Of Debts, Disintegration and Friendships with Enemies?

by Paul I. Adujie

One Barrister Peter Okoh in the pages of The Guardian, Nigeria’s premier newspaper, told the in glowing term that America means well for Nigeria despite the reactions by some Nigerians, myself, among them, who are offended by it and sees it as an unfriendly act.

As if on cue, a bedeviled cue, the American government would in matter of days, demonstrate their “friendship” once again, by stating their opposition in the most public manner, President Bush’s opposition to Nigeria’s desire for debts cancellations!

This, coming from the Americans soon after their publicly announced
prediction that Nigeria will disintegrate in 15 years and this is
coming against the backdrop of President Obasanjo’s passionate
efforts to see Nigeria’s debts cancelled!

President Bush with Prime Minister Blair appeared together at the
American seat of power, to announce a tepid and scaled down version
of financial assistance to African countries; it was announced
amidst the usual pomp and din that usually lead to no action
definitive and concrete, for Africa

A journalist with The New York Times then wrote an article in which
it was revealed that most people actually erroneously believe that
the US and other rich nations give more financial help to Africans,
but that such is a mistaken belief!

It is complete bafflement to that any Nigerian would find any
scintilla of friendship in those who predict the end of our
existence as a nation and those who are opposed to what President
Obasanjo and his sister Okonjo-Iweala the honorable minister of
finance! They want debt relief, relief from the debt that has been
breaking our collective backs.

Debt sought by President Obasanjo and Minister Iweala, deserves the
support of all Nigerians, this is about us! Nigerians ought to make
mental notes of those who have loudly opposed what we seek. As at
June 11, 2005, Nigeria is not among the announced countries slated
for debt relief or debt cancellations, and in large measure, this is
what I accuse President Bush of, he did not want Nigerian debt
forgiven, and his agencies were busily proclaiming the scheduling of
Nigeria’s disintegration! Now, President Bush convinced Prime
Minister Blair against Nigeria, and the government and people of
Nigeria must, or ought to make a mental note of these events. And
as for the Nigerians who were opposed to debt cancellation for
Nigeria, I hope they are elatedly happy now?

Mr. Okoh extolled his benefit from American education, and I am so
happy for him, but one has to wonder whether he did he obtain his
primary and secondary school education in the US as well? I wonder
why most Nigerian with higher education, whether living at home or
abroad, never tend to speak about Nigeria’s education system in
glowing terms such as did Mr. Okoh in his very effusive article
about how wonderful everything American are? I am a product of
Nigerian education and proud! Everything that I needed to know about
life, I learnt from my parents, and wonderful Nigerian teachers!

Nigerians ought to assiduously avoid the naivette, of thinking that
non-Nigerians know our interests better than us and outsiders will
rescue us and would and are always acting in good faith regarding

Why Do Nigerians explicitly and implicitly trust foreign leaders but
not ours? Should we always offer benefits of the doubt to outsiders,
who we tend to always, assume are acting in utmost good faith? While
always suspecting all the actions of our political leaders in
Nigeria as perennial dishonorable(s)?

All Nigerians ought to wake to the reality of our duty,
responsibility and obligation to Nigeria, as first and foremost!

Additional reading on impact of these debts on Nigerians and reasons
for cancellations calls, debts impact on the provision public
infrastructure and social amenities for citizens.

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maazi June 26, 2006 - 6:14 am

this is outtrageous

Anonymous June 16, 2005 - 2:14 am

I like your article but do not forget that Obasanjo Govt.is corrupt

Anonymous June 16, 2005 - 2:02 am

MR.Writter. I Will only advise you visit your home country and see for you eye ,how curupt Nigerian government is.How president Obasanjo manage raise billions of Naira for his presidential library alone.Do you expect swiss govt. to send the money to President Obasanjo and company to use for presidential library ?.It is better for Nigeria to provide the good use of the money before Swiss Govt. will return the money .Because if Swiss Govt. send the money now to Obasanjo and company ,all the money will go for Obasanjo presidential library…


Anonymous June 15, 2005 - 5:11 pm


Nigerians at home and abroad must for once, speak in unison, with one voice, regarding the impact on Nigeria, Nigeria’s external debt burden on our country; we must be seen to speak and act cohesively. We must be seen as such, by the whole world in our demand for debt cancellation, debt forgiveness and such other complete solution to our debt overhang and burden, we must consider, among other things, unmentionable words, such as default or repudiation of these spurious debts for which our creditors have not demonstrated any good faith.

