Post-Buhari: Will Tinubu bring back the marketing boards?
One reason many people think the recent presidential election should be put behind us as quickly as possible is because there is a lot of work to be done and distractions are the least the country requires at this point in time. The problems bedevilling the country are many and solutions, if we must state the truth, will not come easy. Another reason is that there is sufficient enough evidence from the polls to suggest who, out of the four leading presidential candidates, was preferred by the electorate, regardless how imperfect some may deem the election to have been, in truth, there are no perfect elections anywhere in the world. The positives in that election, however, override the negatives and in saner climes, those concerned would have highlighted and celebrated the positives, shade the negatives and work towards improving on the process going forward. But here we are still bugged down by allegations and counter-allegations; plots to truncate our democracy and bring back military rule or force an interim government have reportedly been uncovered; and, in all, those who think their purpose will only be served if they make the country ungovernable for the incoming president have bluntly refused to hear word, as they say. They have blatantly stuck to their guns; bent on having their way willy-nilly. In a democracy, the minority are not content with having their say but must have their way as well, to the consternation of the overwhelming majority! Their logic is warped; it is also pedantic! Their way is that of the anarchist!
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But the minority must not be allowed to hold the majority hostage. Nigerian voters have spoken and we heard them loud and clear. Their mandate they have given to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. In the face of the avalanche of evidence available even in the public space, going to court to press a case by the bad losers is a mere academic exercise; a face-saving measure that pales into significance when placed side-by-side what they, and the nation, stand to gain if they had been good sportsmen and statesmen of repute. Not being so, their good grief! While legal teams attend the court, the president-elect by now must be putting his team together. Policy papers must also be rolling in by now. Like I have said before, winning an election is one thing – Herculean as it might have been – governing is another kettle of fish. The special circumstances of the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will not make decisions easy to take. The Muslim/Muslim ticket is one such headache. While this may be easy to tackle as Tinubu composes his cabinet, it will be tricky when it comes to choosing the principal officers of the National Assembly. The voting pattern in the presidential election is another. The “95 percent and one percent” voter dichotomy that President Muhammadu Buhari spoke about has returned to also confront Tinubu. The South-South and South-East geo-political zones – the South-East especially – that gave the least number of votes to the president-elect are jostling for the Senate presidency and Speakership of the House of Representatives with zones that made the APC presidency possible. Reaping where they did not sow! Robbing Peter to pay Paul! I think this is the time for Northern Christians especially and Christians all over the country as a whole to stand up as one man to promote the candidacy of Northern Christians for the position of Senate President and or Speaker of the House of Representatives. But, characteristically, they are as silent as the graveyard now; they will only wake up after the deed has been done to begin to disturb our peace. They only know how to shut the stable after the horse has bolted!
By now, the president-elect ought to be consumed with finding solutions to four key problems; the first of which is insecurity. This is one problem that has cost the country a lot in human, material and capital resources. The money wasted on this could have been better utilised in other areas. The corruption witnessed in this sector under Buhari is said by some commentators to be worse than the arms bazaar of the President Goodluck Jonathan era. But how will those who have come to see the insecurity situation as their pot of soup be weaned off it? Buhari, a two-star General and one-time military Head of State, promised to tame insurgency but ended up performing woefully. Not only that, the problem got worse under his watch. Will Tinubu, a “bloody civilian”, succeed where Buhari failed spectacularly? If Tinubu fails in this sector, whatever success recorded elsewhere will only be qualified.
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- Post-Buhari: Will Tinubu bring back the marketing boards?
Then, there is the problem of crude oil theft. Only God knows how much this country has lost, and is still losing, to this monster. This is money that should have gone into critical sectors of the economy. Unless the leakages are blocked, the bleeding will compromise whatever effort of the Tinubu administration to resuscitate and revamp the economy. Next is fuel subsidy, another drain pipe that has to be completely blocked, but will Tinubu muster the political will to remove subsidy? The Labour movement, which is a partisan of Peter Obi and his Obedients, has threatened hail and brimstones should subsidy be removed; will Tinubu call their bluff? Subsidy has to go; the local refineries must be made to work so that importation can become a thing of the past and petrol, diesel, kerosene and other petroleum products can become available locally at reasonable prices. How fast Tinubu can make this happen will be critical.
