The president of the federal replublic of nigeria slated that ONLY a focused, truly change- conscious, healthy, detribalised and religiously unbiased leader can effect the necessary changes that our country require. That is why this piece is directed to Mr President.
As it is today, instead of building for the future, we are here killing the future. What kind of country will the generations yet unborn inherit when our first 11 are migrating to other lands?
The situation in Nigeria is so ironical; so much resources on ground and nothing to show for it. Even in the area of human capital, we are making so much contributions into developing other countries, while we are found wanting at home. It is time for us to wake up.
A nation that cannot feed itself can never be independent. What will it take for us to get our agriculture back on track? In the sixties and seventies, every child was taught to understand that 70 percent of our population were involved in agriculture. How many per cent do we have today? Is it that the leadership of today has forgotten this reality? And if the situation has changed, what is responsible? Is this so difficult to analyse?
Do we need foreigners to do it for us? In the name of promoting agriculture, so much fraud is being perpetrated on a daily basis and the big players are taking advantage of it and smiling to the bank, whereas there is nothing to show for it.
What is it about agriculture apart from the seedlings, implements and management? What implements are needed for agriculture to be sustained in Nigeria?
It does not require rocket science; this country is mature enough for mechanised agriculture to be introduced all round. We can produce the machines locally here in Lagos, Benin, Aba and Nnewi; our manufacturers and craftsmen need to be challenged.
In the manufacturing of machines, it is not compulsory that we get all the parts produced in one place. What is done – even in China – is to import other complex parts from abroad and do the coupling at home. That is why companies assembling machines in Nigeria should be encouraged. Gradually the parts will be manufactured here by our local fabricators; all that is required is just the zeal and determination.
There is no agricultural equipment, including small sized tractors, that cannot be manufactured in Nigeria if the locals are encouraged and given the opportunity to produce the parts. That should be our focus. The money being disbursed as intervention fund for agriculture is huge and under normal circumstances, should make the desired impact.
Instead of getting the fund siphoned into other flimsy projects our agricultural technology should be developed to produce agric implements; and in the event our agric output will soar. Agric officers should be assigned to projects with targets attached as conditions for the retention of the job.
Our civil servants in the ministries are not productively engaged; they only push files around. Majority of them should be engaged in the fields, supervising and ensuring that government projects are done to specifications.
It is the right time for us to sit up; the leadership is beginning to take things for granted and giving excuses for clear failures. Whereas the solutions are in our hands, there is no clear policy direction; and where they exist, poor implementation is witnessed. Why can’t every ministry work with a clear-cut vision or goal? For example, what is the role of the Ministry for Science and Technology? In which areas is it helping to build the economy of this country?
In China, the people practice reverse technology; that is, breaking down the imported machines into small components or units of completely knocked down, and then reassemble them, one after the other, to finished products.
They are encouraged to try, whether they succeed or not. Here in Nigeria