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Monday, 30 June 2014

EKITI ELECTIONS: INEC RAISES ITS GAME & GOV FAYEMI REDEEMS THE POLITICAL CLASS

Last Sunday, I felt proud of this Nation in a way I had never felt for a long time and I gave thanks to God. Something unusual had happened, something I had hoped and prayed would happen in our Nation but which seemed impossible. Infact two things happened which gladdened my heart to no end. As a matter of fact three pleasant things happened on Sunday morning.

After the Golden Eagles had scored a 29th minute goal in the match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, we hoped that many more goals would follow. The First half ended without more goals. By the time the second half was halfway through, I lost it. I could no longer trust that my heart would not fail as a result of anxiety. These Bosnia guys were mesmerizing and threatening to equalize and the Eagles were acting as if they were afraid to kick the ball into the opponents net. I switched off my TV and went to sleep encouraged by the fact that I had an early morning assignment in Church next day and it was already past midnight. So I prayed and went to bed. I asked God to give us Victory and had the conviction that He would oblige.

When I got to Church, I asked my neighbour if he knew how the match ended and he said one-zero and I bent over and thanked God. That immediately enlivened my mood and I had a most enjoyable worship, grateful that among many things God did for me in the week, He granted my petition and I believe that of many prayerful Nigerians that we should win that match to keep our hopes alive in the ongoing World Cup football competition in Brazil. As it turned out, that was Nigeria's first win in four World cups (16 years!). On Wednesday, Nigeria improved in her game, though we lost to Argentina, and moved on to be amongst the 16 teams that would go into the knock out phase. Not a mean feat for Nigeria, being one of only two African teams that survived the first round.

On my way to Church, I glanced at the newspaper headlines at the Vendors stand and I saw "Fayose Wins EKITI" and "Fayose in early Lead". I really did not think much about this, my mind and eyes were on the Nigeria- Bosnia match result. But when I came out from the Church I decided to pick up the newspapers to read the stories. I could not believe what I was reading. Fayose won in all the 16 local Governments! How could this happen in an 'APC State'? I told myself then, EKITI would soon burn. There was no way FAYEMI and his party would accept this. My mind immediately went to what happened in 1983 Between Ajasin (UPN) and Omoboriowo (NPN) in Ondo State and my heart skipped a beat! Not that it was not possible for PDP to win EKITI State neat and clear but our contemporary political experience has conditioned us to believe that it is practically impossible to defeat an incumbent Governor or an incumbent President. A sitting State Governor does not only ensure that his party wins all the local governments in the state, and possibly all elective positions but can never lose an election. The only way you can remove a sitting state governor who is constitutionally eligible to do a second term is by impeachment or 'judicial coup'. Not even by death! Because if he dies, his Deputy who belongs to the same party will take over and he remains in power in the spirit!

So you can see why I became apprehensive. Something unusual had happened. As it turned out,somethings that were unusual actually happened. First, INEC provided materials to most of the pooling centers in full and on time. Polls started in most of the centers at 8am. Unusual. Second, most voters found their names on the Voters register in the right places and so could cast their votes without hassle or become disenfranchised as we have seen repeatedly and which reached the peak at the Anambra Gubernatorial elections late last year. Unusual. Third, we did not hear of Electoral officers absconding with electoral materials or indulging in electoral malpractises. Unusual . Fourth, we did not hear nor see Security officers aiding or abetting electoral malpractises .

To be sincere to you, when the military and Police 'besieged' EKITI in the way they did, many feared that they would constitute a hindrance to free and fair elections. As it turned out, our fears were misplaced and for once, they acted in such professional manner that promoted the credibility of the elections. Unusual! For once INEC raised its game and seemed to have learnt lessons from their past mistakes. I am told that they even introduced innovations, which included ballot papers that were either specific to the pooling booths or local governments, making it difficult for voting card merchants or voting box snatchers to be in business. I have always insisted that if the powers that be, wanted a free and fair elections, it was within their ability to do so. So President Jonathan's promise to the EKITI electorates of 'one man,one vote, one woman one vote and one youth, one vote' was not just a campaign talk. It was a promise kept. Kudos to Mr President, kudos to INEC, Kudos to the Security forces!!

