13th July 2024
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Peter Obi Unhappy Over Ukraine’s Food-Aid To Nigeria, Describes It As National Disgrace

Peter Obi Unhappy Over Ukraine’s Food-Aid To Nigeria, Describes It As National Disgrace

– Calls for aggressive investment in agriculture, security, SMEs

Chuks Okocha and Sunday Ehigiator, ThisDay

The presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 election, Peter Obi has described Ukraine’s donation of 25,000 tons of wheat to Nigeria as a “national disgrace,” which stems from years of leadership failure in Nigeria

Obi in a statement shared on his X handle yesterday, noted that aggressive investment in agriculture, security and small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) would help Nigeria overcome the embarrassments.

As part of efforts to tackle the emergency food crisis affecting over 1.3 million people in northeast Nigeria, Ukraine reportedly donated 25,000 tons of wheat to Nigeria at the weekend.

The development was said to bolster the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) response in north-eastern Nigeria amidst inflation and food price spikes.

The contribution was also part of Ukraine’s humanitarian “Grain from Ukraine” initiative launched by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The shipment was said to have been made possible through the collaborative effort from the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Norway, the Republic of Korea and Sweden, which has helped cover the costs of transporting the wheat from Ukraine to Nigeria and its distribution to the families who so urgently need it.

However, reacting to this development, Obi wrote, “As laudable as Ukraine’s kind gesture is, it speaks volumes for us as a people endowed with all needed human and natural resources, that a country officially prosecuting a brutal war of national survival with its powerful neighbour, Russia, is generous and kind enough with their food supplies to help us who are officially at peace.

“For the people of Ukraine, this act of human solidarity testifies to a rare generosity of spirit which should earn them greater global solidarity. It demonstrates our shared humanity.

“However, a situation like this underscores vigorously the importance of sound political leadership as the first concrete requirement for any nation desiring to develop and enhance the standard of living of its citizenry.

“It is disheartening that our once economically confident nation, blessed with vast arable land and abundant natural resources, now relies on a war-torn Ukraine for food assistance.

“This national disgrace stems from years of leadership failure, necessitating urgent reflection and a reordering of our national priorities and resource management and allocation.

“Instructively, Ukraine, with a population of 43 million on 603,728 km2, outshines Northern Nigeria, covering 744,249 km2 with a young, energetic population exceeding 100 million.

“In 2015, Ukraine’s GDP per capita was $2125, compared to Nigeria’s $2680. By 2022, despite being at war, Ukraine’s GDP per capita exceeded $4000, while Nigeria’s regressed to $2184.

“Ukraine cultivates over 60 per cent of its arable land, whereas Nigeria has over 60 per cent uncultivated arable land. Despite the conflict, Ukraine feeds itself, and exports agricultural products worth over $25 billion which is about the same value as our crude oil export earnings, and it serves as a strategic global food supplier, even providing aid to a peaceful yet unproductive Nigeria.

“To overcome this embarrassment, we must aggressively reorder our priorities by investing resources in productive sectors like agriculture. Addressing insecurity is crucial for farmers to return to their fields, enabling a productive manufacturing sector and supporting small businesses.

“In four to five years, this concerted effort can reverse the current trend, leading us toward a productive and New Nigeria that I believe is possible and within reach.”

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