Asia was bailed out of its economic dire straits in 1997, Russia was bailed out of its economic crisis in 1998, Mexico was bailed out in 1994 and Argentina was bailed out in 2002 as well, and in each case, billions and billions of dollars were involved; Similarly, foreign aid to the tune of $5 billion a year goes to Israel, a country with a population, only a little over five million people, Israel also received loan guarantees of more than $10 billion dollars at once, in the 1990s, without the "usual IMF and World Bank strictures/controls, Israel was not required to cede its sovereignty! There is nothing peculiarly unique about bailing out Nigeria! Let us free Nigeria, cancel these debts!

Nigeria’s quest for the removal of our nation’s debt burden and overhang is so crucially important it is therefore no time for petty-squabbling! This is the time to ignore family disagreements as we focus on external aggression towards us as Nigerians with common interests and national objective. There is nothing spectacular in fending off aggressors!

A Nigerian, with the handle, Eezeebee at http://www.nigeianvillagesquare.com commenting on this debt gridlock headaches, reminded us how after September 11, 2001, the United States government rushed financial aid to New York City to bail it out, the US government similarly bailed out various Airlines in America, have also spearheaded efforts to write off billions of dollars owed by Iraq before the invasion and occupation war in Iraq, with just mere telephone calls to American friends and allies.

Nigerians and Nigeria must demand passionately, an end to these stifling debt-servicing, that has deprived Nigeria of chunks of national resources meant for development of our nation. We must demand the removal of the stifling retarding impact already borne for far too long by our economy, our people and our country.

We must be committed to making this clarion call and advocacy, for the removal, eradication, the elimination without reserve, without hesitation or equivocation, these debts that have for too long suffocated Nigerians.

Paul I. Adujie June 15, 2005 - 5:03 pm

Africa Action

Sent : Wednesday, June 15, 2005 10:09 AM

To : "Paul Adujie"

Subject : Victory on Debt Requires Further Action

| | | Inbox

Victory on Debt Requires Further Action

Dear Paul,

On June 11, 2005, the Group of Seven (G-7) Finance Ministers agreed to the outright cancellation of the debts of 18 impoverished countries (14 in Africa) to the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and African Development Bank.

Congratulations for all of your hard work to push for full debt cancellation for this first set of countries! It was YOUR emails that made sure that IMF debt was included in the final deal. Thank you for helping to secure this initial victory on the path to full debt cancellation. Please take action TODAY to ensure that this victory leads to our ultimate goal of full debt cancellation for all African nations.

The G-7 also agreed that as other countries complete the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC), they too will receive debt cancellation. Unfortunately, HIPC includes devastating economic conditionality that deepens poverty in Africa. It has taken 8 years for 18 countries to complete the HIPC program. The dozens of African countries that are paying down illegitimate debts should not be forced to spend years complying with harmful conditions; they demand full debt cancellation now. In addition to being too slow with too many harmful conditions, HIPC also excludes many countries in need of debt cancellation, like Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco.

While this is an initial victory on the path to full and unconditional debt cancellation for all African nations, we must be clear that too few countries are included in this plan and that we oppose using HIPC and HIPC conditionality as a pathway to future cancellation. We also must continue to assert that Africa’s debts are largely illegitimate. They are a result of irresponsible loans that have not benefited the people that must now foot the bill. While wealthy nations have described Iraq’s debt as illegitimate or “odious”, they have not applied the same standard to Africa’s debt.

We hope you will continue to take action on international debt. The debt deal announced last weekend sets an important precedent for 100% debt cancellation. Now, more than ever, we must be sure that our leaders know that this commitment is only the beginning and that we will keep working for 100% debt cancellation for all African nations without harmful economic conditions attached.

Help us to send the message to President Bush and Secretary Snow that this debt deal is only the first step. The G-8 meeting in Scotland this July would be an appropriate time to discuss how to move from this timid first step on debt cancellation to a bold new deal on debt for all countries in Africa. You can continue to assert this call for complete debt cancellation by taking any of the following actions:

Action #1 – Send a Message to Bush and Snow Today!

In light of the recent developments and the need to keep regular pressure on the Administration to negotiate full debt cancellation, we have crafted the following message. You can send your message to Snow and Bush today by visiting our website.

Action #2 – Sign a Jubilee Postcard!

The Jubilee USA Network, of which Africa Action is a member, continues to circulate postcards to President George Bush and Treasury Secretary John Snow calling on the G-8 to “Wipe Out Debt in 2005”. The message on the postcard asks for 100% cancellation of multilateral debts for all impoverished nations without harmful conditions. You can order postcards or sign on-line at http://www.jubileeusa.org.

Action #3 – Sign the American Friends Service Committee Petition!

