as a people become active in the way we are governed; let's support any measure that can be used to reflate the economy of this great country by giving those we have given assignment the benefit of doubt, and the anti-corruption drive of this government must be institutionalized, so that this nation can be great again.
|Goke Butika, The Author|
Butika is a journalist of intercontinental exposure.