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."