As I got home from Church, that afternoon, I turned my TV on and heard and saw what I had never heard or seen in my life in political Nigeria. There was, Dr John Kayode FAYEMI ( JKF), delivering one of the most memorable speeches I have ever heard from a Nigerian political leader. He accepted that he lost the elections to his brother Peter Ayo Fayose! He said he had called his brother Mr Fayose to congratulate him. He said he would be meeting with the Governor-elect on Monday ( the next day) to discuss peaceful transition, hand over and how they will work together to sustain the development of EKITI State. Then the clincher: "Elections tend to be highly divisive affairs that often see brother rising against his brother. Despite our divisive Political affiliations, and regardless of which way we voted on Saturday, we must remember that we are all sons and daughters of EKITI State. EKITI is ours to build". I could not stop my eyes from misting. Can this be true? Was I dreaming or what? Is this possible in Nigeria? Can this come from an APC incumbent Governor? Did he consult his APC leaders, before this quick surrender? Could the otherwise 'belligerent' APC leaders accept this without a fight?

These were questions running through my mind as I tried to come to terms with this unusual but eminently gratifying development. In all the political history of Nigeria that I remember, this has not happened. No politician ever accepts that he lost an election free and square. They would always claim they were rigged out. If they did not blame the government in power, they would blame the electoral umpire, the police or the even the electorates for accepting bribes to vote for their opponents. And FAYEMI could easily have found somebody to blame and many Nigerians would have sympathized with him. The unusual security cordon of EKITI State was perfect opportunity to blame the Federal Government or PDP. He could have raised a false cry( as many have done in the past) that he had been rigged out and then, there would have been demonstrations, rioting and conflagration with innocent blood being let.

By choosing to quickly accept defeat and then making that historic broadcast, even when the elections were not perfect( because they would never be perfect), JKF has placed his name on the golden page of Nigeria's history. He has demonstrated the highest level of political maturity that Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo would be jealous of. He has demonstrated that genre of 'Politics without bitterness' that Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri preached when he was alive but never experienced. He has shown such love to the People of EKITI State that Jesus Christ would be pleased with. He has shown that Politics can be honorable. In short he has redeemed the political class in Nigeria.



Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

samohuabunwa@gmail.com



Tuesday, 24 June 2014

NIGERIA, POLITICAL PRAYERS AND THE POLITICALIZATION OF THE CHIBOK GIRLS

Nigerians are ingenious and entrepreneurial and will make business and profit from any opportunity, morbid and all. When Abacha wanted to succeed himself as civilian President, one-million march millionaires emerged. Few of them believed he was the best man to be civilian President nor that it was it right for a military man to suppress all opposition, so that he would be the only person on the ballot. But many young men and not-so- young men made a kill in an effort to mobilize 'spurious' support for the man. Indeed, many of them were on the streets dancing when he passed away suddenly. Now that campaigns for 2015 are about to begin, many quasi and shadow political groups are emerging with all sorts of names.Many are in it for the money and nothing more. They neither truly believe in the quality of the candidates they pretend to support, nor do they really care if the guys win or not, as long the money flows to fund the drama and the actors. Any incumbent political office holder who wants to return to office will have all kinds of groups mushrooming to be supporters. The situation is pathetic in the States where these groups make even a poor performing governor feel he is the best in the World, not only in Nigeria. Many of these political jobbers have dusted their 'business plans', and are now busy recruiting their team members while searching for their clients. The season is coming into full bloom soon. I advise our politicians to be careful and discerning, to separate the wheat from the tare.

Another area, Nigerians are finding lucrative is arranging groups to pray at seasons of Nigeria' calamities or misfortunes. Some Men and women, but mostly women, who claim to be Christians and Muslims gather in public places and pretend to be praying, with television cameras focused on them. Most of their prayers which I call 'political' prayers do not go up to the ceiling. They are just political shows and drama. The reasons are I make this assertion are evident. Firstly, the arranger or arrangee of such political prayer session knows very clear in his or her mind, that it is not about God answering any prayers. It is just to score political points, so that Nigerians will see him or her as being concerned about the Nigerian situation. For some,it is a way of attracting funding to their NGOs. Secondly, the motley crowd that gather to pray in the public, have not been to any Church or any such proper praying or worship centre for a very long time. Infact many, are either traditional worshipers or damn right pagans. Others are deviants or perverts who neither fear God, nor man and are fully aware that God does not hear the prayers of Sinners except the prayer of repentance. Thirdly, a few who genuinely pray and who are either true Christians or Moslems, find that their prayers are canceling each other. So that at the end of the highly advertised prayer sessions nothing really happens in the Spiritual realm, the hand of God is not moved, because the prayer of the unrighteous is an abomination to The Lord. Only Righteousness exalts a Nation.

