Nigeria should go back to agriculture to revive economy, says Senator Amosun

Metro

September 25, 2019

 

By Wole Elegbede


The Senator representing Ogun Central in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly (The Senate), Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has called for the refocusing on agriculture for the revival of Nigeria's economy.

 

Contributing to a motion on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, Amosun emphasized that going back to the development of agriculture as it was in the 1950s and early 1960s was the most basic and reasonable approach that could arrest the dwindling economy.


The second time Senator had demonstrated quality representation in his contribution, alluding to vast experiences as a Senator and former Governor of Ogun State. Before his current office, Amosun had represented Ogun Central in the Senate (2003-2007) and was the immediate past governor of the gateway state (2011-2015 and 2015-2019).

Beaming a searchlight on the trajectory of the economy, Amosun traced the poor state of the economy to the discovery of oil and the unthinkable neglect of agriculture.

Amosun said Nigeria's economy was vibrant in the 1950s and 1960s and could match any economy in the world when the nation paid attention to agriculture, reminding his colleagues of the groundnut pyramids in the north, cocoa in the west and palm oil in east.

He intoned: “We know that our economy was very vibrant. In those days, it can rival any economy in the world. This is due to our prowess in agriculture. Of course, you know that we had groundnut pyramids in the north. We can recollect the contribution of cocoa to the national economy. By extension, palm oil was also a major contributor to the economy. Just like the mover of the motion said, the advent of petroleum made us to be lazy, and we dropped the ball.”

Speaking from the hindsight of experience, Amosun recalled that efforts had been made in the past to revive palm oil but to no avail.

“During my first time in the Senate, indeed we went to Malaysia as a delegation. I headed the Committee on Commerce. We saw all those things,” he explained, lamenting that the recommendation of the committee was not thoroughly followed by government while money was not released to back up budget provision.

He added: “Even as the governor, I went with a delegation not only to Malaysia but Indonesia.”

He called for increased funding of the agriculture sector and the revival of the research institutes, saying that unless this was done, the nation might remain on the same spot.

Amosun stated that in Malaysia and Indonesia, there was commitment to the development of the agriculture sector with big funding.



“Look at the ancillary products that can be produced from palm oil for example. I remember that when we travelled Malaysia, we saw some shirts that are by-products of palm. But for us, we are not doing what we should do, and we expect miracles to happen”, he enthused.

 

Senator Amosun, the current Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Markets, however spoke glowing of the policies of the current APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari in reversing the fortunes of agriculture, especially the local production of rice.
 

“The comfort that I have now is that this administration has been trying to right the wrong.”

On the way forward, he stated that both the executive and the legislature should ensure every budget for the development of agriculture should be vigorously pursued and implemented.

 

Wole Elegbede is the Publicity Secretary of APC in Ogun State

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