Whether or Not You Read This, You Still Owe N102,000, By Saatah Nubari
It is easier to say something like “wetin concern me” than to go out to cast a vote for the right persons and defend that vote. This thing isn’t magic, Nigerians need to be more involved in the political process, but until then with “wetin concern me,” every Nigerian owes N102,000, and “I no gree, I no gree” will not change this fact.
It was Fela Kuti who sang, “Trouble sleep, Yanga go wake am.” Wise words from a decent man, I must say; but the point here is that you owe N102,000. Your wife gave birth yesterday to your first child? Congratulations man; you, your wife and your baby now owe 102,000 naira each. Here is a consolation, those your village people, those firmly against your progress, they all owe 102,000 each too. “Kpatakpata na draw”; Fela didn’t say this, but those are wise words.
According to the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s public debt stock as at June 30, 2017 is N19.6 trillion. In June of 2015, the amount was N12.1 trillion. Prior to that, in 2013, it stood at N7.9 trillion. Going by this, our collective debt rose by approximately 50 percent in 2015 and by 2017, it had increased by 100 percent.
When these figures get in contact with some mathematical symbols, the entire dynamics change. You are probably awaiting the explanation regarding how you and every other Nigerian is indebted up to the tune of N102,000 as at this year. Not to worry, that is what we will be calculating next.
In 2013, Nigeria’s population estimate by the World Bank was 171,000,000, while our total debt stock was approximately N7,900,000,000,000. That amount split equally amongst the estimated population gives us an Individual Debt Share—I call it IDS—of approximately N46,000. On the other hand, in 2015, according to the same source, our population grew by 10,000,000, taking us to 181,000,000, while our debt stock took a “giant leap of faith” and perched at N12,100,000,000,000. Dividing a 12,100,000,000,000 debt amongst Nigerians in 2015 would have amounted to approximately N66,000 to each living Nigerian. In 2017, the Nigerian population has been estimated to be approximately 191,000,000, and with our total debt at N19,600,000,000,000, we each owe approximately N102,000. You remember that your friend, Udeme, the great man? Yup, he owes N102,000 too.
The 2019 elections will soon be upon us, and these same people who have mismanaged the economy and our resources and sent us deep into this blackhole of debt have begun strategising, but we, the people, are not strategising. Voters registration is still very low.
According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 Poverty Report, 67.1 percent of our population live below the poverty line, translating to approximately 112,000,000 people.
To be “designated” as poor, you should be earning at least $2 a day. At N350 to $1, that is N750 a day and N22,500 a month, and 127,000,000 Nigerians are poor and cannot boast of that amount as total income monthly. We have not included those on the income level above 22,500 a month, who still cannot pay N102,000, even if you put a gun to their head. It doesn’t matter to the government of President Buhari that having arguably outborrowed almost every government in Nigeria’s very short history, he has nothing to show for it, and yet, the very poor Nigerian populace, from Sokoto to Rivers State, have to bear the brunt of his misadventure. Another point I want you to take note of is that, despite borrowing in excess of N7,500,000,000,000 within the last two years, the present federal government under President Buhari has not commissioned a major project it started. Still, it wants to borrow more without being able to account, by any means, for how it has spent trillions of naira or billions of dollars on the Nigerian economy, having nothing to show for this. Mr. Patrick will call this something like “criminal criminalness” but it doesn’t fit. I’ll rather say it is as a result of our own “foolish foolishness.”
The 2019 elections will soon be upon us, and these same people who have mismanaged the economy and our resources and sent us deep into this blackhole of debt have begun strategising, but we, the people, are not strategising. Voters registration is still very low. It is easier to say something like “wetin concern me” than to go out to cast a vote for the right persons and defend that vote. This thing isn’t magic, Nigerians need to be more involved in the political process, but until then with “wetin concern me,” every Nigerian owes N102,000, and “I no gree, I no gree” will not change this fact.
I’m on Twitter @Saatah or you can email me Saatahnubari@gmail.com
Image credit: Illinois Policy.