Now in the last few weeks, since Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 school girls from CHIBOK, many ingenious Nigerians are at it again, seeking every opportunity to make political or financial profit from this national calamity. All kinds of groups have sprung up campaigning for the release of the CHIBOK girls. 'Bring back our girls' , 'Rescue our girls', 'Return our Girls', 'Send home our girls' all over the country, some all over the World, except in CHIBOK where the girls were kidnapped or in the Sambisa Forest where they are held. Many wear red colors, some black, others in purple. What a spectacle! Some have sworn that they would not stop demonstrating or gathering in strategic places until the girls return home.

Some groups are already in New York at the UN and in other major international cities campaigning for funds to 'bring back our girls'. With due respect to the few who genuinely are concerned about the rescue of the girls, some of these shows are getting me worried. I am for free speech, free association and all about human and Peoples' rights. But what really do we intend to achieve with some of these political rallies and the crocodile tears. Some of these are beginning to sound very partisan to me and look camouflaged with other motives.

Yes, people can gather for a day or two to express grief at what has befallen our Nation especially since Dr Goodluck Jonathan was elected President against all odds. Even, we can show our dissatisfaction with the perceived slow or sleight response of the Government to the brutality of the Boko Haram terrorists since the siege stated immediately after the 2011 elections. But to insist that we will not do any other work expect to gather at public places and recite poems and address the the local and international media is beginning to sound like a political campaign to me. Is it all about 2015?

And when the security forces raise security concerns and propose preemptive actions to avoid any calamities arising from these campaign meetings, people refuse to see any merit. Perhaps they want to complicate the matter for the government in power. Now that the bombers are visiting football viewing centers and looking for where people gather for any reason, more so at gatherings that somehow seem critical of their actions, is not reasonable that the police should be concerned?.One of the greatest criticisms of our Security forces in all this is that they seemed not to have an effective intelligence gathering mechanism and seemed to have failed to avert many of the attacks. Now,they say that they have intelligence report that some people are planning to use the campaign gatherings of bring back our girls to wreck havoc, and we choose to go to court to enforce our human rights than cooperate with the security forces. Why? So that we can find additional evidence to condemn the security forces for not being effective or to show further that the government cannot protect its citizens?

To be sure, who are we demonstrating against? We seem to be acting as if the girls are locked in Aso Rock or in the Police Headquarters .I thought we should be demonstrating against Boko Haram who have killed over 1500 innocent Nigerians since this year. Who are we really angry at? I thought we should be angry against the sponsors of Boko Haram, some who threatened that this Nation would be ungovernable if they were not allowed to rule, some whose faces or proxies we see at the town squares shedding crocodile tears.

Yes, we are entitled to be disappointed with our Government for not preventing these calamities or for acting slowly, but is it not apparent that the government is doing all it can?It appointed a national Security adviser that has the credentials to deal with the problem. It was asked to change the military chiefs and it did. It was asked to appoint an 'opponent' minister of Defence and it did. It was suggested that it should ask for international support and it has. Today we have Americans, French, English, Arab, Israelis, Australian and all manner of International People assisting us in the battle against Boko Haram. We all wanted the girls back alive and we seem to be pressurizing the government to take precipitous actions that may jeopardize the realization of that wish.

I am not holding brief for the government, but as a responsible and patriotic Nigerian, I must state that the odds are weighed too high against this government. Some very spectacular things that are being accomplished in the economy seem to be eclipsed by the security challenge in the country which was predicted. If we are truly concerned, may be we should be demonstrating that those who predicted this scenario should be asked to explain what they know. That could be the beginning of the end of the insurgency. But to over dramatize our desire to have our girls return safely or to seek undue political relevance or visibility or to shed crocodile tears or to gather marabouts to pray will not do it. Believe me!

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

PENSION FOR POLITICIANS: UNCONSCIONABLE AND ABUSE OF PRIVILEGES


I was thoroughly alarmed to read of the Pension law proposed by Governor Godswill Akpabio and passed by the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly for past governors, deputy governors and their wives which included 100 million naira annual medical allowance for the governor. The furore raised by the law forced the otherwise respected Governor to repeal the law. As it turned out, that was only an ammendment of an existing law which prescribed substantial largesse as pension benefits for Past Governors and Deputy Governors. Since then it has been revealed that about eight states have passed such ridiculous pension laws.