Since I grew up to differentiate my right from my left, I have heard it said ad nauseam and ad infinitum that Nigeria would diversify its economy but the economy still remains largely mono-cultural, depending on the sale of crude oil. We have played lip service to plans, policies and promises to return agriculture to its hitherto pride of place and develop the non-oil sector. Before the discovery of oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in 1956 (and production of crude oil began the next year), agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy. We had groundnuts, hides and skins, cocoa, coffee, timber, coal, palm oil, and the likes. We were also self-sufficient in food crops production. Largely, we consumed what we produced but when crude oil dollars flowed in, we abandoned agriculture and our taste buds took interest in anything and everything foreign. That was where the rain started beating us. When we talk of structural transformations that Nigeria needs to survive and flourish again, we mean two things: Restructuring of the country and diversification of the economy. It bears repeating again that if Tinubu paves all Nigerian roads with gold and puts dollars in everyone’s pockets but fails to do these two, he would have failed ab initio.
We must bring the groundnut pyramids back. Cocoa must return to its pride of place. We must reclaim our seat as leaders in palm oil production and lots more. We must retrieve positions we lost to countries like Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Malaysia and others. The in-coming administration must actively promote the production of cash crops for exports and we must add value to whatever we produce locally. We need to earn more foreign exchange and consume less of imported goods and services. Knowledgeable Nigerians will tell you that Nigeria is actually not a rich country but we have the potential to be rich and much of this potential lies in agriculture – and mining – which we have left largely untapped, focussing all attention on rents collected on crude oil exploitation by foreign multinational companies.
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A controversy loading at the moment is whether we should maintain the free market policy of farmers selling their commodities in the open market or the government should bring back the days of the agricultural marketing boards. Cross Rivers State Gov. Ben Ayade is leading the agitation for a return of the marketing boards while the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN) opposes the move. Last December, the FACAN president, Dr. Victor Iyama, decried a return of the marketing boards, saying it would be counter-productive as it would amount to an ill-wind that would not blow any of the stakeholders any good. Comparing Nigerian cocoa farmers with their Ghanaian counterparts where marketing boards are in operation, Iyama said at a press briefing that the Nigerian farmers fare better. Marketing Boards, he said, short-changes farmers and discourages direct foreign investment.
The present controversy would have been unnecessary had the government followed through with its plans and policies.
In 2017, the then Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, had promised that the Federal Government would organise a national debate on whether or not to re-introduce agricultural marketing boards. He was reported extensively in the media; one of the reports went thus: “The Federal Government says it is planning a national dialogue to consider the re-establishment of marketing boards. The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, disclosed the plan in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja… Mr. Ogbeh, who was speaking on the country’s 57th Independence anniversary, said that although marketing boards facilitated exportation of agricultural produce in the past, there was the need for stakeholders to deliberate on their revival. He said the dialogue would enable agriculture stakeholders to discuss and analyse the impact and challenges of the boards during its operation with a view to deciding whether or not to re-establish them. The minister noted that the boards, while in existence, ensured that exported agricultural produce were not rejected at the international markets as they met the required standards and quality.”
Audu was further quoted as saying: “About two months ago, we met in my office with the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture. We wanted to hold a major national discussion on this matter to know whether we should go back to the marketing boards. They (marketing Board) were people who taught farmers how to grow things, how to harvest, how to dry them to meet international standards. They went round villages telling farmers what to do, what not to do, how to do it and they would buy the crops, organise a ship for exports. They were abolished in 1974 under the military and, since then, there was only one attempt to replace the marketing boards with the commodity companies but they never functioned. People are saying we should introduce the commodity exchange but I do not want the ministry to wake up and say we are going back to this. I want Nigerians who know about it to come out and talk. There are those who said that the marketing boards were abused and their major operators defrauded farmers but there are those who said that it was because they were abolished that agriculture declined. We want to debate it, let’s make decisions together’’.
It is unfortunate that the planned debate never took place but now is the time for it! The Tinubu administration must put agriculture on the front burner. With the unemployment rate climbing dangerously towards 40 percent with most of this figure being able-bodied youths, many of whom have passed out of college with no job in sight; agriculture holds the prospects of providing gainful employment for this critical mass of the nation’s burgeoning population. The time to act is now! We welcome readers’ reaction to this very important topic! Let the debate begin in earnest!
*Former Editor of PUNCH newspapers, Chairman of its Editorial Board and Deputy Editor-in-chief, BOLAWOLE was also the Managing Director/ Editor-in-chief of THE WESTERNER newsmagazine. He writes the ON THE LORD’S DAY column in the Sunday Tribune and TREASURES column in New Telegraph newspaper on Wednesdays. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.
By Bolanle Bolawole email@example.com 0705 263 1058
Post-Buhari: Will Tinubu bring back the marketing boards?
