Food Security: Tinubu Urges 36 State Governors to Prioritise Agriculture

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*Abiodun allocates farmland to Assembly Members

CHIGOZIE AMADI

President Bola Tinubu yesterday enjoined state governors across the federation to prioritise agriculture by investing in food crops in order to drive down the current high cost of food.

He equally tasked Nigerians in general to play their part by engaging in some form of subsistence farming.
The president made the call while speaking at the Global Integrity International Award on Good Governance and Economy in Lagos, where he was also an awardee, alongside the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Pa Ayo Opadokun, and others.

He appealed “to our state governors and our people generally to take agriculture seriously and invest in our food crops in order to drive down the high cost.”
Tinubu, represented by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Tunde Rahman, bemoaned the high cost of food stuff in the country, but quickly noted that oftentimes, Nigerians appeared to be the architects of their own problems.

He reflected on two trending videos showing a certain quantity of pepper being sold for N500 “compared with what people from other ethnic groups also sell for the same amount within our own domain.
“There is another one, I am appealing to our state governors and our people generally to take agriculture seriously and invest in our food crops in order to drive down the high cost,” he said.

At the event which took place at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja and organised by the Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC), the president insisted that he will continue to impress it on state governors who own the lands to invest in agriculture.
“We must take agriculture as a priority if we want to drive down the high price. The food situation is a challenge to all of us. The government has a responsibility to power agriculture, we also have to engage in some form of subsistence farming. We must play our parts as well.

“My appeal to our people is we must invest in our country, in our own success and in the success of this administration. Often times we appear to be the architects of our own problems, by making things difficult for ourselves.
“I came across two trending videos last week that I would like to comment on and close my remarks with. There is one that showed the quantity of pepper our people sell for instance for N500 compared with what people from other ethnic group also sell for the same amount within our own domain. This is bad! We are exploiting ourselves. We must change for better,” he stated.

The president, however, promised that his administration would do all it takes for the average Nigerian to feel the impact of governance, reiterating that Nigeria was no longer bleeding but gradually turning the corner based on his administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

On his one year in office, Tinubu said he had achieved a lot, pointing out that he had moved to reset the economy and the governance processes, and also reawaken the spirit of patriotism in the citizens “by rekindling our national values,” while also ensuring adequate power generation, increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), more infrastructural drive, improvement in oil industry, security, among others.

According to him, his administration had recorded some remarkable successes in the area of power, saying that 5000MW of power was achieved in May for the first time in three years, with additional 600MW projected to be generated by the end of the year.
He said it was worth mentioning the increasing flow of investments into the economy, like the $30 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) commitments already secured during the year to grow the economy, among others.

He added: “With respect to the food situation in the country, and that’s the elephant in the room, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development launched dry season farming involving 118, 651 hectares in 15 states, with Jigawa State alone getting 40,000 hectares.
“This intervention injected an estimated N309 billion into the economy. The ministry also supported a total of 107, 429 wheat farmers with inputs resulting in output of 474, 628 metric tonnes. More importantly, about 60,000 jobs were created across the agriculture value chain within the first year.

“All of these may appear like just speaking grammar to our people. I must say, however, that as the administration’s substantial investments in enhancing security across the country begin to post concrete yields, this will positively impact agricultural productivity going into the president’s second year in office.
“There are several other innovative programmes like the Consumer Credit designed to mobilise the manufacturing sector to produce again. This will happen when the people can fund their purchases. The sum of N100 billion has been earmarked for this.

“There is also a mortgage fund to support the creation of mortgages.  There is the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) initiative meant to transition our people to a cheaper form of energy than petroleum for our vehicles.
“This is designed to restore energy competitiveness so that our manufacturing sector, our transport sector, and our economy will benefit from a cheaper form of energy that will support the economic reform.”

The president therefore assured that the pains being experienced at present would soon give way for the full realisation of the benefits of efforts of his administration, pointing out that gradual growth was being recorded based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) figure which stands at 2.98 per cent growth in the first quarter of this year, and higher than 2.31 per cent recorded in the same period in 2023.
Also speaking in his opening remark, NHRC scribe, Taiwo Adeleye, recalled the struggle for June 12, 1993 poll won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola, but which was annulled by Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

He said that those being honoured with various awarded, including Tinubu, played key roles in ensuring that Nigeria attained the democracy now place.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, yesterday allocated farmlands to 25 members of the state House of Assembly as parts of efforts aimed at ensuring food security and in support of the agricultural resurgence initiative of the federal government.

Abiodun, who presented letters of allocation to the lawmakers to commemorate the first anniversary of the 10th legislature at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, said the gesture was to make them contribute towards making the state the food basket of the country.
He said: “I recall that I had promised to allocate agricultural land to all the Ogun State legislators as part of our food security and agricultural resurgence initiative, which is in line with the renewed hope agenda of President Bola  Tinubu.

“Today, in fulfilment of the promise and in commemoration of your one year in office, I am glad to present to you the letters of allocation for the speaker and the 25 members of the House of Assembly.

“I hope that you would take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that you begin to grow what you eat and eat what you grow. This will be your way of ensuring the fulfilment of our desire to make Ogun state the bread basket of the nation.”

Abiodun, who lauded the  Assembly members for their commitment to the principles of democracy, good governance, and the welfare of the citizens, observed that their dedication to legislative excellence has been instrumental in driving the progress and development of the state.

The lawmakers, the governor emphasised, had in the last one year, passed numerous bills and resolutions aimed at improving the lives of the people, noting that their tireless efforts, unwavering integrity, and collaborative spirit with the executive has made the state one of the best in the country.

“For each of us, whether in the executive or legislative branch, history has presented a rare opportunity to lead and serve the people who have placed their hopes and aspirations on our ability to deliver the much-needed dividends of democracy.

“In doing so, we must understand and decide which side of the divide we want to be and how we wish to be remembered,” he added.

Abiodun assured the lawmakers that his administration was committed to working closely with them to advance key initiatives that would further drive the state’s development.

He pledged to prioritise investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and technology, to make the state remains competitive and prosperous.

“Together, we have a great task ahead. The expectation of our people is vast. We must strive to create an inclusive society where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive,” the noted.

Speaking earlier, the Speaker, Oludaisi Elemide, described the last one year as turbulent and filled with tension but maintained that the desire to give the people a purposeful representation saw them through the turbulence period.

He lauded the governor for embarking on the complete renovation and restoration of the assembly complex, adding that 24 new toilets had been added while water supply had been restored in offices of the legislators in the complex.

Elemide while assuring the governor of the Assembly’s cooperation in making laws that would fast-track the socio-economic development of the state, noted that members would be guided by the fact that they are in the Assembly to represent the interest of their constituents.