From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi

Emir of Gwandu and Chairman, Council of Chiefs, Kebbi State, Alhaji Muhammad Illiyasu Bashar, has urged Nigeria’s leaders to listen to former governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, on how to solve the nation’s problems.

The traditional ruler, who stated this while addressing Obi and his entourage during their visit to him at his palace in Birnin Kebbi, said he has been listening, and has heard what Obi has proffered as solutions to Nigeria problems, saying his recommendations must be noted.

The Emir, who appreciated Obi for visiting him during Ramadan, said he had known him for a long time since he was in Enugu in 1966.

“I was not surprised that you are going round the country to tell us what we should do to make Nigeria a great country. We had heard about what you are talking about our country and it is high time we took note of that.

“Our leaders should take note of what you are telling us on how to make our country prosperous. You are telling us how we have large areas of land, young men who are capable, strong enough, educated enough to make Nigeria a great nation.

“Even now, whenever you visit another country and you tell them you are from Nigeria, they will tell you Nigeria is a very rich country. And all these problems we are having in this country, other countries are experiencing them too but they kept quiet about it.

“I want us to know that our country is a great country and we should be grateful to God and our leaders who have presided over this country.”

Obi informed the Emir that his visit had nothing to do with politics but rather on how to provide solutions to Nigeria’s situation, pay his respect to the Emir and help people out of their challenges.

“I have been on a tour to the northern part of the country since the commencement of Ramadan, so that I can see how I could learn more and contribute in my own small way.

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“And most importantly, I believe we can solve Nigeria’s problems through agriculture, instead of relying on oil if we invest more on agriculture. I have the statistics at my hand to support this.

“The problem in the North, the criminality in the North has to do with poverty. There are millions of young people in their productive age who are doing nothing. We must move them from the poverty level.

“But, we have all it takes to engage them. Nigeria has the highest number of uncultivated land in the world and unless we cultivate it, unless we move from consumption to production, we can’t move forward. We need to start producing and to produce, we need to start agriculture production.”

Obi, who insisted that investment in agriculture was the best solution to Nigeria’s hardship, stressed that about 80 million Nigerians are suffering from hunger.

“So, the Federal Government should invest more on agriculture in the North. It will go a long way to solving our problems”.

He noted that Kebbi State with large acres of uncultivated land could do more than Belgium, which is doing better in agriculture production.

“I will continue to preach on how to solve Nigeria’s problems. I am not desperate to be Nigeria’s President. I am desperate to see Nigeria united as one country. I am desperate to ensure Nigerians are out of poverty. I am desperate to see a child of nobody becoming somebody. This is when I will be proud to say I am a Nigerian.

“We need to love each other, and care for each other. That is what I am desperate to see,” he said.

Earlier Mr. Obi also visited the Kebbi State Governor, Dr. Nasir Idris, at the Government House, Birnin Kebbi, where he informed him that there was a need for the government to invest more in agriculture to solve the nation’s food insecurity, inflation and insecurity.

Obi was also at the Hutawa Fulani settlement where he commissioned a bore hole he donated to the community due to water scarcity in the village.