By Prince Charles Dickson

Way back when James Brown was a star, Harry Belafonte was singing the Calypso, Bob Marley & the Wailers were still popular, and I was dancing to HAPPY BIRTHDAY by Prince Nico Mbarga and the Rocafill Jazz. Then N1 was equal to 1 British Pound Sterling and more than a dollar.

What happened, my brothers and sisters?

Can someone who is versed in these economic matters explain? Break it down please.

Nigeria re-evaluated her figures?the result being that the Nigerian economy was said to be better than that of South Africa.

Was that economic re-basing the same type of re-basing that has been going on with population figures?

The figures were re-based and then the Naira went south? N240 to US$1. I just don’t get it. Does the Kobo still exist?

That was my friend Pa Fru Ndeh of Cameroon, ranting about the state of the Nigerian economy.

However what Fru Ndeh does not know is that it has got worse than he thinks, and that must of his musing have no logical answers.

But before I go ahead, let me share very quickly one story with us and I will state my case and let this matter on the bailout and Nigerian economy rest, at least for now.

There was a business executive who was deep in debt and could see no way out.

Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.

Suddenly an old man appeared before him. ?I can see that something is troubling you,? he said.

After listening to the executive?s woes, the old man said, ?I believe I can help you.?

He asked the man his name, wrote out a check, and pushed it into his hand saying, ?Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.?

Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world!

?I can erase my money worries in an instant!? he realized. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed check in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought.

With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.

Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed check. At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.

?I?m so glad I caught him!? she cried. ?I hope he hasn?t been bothering you. He?s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he?s John D. Rockefeller.?

And she led the old man away by the arm.

The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he had been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him.

Suddenly, he realized that it wasn?t the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after.

Bailout or no bailout, it is not about the economy but a nation that has lost it as a fiscal democracy. A nation that has pampered its political elite into a point where confidence has gone on awol.

An economy where Finance Commissioners, simply go to the nation?s capital Abuja and collect their share of money, they know little about how it is made.

An economy that governors like Adams Oshiohmole of Edo state take on Ngozi Iweala former finance chief almost everyday in what the Harvard and World Banking woman has termed numerical diarrhea.

Whether Adams is right, or Femi Falana believes that the bailout was right because a ?worker is due his wage?, the bitter fact is that we are in a state where a nation?s majority is paying dearly for the irresponsibility of a few.

When Falana tried to justify the bailout, I am sure that he cannot with good conscious or explanation tell us, how all these ?tuwo shinkafi bonds and ogogoro bank loans have impacted in the peoples? lives.

We are paying for the maintenance of private Jets of these governors; we are bailing out the concubines, girlfriends and the unreasonable lifestyles of those that we put in charge of a state and national till.

We are bailing out their long convoys in their entourage, like bailing out Bauchi state where 22 cars thereabout where shared amongst wives of a former governor.

An economy where most states internally generated revenue are collected by the governor?s first son?s younger brother?s wife. Or billions spent cumulative in travels to even Ukraine by Rochas where he spoke Igbo to the Ukrainian president has not resulted in one big functional run Public Private Partnership project in Owerri, Imo state.

Bailing out an Aregbesola that frittered away public goodwill, and his cohorts across party lines that cannot account for security votes.

Bailing out state systems with no confidence, no verifiable audited accounts for years, ghost workers everywhere.

The fact is that we are funding the mismanagement of public trust by a few, while we trade blames we cannot run away from the truth that the poor state of finance, is not far from fiscal irresponsibility of not just governors but political elites.

Finally while I hear the bailouts are technically loans, and I cannot boast to be an economic tiger or financial lion, and this is also not a flogging on the Buhari?s administration butt, because it is to early in the morning.

One thing however is that we have solved no problem when the intricate nature of this bailout is x-rayed. Our economic woes are nowhere near solutions, we are simply doing the same thing over and over again, expecting an utopian Nigeria?In the words of Zebrudiya of the New Masquerade fame??fa-fa-fooul foul!

How soon we want to bail ourselves as Nigerians?Only time will tell

Prince Charles Dickson

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