Sunday, 9 May 2010

One Hundred and Thirty Eight Billion Naira Loan, Photocopy Government and a lost Battle!

One Hundred and Thirty Eight Billion Naira Loan, Photocopy Government and a lost Battle! Written By Kayode Ogundamisi

I'm getting really convinced that the greatest mistake we make as a people is that we invest our energies poorly. For so many reasons, we may like to think that we are people who go all the way and are careful to finish what we started. It would not be wrong to say however that we are no long distance runners. No way! Running long distance race is not a Nigerian past time. We love our “short cuts”. They serve the purpose, don’t they? We start a fight but we are not ready to do all it takes to win the battle. As soon as our opponent shows some sign of weakness or pretends to be weak we roll out the drums and throw a big carnival to celebrate that ‘victory’. It is in the context of never wanting to do all that is necessary to win the big battle that the long awaited Nigerian revolution remains that - long awaited.

Please hear me out. We started with resisting the military. We did not have the luxury of modern day technology, internet, mobile phones, 24 hour television station and private radio, but we could still mobilise nation-wide against the all powerful dictators in government. As a people we had that idea that the military was an aberration to our national life. As soon as the military class sensed our preference for short cuts rather than an everlasting victory, they (the military class) invited their civilian collaborators and we got a photocopy of democracy, and like every photocopy it remains what it is - a badly copied reflection of the original.

Let us break it down; the civilian government of General Olusegun Obasanjo was a photocopy of the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida government. We rolled out the drums, celebrated an easy victory and then went back to catnap. In the middle of our slumber, we accepted the imposition of Musa Umoru Yar’Adua. Alas, the Yar’adua government was a photocopy of the Obasanjo government and like every photocopy, the more you reproduce, the more the copy looks a far cry from the original content, however in this case we still view the same features of incompetence, corruption, lack of vision, deceit, and all other characteristic of previous Nigerian governments.

Well, we drew that battle line again; regrouped and resisted the attempt by the now infamous “cabal” to pull the wool over our eyes. We started the fight as usual, and we planned for the fight (but not the battle) and now the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan government is almost becoming a photocopy of the initial Yar’Adua government - a slow start, stall, jump start, seeming stability and then gbam!

The stand up comedian is invited to speak for 30 minutes at an event to “honour” the governor’s wife for “her good work”. He is paid a ridiculous 6 million naira for a 30 minute show and then the governor’s wife thanks him with another “personal donation” of 3 million naira for attending. Then on his facebook blog he complains about corruption in high places. He does not smell the stench from his behind.
The Finance Minister the one on loan from Goldman Sachs yes the same international investment institution now under investigation in the United States of America for fraud is informing us of Goodluck Jonathan’s government’s intention to take a N138 billion from the World Bank. One Hundred and Thirty Eight Billion? Did I hear him right? Was that part of the game plan? I thought we had a government with less than one year to conduct a free and fair election? I would think the priority would be reduced to electoral reform and recover the stolen loot from the Acting President’s political colleagues, and public officials. We would not need to borrow a dime from the World Bank. But then, what do you expect of a photocopy - it is after all a photocopied government. The vicious circle continues.

Often, we bask too much and too long in praises we get for being able to smell a rat. And once we smell it, we talk about it until our tongues literally bleed as we dissect, analyse, preview and review the smell. It is easy to get bored in such a talk shop where the main attraction - action, affirmative action - is missing. Thus we naturally stroll out and eagerly pop into the next talk-shop. We never do all it takes to locate the rat and get rid of it.

The bad smell confronting us now is corruption in high and low places, not another borrowing. It is not just the corruption of the leaders but corruption perpetuated by the follower - a young lady of 19 supplies “toilet paper” and “disposable materials” to a government ministry and she is suddenly swimming in unspeakable wealth. We organise a save Nigeria protest and she is first on the line, and unfortunately does not smell the foul stench of corruption emanating from her side. The stand up comedian is invited to speak for 30 minutes at an event to “honour” the governor’s wife for “her good work”. He is paid a ridiculous 6 million naira for a 30 minute show and then the governor’s wife thanks him with another “personal donation” of 3 million naira for attending. Then on his facebook blog he complains about corruption in high places. He does not smell the stench from his behind.