I am told that a 'retired' governor of Lagos State amongst other benefits will have six new cars every three years. Six cars!. I can not believe this. Is this sheer greed or mere vanity?. I can not understand why a politician who served as Governor or deputy governor for 4 years or 8 years at the most qualifies for a pension. Perhaps the same applies to the members of the State houses of Assembly and who knows to ex-commissioners( some who serve for only 3 months). I suspect that is the only reason the members of the state legislatures will approve such unconscionable pension scheme for governors. Perhaps, the same situation obtains in the Federal government. That will be really terrible.


My understanding of political office is an opportunity to serve the Nation for a given time. A time to step out from your normal occupation or profession to offer service to the Nation. Thereafter, you return to your profession or business and if you wish, you retire from there. I have never seen or imagined political office as a kind of pensionable employment. I was hoping that after service, one would at the best receive some gratuity to enable him or her transition and reintegrate into his or her normal business or profession. The Honour of service and the gratitude of satisfied constituents should be the reward and nothing else.


I have insisted in my writings that politics can not be primary profession or business for any body. Every one who wants to serve the Nation through the political platform must show evidence of having achieved something in his profession, business or vocation. The unemployed or the unemployable, the idle and the novice must not be allowed to make a profession out of politics. If this were not so, I do not see why a successful professional can not return to his practice after service and retire from there at the right age.


It is mind bugling to imagine what financial weight the States and perhaps the federal government will bear if all kinds of political office holders are placed on pensions like that which some governors and their deputies are enjoying and others hoping to enjoy. There have been complaints that pensions and salary increases are responsible for the very high recurrent expenditure in our budgets. Who knows how much of this is due to the pensions for the political class ?.It is pure abuse of privileges of unimaginable proportions for governors who enjoy so much privileges and perks of office to want to continue to enjoy such privileges though out their lives. It is travesty for a 40 year old governor who served his state for just 4 or 8 years to continue to earn the salaries of a governor and enjoy other such privileges till he is 80 for example or dies at 90. I ask for doing what?

These same governors enjoyed the privilege of dispensing security votes amounting to 2 billion Naira or more per annum in some states. For four Years that is 8 billion naira and for eight years that is 16 billion Naira which they had the 'freedom' to spend without accountability . Then after that we start buying Six cars, and building mansions for them in their state capital and in the FCT. This is unconscionable and a thorough abuse of power and privileges. And this is in a country where minimum wage is 18,000 naira and graduates earn 30,000 naira per annum,when they can find a job. And some of these same governors are retiring to the Senate. So what happens to the Pension benefits? Will they be enjoying the salaries and huge allowances in the Senate and at the same time enjoying the humongous pension benefits?

Everyday that passes, I come to better understanding of why politics is the way it is in our country . I have always wondered why the competition for political offices is so fierce in our Country. I have always been troubled by the readiness of some of our politicians to shed blood and cause mayhem in order to 'win' elections. Now, I am beginning to understand why. The rewards are pretty generous and the benefits, life long. We are regaled everyday by the stories of the bounteous allowances our legislators collect monthly. These same legislators make laws that give them all kinds of privileges, many of which are never known to the public. They are the ones required to act as checks to the possible greed and possible financial recklessness of state governors. But from the revelations coming from these governors pensions, it is clear that there is no check whatsoever . It looks like a case of 'rub my back, and I will rub yours'. What a great tragedy!


This matter is so grave that the people of Nigeria must rise up to protect their patrimony from being totally plundered by those who have been asked to protect it. May be the opportunity that we have is to push the matter and get it included in the recommendations of the ongoing National conference and then included in our constitution prohibiting this injustice to the people of Nigeria or at the best limiting it to gratuity only. There is a contributory Pension Scheme operational in our country today in both the Public and Private sectors. And where does this governors' pension belong?Those who wish to serve the Nation must do so for altruistic reasons. They must do so from a palpable conviction to help change things for good in our Country. They must not come expecting bounties and booties. If they serve faithfully and honestly, they will leave a good life after office. Even if they had no professions or businesses to return to, they would earn money from their memoirs and speaking opportunities.


