Monday, 22 December 2014


Akinwunmi Adesina

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesi­na has lambasted a former minister, Mallam Ad­amu Bello, describing him as one past public officer who achieved nothing throughout his tenure in the former Pres­ident Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
Adesina challenged the former minister to prove that the current dispensation is not delivering on the coun­try’s agricultural needs.Bello had stirred the hornet’s nest, giving thumbs down to the agricultural sector under the Transformation Agenda Presi­dent Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and wonder­ing why the current minister should glory in “non-existent” achievements in the area.
But in his reaction, spokes­man for the minister, Dr. Olu­kayode Oyeleye challenged Bello to show what positive reforms his seven-year tenure brought to Nigeria’s agricul­tural sector.
“It will help greatly for Adamu Bello to point to the number of investments gener­ated in seven years, whereas, within two years, under Ad­esina, Nigeria has attracted US$4 billion in private sector investments in the agricultural sector,” he said.
He continued: “Adamu Bello never told Nigerians the truth about his actual per­formance in office. Let him give details commodity-by-commodity, and let him state where and how this impact was felt. In 2004, under Ad­amu Bello, there was some­thing interesting about growth rates in agricultural sector. His ‘perfect’ growth rate of 6.50% for crop production, 6.50% for fisheries, 6.50 % for livestock and 6.50% for forestry should raise eyebrows as this smacks off some form of cosmetic and fuddled growth statistics, an indication of some tinkering somewhere.
“Earlier in the year, Adamu compared his seven years in office with Adesina’s first ag­riculture year in 2012, relying on National Bureau of Statis­tics (NBS) alone. In doing so, he was one-sided in his analy­sis, seeking to confuse Nigeri­ans with manipulative figures.
Speaking in the same vein, some notable Nigerians have condemned the former minis­ter, referring to the alleged fer­tilizer scandal that rocked the Kano-born politician’s stint in that office. Taking a swipe at the former minister, Damian Ilenre of the Farmers Initiative in Benin wondered whether Bello left any personal belong­ing in the office he left years ago “that he suddenly realised must be retrieved.” He added that in a civilized community, former public officers of the former minister’s ilk should be hiding their heads in shame in the face of the landmark achievements being recorded in that sector under the current dispensation.
“May be he needs to be reminded of the N14billion fertilizer contract scam that rocked his tenure for him to keep quiet,” Ilenre added.
For foremost public affairs analyst, Professor Pat Utomi, the claim by Bello is unfor­tunate and laughable. Utomi argued that under the current dispensation, the ministry of agriculture has reconstructed its relationship with farmers so well that today Nigeria is close to achieving sufficiency in food production.
“Today, they have blocked leakages in farmers’ access to fertilizers, provision of real-time information to farmers through making available handsets to farmers across the country. The current minister has also helped farmers in dry season farming."

The Sun.

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