On Sunday, former president Olusegun Obasanjo claimed that God did not intend for Nigeria to be a poor nation and that the country’s predicament should be attributed to its political leadership.
He lamented the fact that Nigeria has not used technology and research to become self-sufficient in food production.
This was said by the former president during a lecture held in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, to commemorate his 86th birthday.
“God has created Nigeria for a big purpose,” he declared. At the time of its independence, Nigeria was more than just a giant in Africa; it was also a giant in the sun. The world did not refer to Nigeria as a giant in Africa. We haven’t been giants in Africa either, therefore we haven’t even been giants in the sun. We were referred to as giants with clay feet by some.
“That is not how God intended for Nigeria to be; it is how we Nigerians have unintentionally or purposefully shaped Nigeria. But I don’t think Nigeria will stay that way forever. Thus, we must maintain our composure, pray, and grasp all the contributing factors and aspects that have turned us into the dwarf of Africa rather than its giant. I believe and pray that we will succeed in doing so.
“Before the Ukraine war, I really did not realize how much we in Africa, practically all of us in Africa, depend on the Russians and the Ukrainians for wheat,” the former president stated in reference to food security. Wheat, the main ingredient in bread, is purely a carbohydrate. Are there no self-sufficient sources of carbohydrates that can be developed in Africa? I am aware that several of our nations are unable to grow wheat, and IITA has been attempting to address this.
All that is left is political will and political action because science and technology have provided everything we need for food and nutrition security in Africa.
In an earlier lecture titled “The Complex Dynamics in Achieving Food and Nutrition Security in Africa,” Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, a former director general of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, bemoaned the fact that, despite having fertile land at their disposal, African nations continue to spend billions of dollars annually on food imports.
Sanginga claimed that by spending N11 billion a year on food imports, Nigeria was harming its own IGR and enhancing that of other nations.
He asserted that governments in Africa must demonstrate greater political will and resolve in order to guarantee food security.