Segun Aganga Finance Minister. (Nigeria)

The Finance Minister the one on loan from Goldman Sachs yes the same international investment institution now under investigation in the United States of America for fraud is informing us of Goodluck Jonathan’s government’s intention to take a N138 billion from the World Bank. One Hundred and Thirty Eight Billion? Did I hear him right? Was that part of the game plan?
Issues of national interest are not hard to find. We are always in the middle of some nerve-racking inciting drama; never mind how it begins or ends. It is now obvious that we have prolific script writers who dutifully ensure that we never leave the playhouse and get down to other serious activities. Their task is to keep us performing. And so we are always in the middle of one either developing the script to suit our bias, or setting our sentiments on a collision course with the sensibilities of others. Now our standards are so high that we have developed a new concept - the concept of “workchoptocracy” o yes, “workchoptocracy”. You will not find it in the English dictionary. It is a new concept in Nigeria . It is when a man elected to serve the people is given a blank cheque to loot the treasury of the state so long as he his doing some “good work”. Thus the philosophy worked in Cross Rivers State under a certain Donald Duke. He did some good work, ’chop’ small and so could not be probed. And so it was under the regime of a certain Buba Marwa as governor of Lagos state; he did some “good work” ‘chop’ plenty and so could also not be probed; and now in the same Lagos State we have a governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, he is doing “great work” it is rumoured he “chopped plenty” and that his God father also “chopped small” but no one wants him probed. If unlike his colleagues he is doing “great work” why should we bother to make him accountable.

We are a real study in the world of absurd people. It would make a sane person throw up, but then we don’t live in a sane society. We live in Nigeria and anything goes.

When are we going to start purposefully dealing with the harsh realities that challenge our will to survive and exist as a united prosperous nation without fear or discrimination? Just when will we get to the point where we can match our words with action? We should be fed-up with just talking. We can brave it and act. We won the fight for June 12 but lost the battle for a Sovereign National Conference. We won the fight to stop Obasanjo from perpetuating his third term agenda but we lost the battle to stop him from getting his third term trough the back door. We started the fight to Save Nigeria but just one pronouncement by Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, is successfully diverting us from the real battle of electoral reform, making our votes count, and bringing all the corrupt ones irrespective of tribe, religion and creed to justice.

It is either we know how to fight but not how to win an enduring battle or that the Nigerian ruling elite and the larger cabal are the smartest in the world. Or could it be that we are not just ready for that Nigerian revolution? Could it be that we get satisfied with little victories and then lose focus and start bickering over the spoils of war when the final battle has not been won? It is high time we re-strategise, form alliances and get down to the business of an all Nigerian liberation battle plan or we just raise the white flag and surrender to the ‘superiority’ of our opponents - the few who hold us all to ransom. We have the choice of either cutting the chains or asking the oppressor to adjust the tight chain so we can have temporary relief. The choice is ours.

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UN-EDITED LETTER FROM PRESIDENCY

ACTIING PRESIDENT,
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

SH/Ag.P/SEC/147

Distinguished Senator David Mark. GCON President of the Senate.

National Assembly Complex.

Three Arms Zone,
Abuja.


754

No. 84

Thursday, 22nd April, 2010

Your Excellency.

SUMMARY OF 2010 EXTERNAL BORROWING PLAN OF GOVERNMENT

I hereby forward to Your Excellency. the Summary of the 2010 External Borrowing Plan of Government as a major component of the 2010 Appropriation.

Pleas, recall our discussion during our interaction on the 2010 Budget of the Federal Government held on 20th April. 2010 to formally transmit the 2010 External Borrowing Plan of the Federal Government to you for consideration and approval. You may also further recall that the Senate Committee on Finance had on several occasions invited the Executive to present the 2010 Borrowing Plan and explain its content including sustainability and impact on the economy. This is in compliance with the due process. The Borrowing Plan for 2010 is hereby presented for your kind consideration and approval.

You may wish to note that Nigeriais in dire need to fund the huge infrastructure deficit critical

to rapid development and the highly concessionary credit facilities offered by Multilateral Agencies to which Nigeria belongs and commits substantial resources as affiliation fees, has been identified as an inevitable source to compliment the budgetary allocations as appropriate.

The World Bank Portfolio of the facilities totaling $915 million out of which $179 million would be drawn in fiscal 2010. is of particular essence as it would be deployed to Urban Water and Transport. Human Capacity Development and Power infrastructure projects across the country.

In view of the above. Your Excellency may wish to consider the Borrowing Plan for 2010 in order to facilitate immediate legislative consideration.

Please accept. Your Excellency. the assurances of my esteemed regards.

Yours sincerely.



Signed:
Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan. GCON