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is circulating an on-line petition to Treasury Secretary John Snow that also calls for 100% debt cancellation without harmful conditions, and emphasizes the need to empower civil society to be a part of the solution. You can sign the AFSC petition on-line at

http://www.afsc.org/africa/new-africa/activism/Action-Snow-Letter.htm. This petition will be delivered as part of a lobby day two weeks prior to the G-8 meeting.

Action #4 – Join us in Washington DC on June 29th

Africa Action, with American Friends Service Committee, 50 Years is Enough Network and the Jubilee USA Network continue to plan an event on June 29th, prior to the G-8 summit, to help facilitate the delivery of the petition and postcards and publicize the full call for debt cancellation. If you are in the Washington DC area, please join us at Noon on the 29th in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. We will continue to raise our voices until all African countries receive 100% debt cancellation.

Thank you for your support as we struggle for freedom from debt.


The Staff @ Africa Action

Cletus E. Olebunne June 15, 2005 - 11:22 am

My earlier entry focused on your article, which I believe is on debt cancellation. I avoided specifics such as the Swiss issue you cited in your follow up comment.

Friends hold friends to the highest standard, believing in their capabilities. If friendship is based on one always rescuing the other, then what you have is a case of master and servant.

If Americans predict that Nigeria will disintegrate in 15 years and Nigeria is taking that to heart, then Nigeria lacks the leadership and capability of sovereignty. In essence Nigeria does not know its internal strengths or are not able to harness its strengths to prove the nay sayers wrong.

If in our sovereign pride as a nation, we think we know better than outsiders, then in our sovereign pride, we should figure out how to pay our debts and not ask for cancellation.

In the financial/accounting world, once you cannot pay your debts and ask for creditors forgiveness, the creditors have the right to state their conditions, believing that you do not have the capability to manage your finance. Creditors lend money in good faith believing that borrowers will be able to pay when due. May be this is why our financial institution and other business industries are so separated that businesses and start ups never thrive in Nigeria.

I wholly support strategies that will restore economic pride to Nigeria as a sovereign nation, an economic pride that will foster into global competition.

Paul I. Adujie June 14, 2005 - 10:20 pm

Professor Fafunwa is correct in his assessment to the effect that the Swiss government and country are the most corrupt in the world! Never mind Transparency International's classication to the contrary

What was Abacha profession/trade? Did the Swiss use best business practices before accepting lodgements in the billions of dollars from Abacha and others?

Would Switzerland accept money from Osama Bn Laden? money connected to crime terror or corruption?

Nigeria is a politically independent and sovereign nation, why you should ask, would the Swiss have the prerogative to determine when they return the money stolen from Nigeria, which they the Swiss help to keep for the thieves?

Those are the right questions Nigerians ought and should be asking! The Swiss are in collusion and connivance with thieves and they should not be in a position to dictate to Nigeians when what rightfuly belong to us will be returned to us!

Cletus E. Olebunne June 14, 2005 - 7:54 pm

I wish I could agree with you on the debt cancellation for Nigeria, but that will put me on the side of blindness. If you think that Bush had to convince Blair, then you are missing the intelligence reports on Nigeria and its leaders multi-million dollar accounts and "residential" homes in the western world. Yes, the Finance Minister is doing a good job, but most Nigerians, home and abroad are not living as if they are in debt and need forgiveness. There is accountability in debt forgiveness, this is the case for companies in distress or undergoing chapter 11.

A sneek preview of an article coming up in July in the monthly newsletter of http://www.nel-m.org has this to say:

"Nigeria needs to be a nation of Thriftville rather than Squanderville. Squanderville nations sooner or later face greater payment to service debt, therefore embracing highly inflationary policies. Thriftville style is to sell more abroad than purchase, and concurrently invest surplus abroad. To be able to sell more abroad a nation has to become an industrious Thriftville. To become a manufacturing entrepreneurial economy, Nigeria needs to have a sense and the mindset of ownership. As ownership grows, so will the annual net investment income flowing out of the country".

segun akinyode June 14, 2005 - 6:10 am

Again,you are wrong in clamouring for debt relief for Nigeria.I will not support such measure if the current attitude of our political rulership to money remains looting and stealing public money.You only need to visit Nigeria and see the rate these rulers plunder and flaunt.Inflated and unexecuted contracts,over invoice,over spending of budgetry allocation without concrete projects to show for it,misplaced priorities etc etc are still the order of the day.Pray sir why is it that the Swiss government said she would not release Abacha wealth to Obasanjo and co?Because the money would end up in private hands.It is a comfortable thing to sit in a cosy office in New York sorrounded by the good things of life and advocate for more money to be stolen by Nigerian government officials.


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