Federal Republic of Nigeria.
LETTER FROM THE FUTURE
It might seem weird when you see the date on this letter. My intention is not to scare you, but to pass across a vital message that will be crucial to the nation. I am writing to you from 2035. Nigeria is in stern danger and we need your help. You might probably want to ask yourself what you have to do with that. It is not a big task; your decisions tend to be creating an unbearable problem for us. I will like to quintessentially break down the problem so that you can position yourself well to understand the next series of actions to take. Presently in 2035, foreign debt has proven to be one of the foremost challenges facing us in the land due to the accumulated budget deficit, the inevitable desire of previous leaders to embezzle the nation’s fund, and most importantly, the politics behind infrastructural projects experienced in the first three decades of the 21st century in the country.
Without any iota of doubt, the major factor that distinguishes developed nations from the under-developed or developing ones is the ability to comprehend actions that can foster their economic growth, national development and eliminates poverty. In this regard, developed nations take the bold step of improving the state of their infrastructures. In fact, without a second glance at their airports, road networks, power lines, and the likes, a visitor will definitely fall in love with the serene environment. These infrastructures do not only provide a befitting atmosphere but also responsible for the booming of the economy. I was very happy to discover that Nigeria is learning from the super-giants, and inviting foreign nations to help her redefine the state of her infrastructures. However, it is disdainful that Nigeria is now looming in the ocean of financial debt as a result of some concealed happenings among the leaders.
Sadly, as I was going through the social media a few days ago, I discovered that Dr. Bongo Adi, the Director of Centre for the Infrastructural Policy Regulation and Advancement (CIPRA) said, “Nigeria lacks accountability, transparency, and responsibility to refund its loan.”  This is nothing but the truth. Digesting the words of Dr. Bongo, you will acquiesce with me that the government is causing great damage to future generations.
With China being Nigeria’s leading partner for the execution of infrastructural projects, statistics behind the scene is not encouraging. “Nigeria owes China about $3.1 billion, representing more than 10% of the nation’s $27.6 billion external debt stock,” Minister of Finance disclosed in February. Can Nigeria refund the extravagant loans from China and other foreign countries if the rate of borrowing keeps aggravating? This is a question that bothers me. Sadly, while taking a survey on the root cause of this revolting debt, I realised that most of the citizens erroneously think that it is due to the gigantic exceptional infrastructural projects being executed in Nigeria by these foreign countries. This is absolutely wrong I must profess and confess!
In contrast to people’s belief about foreign countries delivering quality projects in Nigeria, Peter Adebayo rendered such supposition invalid. He said, “It depends on how we perceive success.” Reinforcing that, Engineer Adejimi Lanre, a civil engineer disclosed to me during one of my visits to a construction site. He revealed that “the Nigerian government pays foreign contractors massively for their services which are sadly below par compared to what they are constructing in their respective countries.” He further added, “It is quite disgusting that foreign companies are paid almost 10 times greater than indigenous ones.”
Also, we need to learn from Dr. Labiran, a Nigerian Structural Engineer who did his Master’s degree program at Imperial College, and later bagged his doctorate degree from the University of Ibadan. He once said, “The government should start coming to Nigerian universities and see outstanding innovations by young brains. Students are making discoveries, and designing sky-scrapers, dams, bridges, drainage systems, magnificent road networks, among several other mind-blowing developments with 100% structural analysis success when examined, and tested with software. Why is the government not exploring these great minds, but rather finds pleasure in dishing out funds to people with white skins?” The answer is not far-fetched!
Corruption is the bedrock and one of the leading causes of infrastructural politics in Nigeria. Even if the nation is confronted with a financial dilemma, with no other option than to turn to International Financial Institutions for help, nevertheless, the government must not concede too easily to yield in the direction of taking depraved steps that could have been curtailed if things are done without bias, and there is the absence of hidden desire to loot funds. It is sad to even discover that the youths and aged men who are craving to taste out of money from corrupt practices are more than the cabals presently siphoning the government reserves. Dangers looming over dangers! This is a critical challenge facing the nation that must be addressed.
I would be glad if there is a turnaround and the financial risk associated with infrastructural projects is put under check. The state of infrastructure in the nation has called for aggravated worriment in the heart of all. Even though it is evident that the accessibility of functional infrastructures like roads, uninterrupted water supply, bridges, among several others seem to be fundamental, nevertheless, there is an observed public display of exasperating political show in that aspect.
It is no more news that infrastructure has connections capable of having precarious financial implications on the economy due to the enormous funding it commands. This is the reason the government must be cautious of the financial implications of borrowing.  I must have to reiterate it again at this point that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is in danger. The government is not taking cognizance of the increasing rate at which loans are being collected from foreign countries, without recourse to the future!
Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that all countries need to equip their economy with vibrant labour force capable of dealing with internal affairs. Just as the cry for the government to shower the health sector with funds because there is no foreign country that will want to welcome a sick person into their land in this perilous period no matter how severe the case may be, it is high time such ideology is incorporated into the infrastructural industry. In light of this, if employees in indigenous companies are groomed, exposed, adequately trained, and are given projects to handle, then the need for inviting companies from foreign countries will dwindle drastically.
In conclusion, I will end with the word of James Lendall which says, “A man in debt is a man in chains.” We are not building a nation that will last for 4 years or two tenures. Rather, we are raising a country that will forever be a testament to the coming generations. The time to stop receiving loans that will injure the mental state of the future inhabitants is now. I believe in Nigeria. I believe that there are people who are capable of cascading the nation into greatness. Together, we will fight and conquer the enemy called ‘foreign debt’ that is disturbing the peace of the land in the name of infrastructure politics before things get out of hand.
Your friend from 2035,
 Abiola Odutola (2020), Retrieved from https://nairametrics.com/2020/05/21/china-nigeria-loan-nigeria-is-falling-into-chinas-debt-trap/
 Uhunmwuangho S.O (2012), “Analysis of Socio-Political Implication of Infrastructural Decay in Nigeria”
Folarin Oluwatimilehin wrote in from Abeokuta via firstname.lastname@example.org