Of Retirees And Paris Club Loan Refunds

By Isaac Olusesi

Think of what it would mean if everybody is of the same Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and then, think of what it would have meant if everybody were to be part of the epidemic protests by retirees, playing political blitzkrieg and putting all manner of spanners in the sure disbursement of the Paris Club Loan refunds in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). By that, the pensioners in some states in Nigeria have only drawn the sword of partisan wrangling from the scabbard and appropriated the task of aggressive mobilisation of themselves and the citizens against the state governments.

And as the nation has not recorded really impressive growth and development, such over no space ambitiously endemic protests over money would not trade-off harsh realities of expedient hardship and sacrifice the development process entails, but could regrettably push the State Government to the elbow room of facile options in the loan refunds’ disbursement.

It is important here that money is, but one element in the complex process of growth and development, other crucial elements including discipline and rational resource management will propel the states’ economies to self-sustaining, away from the  fragility of their current fabrics in the face of global economic recess and tight reins in Nigeria. This is the more reason Nigerians across the federated states must have to make necessary sacrifice for real economic growth and development.

In the State of Osun exampli gratia, retirees ironically ignited thundering rumble of ear-blocking rancour, bitterness and precipitated high decibel of ear-shattering murmurings over the loans refunds. Osun retirees under the aegis of 2011/2012 Pensioners Forum have clearly acquired the reputation and attribute of incomprehensibility, as the forum last month, June 2017, characteristically acted political opposition to the Rauf Aregbesola government in the state when its members ad nauseam, swooped on the office of the Governor, violated the serenity of the premises, chanted war songs, and openly incapacitated the civil servants on duty. The protesters   infra dignitatem, misled the Osun public on the loan refunds when they claimed albeit, erroneously that the 2nd tranche of the loan refunds had been released to Aregbesola by the federal government and that he had allegedly diverted the refunds. The Osun people’s aspirations increased dramatically in more ways than one as consequence.

But the Osun retirees goofed around and goofed off! Their claim was a flawed reflection of the abysmal, dizzy and miserable plunge into the nation’s current affairs, a dismal, lopsided and gloomy profile that practically misguided the general public, a preponderance of opinion against the retirees’ street protest. The claim was nothing but a flotsam of damaged truth, debris of misinformation, baseless allegation, unpolished lie and a mere chunk of noises from the supposedly senior citizens of the state. It is case of the retirees sinning against Osun than being sinned against.

And when a few days ago, Monday July 17, 2017 the 2nd tranche of the loan refunds came and Osun government promptly announced the receipt of the refunds, the governor literally escaped the retirees’ scalpel. But the protesting retirees had themselves shamefully pulled down from the pedestal of seeming integrity to the denizen of shame. The government convincingly declared its commitment to deploy the refunds “in the best interest of the concerned stakeholders.”

What care from the Osun pensioners with the proficiency of a stubborn customer, only oiled the wheel of hypocrisy and raised the dogged hypocrisy to the status of religious virtues. Government’s “demand of unreserved apology from the retirees for wrongly accusing the governor” is needless. But because Osun would no longer stand karat nugget of drivel and Babel, as though, Osun of recent is fast getting used to blabber months, noises of confusion sewn into threads of street protests, the direct appeal should have been that the pensioners should be honest and patriotic in their dealings with the government.

Street protesters, agitators, the world over are into heinous and treacherous crime and have a noose dangling above their recalcitrant heads. It is for them that the caution: “make haste slowly” was invented. The Osun protesting retirees ought to always make cautious efforts at letting-loose gently pent-up anger to conserve what remains of the energy in them for survival in these days of global austerity and diseases when old people of the world are becoming emaciated and meals are oblong instead of square. “Silence, for the elderly is wisdom…..” said Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) an English Clergyman, author and wit, in his first book of sermons: Joseph’s Party Colored Coat (1640).

The tidal wave of street protests also stifle both the individual retiree’s initiative and enterprising spirit of dialogue and progress, capable of developing the requisite perception and strategy to remove whatever contradictions identified in the Osun system. Otherwise, the protest by the retirees was a vivid example of poor peddling. But Osun people would not succumb again to what Antonia Gramsci (1891-1937) called the “retirees’ war of maneuver” in one of his several writings on the political unrests in Italy, following the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Gramsci of a lower middle-class family at Ales, the Italian Island of Sardina, was an Italian Communist party leader, Marxist political theorist and a journalist of the socialist newspaper, AVANTI.  He attended University of Turin.

Commendably, Aregbesola has assumed greater stakes in the Osun enterprised. In these years in the saddle of the state affairs, he has rather acted the monkey and actually pleased the collective people of Osun in practical terms, not anyone in particular. His banish Poverty, Hunger and Unemployment (BanPHU) through economic and social policies and programmes have re-enacted the Mikhail Gobachev’s efforts, the Russian glasnost and perestroika projects. The glasnost stood for openness, and perestroika for restructuring.

And like the Gobachev revolution, the Aregbesola  BanPHU revolution has removed the contradictions inherent in the Osun system. His infrastructural projects in all the nooks and crannies of the state also connect the Osun economy and wealth to attract investments. His government’s debt manifest has not even over burden the state. The debt’s onus probandi, is the massive development of physical, social, cultural and political structures and programme across the state pro bono publico, for the public good, aided by his drive, consistency, focus, positive energy and steely courage. Thus, the concern of all in Osun should be for accelerated growth and development of the state.

Good! Today in Osun, the official profligate way of life, official squadernania, official mindless waste of the spendthrift years and official easy options had all gone with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesteryears (2003-2010) in the governance of the state.

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