Nigeria, Debt and Government Profligacy
By George Eze Emeghara
You are a professional. A lawyer, pharmacist, accountant, doctor or whatever. A professional colleague and friend who is broke approaches you for a loan, which you give him.
He promises to repay before a certain date.
The date comes and goes, he doesn’t pay.
You send him several reminders, he gives excuses and urges you to give him a little time.
Your association is holding its annual convention, or conference , in Abuja in the most expensive and prestigious hotel in town.
You attend the convention as you have always done, staying in a smaller and much cheaper hotel some distance from the venue of the convention.
The hotel is more pocket friendly.
You eat your meals in the various restaurants scattered all over town.
In those places the food is very good, but most importantly, it is also much cheaper than the food in the restaurant of the hotel where the conference is taking place.
On the third day of the conference you run into your friend and colleague who owes you money coming out of the restaurant at the venue with his wife and three little children.
You stop to say hello and have a chat.
From the conversation you learn that he came for the convention with his family ” to give them a little break”.
You also learn that they are occupying a suite upstairs in the venue.
How will you feel about him with regards to the money he owes you?
Will you listen to any more appeals to give him a little more time to repay you?
A certain country went to the recent United Nations conference in New York, to ask for, among other things, Debt forgiveness.
Meanwhile their delegation was allegedly the largest at the conference with over a hundred people.
They stayed in expensive hotels and moved around in chartered limousines and vehicles.
They were seen all over the place shopping and eating and generally having a nice time.
Meanwhile, the countries they are owing and who they are begging to write off their debts came in tiny delegations.
Some were as few as five and stayed in budget accommodations around the UN, coming and going by taxis, buses and trains.
After seeing such frivolity and waste are they likely to consider the plea or request for ” Debt forgiveness” favourably?
It is all so sad. Is it any surprise that the country is in the mess that it is in? Do the people running the country really care?
George Eze Emeghara is a Nigerian journalist, writer and public affairs commentator based in the southeastern city of Owerri. Money Palaver is his weekly column for Nairaweb.ng.