Like Greece, like Nigeria

Greeks spoke loud enough to tell the world that their land fathered Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. They reminded the world that they are no feeding-bottle people to be guided by so-called supra-national bodies whose assistance benefits the banks and the trading class. They will take their fate in their hands and weather battles of want to eventually create a Hellenist superstructure for their own welfare. They are tired of creating few billionaires and millionaires from borrowed loans against the crushing poverty of preponderant Greeks.

The Greek case is not different from that of Nigeria that embraced a strange religion that prescribes the same medication for all ailments. The South Americans rejected it not before they were bruised and the economy of the region became stagnant, some lapsing into declivity. Argentina was a relevant case when its currency, the lira, became worthless though it was tied to the dollar, because of destructive World Bank and IMF policy.

And this was a country that was once the fifth richest in the world, with a bowl in hand, begging to be rescued though its productive base was still firm.

It had danced the Breton Woods’ tango and found its fiscal policy in ruins. Thanks to the husband and wife who were bold to denounce the IMF plan to rescue that country from the wrecked boat trapped in Breton Woods’ mines. They applied their own methods to shore it up. Greeks now think for themselves. They have been an economic factor for longer than four thousand years. They pioneered philosophy, logic and politics with codified laws thousands of years ago. They sailed the world and mastered the waves thousands of years before the Anglo-Saxon West. France, Spain and Portugal once in history were Greek colonies. And they invented democracy, now being misinterpreted in many versions to satisfy indirect, neo-imperialist activities.

The outcome of the “No” vote in Greece should be an eye-opener to disciples of so-called business. There is no business in Nigeria. Should a country with no manufacturing and agricultural sectors qualify to claim any economic importance because of its export, a mono product, which derivatives it loses to buyers?

Brazil was indebted hundreds of billions of dollars to international borrowers, but it had on the ground industries that have made it impregnable by the bluff of any supranational finance organisation. In fact, they were begging Brazil to ask for more loans so that it could produce sufficiently to repay its debts.

That was not the case of Greece when it joined the Euro zone. All the loans went to the banks, which borrowed to the business class of mainly importers to the detriment of the poor Greeks. And Breton Woods told them to tighten their belts and lose all the privileges they have enjoyed before they became Europe’s cheerleaders of so-called free market and democracy, which they invented millennia ago.

They have now put on their thinking caps and rejected trickle-down economics. This should be a lesson to Nigeria. Why can’t present Nigerian leaders think above stale philosophies and work out one suitable for our peculiar circumstances? One still hears them talk of privatisation and bogus market indices in a country that has stopped to produce industrially and agriculturally. Must it be the orthodox?

Malaysia defied that trend of thought decades ago. When she practised mixed economy, there was a bit for everybody at every level and she had become independent in middle-level industrialisation. In agriculture, she led the world as producer of some commodities. All that became history when she bought the Breton Woods’ package in 1986. We should ask ourselves one valid question and that is whether we have moved forward as those in our league did in the last 28 years or backwards to 1951 before representative government was granted by the British?

When you listen to Richard Quest of the CNN and those of his journalistic ilk you would think that making money solves the world’s problems. And the press in the African world has lost that anti-colonial bite that made it think independently 40 years ago. With many pretenders now usurping the stage with pseudo-Western, indigestible doctrines, whatever issues out of the Western press is swallowed by the people hook, line and sinker. The weight of the whole Western press was in favour of a “Yes” vote in Greece, prophesying that it would be doom if the contrary was the case. Greeks have come back on their own, rebounding in self-help and confidence. They want to be masters of their destiny. No foreign nation can build your country for you. Professor Grey, then chairman of faculty, Indiana University’s School of Journalism, while taking us in philosophy, asked us to find out why Greece, once a colonial power and seat of learning, became itself colonised by Britons who were still eating raw bones and were somehow cannibalistic when Hellenistic power was at its zenith? There were two Greeks in the class, one a lady and a communist.

My thinking then was that they were complacent, divided and lacked positive leadership over a period because of an archaic monarchy which pitted princes against one another in Europe of the last 2,000 years. Complacency is dangerous. Nigeria has been complacent for 28 years now and she needs to shake off those strings that tied her to dependence on foreign ideas, unrealistic for her own aspiration. If I were a leader I would close the borders to foreign imports and challenge Nigerians to fend for themselves.

America was insular and it developed itself in the latter half of the 19th century. China has proved how being self-confident can restore a lost glory. Vietnam is breaking grounds. Nigeria took off with that progressive attitude until she was seized by mediocre in leadership. There used to be a popular saying in pidgin English in those glorious years of Nigeria’s growth that, “na poor I poor, I no craze”, meaning, though one is poor, one is not mad. Wake up Nigerians! Ask those who ruled you in the last 16 years what they did with the bounty as never before at their disposal to have left a debt of $67 billion for you. All the public facilities they inherited in 1999 collapsed in the last 16 years. They sold all the government assets they met, yet they landed us in another debt trap. And they told us Nigeria had the largest economy in Africa when we imported even toothpicks that could be carved from chewing sticks, from China. The Greek revolution must spread south beyond the Sahara. Nigeria should reject outmoded economic doctrines that make people hewers of wood and drawers of water, while a negligible few swim in criminal opulence. Nigerians should hold leaders accountable for their deeds.



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