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We Must Discuss Breaking Up Or Keeping Nigeria —Ladoja

A former governor of Oyo State and Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, speaks with DARE ADEKANMBI on the state of the nation, the 2023 presidency, the devaluation of the naira, among other issues. Excerpts:

You will be 77 years on Saturday, September 25. Looking back what are those things you still wish to achieve and those for which you are thankful to God?

During the time we were born, most of the health hazards that have been solved now were prevalent then. While growing up, our room used to have a very small window and when a child was born, one of the things the parents would do was to put a small fire made from firewood in the room and the door was most times closed. Under such circumstance, the chances of breathing in carbon monoxide is higher and even when a child was feverish in those days, the mother would wrap the child in layers of blankets, even though the room was already warm with the fire already lit. Today, when a child is feverish, the mother uses a wet towel to mop the child’s body. So, you can understand when people say there were many abikus in those days, this came from negligence of people. So, if a child born at such time survived, it is the will of God that he lived. The children of today should count themselves lucky that many innovation and medical breakthroughs have made survival rate higher. I am grateful to God that I survived that era and apart from the first child of my mother that died, all others survived. I thank God for my survival from infancy till today. There were so many obstacles on my way, but by and large I can say I thank God for the blessings He has bestowed on me. I always tell my friends and people who are close to me that if God had given me a sheet of paper and said “Rashidi, write everything you want in life,” I could not have written half of what God has given me. So, I am very grateful to God for counting me worthy of everything he has done for me.

In a matter of days, Nigeria will be 61 years as an independent country, what advice would you give the leadership concerning how to navigate the ship of state away from tempest?

This is obviously not the Nigeria of my dream. I expected us to have gone beyond this pettiness, having to depend on who governs before you can get what you want. We are wasting our time on things that should not even arise. It should not be where the person who is going to be president comes from, but a question of whether the person is competent. We should try and evolve and get out of where we are now. In the past six years, the gains that must have been made since beginning of the Fourth Republic in 1999 are no more there. There is so much distrust between the various ethnic groups, particularly between the people of the South and the North. Besides, I don’t even think the people in the North are also even enjoying. I don’t pray to be in the North at this time when children are not safe in schools. A few days ago, the governor of Katsina State, which is the state of the president, said they were going to employ vigilantes for security. That is an indictment on the government and the president and even the police and the military. They are not able to contain terrorism in the North. I don’t think they are bandits; they are terrorists. This is not the Nigeria I am proud of. We should do better.

A lot has to be done. It is not just a question of ‘I am in power.’ The federal character principles are in the constitution, but is the government of the day observing them? Is it in the constitution that, in a federation like Nigeria, all the power should be concentrated in the hands of one ethnic group? People say it is South versus North. But I don’t think the Hausa man in the North is better than the Yoruba man in the North. The Yoruba man there is even better because he has a home to go to, but the other man has nowhere to go. The issue is not whether Nigeria should break up or not. It is a question of ‘is it fair?’ What is happening now is not fair. The whole of the security apparatus is in the hands of one ethnic group. Strategic institutions and parastatals are being manned by northerners from an ethnic group. This leads to a lot of corruption, indiscipline and anything goes, as long as the person belongs to those in charge. So, some people are trying to belong because they think they have protection there.

We can amend the constitution 10 times, but the problem will persist unless there is a will to do the needful. This is not the first government we will have. People were not talking like this in the days of Umaru Yar’Adua, who was also from the same state as the current president, Muhammadu Buhari. Or maybe it was because Yar’Adua was not a soldier. I think the character of the person ruling is more important than where he comes from. We were not complaining like this in the days of Yar’Adua. I think we should review our position on whether it is good or bad to break up Nigeria. As I said elsewhere, the Southern leaders are talking and are just talking about leaving the country. I believe the North is getting ready to go. Of recent, they said part of the $4b they want to borrow is to fund the construction of railway line from Kano to Niger Republic and people put forward economic argument. But I ask: what is the volume of trade between Nigeria and Niger Republic? Have we done the railway from Lagos to Abuja? Have they gone beyond Abuja-Kaduna and Lagos to Ibadan? Are there no places where the commerce is better? I remember in those days, Total Nigeria Ltd was supplying the whole of Niger Republic the petroleum products they were using. And the consumption for a month in Niger is about what Lagos consumed in a day. That is a way of looking at it.

