By Olusegun Ogundipe
About 10 years ago in a who-dare-to-challenge me arrogance, Obasanjo brazenly imported about two ship loads of maize into Nigeria. That’s about 60,000 metric tons of maize. Yes, you read me well, 60,000 MTS. And he did that repeatedly. When other maize users saw that one of the owners of Nigeria had broken his own rule, they joined in the importation. OLAM, an Indian company joined and several others.
By 2010, the maize farmers were already going comatose. Debt began to pile up because imported maize is cheaper than locally grown. One after the other, the maize farmers began to leave the farm. The same with the rice farmers who were almost forced into extinction by the combine forces of Dangote, Olam and Stallion Group as they kept obtaining waivers for the importation of rice from the rogue administration of GEJ.
In 2003, Obasanjo embarked on Cocoa Revolution with the aim to raise Nigeria Cocoa production from 250,000 to 600,000 MTS by 2015. That was the time Ghana started its Cocoa revolution as well to move its production from 450,000 MTS to 1 million MTS. By 2010, Nigeria achieved all time Cocoa production of 310,000 MTS. Ghana attained 1 million. By 2015, Nigeria Cocoa production went back to 230,000 MTS. Don’t let me bore you with how much Nigeria spent to achieve 100,000 MTS increase.
As at 2013, 38 textile firms have so far benefitted from the Nigerian Government’s N100 billion Cotton Textile and Garment Revival Scheme. As at today, there is no record of success from that regime of error. Just this year, PMB administration is targeting 1 million farmers in a new cotton revival scheme.
When the elites are crying that PMB is not capable to rule Nigeria, it’s because the secret of the source of their ill-gotten wealth is out. There is nothing extral ordinary about Nigerian elites anyway. They are not even intelligent or creative beyond their desperate and over ambitious to be rich. Only the restrictions on forex for food importation was announced and they are down on the ground.
My experience with Nigerian elites is that anything that takes away the seamless access to unmerited privileges they previously enjoy is bad. Anything that blocks their mindless love for importation is bad. Anything that strive for equitable distribution of resources and access is bad. Anything that suggest help to the poor or attempt to lift the poor up is bad. Anything that cut the reckless lifestyle is bad.
Today, soya beans, maize and Shea nuts farmers are dancing. Cassava, yam, rice and cocoa farmers are celebrating. Market women are happy. They are asking for more government efforts to lift them up. The youth under N-Power are praising God for bringing Buhari. Road and Rail construction going on in all the zones. We never had it this good.