A certain Professor Aderibigbe in a recent public lecture shocked us by his surprising apparent ignorance of basic factors igniting the food crisis in Nigeria, nay the world.
The good professor threw away all empirical indices pertinent for any credible academic essay and went on a voyage of fantasy to accuse state Governors of causing the food crisis!
One wonders if Professor Tella Aderibigbe truly made the remarks or was misquoted; either way, a clarification is necessary. I am confident that other state Governors will address him in due course, provided they even consider it necessary to dignify his generalization. We take exception in Kwara state because he expressly mentioned the state.
He accused Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum NGF of being responsible for food crisis in the country.
Aderibigbe at an event in Lagos and published by a national newspaper also accused our Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as one of the Governors sabotaging the efforts of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
This is not only preposterous but complete figment of the Prof’s imagination .
Indeed, it calls to question his ability to follow the news and track record of Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq both as exceptional Governor of Kwara State and performing Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
Is Professor Aderibigbe aware of inspiring compliments on Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq by no other person than President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ?
Is the Prof. aware of similar compliments showered on Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum by his counterpart and Chairman of the Progreesive Governors’ Forum ( PGF) , Governor Hope Uzodinma on the recent ocassion of Governor AbdulRazaq’s birthday ?
Is he aware of testimonies by Governor AbdulRazaqs peers in the NGF or the overwhelming endorsements by majority of youths , women , elder statesmen, patriots and several credible international partners , donor agencies and Organizations all attesting to his impressive track record ?
I do not doubt Aderibigbes academic credentials but one cannot fathom his pretence not to know that the food crisis is essentially a global problem and accentuated by local economic factors inherited by the current Administration
The current food crisis started during Covid-19 and was deepened by the ill-conceived Naira ‘redesign’. During the Naira redesign, farmers could not get their produce to the market to sell and those that were able to get their produce to the market could not sell them.
Many farmers became bankrupt, many could not pay back loan that they took while others didn’t have the money to plant again. Most farmers or farm hands abandoned farming. Many just drifted to Commercial Tricycles and Okadas.
As a professor, is Aderibigbe unaware that the food crisis in Nigeria is impacted by the security problems around the country ,recent mass exportation of Nigerias food products into some neighbouring countries , there by compounding food scarcity ?
Who for God’s sake will deny that the country has been grappling with insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and Farmers- herders clash for many years?
We really wonder if Aderibigbe is not induced by ulterior motives or other extraordinary considerations to make such ignorant and sweeping remarks in his assessment of developments in Kwara State , so unbecoming of an academic.
Please permit me to educate the good Professor.
Contrary to his shallow knowledge of our dear State, the State Government has been providing billions naira worth of palliatives in cash and food items to residents since the outbreak of Covid in the year 2020 and has continued progressively to reach out to all segments of the society and parts of the State.
Kwara is a trail blazer in Social Investment programme. Kwara is the first to enact its Social Investment programme as an Act of Parliament.
The State Government’s home grown “Owo Isowo”, (equivalent of Trader Money under the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme),has supported hundreds of thousands of traders in the state while the “Owo Arugbo”,a conditional cash Transfer for the poor and the elderly has provided succor for the aged and the vulnerable in the State. There is also Kwarapreneur , a business pitch programme providing financial support for indigenes of the State with innovative business ideas. It’s the first of its kind among States in Nigeria
In Agriculture, Kwara State was incorporated into the Cadre Harmonised Food and Nutrition Analysis under the National Programme for Food Security in January, 2023. With the full support of the state Government, two Food and Nutrition Security analysis has been done in the State. The analysis has resulted in the establishment of working synergy between the Kwara State Government and all the Agricultural institutions, agencies and parastatals (such as the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority (LNRBDA), National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM), Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) and others in the State towards improving the Food and Nutrition Security of the State.
There are ongoing interventions for 9,150 farmers in Kwara State by the National Programme for Security.
The state has completed processes and requirement for the establishment of a Special Agro-Processing Zone with dairy farming as main focus in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB). Because of this, the French government has shown interest in supporting the actualization of the Special Agro-Processing Zone (SAPZ) by assisting in the upgrading and modernization of the pasture production, breed improvement, meat processing and irrigation systems in Kwara State. The State is now disbursement ready, with the Islamic Development Bank adopting the funding of the State’s SAPZ project on behalf of the AfDB. The project kicked-off in April, 2023 .
The commitment of the State Government in developing the Livestock sector attracted the Livestock Intervention Programme (LIP) from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development under the National Livestock Transformation Plan ; N207 million worth of infrastructure/equipment has been received from the Federal Government under the programme and they include; Solar powered boreholes, Hand pump boreholes, Solar powered streetlights, Health dispensary and animal handling Centre, Security posts, Micro-earth dam and others.
The State government has established a Sheabutter processing factory in Kwara North to assist farmers and provide job opportunities in the state
It has also established a Garment factory expected to provide at least 3000 direct and indirect jobs for our indigenes
There has been massive resuscitation of neglected infrastructure across the state by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq since 2019. Old roads were repaired while new roads are being commissioned and constructed to open up the state for investors
Kwara State Civil servants and Teachers have never had it so good than under the administration of Governor Abdulrazaq. The State is among the first to pay the last new minimum wage negotiated between Labour and the federal government. Pensions of retirees are being paid regularly while civil servants and teachers whose status remained stagnant under the displaced political dynasty have been promoted with the arrears of their promotions paid.
A Smart School System named KwarLearn was also introduced to optimize the performance of teachers and Students.
Kwara Students in Tertiary institutions across Nigeria also receive bursaries to cushion the effects of the economic hardshi.
Governor AbdulRazaq’s unprecedented priority to education led to students of Kwara State leading Nigerias delegation to international academic competition and emerging the best globally to the collective pride of the people of Kwara State .
Health Care delivery also witnessed a turnaround in the State ;Hospitals, Health centres and clinics have been rehabilitated and re-equipped with drugs and medical workers across the State.
The Governor recently approved payment of COHENS for all healthworkers in the State .
Furthermore more , most of the demands presented by the leadership of Labour in the State were approved and are being implemented by the State Government in continuation of Governor AbdulRahaman’s sustained commitment to maintaining industrial peace in the State .
For the record , it must be emphasized that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq last one week engaged critical stakeholders in the State , taking time to explain in clearer terms the current economic conditions affecting the people across all strata including food crisis and ongoing efforts by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Nigeria Governors Forum to ease and ameliorate the food crisis in the State and other hardships .
Critical stakeholders the Governor engaged include Labour unions leaders ,students, transporters , Artisans , Market Women and personal outreach elder statemen in parts of the State briefing them and securing their support for steps being taken by the Government
On Kwara Hotel, it is our belief that Aderibigbe chose to play to the gallery and dance to the oppositions tune without a full and objective grasp of the issues.
We would like to clarify that Kwara Hotel is a legacy project of the State. It is being remodeled to a five Star Standard to complement other projects such as International Conference Centre, the first of its kind in North Central Nigeria, State of the Arts Dolby Film Studio, Visual Arts Centre and Innovation Hub which will attract local and businesses and Tourists to the state.
The remodeling of Kwara Hotel is a contractor Financing project to be completed in 24 months and as such will not affect other development programmes as wrongly assumed by Professor Aderibigbe
We urge the Prof as an academic to kindly have his facts checked before making sweeping public statements, it derogates from and diminishes his academic provenance.
Alhaji Bashir Adigun
Special Adviser on Media to the Kwara State Governor.