It is for reasons best known to the authorities today that they say they want to build a pipeline from Niger Republic oil field to Daura where they want to put another refinery, forgetting that there is a refinery in Kaduna that is not working. Kaduna and Katsina were one state before. They want to build a new refinery using the crude oil from Niger. Could it not have been cheaper to take the crude oil from Kaduna to Daura when the pipeline is already there than to build a new one? What is even funny is that the money we are going to spend to invest in Niger was borrowed by Nigeria. Shouldn’t charity begin at home? This is what led to my belief that some elements in the North are trying to go and want to redraw the map of Nigeria. Today, everybody is crying. I saw a video of the Akwa Ibom governor talking about how 18 people in military uniforms were arrested with 18 AK-47 and were handed over to the police, only for the police to release the suspects because of orders from above. The governor of a state talking loudly like that and accusing the Federal Government through the IGP. Before it got to that, he must have tried all other avenues. Another governor, Benue State governor, I think, said people should arm themselves because he has been shouting for years now and nobody is listening to him. You remember he was in APC and was not in support of how the Federal Government was handling the security of his people and joined another party. He won a re-election for his support for the people. Of course, I don’t see any difference between the two parties anyway. Yet, things are not changing. There are hordes of people migrating southwards, particularly from the minority ethnic groups in the North because they feel insecure there. They are coming in droves. Nigeria of my dream is where everybody will be proud to stand up and say they are Nigerians. Every Nigerian should have the same rights and the same protection. The government should be ready to defend any of its citizens anywhere in the world with all its might. We can’t say this of today’s Nigeria and this is not giving us respect as citizens. It is sad and I don’t even see light at the end of the tunnel. In the country, we are producing doctors for the outside world to come and hire. Go and look at the number of doctors produced in the country last year and ask how many of them are in the country. After labour, you expect some benefits. How many civil servants can send their children to decent schools? The decline in the value of the naira has even worsened things. In the 70s, when you take one naira to Benin Republic, you would get about 600 cefa [CFA francs]. Today, one naira is even less than one cefa. One US dollar was about 70 kobo, meaning one naira was higher than the US dollar. Today, one dollar is about N600. Who are the people buying the dollars? My belief is that some people might be printing the naira. By the time the cost of printing N1,000 is higher than the value, maybe they will stop the printing of naira. Now, the CBN is even saying it wants to introduce N5,000 and N10,000 notes. It means that day is not going to be far away. You now ask yourself, what is the value of independence of the naira that they talk about? All the social unrests in the forms of ASUU strike, doctors’ strike and more are all related to the declining value of the naira. If they get a better offer in the US, for instance, and they are offered 2,000 dollar, they will jump at it. And even here, salaries are being owed. Can that be Nigeria of our dream? We need to repair a lot of things.

Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), said the North would not play the second fiddle in the 2023 presidential election, arguing that the North has the number to determine who becomes the next president of the country. How do you see this?

Is he telling us that we are going to be voting North-South or parties? This is where the problem is. Are there no political parties in the North? Or are the northerners only going to vote for one of their own and vice versa for the southerners? As far as I am concerned, with due respect to him, they call him Dr something, if he is an academic doctor, he won’t be talking that way. He will know that voting is not North versus South. Maybe this is why people are even suspecting that the population of the North has been inflated. I read what Papa Ayo Adebanjo also said that the population the North is bandying about is not true. If the only essence of population census is only to vote, then something must be wrong with us.

These so-called academics will be telling us rubbish. Has the lot of an average northern been better under Buhari than it was under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo? It is not. There is fear in everybody’s mind. Instead of us facing the problems we have together, they are telling us about 2023, that they want to continue to stay in power. Let them continue to stay in power. This is one of the reasons people are asking for the break-up of the country. If I feel I have no chance of being a president if I want to be because my people don’t have the population and there is going to be a North versus South contest, then let the North be taking care of itself and the South also taking care of itself. In what way has Buhari bettered the lot of the average northerner? They are said to be backward in education now they are not even going to school again because of Boko Haram. Are they not dragging the South backwards? When the South was investing in education, where were they? Some of them just go and get one useless doctorate from one obscure place and come and be telling us rubbish. I am not talking about Jubril Aminu who studied at the University of Ibadan, Rimi, Shehu Musa and others who are fine gentlemen and not these half-baked illiterates. It is on both sides. We have some people from the South who are also going to be saying they want the presidency. What if they get the presidency and they are not able to change anything? I don’t think he knows what he is saying and should not be dignified with any response.

That means you don’t support those playing the zoning card for the 2023 presidential election…

Many people don’t know zoning was introduced by political parties as a means of winning election. If a candidate comes from the North and I know that next time it can be my turn, I will support. I will canvas votes for the person and his party because of the promise to return my support. Ordinarily, we should have outgrown that with time. It should be a question of if the lot of the citizens will be better under the person. It is not a situation now that people say all the development must be concentrated in the North because the North is backward. If they are backward, are they going to catch up in one day, even if they have all the money in the world? The speculation is that 80 per cent of the elite in the North are living in Abuja or their homes down South. They can’t even live in their own homes because of fear of being attacked.

I am not even sure whether it is the president that is doing these things because I am sure he can’t be doing them. Maybe we have some unseen hands ruling us and not the president. There is nobody who will campaign that he will do X, Y, Z and he gets there and won’t be able to do anything and he will be happy. I don’t believe Buhari will sit down and allow the country to drift as it is doing at the moment.