Ooni: The public displays of a king (1)
Ooni: The public displays of a king (1) (more…)
Tinubu: The Crowning of the Spiderman
Tinubu: The Crowning of the Spiderman
(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, June 2, 2023)
From football to jollof rice, and other sundry striving like music and acting, I love the healthy rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana. But truly, Ghanaians know which is the giant of the two countries just as Nigerians know that the tattered singlet of Musa at the gate is worthier that the starched khaki of the brain-lazy, woebegone retired Major-General.
Though farther than Benin Republic, Togo, Niger and Cameroon in terms of geography, Ghana is closer to Nigeria in terms of shared experience and colonial language.
“Imagination is better than knowledge,” I agree with this wisdom of Einstein, who expatiates that, “Knowledge is limited to what we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand.”
Through the trickery of the Tortoise, Nigerian folklore imagines connectivity between the dead and the living, weaving together a world of equality, freedom and dignity, where intelligence trumps force.
Similarly, Ghanaian mythology imagines the world through the labyrinth of the silk-spinning Spider, whose squishy body contrasts with the carapace of the Tortoise but both creatures’ legends secure a place for the weak in the society.
However, comeuppance awaits the Tortoise or the Spider whenever either wishes to take advantage of the vulnerable through wit and cunning.
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In the worldview of African forebears, before things fell apart, intelligence always triumphs whenever brute force runs naked, making the Yoruba say, “Ogbon ju agbara lo,” wisdom is greater than power.”
The story of former President Muhammadu Buhari and incumbent President Bola Tinubu is similar to the Ghanaian myth about Nyame and Anansi.
Anansi is a spider who wants to be the owner of all the stories known in the world, but all stories belong to Nyame, the sky god. Anansi tells Nyame of his wish to buy all the stories from him but Nyame tells the spider the price is unaffordable.
When Anansi insists, Nyame attempts to outfox him, saying Anansi could have all the stories of the world if he could capture the four most dangerous creatures in the world. An excited Anansi assures Nyame that he would capture all the four creatures, and even offers his own mother, Ya Nsia, to boot!
The four creatures include Onini, the python; Osebo, the leopard; Mmoatia, the Fairy; and a hive of Mmoboro Hornets.
Anansi has a beautiful wife, Aso, who is super cunning, and whom he listens to. With his wife’s advice, Anansi beguiles all four creatures, one after the other.
To capture Onini, his wife devises a plan, and they both set out for the brook where Onini lives. There, they began to argue loudly about Onini’s length. Onini comes out and Anansi tells him about their argument.
Onini brooks no contest with the majesty of its length, it quickly stretches out beside the branch which Anansi brought with him. To get an accurate measurement of Onini, Anansi advises that one end of the python be tied to the palm tree branch while the other end should be tied against the other end of the tree branch.
After tying the head of the snake to the branch, it was easy to persuade the snake to have its tail tied to the other end of the stick. And the python became more vulnerable than a sitting duck.
To capture the leopard, Anansi digs a hole in the ground along the path which Osebo treads, covering it up with brushwood. Returning home after dark, Osebo falls into the pit. Anansi, the Good Samaritan, offers to get Osebo out of the hole through his web. But when the leopard got out of the hole, he remained a prisoner in Anansi’s web and was subsequently carried to Nyame’s palace.
The spider entraps the Mmoatia Fairy by making a doll covered in glue and placing it in the prairie where the fairy plays. She sees the doll and gets attracted to it, touches it with both hands and becomes glued.
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Anansi lures the Mmoboro hornets into his gourd by pouring water on himself and telling the hornets that a dangerous rain that had beaten him in another community, was fast approaching. He advises them to get into his gourd for safety. They obliged and became Anansi’s victims.
The Spider goes to Ya Nsia, his mother, and reminds her about the promise he made to the Sky god. Ya Nsia agrees to go with Anansi to Nyame.
Boxed in by the Spider’s achievements, Nyame summons the elders and his army, tells them about Anansi’s conquests, which no one else or kingdom could do, and thus pledges all stories to Anansi, the Spider. So, every story became known as a Spider story.
I’m almost sure scaling the hurdles wouldn’t have been smooth sailing for Anansi. There might have been moments of despair and frustration when he angrily shouted, “E gbe awon stories yi wa, EMI LOKAN!”
Unlike the world of Buhari and Tinubu, the world of Anansi was a law-abiding world, where crime was punished, and virtue rewarded.
It was a world, where the elephant, though mighty, couldn’t usurp the rights of the ant, and the lion, despite being the king of the jungle, dared not take what didn’t belong to him.
It was a world that would ‘open the calabash’ of death to a brainless, callous and nepotistic king who recently plundered the land for eight years of misgovernance – just like they ‘opened the calabash’ for wicked kings in the old Oyo Empire.
