One of the highlights of Fmr. President Obansanjo’s presidency was his debt cancellation crusade and its success. Twenty years down the line, Nigeria has (easily) rebuilt the high debt profile and more debt keeps mounting. The same reality is seen across different states.

Just as the “curse of bank loans” make the debtors to unable to pay up their debts, so also with Nations. Keep in mind that Nigeria as a Nation has been unable to harness its resources and manage its finances. How then do they propose to earn enough money to pay back all the debits they amass?

In defence of Nigeria’s burdening debt profile, protagonists maintain that Nigeria has a relatively low debt profile, both in African and among other countries of the word. As leading nations such as the United States, United Kingdom and France taking the lead in high debt profile. We must not be too confident in this, these highly indebted economies have (relatively) thriving economies with considerable GDP. Economies that have turned many of their endeavours to billion-dollar industries; entertainment,mining,manufacturing,import and export,food,fashion,etc.But what do we have; poor electricity supply that cripples production and manufacturing, multiple taxation that discourage business, high eve of insecurity that scare investors, bad roads that hinders smooth transportation and corruption that amplifies them all.

Nonetheless, an over $15 billion dollar external debt status is worthy of (great) concern. The irony of it all is that most of the monies borrowed gets looted, smuggled out of the country were at best, they are saved(to the benefit of the host country) but typically they are plunged away in lavish expenses(still at the benefit of the host countries.

One would wonder, if the debt-shame that comes on poor debtors exists for poor indebted Nations, Nigerians would have more reasons to bury their heads in shame at the international front. Our reputation has already been tainted by fraud, human right abuse, insurgence, terror, corruption, and a further weigh down by debt. There is this joke about someone owing another person some money and whenever the creditor spots the debtor making luxurious expenses, he confronts him, mocking him for indulging in luxuries when he(or she) has unsettled debts. The fear of such embarrassment makes the debtor to either stop purchasing expensive, luxurious items, or to work hard and clear up the debts.

One would wonder if our international creditors look at us that way. With our embarrassing debt profile, we still have (one of) the highest paid legislators in the world. Our elected officials still accord themselves the good life on the account of the government. They still fly first class and lodge in most expensive hotels, ride in long motorcades, use latest models of cars and enjoy many other luxuries even the creditor-nations do not indulge themselves. All off the account of a nation, state that is overburdened in debt at the full glare of our creditors.

Among other things, our rising debt profile calls for the need to elect visionary leaders who are concerned about solving the problems of today and more importantly, leaders who invested in building a better tomorrow and not pillaging it today by mortgaging it in debt, leaders who know how best to manage what we have; natural resources and human resources alike.


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