From Moshood Adebayo, Taiwo Bankole, Abeokuta
Amid fear over the diminishing status of Nigeria’s oil, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday appealed to Nigerians to sustain the economy through agriculture.
Adesina spoke while featuring on an Ogun State Television (OGTV) programme, “New Dawn,” which was monitored in Abeokuta, the state capital.
He lamented the neglect of agriculture, which, he recalled was the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the discovery of oil in 1956.
While describing crude oil as “a vanishing and a less attractive resource,” the NGE president maintained that the Nigerian economy could be sustained through agriculture.
His words: “Agriculture used to be the mainstay of our economy, not just in the South-West. In the South-East, they had oil palm; in the North, they had groundnut which formed pyramids there.
“So, agriculture is very important, it was the mainstay of the economy before oil was discovered in 1956 to be precise and then by the mid-60s agriculture was neglected and throughout the 70s oil predominated.”
“Now that oil is becoming a vanishing resource, less attractive resource to the country, I think one of the easiest ways we can sustain our economy is through agriculture.”
Commending the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, for his passion for agriculture, Adesina said that agriculture would return to its glory day if the minister was given the necessary backing.
“I must commend particularly, the current Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina; you will see passion in him; you will see that this is one person that has affected all other economies of the world with his knowledge.
“Now that he is home and he is manning that ministry, you can see the steps he is taking; the policies he has initiated and he is actually carrying out. If the government gives him all the backing and everything works, yes, I think agriculture can stage a powerful comeback,” the NGE president said.
Adesina, who is the Deputy Managing Director of the Sun Publishing Limited, who fielded questions on whether Nigeria was lacking in policy formation, said the problem with the country was not policy formulation, but implementation.
“Nigeria as a country does not have problem with policy formation. Our major problem is proper implementation which has been jeopardised by private and personal interests’’.
The DMD submitted that Nigeria would only get it right if national interest prevailed over private and personal interest.
“I think Nigeria is not lacking in policies, in all sectors of national life there had been policies but there is equally the Nigerian problem of translating policies into action and implementing them to get results because interests, private interests, personal interests always predominate that national interest.
“If only we can put private interest aside and make sure that the national interest prevails this time, I think we can get it right, ”Adesina submitted.