Beyond that, they will have a grateful Nation, state, local government area or constituency to Honour them and they will profit from goodwill they created while in office. They will be remembered and honoured for the legacies they leave behind. That is why with or without Pensions, the People of Nigeria, the citizens of Anambra State, the profession of Pharmacy, the tribe of NAFDAC, the gentlemen and women of the Ministry of Information and the Federal Executive Council have all risen in unison to Honour a woman who served the Nation Diligently and honestly. Professor Dora Nkem Akunyili has left a legacy that will be read in history books for years to come in Nigeria and around the World. That is the Honour that our political office holders should aspire to acquire. Not primitive acquisitions of houses, cars and money, all in the name of pensions. No one goes to the grave in a motorcade!


Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

AGRICULTURE AS THE RALLYING POINT FOR NIGERIA'S ECONOMIC RENAISSANCE: HOW FAR?

Last year at the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit( NES) held between September 3-5, my hopes were raised that May be Nigeria has found something to rally round as a pedestal for a major Economic renaissance - AGRICULTURE. For me who had been involved in the Nigerian Economic Summit since it started about 21 years ago and have attended all the 20 Summits to date,without miss, that summit was electrifying.


Why? Nigerians found something virtually EVERY ONE could identify with and agree upon. There was a refreshing consensus that Agriculture is it. The theme of the Summit was apt and captured a succinct mission: TO GROW AGRICULTURE AS A BUSINESS TO DIVERSIFY NIGERIA'S ECONOMY. Every Nigerian needs a profitable business to do,and Agriculture is one where EVERY NIGERIAN, no matter his age, sex, religion, tribe,language or social class can play and indeed we can literarily wipe out Unemployment . Does Nigeria need to diversify its economy? It sure does and badly too. The imminent threat to our major foreign exchange earner- Crude oil is a major worry. Oil has been found in very many other Nations and soon supply will exceed demand bringing down prices. Second, our major crude oil customer- the United States of America has found alternative, it's own shale gas and has virtually stopped buying Nigeria's crude, Bonny sweet and all. Third, the World is frantically moving to renewable energy sources like, solar and wind and investing heavily searching for other alternatives like biofuels. Soon hydrocarbons may become discredited and unattractive. This reality is imminent.


From President Goodluck Jonathan to his resourceful and focused Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, to all members of the Federal Executive Council who fully participated in the summit, to all the other Public and Private sector participants including the young men and women( Nagropreneurs ), who have already bought into the Agric revolution , there was an unusual but exhilarating unanimity of agreement that our Nation has finally rediscovered its economic mission.


Essentially, there was agreement that to achieve this new mission in Agriculture, we needed to a couple of things:


1. Establish Linkages across all the sectors: from the Agricultural Research Institutes dotted across the Nation to the provision of infrastructure and technology through the Industrial processing and the marketing of Products.


2. Dedicated and Liberal financing must be assured: there was agreement between all including the bankers that Agriculture can not survive on the 'punitive' and business-averse financing in Nigeria. First the funding must be liberally available across the Nation and second the interest rate must be single digit.


3. Introduce Market/Commodities Exchange: if the revolution must succeed and be sustained, then the farmers must make money. Therefore markets for harvest need to be established, while efforts are made to abolish post-harvest losses.


4.Critical Infrastructure Up grade mandated: the agriculture value chain must be fully supported by an aggressive infrastructural upgrade.


5. The Agricultural Business must be knowledge driven: in the 21st. Century Economy,knowledge is it and in the current Agric rally, it is of overwhelming importance. The traditional and old ways of agriculture will only keep us where we have been.


6. Maintain Environmental Surveillance and Monitor Climate Change: it is critical that investment in Agric is not wiped out by adverse climate, thus a great need for the provision of environmental scanning technology and the installation of early warning systems.


7. Sustain the Agriculture Transformation Agenda: the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) must be sustained and allowed to run its course. Nigeria is not famous with policy consistency. The stories of Operation feed the Nation (OFN), and the Green Revolution have not been lost on Nigerians. Therefore every effort must be made to ensure that this does not happen again.


8. Government Partnership at all tiers and at all levels critical: the role of governments at all tiers is seen as critical for the success of the Agric revolution and therefore they must take the initiative in supporting all activities down the Agric chain from land access to price support.


