T HE statement credited to the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, that a bag of rice could cost about N40,000 by December did not sound optimistic enough. Although the minister was justifying why we should start producing our rice instead of relying on importation, his statement has resulted into panic buying, while causing gloom among Nigerians.
Why no one doubted the statement of the minister is because everything has gone up of late, and Nigerians are paying double for goods and services now, so it won’t be a surprise when the price of a bag of rice hits N40,000. However, with this statement, Nigerians are preparing for the worse, as things are already so tough at the moment. We are now experiencing what we’ve never experienced before in the country.
Senator Lokpobiri’s statement is, therefore, giving Nigerians cause for concern; I understand the position of the minister that we need to produce more instead of importing, as this is part of the reason we are in this economic mess, but when our political leaders sound negative, then it is bound to affect the mood of the citizens. One thing I want to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for is his positive belief. Every now and then, the president explains to Nigerians how optimistic he is that the country would get over the current economic crisis.
Although the president admits that the country is currently experiencing tough economic periods, he, however, believes that in the nearest future, Nigeria would overcome its challenges.
This is what our political leaders should learn from the president. They should not make statements that will scare Nigerians further, as we already have a demoralised population, waiting only on ‘God’ for help.
I, therefore, want to charge Senator Lokpobiri that in his subsequent statements, he should focus more on why Nigerians need to embrace agriculture. He should let Nigerians know that it is only local agricultural production that can sustain the country, and not the doom that await us if we fail to take to agriculture.
- Dr Tajudeen Alalade,