Our Rising Debt Profile; The Making of Servitude

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During the mid-twentieth century and like many other African nations, Nigeria was heading for her release from the grip of colonization. In those days, one could easily deduce that the calibers of leaders we had were truly keen on liberating the people. The abysmal manner in which various ethnic group were merged to form the modern day Nigeria wasn’t enough to deter Nationalist movement.

For what it’s worth, virtually everyone has a tale that describes the sorry situation in the land today. We keep living on the edge. However, Nigeria’s wealth rests in the hands of few- the political gladiators and her allies determine who get what, when and how. To stand against this invisible but hallow structure is tantamount to digging ones grave. My search light is not to delve into the assemblage of our political kleptomaniacs rather; it is to remind us of the ills of borrowing.

During the days of oil boom, General Yakubu Gowon, the then military head of state was so awash with petrodollars so much so that he said “Money is not Nigeria’s problem, but how to spend it” (The Guardians, 19 October 2014). So while other nations such as Botswana, Syria and the Asians were busy investing hugely for the future, ours was busy wasting our future hay with ceaseless mindlessness.

Today, every known dick and harry have been able to and still carting away with our wealth through means known to our supposed leaders or gatekeepers. Developed nations somehow understand that the sustenance of their current status quois hugely dependent on the volume of a parasitic system of trading with our nation. The more we consume Chinese cheap piece of high tech equipment, the more we feed their economy and the more impoverish ours.

Since 2006, China’s foreign direct investment in Nigeria and other Africa nations have continued to soar. But it is an unfavorable relationship.  A consortium of Chinese companies known as the China-Africa Lekki investment ltd has a 60 percent stake in the Lekki free trade zone; Lagos holds the remaining 40 percent. According to a report by AbiolaOdutola on the 18th of May 2020, China has given the African continent loan amounting to $152b in the last eighteen years. How fair and generous indeed!

While China has a peculiar trading policy with Africa, ironically, we have none. No wonder the Nigeria ministry of finance without any degree of shame openly begged Elon Musk, an industrial engineer for ventilators. Recently, $3.4b was given to Nigeria with implausible clause. There have been a sizable amount of loans given to Nigeria over the years by various bodies but the big question in the heart of everybody is; what has been the impact of previous loans to the economy? Is it really necessary to get a loan even though such loans have the capacity to retrogress the value of our currency and the viability of our economy?

If there be anything that I have learnt over the years, it is that there are two sides to a coin. So, while some quarters are busy glorifying the huge loans and at the same time repackaging damaged financial policies, I am forced to look at the other side of the coin.  Richard Dowden reported in his book “AFRICA” about a particular Angolan minister who vehemently kicked against china’s dominance. In fact, the minister asserted thatif checks are not put into place, one fifth of the population in Angola will be Chinese. Nigeria lacks accountability, transparency and responsibility to repay its loans, this is according to Dr. Bongo Adi. On the 5th of August 2019, Bloomberg reported that Nigeria owes more money to China than any other country. In another report by daily trust on the 4th of July, 2020, it claimed that each Nigerian citizen owes the Chinese Government a total of #15,000.

As long as there is light, the poultry birds do not stop eating. Nigeria politicians are more likely to continue borrowing as long as possible. “The land of no tomorrow” is how a journalist describes the country- our country. The implication of our endless borrowing is disadvantageous for the now and to the unborn generation- I reckon that the situation is synonymous to accepting errors like a bad weather.

Among other disadvantages, borrowing put the sovereignty of a nation in jeopardy. So, when China and South Africa toy rudely with the dignity of Nigerians in their land and sometimes in our own territory, they easily get away with it because we have unknowingly put ourselves out there as tenant and we’ve placed our lender as landlord. Without a teeth, it is pointless for a dog to bark at it master.

Somehow, borrowing seems to be a consummation that binds us to neo-colonization. Arguably, we’ve had cases of foreigners who were caught tapping our resources without restrain. It is like having a father leaving his wife for the pleasure of the visitors. Invariably, Nigeria is nothing but a space in the map of the world meant to be partly aided and fully raped. No one can help Nigeria better than Nigerians.

– Olayinka Kayode Kingsley
Email: olayinkakayodekingsley@gmail.com
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayode-kingsley-olayinka-570b88194


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