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« Africans should Pay Reparations to African Americans, Part 2 | Main | Carnage On Nigerian Roads: An Eye-witness Account »

August 16, 2005

Paris Club Calling: Ngige / Obi may have just won 18 Billion Dollars

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- Before you claim your prize, come up with 12b dollars from your 24b foreign reserve. The people of Anambra know who they voted for - neither Obasanjo nor Chris Uba can anoint a Governor for them. But Ngige and Uba already confessed they rigged election.

If there is any consensus in Anambra or among many of us who have written about Paris Club and their invitation to negotiate the interest and penalties piled on Nigeria, it is that celebration is premature.

Is there a link here? Yes, Anambra can not afford to go by the contract between Ngige and Uba just as Nigeria can not afford Paris Club contract. Before the latest Justice Nabaruma Tribunal judgment overturning the Governorship election, I had developed some anxiety over Anambra ability to pay Chris Umba. That same fear griped me again that Nigeria will take the bait even before negotiating what they are paying for.

Some of us think we can purge our frustration about Nigeria after our academic diarrhea at parties and end up saying the usual – only God can save Nigeria. In Part 2 of NO POWER CAN BREAK NIGERIA BUT…., I condemn the creative financing in form of interest and penalties by the Paris Club. But I still have fears that Nigeria will pay 6 billions dollars in September and over six billions later.

We have World Bank, IMF and WTO loan collectors planted among us telling us it is the honorable way to go. I can understand where they are coming from. Some of us do not understand their logic. You see, there are rules, regulations and laws that govern these loans and which we agreed to. In short, we signed a binding contract. If you borrow, you must pay. Chikena!

High Court Justices Egbo Egbo and Staley Nnaji followed the law of contract and ruled against the Governor based on what he signed. There is more to contract than the law. The law also looks at the circumstances and situation that led to the agreement. Was it under duress or the unequal relationship between master and servant?

If you think that can only happen in Nigeria, think again.

It is not the first time poor people have been taken advantage of by that contract. The farm workers in the southern part of United States used to sign those contracts until people like Chavez died fighting against it. That does not mean it is not happening now.

Some unscrupulous contractors, in the eighties, were prowling the neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts looking for poor old people who have paid or almost paid off the mortgage on their houses. These people were so poor; they could not even qualify for a loan to buy a sweeper not to mention a new car.

Nevertheless, contractors like Chris Uba were able to secure loans for them to renovate their houses. These loans were in thousands of dollars. When they could not pay, banks were ready to take their houses. It took the effort of the City of Boston, Workers Union, and other non profit organizations to tear up the contracts. The banks, in fairness to them also donated money to clean up their image.

There was also that time in the seventies, up to the nineties when sweet talkers would promise to sell you a house with no money down, bad credit and sometimes without a job. They would prepare your application for the banks and get you insurance for cover.
As soon as you default, the banks would take your house. This time, it was the banks who found out that the house is not worth the mortgage they gave. The insurance did cover some of their losses.

I have not mentioned Savings and Loans bail out; Boesky or Milken in the stock market where all your stocks that you depend on for retirement would turn to penny stocks. Boesky was noted for praising greed as very good for capitalism. The Government has cleaned up some of the most egregious cases. Right now some of the executives are doing jail time.

Contracts, laws, agreement are needed but are also subjected to abuse. Once the abuse is discerned, it must be remedied. It was Anambra yesterday, Ogun today, and Nigeria tomorrow. Nigeria has been abused. The law takes cognizance of evidence in good faith and fair dealings.

On one hand, the pictures of children during Nigeria/Biafra war, Ethiopia famine, Somali war, Niger famine were all over the televisions; on the other hand which hardly communicate with the first hand, are people asking a Country where 90 percent of its population live on less than 2 dollars a day to come up with 12 billion dollars. That is what you call MURDER.

Even the 40 billion dollars announced loan forgiveness that exclude Nigeria and pacified concert organizers was in form of deduction and replenishment to the lending banks from any new contribution. More important, it is over 40 years. So the Net Present Value boils down to 17 billion dollars!

What is Chris Umba, one man, going to do with all that money extracted from his own State while the rest suffer? Greed knows no bound. America cry about the difference between the lowest paid workers in the company compared to the ‘Thief Executive”. Go to Nigeria where Ministers like Olu Adeniji get paid in foreign dollars and El Rufai paid his “consultants” in foreign dollars. Are any of these Ministers more dedicated than Dora Akinyuli or Nuhu Ribadu?

What then do you call the loan collectors planted among us? House “negroes”!

Therefore, I am begging Obasanjo in the name of Adimu/Adumu/Oduduwa/Obi/Oba who was his forefather to take another look and allow the Senate or the House to listen to all sides before we hand over 12 billions dollars to owners of the farms who want to keep us in perpetual bondage. There is too much money going to contractors and their foreign expatriates or corporations.

Peter Obi, people are suspicious, watch out! I know once he makes up his mind, he prides himself as a stubborn Owu man, that nobody can change his mind. Mr. President listen to the cry of hungry bellies in the Anambra; north, south, east, and west of Nigeria, so that you can face them and say you did it in their interest. Dee Baba Iyabo! Na beg I beg o.

That money does not belong to only Nigeria, it belongs to all Africans all over the world, where ever they are and we are all watching. A worthy Nigeria is the pride of all blacks. Sometimes the black world is proud of the way an African, conduct himself or spend his money even when none of it enters our pocket.

Nigerians, this is not the time to bicker over money that you may not even smell. Beg your President, your Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs and your representative for a second look before that amount of money is exchanged. At least those who exchanged gold for mirrors could see their faces, interest and penalties on interest are virtual debts not substance. I am sure that I am not the only one going through sleepiness nights thinking about what Nigeria can do with that money.

Contractors could have taken over Anambra State but for the power of the people. The fight is never over, it is continuous. In Adamawa, the Governor regained his seat after Tribunal ruling. No celebration that has meaning only for those who desire laurels in the so called international arena. Not yet.

Posted by Administrator at August 16, 2005 08:23 AM


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