Rotimi Amaechi, the Chinese loan and the paucity of thought | Ripples Nigeria
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Rotimi Amaechi, the Chinese loan and the paucity of thought



Joseph Edgar

Mr Amaechi seems to be the poster boy for this Chinese loan that is causing so much furore in the land. They have said that we are about to embark on this thankless journey that will take all of us twenty years to pay back, assuming we are efficient in its dealings.

As part of the conditions precedent, there seems to be a clause that is rattling Nigerians and which has driven the conspiracy theorists wild with all sort of configurations and engagement.

One WhatsApp group I belong has gone into a frenzy with some of its most influential talking heads leading the debate. Ohhh, China has taken over Uganda, they scream. They even went ahead to post a Fox News clip where the issue of Chinese commercial expansionist movement in Africa is becoming a source of concern and with this continue to influence opinion and thought processes of people who in themselves do not understand the real issues.

Now, I can bet that of all these armchair analysts none has seen the purported agreements talk less of digesting it and understanding the terms therein. What we are getting as usual are snippets of information that may have already been colored by interests circulating through the deeply penetrative platforms that is social media and creating vacuous panic in a populace that trades on half truths and sensationalism.

The issue here for me is dual – the transaction in itself and the alternative. The baying mob and our leaders have succeeded in driving the narrative towards a meaningless argument over a sovereignty clause instead of the main thing we should be asking – what business does the Federal Government have running rail lines. Why are we not privatizing and moving on?

But as is the case with us, we have started decimating precious energy on crappy debates. Let’s even look at the debate itself. You can never cede sovereignty on the back of a commercial agreement. You can only cede it in war, plebiscite or referendum.

So, the clause that says they can seize any national asset to recover their funds is normal and very okay in a transaction like this.

As Amaechi has said, we will pay back in 20years and if we default, like we all know we will, they can jump on third mainland bridge and toll it to collect their money. I don’t see anything wrong with that. If they so wish to take Aso Villa, is it not better so that at least Aisha will no longer have anybody but Chinese people locking the door behind her.

READ ALSO: Nigeria will repay Chinese loans in 20 years —Amaechi

This our people we can so waste our time? The real question is why are we not considering privatization or at least concessioning it like we have done with the Ports, Nigeria Airways and other such items?

Why is the Government so bent on throwing us into a 20-year debt to people of dubious character with this transaction? We are not asking the right questions but instead jumping around with big heads debating sovereignty. What is sovereignty, if I may ask? Most people do not even know.

So we default, a Chinese will now be Chief of Army staff? We now turn Abuja to a vassal of Beijing and we start using their currency instead of our useless Naira? Is that what the agreement is stating? To my understanding, once again, what the agreement is saying is that if we default, we cannot claim sovereignty not to hand over the asset. Period.

Please, what is wrong with that? If we are shouting sovereignty, let’s, like Amaechi has said, go and look for the money elsewhere. I would really beg for us to focus and remain so.

The issue, once again, is that for a government that just handed over the National Theatre to a consortium of their friends and so many such national assets why are we holding on to railway and naming them after some clowns who have really done nothing to salvage this country?

Why do we have the BPE? Why is the Government wasting its time and our time in mouthing market economic policies?

But instead of us asking these credible questions we are running around like dimwitted morons shouting what happened in Zambia and Uganda.

Amaechi, please, go and sit with BPE and do the right thing. Hand over and go look for something better to do with your time.

Author: Joseph Edgar

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