In the olden days when the Tortoise and the Spider counted among the wise men, people voted without let or hindrance, and their votes counted. The electoral umpire, even if it was the glasses-wearing YAK, dared not fail to upload the results of the presidential election as ARTICUlated in the electoral law.
During the days of the fabled Tortoise and the Spider, Umpire YAK dared not cause disaffection within the polity, as he did yesterday, without being summoned to the king’s palace, and bagging an outright banishment to the Evil Forest or the severance of his head from his neck at Imogun, the Place of Skulls.
If Yak followed the electoral process through, the Articulate and the Obidients would probably not go to the Court of Judges to lay their grievances over why the Bat was crowned the king without announcing his victory through the Kakaaki, as required by the law of the land.
Things have turned upside down today. Thorns have grown on the throne in Ife, and the king can no longer sit on the stool of his forebears but go about looking for plastic chairs in Owambe parties, allowing Pete, Tom, Dick and Harry to hug him.
In those days of the Tortoise and the Spider, when the blind Baba Fakunle predicted in Ola Rotimi’s ‘The gods are not to blame’, that King Odewale would marry his mother and kill his father, it came to pass.
Today, Christian and Muslim clerics have turned the church and the mosque into casinos, where forecasts are churned out like locusts in flight, with none coming to pass.
A cleric predicted that he was the incoming President Number 16 and that Buhari would hand over to him. Another one warned witches and wizards not to come to Abuja – as if witches and wizards ever amounted to anything or as if they are the problems of Nigeria.
Many Nigerian pastors and imams are fake men of God who brag about power over all infirmities but none has ever cured either a cough or a headache, not to talk of HIV/AIDS or COVID-19.
The removal of petroleum subsidy is a step in the right direction but the President must not behave like the Tortoise who got all the wisdom of the world in a gourd, which he tied to his neck, without knowing how to get the gourd to the top of a tree. Tinubu must exhibit cleverness and be be prepared to go to war against the oil cabal.
Online reactions trailed the presence of President Tinubu’s wife, Remi, for being present at an official meeting the president held with some officials on Wednesday.
Did Aso, the wife of Anansi, not help her Spider husband solve his riddles? If you don’t know the meaning of presidential monarchy, go to court.
Facebook: @Tunde Odesola
(OPINION) Open letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR
(OPINION) Open letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR. The President Federal Republic of Nigeria.
All existing protocols are duly observed.
My constitutional rights as a Nigerian moves me to write this letter to you our New President – Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR.
Congratulations on your assumption to the office as the 16th President of FRN.
These are my inputs to your administration for us all to get the desirable results in your new Government.
In the comradeship terrain it’s said that – Victory for One is a victory for all and injury for one is an injury for all. I pray that may you succeed in your tenure as the First Citizen of Nigeria Aamiin.
First and foremost I say A big congratulations to you and all Nigerians home and abroad for the bold step you took to announced the REMOVAL OF FUEL SUBSIDY.
Sir!!! Nigerians say No to any form of CABALS home and diaspora.
I suggest the below public figures in Nigeria to serve directly under your administration.
According to two of our contemporary democracy founding fathers – late President Nelson Mandela he said that any system that fails to take Education as Priority is a failure.
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You the President of FRN said & I quote that you believe in the revolution of our great country Nigeria but not by any form of battle, civil unrest or war but by our intellectuals.
The above mentioned quote tell us the power of education.
On this note, below are my submission to your desk directly sir.
I suggest that Education & insecurity are twins sectors which need urgent attention and have to be in your priority list sir through the below –
1. Prof. Ishaq Olarenwaju Oloyede For Minister of Education.
2. Retired Generals like Alani Akinrinade, Olu Bajowa, Ishola Williams, Jubirila Ayinla, David Jemibewon etc should be consulted for security.
3. Emir SLS & his formidable team for Economy planning.
4. H. E . BRF & his crew for what they are Guru at.
5. Prof. Pat utomi & Senator Kalu orji plus others from the East are also key in PBAT administration.
Note – Education sector has to cover other areas like – Computers, Technology, sciences and Researches etc.
These sectors have to make your priority list after the above to achieve the desirable results Viz –
1. Health sector
2. Power , Petroleum & mines sector.
3. Agriculture sector.
4. Infrastructures sector.
5. Welfare of all the citizens old and young (unemployment, old age benefits etc).
These 7 key points are very vital sir and if you can deliver them to us, Nigerians, your name will never be forgotten in the country’s Best governance list.
Pray that May Allah make it an easy task for us and all yours formidable team Aamiin.
God bless Nigeria Aamiin!!!
I am comrade Hon Akinpeju AIT (National General Secretary ABAT Educational Support Team).
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