“During the Civil War, we did not borrow N1 … You borrow only for projects that have guarantee and have a high return on investment and are able to pay their way back. It is wrong to borrow to pay for social projects.”
– Dr. Obadiah Malafia, former Deputy Director, Central Bank of Nigeria
Elsewhere, on America Mi Dream during the debate on how to negotiate the best framework on the implications to development and economy of Nigeria following the repayment of the Paris Club debt, Dr. Idika Kalu observed that it was both strange and remarkable that Nigeria, which was up until the mid-80s an IBRD/IDA credit borrower, should gladly degrade itself to an IDA only country, in spite of the fact that it can now potentially mobilise enormous resources to meet the challenges of development. Furthermore, Dr. Idika Kalu pointed out that it was a paradox that a major OPEC oil exporter brimming with exceptional revenue was degraded to “IDA only” status. This, according to that World Bank economist, is the sustainable way of helping Nigeria fight poverty.
I have gone straight to that interview to elucidate the dire implications of accumulating debt through borrowing, especially by our ministers and governors who truly are political upstarts, and were never schooled in these areas. Their objective is to use their position and acquire independent, borrowed trillions to be spent on the unproductive Nigerian elections. These clever politicians, in the name of projects, road constructions, etc, go ahead and build those roads and projects, but in the end the constructions must retain to these Governors of Rome, Ministers of Rome, half of the project budget and the jobs are never done as budgeted and projected. In this organised broad daylight robbery, the Nigerian system is ideal and most of these Arab, foreign collaborators are usually the middlemen who silently move the stolen money and keep their masters’ percentages in foreign banks. That is why you notice that all the roads, including the little gutter behind my house, are the projects, among the others in the state, that are all credited to the benevolence of the governor. So, where is his Commissioner of Works? The Chief Engineers?
Whatever happens, Nigeria’s biggest infrastructural development of our time, the East-West Highway and the East-West Railways, the Maiduguri to Port Harcourt lines, ordinarily, could have given this economy the leap that we saw in Singapore and the magnificent development going on in the UAE.
However, at Papalanto, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that the President has given his ministry approvals to scout for trillions from international lenders and from countries to build rail and road infrastructure, across the country. Presently, Nigeria’s overall debt is at N4.6 billion. The World Bank, IMF are flying the red flag against borrowing by sub-Saharan banks, warning us that these massive borrowings risk our financial equilibrium and may also impact on our naira stability.
The debate would continue, but we have a totally different binding advice. Desertification is bringing the Sahara wastes down to the Atlantic. As usual, the Federal Government and its ministers seem to be unconcerned. All the abounding Governors of Rome have resigned the fate of their people and states to the rampaging effects of desertification.
Sadly, Sambisa, the forest which over years had protected the Lake Chad Basin, is as we write being decimated by the irresponsible, overkill surges of the Nigerian Air Force, the Army and the marauding burning animals, Boko Haram. In a few months’ time, that forest would be decimated and, consequently, the Lake Chad would finally die.
From that desolate patch down to the Sahelan swathes, the bloody Fulani footprints in the end would evaporate the last green dots before the Benue confluence. From that confluence to the Atlantic it used to be equatorial forest belt.
Apart from the Congo equatorial belt, there is no other ecosystem like that still in existence in the world! Before the Biafran war, hunters told stories of their brave encounters with elephants, giant anacondas, bears, big animals in those rich forests. Preciously in zones of Ndokwa, going beyond Abo, the forests and those great mammals enjoyed the green environment and contributed to our fresh air, and held our grounds against the desertification effects of gully erosion and up till now earthquakes are stories that belong to ‘foreign news’ department.
The green belts from Papalanto to Asaba Assey, Egbema, to Eket and to Ogoja protect us from the poisonous gas of the creeks. Those forests house so many herbs, roots, vegetables, etc, and those may be the answer to today’s diseases. Inside this remaining equatorial belt, there are so many rare, endangered animal and plant species, so many sources, so many forest materials for the pharmacopeia of tomorrow!
That is why we are against the pillaging of the last green equatorial belt for the East-West highway to the constructed. In the first place, just like the parasites did, those ministers and the officials under Jonathan, the forest, the land, all would be perforated, and destroyed. The evergreen forest would come down. The Roman Governors and Ministers of Rome would never do it right and after the damage to the green land they would abandon project. The forest would never recover! Rotimi Amaechi, please, consider the murder that will come to these forests, when you borrow your trillions to force the unnecessary highway to decimate the green ecosystem. They are our remaining clean heritage. They prevent landslides, earthquakes. They safeguard us from death. Please, leave this equatorial green forest alone.
PATIENCE, WE KNOW YOUR HUSBAND…
NIGERIA MISSES YOU AND YOUR AWARD-WINNING SPEECHES.
“Nigeria is a great CONTINENT”
“MY HUSBAND and Sambo is a good people”
“I rather KILL myself than commit SUICIDE”
“MY fellow WIDOWS: I travelled abroad to REST in PEACE”
“My husband is the best COUPLE on earth”
“The doctors are responding to TREATMENT”
“For those who said I SPEECH bad English I left them for God!
“Ojukwu is dead but his MANHOOD still lives on”
“Na only you WAKA come?”
“Chai! Chai!! Chai!!! this blood we are SHARING”
“Diaris God o…”
“On BEHALF of N2 million I donate my family”
“Happy baiday to my husband your days are numbered”
To imagine that Patience served as our First Lady and after she left the scene nobody inside the Villa or among the cabinet could mount the pulpit and, without any pretensions, barrage us one after the other, rib-crackers that keep us tumbling down and rolling in the mud waters of tears and whiffing laughter.
Madam Patience, at last I know your husband our former President of this Great Continent. A wife is a window picture of her husband!