Independence Anniversary: 61 Disappointing Years
The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) joins millions of Nigeria to mark the Nigerian 61st Independence Anniversary. On Ist October 1960, Nigeria got independence from Great Britain and received its Freedom Charter from Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Queen’s representative at the Nigeria’s independence ceremonies.
This was a momentous occasion to all Nigerians as it marked the culmination of the struggles and aspirations of our founding fathers towards the independence and survival of our great nation. The hope and aspiration of our founding fathers then was to have a country that would be characterized by prosperity, equity and peace.
Unfortunately, this year’s anniversary comes at a time that the dreams of our past heroes are being squashed and dashed into an abyss as the country is currently mired in the tribulation of insecurity and economic regression perpetuated by the lingering cycle of bad leadership. Since independence in 1960, national development and improved life for the citizenry has hopelessly failed. The failure of successive democratic administrations to deliver basic amenities such as security, welfare and other socio-economic infrastructure is evidenced by the majority of Nigerians wallowing in penury and general despair.
Despite the foregoing, hope is not lost and we are of the belief that things can work out provided the citizens put more determination and work hard to vote out mediocrity and incompetence in governance that have been stagnating our development for long.
The PRP uses this epoch-making occasion to call for peace, tolerance and unity among the citizenry. Peace and unity remain essential for socioeconomic development of our country.
Also, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) note with great concern the incessant rate of borrowing by the Federal Government of Nigerian and some of its State Counterparts. As at March 2021, Nigeria’s Public Debt (Multilateral, Bilateral and Commercial) stood at N33.1 trillion according to figures from the Debt Management Office (DMO). The figure excludes Ways and Means, AMCON Liabilities and Projected Fiscal Deficits for 2021. When all these are imputed, the figures could potentially rise to N54 trillion in 2021!
For the record, Nigeria’s Public Debt Stock stood at N12,603 trillion in 2015, N17.360 trillion in 2016, and N21.725 trillion in 2017. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, Public Debt Stood at N24.387 trillion, N27.401 trillion, and N32.915 trillion, respectively. Between 2015 and 2020, Nigeria’s Public Debt increased by 161 per cent, showing an annually average accretion of 37.74 per cent.
Despite the Federal Government has incessantly borrowed but the projects on ground and the GDP growth are not proportionate to the debts taken. It is quite disheartening but worthy of note that as it stands now each Nigerian owes about N165,500.00 to Countries, International Organizations and Domestic Creditor as Government Borrowing increased to N35.5 trillion.
Nigeria has pursued a dangerous mono economic agenda precariously predicated upon crude oil output since the inception of crude oil exploitation. With the economy largely dependent on oil revenues, the budget is drafted upon projections of the prices of crude oil at the international market. Any shortfalls in oil revenues crumbles budgetary preparations and expectations for that fiscal year. The reason for the inference on crude oil prices has to do with the fact that the country’s rising debt is serviced from the revenues generated from crude oil sales. Debt servicing obligations gulped a whopping 97% of the Nigerian government’s total revenue in 2020. According to BudgIT, a civic-tech non-profit organisation, N3.34 trillion was expended on debt servicing out of the N3.42 trillion revenue generated in 2020.
Despite aforesaid realities of the Nigerian Debts Profile, and the despair surrounding the rising debt due largely to absence of justifiable expenditures made with these debts in the eyes of the public, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR has written to the National Assembly seeking the approval of $4.179 billion ($4.054 billion and $125 million) and £710 million external loans. This, the PRP vehemently opposes inspite of the justification given recently by the Presidency as it is simply wrong for any human being talk less of a nation to increase his borrowing if he spends 90% of his revenue in serving his debts. As the Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR has rightly observed, the increase in borrowing by Nigeria is most likely to become huge problem for successive governments of Nigeria beginning with the one coming in the next 17 months.
The PRP uses this medium to remind the Executive and Legislative Arms of Nigerian Government that history and posterity will never be kind to them if they go on with this harmful borrowing spree that does not only stifle our development currently but mortgaging the future of our nation generally. The National Assembly, as representatives of the people, should immediately block this and immediate future debts requests. In fact the National Assembly should use this opportunity to ask the Executive arm of the Nigerian Government as to what use it had put all its borrowings since it came into power. This is because Nigerians do not see where substantial part of these borrowings have gone into.
Once again, the PRP wishes all Nigerians a solemn, peaceful and prayerful Independece Day anniversary while urging all of us to be more tolerant of our cultural, sectional and political differences while ensuring that we are more discreet in the selection of those we mandate with the responsibility of managing the affairs of state in the forthcoming Elections.
Comrade Muhammed Ishaq,
Media Assistant to PRP National Chairman,
PRP National Headquarters, No. 08, Ogbagi Street, Garki 2, Abuja.