Why We Must(n’t) Sell Nigeria’s Assets.

Category: Business and Economy, Leadership, Politics 25 0

 

It won’t pass for an oversight if I fail to add my voice to the raging debate between the proponents of the sales of Nigeria’s asset on one hand and the opponents.

But in my submission, I implore that you be unbiased in weighing the arguments and you might eventually reconsider your stand, even if you don’t, you might get softer on your opponents depending on which side of the divide you hold.

First is a question whether we’re selling Nigeria’s assets or Nigeria’s redundant assets? I guess you can see how much difference the word ‘redundant’ brings into play?
Redundant is not useless, just that it might not be serving you a commensurate purpose in the immediate. (Not the word ‘immediate’).

Okay, whether redundant or in active use, will a father fold his arms whilst watching his ‘redundant/active’ assets in the face while his children die of hunger? In reference to Nigeria, should we keep these assets and watch people die or sell them and shore up our Dollar reserve thereby easing the pressure on the Naira as we walk our way out of recession? But do you sell your revenue earning assets to get out of debt? That’s another moral question!

As an African, you’re seen as a spend-rift, waster and a forfeiter of inheritance when you sell your property especially ones bequeathed to you. On the flip side you’re seen as being clever in order climes when you liquidate some assets to save a situation especially when it’s as debilitating as the Nigerian economic mess.

Wait a minute! I did something a little mischievous by putting the names of proponents and opponents side by side and found out that the proponent have a string in common, either they’re capitalists, national robbers and or failed State executives. The opponents are predominantly pro-people, the socialists if you want.

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Perhaps the idea would have sunk better if it wasn’t a suggestion by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote who almost everyone immediately suspected was interested in buying the remains of Nigeria. Perhaps it would have resonated if Sinator Saraki wasn’t the one saying it going by his antecedents(don’t ask me what it is). Perhaps the call would have been meaningful if it wasn’t uttered in the suspiciously greed laden voices of the State Chief executives who are primarily interested in funds to their States/pockets ( hope you remember that 90% of the States are presently financially prostrate). Their antecedents during the Jonathan era regarding the sovereign wealth fund is still fresh. I thought we blamed Jonathan for that particular squandermania, are we re-hatching?

One of my good friends is in support of the sales, but insists Aso-Villa must be sold first. Another was of the opinion that Lagos and Rivers States should be sold to fix the other 34 States. Yet another friend on a WhatsApp group said with a dint of sarcasm, “don’t sell it, e je paanu Iya” literally meaning if you don’t sell, you’ll suffer so much that you’ll eat your skull’s skin. (Pardon me, those were the light-mood part of the debate though, trust Nigerians to joke at anything).

In appeasement, there’s no doubting the fact that we need a way out of the present economic doldrums, but I think the question now should be:

* Which assets are we looking at? (LNG/NNPC/Presidential Jets)?
* Should we sell revenue genervating assets for a quick fix?
* If we sell, how certain are we about the judicious use of the proceeds?
* What has previous sales benefitted us? (NEPA/Nigerian Airways/NITEL)etc
* Is concessioneering are fairer option?
I submit that there are other options available to the Federal Government, BUT, they’re measures that will demand the last drop in your reservoir of long-suffering which interestingly will be more enduring and long lasting. BUT if you’re tired of all these, you desire an early exit from the woods, then selling is our better bet. Care enough about tomorrow?

My candid advice to the Federal Government: Sell them now, please don’t!

‘Dapo Omojola

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