So what has happened since? Was it all talk and speeches as usual ? Did all the zeal and enthusiasm dissipate after the summit? Early this Month (June2-4), I had the opportunity to assess the progress that have been made. At the 3rd edition of the Annual AGRIKEXPO and the West African FOODBEXT trade show held at the EKO EXPO Centre organised by the 151 Products Ltd, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD) and the National Agency for Foods, and Drugs Administration and Control( NAFDAC)I was face to face with reality of the Agricultural transformation Agenda. I saw rows after rows of Agric producers, processors, marketers and exporters. Many States especially Lagos, Abia, Plateau, Ogun, Niger and Kwara exhibited their Agric products including processed foods( EKO rice for example). I saw bakers of cassava bread and processors of moringa plant into teas and creams. I was amazed by the processors of Nigeria's staple food who have packaged them in forms that they can be sold in supermarkets and exported. I saw Notore display their new urea fertilizers locally formulated. I saw the big boys of Nigeria's food industry- Cardbury, Nestle, Promasidor, Nigerian flour mills,etc displaying their new products. The technology purveyors and research institutes were there selling their new inventions to potential Agric industrialists.What really amazed me was the number of international exhibitors at the trade shows despite the security scare in Nigeria.They came from Britain, Ireland, Malaysia, Germany, India, China, Turkey, Egypt and several other countries. Several papers were presented by distinguished participants at the plenary sessions held in between the trade shows, This included the Minister of Agriculture, the Director General of NAFDAC, the Governor of Abia State, the commissioner of Agriculture of plateau State and several other leaders in the private Agric sector. Some of the startling revelations from the expo included:


. Nigeria is poised to become a major player in global food and Agricultural market.


. Agriculture exports expanded by 720 Billion Naira between 2012 and 2012


. The growth enhancement scheme under which farmers across the country now receive their subsidized fertilizers and seeds via electronic coupons(e-wallets) on their mobile phones have since been launched.


. Today, $5 billion of new investments in fertilizer manufacturing are on going by Dangote, Indoroma and Notore and Nigeria will soon become a net exporter of fertilizers.


. Investors are moving massively into local food production and milling. Olam has invested $70 million in a fully mechanized rice farm and will soon commission it's 210,000 MT integrated rice mills, the largest in Africa.


. Dangote Group has committed $300 million for large-scale rice production and world-class


Rice milling while high quality rice from $40million Dominion farms will soon hit the market


. High quality Nigerian Rice is now in the market, including UMZA Rice, EBONY super rice, MIKAP a Rice , EKO Rice etc


. Nigeria is now the 2nd largest producer of Citrus in the World, the largest producer of Mangoes and Tomatoes in Africa.


.Teragro has established a $6 million plant to process orange into concentrates while Dansa farm is investing $35 million in the building of a tomato processing plant and another $45 million in Pineapple plantation and processing.


. Cargo .airports are being built to enhance Nigeria's competitiveness in the export of Fresh Produce


. 9 million high yielding seedlings of oil palm have been distributed free of charge to small holder farmers and plantation estates to restore our Palm oil production






.We are the World's largest producer of Cassava and we are now becoming the largest processor of cassava, starting with the use of cassava flour to partially substitute for imported wheat flour in bread, confectionaries, starch, sweeteners, chips and ethanol. Several bakeries are now producing cassava bread.


. The Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) has been launched to create a new generation of young farmers and Agric entrepreneurs (Nagropreneurs ). Plan is to develop 760,000 Nagropreneurs within 5 years.


. Staple crop processing zones(SCPZ ), which are new agricultural infrastructure- enabled zones to attract Agric investors to rural areas have been launched. The World Bank is collaborating with other financial institutions to raise $1 billion in support.


. Agricultural lending as a share of the total bank lending rose from 0.7% to 5% in Two years


. To drive equity provision for small and medium scale agribusiness, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the federal ministry of finance and the German Development Bank, KFW have jointly established a $100 million equity and quasi-equity fund.


. Finally, the eyes of the World are on how to feed the 9 billion People expected in the World by 2050. Africa is where that solution is, because 65% of all remaining arable land in the World is in Africa. With Nigeria having the largest share of this, there is no doubt that the future growth frontier for feeding the World will be in Nigeria.


Wow! It is clear that it was not all talk. For once we seem to be walking our talk. Agriculture is certain to be the rallying point for Nigeria's Economic renaissance . Are you ready to take a position now?


Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR