President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed disappointment with the Nigerian press over lack of coverage of one critical sector of his administration, the ‘go back to land agricultural revolution’ programme.
Buhari spoke at a dinner for youth political appointees at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday night, that his administration did not get credit for the ongoing transformation in the agricultural sector, as the press have decided to focus on the negative rather than the gains recorded in the sector.
He further said that Nigerians are now leaving white collar jobs for farming to tap from the revolution, saying, “we have achieved food security”.
The President said he appointed Chief Audu Ogbeh as the Minister of Agriculture in view of his experience in the sector.
“Ogbeh went to a bank, borrowed money and invested in agriculture. He suffered but eventually he paid the money. So, you cannot have a better person than somebody who has suffered in the sector,” he said.
The occasion was attended by the Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
The costly impact of Africa’s dependence on imported food is clear to see in Nigeria — a country with a rapidly growing population, severe foreign currency shortages and a $11.4bn annual food imports bill.
Grappling with a fiscal crisis sparked by unstable oil prices, President Muhammadu Buhari had argued that Nigeria has no choice but to “go back to the land” and make agriculture the driver of economic diversification. Public and private sector leaders also realised that agriculture may be the only part of the economy that can provide jobs on the scale needed to meet an expected surge in population to 400m by 2050. Putting the country on the path towards a “green revolution” — an aspiration touted by past governments but never achieved — was to be the defining achievement of President Buhari’s tenure.
Sadly, the press have repeatedly failed in reporting that critical achievement of his administration.