…a public demand for officials to undergo anti-corruption tests in the full public glare by doing as follows… Swear that: “May every woe and curse in the Holy Bible and Holy Koran from the beginning to the end be upon me, my children and unborn generations, if at any time I have used or will use my access to public position and its privileges to corruptly enrich myself or my cronies, or for any pecuniary gains.”


“A half-full cup” and “A half-empty cup” – apparently both views aptly describe a single scenario of a half-filled cup, albeit from two diametrically-opposite perspectives of optimism and pessimism. The former view stems from expectations of positive outcomes, while the latter arises from expectations of negative or unsavory outcomes. The “learned” minister’s advocacy for public support for the federal government’s borrowing plans, though laden with expectations of robust outcomes, was greatly diminished by the resort to emotional outburst that labeled critics of such plans as backyard and failed economists, and also by his unbalanced and one-sided arguments on the issue. For clarity, when did criticisms of a public policy become criteria for measuring the success and prominence of economists? Alternatively, how did criticisms of the federal government’s borrowing plan turn such critics, irrespective of their vocations, into backyard and failed economists? In a sane clime, a “silk” public official would have tendered unreserved public apology for such a public gaffe without being prompted or perhaps even hide under the façade of being misquoted.

In fact there is no dispute that access to credit enhances aggregate demand and positively impacts on economic growth. Nonetheless an unbridled access to credit is risky as the greater the quantum of debt accrued by a “principal” through his/her spendthrift and corrupt representatives, the quicker the journey of such a debtor-principal into a quicksand and ultimately bankruptcy in the long run. But why are Nigerians skeptical about the federal government’s borrowing plan? Why is the mass of criticisms increasing in leaps and bounds daily among economists and non-economists? The plain truth is situated in the general negative public perception about Nigerian public officials, and which does not exclude those saddled with the design, negotiation and implementation of such borrowing plans; for the success or failure of any plan rests squarely on the human factor.

…public criticisms of the federal government’s public borrowing plans are mostly unconcerned about the economics of such plans, but rather on the public dread of the pervasive corruption and integrity-deficiency syndrome among public officials whose intellects are never deployed for public good.


Is the public fear real or statistically true that “on average the Nigerian public officials are corrupt and selfish”? This anti-social thesis can be falsified or validated simply by a public demand for officials to undergo anti-corruption tests in the full public glare by doing as follows:

• Hold the Holy Bible in one hand, and the Holy Koran in the other; and
• Swear that: “May every woe and curse in the Holy Bible and Holy Koran from the beginning to the end be upon me, my children and unborn generations, if at any time I have used or will use my access to public position and its privileges to corruptly enrich myself or my cronies, or for any pecuniary gains.”

I throw this anti-corruption challenge open to every Nigerian public official who values his/her integrity, and also conclude that public criticisms of the federal government’s public borrowing plans are mostly unconcerned about the economics of such plans, but rather on the public dread of the pervasive corruption and integrity-deficiency syndrome among public officials whose intellects are never deployed for public good.

Olusegun A. Oyediran, an Economist wrote from Ibadan; Email: segunoyediran2002@yahoo.com