Politicians Responsible For Food Crisis – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says political leaders should be blamed for the inability of the country to attain self-sufficiency in food production.
Obasanjo said it was regrettable that Nigeria and Africa had failed to take advantage of advancements in science and technology for the development of the agricultural sector.
The former president stated this on Sunday at a lecture organised to mark his 86th birthday in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He said Nigerians should blame the country leaders for lacking the political will to turn Nigeria into the food basket of Africa.
According to him, Nigeria was not created by God to be poor, but the leaders of the country have Nigerians with poor policies.
Obasanjo said, “I believe that God has not created Nigeria as a basket case. God has created Nigeria for a great purpose.
“At independence, the world did not refer to Nigeria as a giant in Africa, no, they referred to Nigeria as a giant in the sun, Nigeria was more than a giant in Africa, it was a giant in the sun.
“But, not only have we not been giants in the sun, we have not even been giants in Africa. Some people called us giants with clay feet.
“So, that is not what God has created Nigeria to be, that is what we Nigerians have inadvertently or advertently made Nigeria to be.
“But, will Nigeria continue to be so, I believe no. So, we must continue to hold ourselves together, pray and understand all the factors and the elements that are making us not the giant, but the dwarf of Africa and how we can get out of it and I believe and pray that we will get out of it.
“Food security is very important and as long as we are not reasonably self-sufficient in food and nutrition security in Africa, we are of course not doing the right thing for ourselves.
“Until the Ukraine war, I really did not realize how much we in Africa, almost all of us in Africa depend on the Russians and the Ukrainians for wheat.
“Wheat which is used to make bread is only carbohydrate, are there no carbohydrate foodstuff that can be produced in Africa that we can be self-sufficient in? I know some of our countries cannot produce wheat and this is the sort of thing that IITA has been doing.
“Science and technology have given us all that we need for food and nutrition security in Africa what is left is political will and political action.
“And if we fail not to have food and nutrition security we cannot blame our scientists, we blame our politicians and our farmers, but more of politicians than farmers because I have been at the two helms and I can tell you that the farmers are ready if they are given all the incentives and the encouragement that should be given by the politicians.”
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