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Nigeria’s debt and the economy

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Sir, Despite growing bloodshed and economic hardship, many Nigerians were reported to be decamping into the All Progressives Congress party (APC). One reason being that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has nothing new to offer Nigeria.

Another is that, joining the APC may serve as protection against being probed on past misappropriation of public funds.

The latter point is in tandem with the observation highlighted by the PDP that “the Transparency International revealed in its recent report that corruption has worsened in Nigeria.”

Therefore, the point made by Senator Dino Melaye, an APC member, is even more revealing, that “the All Progressives Congress (APC) under President Muhammadu Buhari has accrued N11 trillion debt in three years, as against N6 trillion borrowed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 16 years.”

Yes, Nigerians don’t want “Peace Corps” which Melaye and the other legislators are advocating, because the existing security operatives are ill-equipped and ill-motivated than adding another heavy burden on a struggling economy in the name of creating jobs for the youth.

Why are the pushers of the Peace Corps scheme as desperate as to be investing in it, with the hope of foisting it on Nigeria for funding?

Some Nigerians also wonder what the pushers of the Peace Corps scheme gave the legislators that is making them desperate to enforce it on Nigeria. But the rate at which president Buhari’s administration and APC are incurring debts on Nigeria is grave, Peace Corps or no Peace Corps.

Borrowing by the PDP itself became aggravated when the former President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua started the campaign against Boko Haram in 2009. And Buhari is only much more intense than Yar’Adua and his successor, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan.

However, the PDP’s advice that Buhari should “learn how Ghana is being run to be a peaceful, united and economically vibrant nation.” is very germane. But, will he? Beside, how is the PDP itself planning to make Nigeria “a peaceful, united and economically vibrant nation” if it gets the presidency?

During former President Olusegunn Obasanjo’s administration, notwithstanding some corrupt tendency, many good things were achieved, including the National Health Insurance Scheme and the Pension Scheme among others. Buhari will continue to borrow money to fight Boko Haram and the nation’s economy will continue to struggle.

The killing, by Nigeria’s legislators, of the bill to modify NYSC uniform to suit the religious belief of each participating graduate is highly commendable. If Nigeria’s legislators are always as forthright as that, the war against Boko Haram would have been either impossible or it would have ended a long time ago.

Why can’t Nigeria be allowed, by her political elite, to maintain her constitutional secularity that prohibits “state religion”? That is the reason the younger generation must rise, politically, and enthrone the rule of law.

Younger politicians must put Nigeria above Christianity and Islam, to be under God Almighty who is neither partial nor subject to bigotry. Is Nigeria currently a sustainable nation?

Prof Oyeniran Abioje, wrote from University of Ilorin.


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