By Ayo Kehinde
The Generalisimo of Yorubaland Are Onakankafo Otunba Gani Ige Adams has disputed claims by the government that its policy has made meaningful impact on the lives of Nigerians.
Speaking as a guest at the second public lecture organized by Freedom Online, an online publication at Radisson Blue Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, Adams made the remarks in reaction to claims by Mr Femi Adesina, Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media, and Guest of Honour, that the administration has recorded giants strides in the area of agriculture, available and affordable foodstuffs, exportation of products, investments in social welfare and diversification of the economy through mineral exploitation.
According to Adesina: “Inflation has fallen in 19 months consistently from 19 to 11 per cent, but those who do not want to see chose not to see it. External reserves under the administration have been the highest in the past five years, from $24bn to $47.5 at a time oil prices was $63per barrel.
“Total export has risen 29 per cent higher since 2017. In 2019 agricultural export grew by 180.7 per cent after satisfying local needs, while solid minerals’ contribution to the economy has risen from N700m in 2015 to N3.5b in 2017. Rice is available and affordable to Nigerians, but many chose not to see it…”
To Adams, Adesina’s submission were theoretical and far from reality.
“When he was speaking, I was shocked to hear him quote those figures. As an activist, I can give a simple analysis. I spend N13,000 to fuel my generator everyday. I remember when President Jonathan was in power, he said Aso Rock is like a prison, a cage. You do not get to hear the truth about the people. I call on Mr. Adesina now to pass the information to Mr. President that Nigerians are suffering. The grassroots should feel the impact of government. I travel to 46 countries regularly. None would tell you what you are doing is reality; it is theoretical. Take security and electricity for instance; when you take care of them then investors would come to the country. You people have stayed for four years, you have another four years and you must take care of the people”.
L-R: Host Gabriel Akinadewo, Mr Femi Adesina, SSA to Buhari on Media, Prof Akin Onigbinde, Senator Orji Kalu, Chairman, Otunba Gbenga Daniels, Guest, Mr Akin Oyebode, Rep of Governor Fayemi, Navy Captain Olubolade, former Police Affairs Minister, AreOnakakanfo of Yorubalang, Otunbe Gani Adams, Hadjia Laim Tumaka, Director in NIMASA at the occasion on Thursday.
In a similar vein, the Keynote Speaker on the theme of the lecture, titled Fixing the Economy: Less Politics More Substance, Professor Akin Onigbinde, said what Adesina said was unrealistic.
“I deal with economic reality that I can see in the market, the rice he talked about is not in Dalekon or Bodija markets,” he said and drew prolonged laughter when he added, “Femi is my friend and he has the duty to direct our gaze to what we cannot see. But I must say the rice he talked about I have been eating it in my imagination.”
Earlier Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state who was the Guest Speaker called for a synergy between the state and federal governments for better harmonization of the country’s human and natural resources to grown the economy for sustainable development.
Fayemi who was represented by Mr Akin Oyebode said the government’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan, ERGP, was a good police framework that can assist the country to harness its agricultural potentials, human capital development and business competitiveness.
He called for the merger of the budget and planning office, collaboration between government and the private sector and massive investments in roads, rail, ports, power, education and broadband connectivity for economic development and delivery of good governance to the people.
In his welcome address, the host and publisher of Freedom Online, Mr Gabriel Akinadewo said the board of editors of the publication chose the topic to stimulate intellectual debate and stir the current course of sterile politicking still dominating the political space months after elections.
“Nigerian always goes round a four year circle of elections but pitiably no four years circle of economic development. When are we going to stop playing politics with development?”, he asked.
He called for a bipartisan approach to policy generation and implementation to launch the country on the road of meaningful economic development, citing examples of countries where leaders sink their political differences after elections and join hands to develop policies that empower the people and drive sustainable economic growth and development.
Otunbe Gbenga Daniels, former governor of Ogun State, Special Guest of Honour, and Senator Orji Kalu, Chairman of the occasion, could not agree less with Akinadewo, with both calling for more private sector participation.
Journalists, corporate organisations, public functionaries, elected lawmakers and right activists attended the event.