Buhari’s ban on forex for food import
I disagree with the financial experts and others who oppose President Buhari on this issue, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) I belong to.
We need to look back to the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Action Group days of the Western Region, and the days of Alhaji Shagari’s regime, particularly their efforts on food production and substance.
I start from Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he had dreamt of what is happening to Nigeria today and that was why he introduced farm settlements throughout the old Western Region. He acquired acres of land, put up low cost houses in these farms and attached 8,10 acres behind each building of the settlers for them to plant economic plants and food crops. He appointed trained Agric Officers to supervise the settlers. This arrangement served as engagement of labour, and production of economic plants and food crops. Where are the farms and the settlements today?.
Whereas, governance should be continuous, in Nigeria it is not so. We introduce politics into everything. If a party introduces a programme and the programme is good, there is nothing wrong for the new party to continue with that programme. If farm settlement was allowed to continue, can we be looking for foreign exchange to order wheat, palm oil, rice, fish, tomatoes, etc.?
In the days of Shagari and the NPN regime, I remember he came to Oyo State to hold a meeting with the leaders and chairmen of the party in all the local government areas at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan. I happened to be there. He asked us of the economic plants and food crops we were cultivating in our various local governments. For instance, I mentioned rice. He approved rice production for the then Obokun Local Government where I came from. For the processing of the rice, we were given gigantic engine. What became of the engine? Ridiculously, ignorantly most people boycotted the engine and derided it as “Shagari’s Engine”. Later on, robbers came in the night to carry it away. Furthermore, President Shagari ordered that loans should be given to farmers through a bank in Ibadan. The loan was for 24 individuals in each local government. The farmers did not refund the money, saying it was party money; and the bank from which the loan was taken never bothered .to recover the loan.
President Shagari also approved two small industrial loans for each local government; where are the industries today?. The banks that gave out the loan never went round to supervise the use of it, nor the recovery of the loans.
My heart bleeds anytime I look back and see the efforts of our late leaders wasted. They were rich in integrity, discipline and honesty. Most of them were men of vision, mission and passion for the development of our society.
They had reputation for frugality and good economic management. Unfortunately, most of our politicians of today are selfish and greedy, they have nothing to offer, many of them spend one or two terms in the Senate, find their ways to be governors, spend two tenures and afterthat, they go back to the Senate again just to sleep.
If we look back, we will realise that our past leaders tried hard so that what is happening to us now should be avoided, but it is our new leaders, and ourselves that are still undoing us. Whatever punishment we are going through now is the consequence of our actions or inactions.
I talk straight not minding whose ox is gored. I am’ not scared to say my mind whenever I feel strongly on any issue. President Buhari should please work harder on security so that whoever goes to his/her farm should feel safe. If Buhari repeats what Awolowo and Shagari did, the better for Nigerians. May be we must have learnt some lessons. We are so blessed in Nigeria with land and season to the effect that we do not need to import food before we eat.
God bless Nigeria and God give us good leaders.
High Chief Faseru sent this piece from Ilesa, Osun State.