Your very good brother, former Lagos governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, wants to be president and his group SWAGA has been going about to inform opinion leaders about his aspiration…

Bola is competent to rule Nigeria. Look at what he has turned Lagos to. But you are only looking at that one. What about another group, led by some Northerners, which is now saying it is Osinbajo that they want. Anybody can canvass for support, but we should look for who is the most competent to lead the country. If it is coming to the South, all of us should be happy that it is coming to the South. Maybe we will be able to prevent what is happening in the North from happening in the South, i.e., it is not safe to go to any school in the North now because you don’t know when the terrorists will strike cart away the school children, asking for ransom. We have a lot of problems in the country and I am sure the problems in the North are worse than those in the South. Maybe here, we are not used to it here, but they are over there. The only problem we are used to here is the farmer-herder conflict. Instead of the government addressing it as a major problem, it is not. We are risking another civil war because the danger signs are there. If the people of Benue and Akwa Ibom decide they have had enough and move to protect and defend themselves from attacks, what do you think will happen? They say those creating this problem are not from Nigeria, that they spread from The Gambia to Cameroon and they don’t have any territory that is recognised by the UN. This is why we are asking whether the Federal Government is not complicit on the issue. There is free movement of people in the North; there is no free movement of people in the South, particularly in the South-West. The borders in the North are all open; those in the South are not, except the Seme border. And when people make noise about opening of our borders, they opened it only for Dangote and BUA to export their cement. Whereas, most of the time, the cement is even cheaper in Benin Republic than in Nigeria. So, who is fooling who? These are the things that create problems, which is why I said this is not the Nigeria of our choice; a situation where one citizen is treated better than the others. We are supposed to be treated equally by government.

People who are running about 2023, it is not clear what they are looking for. They said Bola Tinubu wants to be president; I told you that the vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, is also being asked to join the race by people of the North. Why should it be the people of the North that are running about for the vice-president? Do they see in him somebody they can use? He has not yet indicated he wants to run. Tinubu might not have indicated, but his contribution to the enthronement of the man there is known. I remember at that time that people were shouting against Muslim-Muslim ticket. Maybe he would have been vice-president now. So, it should be expected that Bola will want to give it a shot.

But given his health, would you advise him to take such a risk?

Are you a doctor?

People have been going to London on political pilgrimage to him…

Did they come back to report to you that he is not fit? Let me tell you one thing. If Bola feels that his health is not good enough, he will not contest. I know that about him. He wants to give service. He feels he has contributions to make. His lot is not going to be bettered than it is already is. He can feed himself.

What will a Tinubu presidency give to Nigeria and Nigerians?

What did his governorship give to Lagos? He took Lagos from an IGR of less than N1b to what it is today and development also goes with it. He has also been able to streamline the role of the states vis a vis the Federal Government. Do you remember how many months he was denied allocation for local government councils in the states? The councils did not go under. He fought and won. Of course, he did not do it alone. The current vice-president was his Attorney General who was able to fight through the courts to get the victory. So, we can understand that Tinubu will be a law-abiding citizen as president and that is where everything starts. He will respect federal character which is what we are complaining about now. Why should all the instruments of coercion be in the hands of people from one ethnic group? I like to give the example of Hadiza Usman, ex-NPA Managing Director. What is her background that qualifies her for such post? What has she done in her life? As far as I am concerned, she was just a PA to Nasir el-Rufai. Is el-Rufai himself qualified to run the NPA not to talk of his PA? I am sorry I am going personal, but that is where the problem starts. The ports that are supposed to give us a lot of money, now we can’t even go there as the roads are not there, except for Dangote trucks that are going to load there.

Some concerned Nigerians have launched an endeavour tagged Rescue Nigeria Project and they are going to unveil a political party on October 1 to champion that crusade as a third force to PDP and APC…

You know that when I left PDP, I did not go to join ACN. I went to look for Accord because I did not and still don’t see the difference between APC and PDP. In fact, politicians in Nigeria are very funny people. They like to go where power is. How many governors of APC are defecting to PDP? None. It is PDP governors who are moving to APC because that is where the power is. How did Buhari get to power? Is it not because some prominent PDP leaders, including seven governors, joined them in APC or formed the party with them? Are those people not back in PDP now? So, what is the difference between them?

So, I don’t know whether that rescue Nigeria project is enough to salvage Nigeria. Political parties are as good as their leadership. If the leaders of the party are good, the party will be good and vice versa. But those behind the project are respectable Nigerians. Donald Duke achieved so much for Cross River, Pat Utomi a good social reformer, Jega, former INEC chairman. Will these people want power? Will they be ready to play the game?

What game?

You think power will just be thrown to them like that? They will have to fight for it. Are they ready to fight for it? As their programme is unfolding, we will see it. Will the rescuers be able to rescue Nigeria? I pray they are able to do so. They will have to understand the problem of Nigeria before the start rescuing it. The problem is leadership at the top. If I know I am not competent and you put me there, if you give me an order to jump, I will jump. My loyalty will be to the people who put me there and not to the country.

To many people Senator Ladoja is a multibillionaire, though his lifestyle does not show him as one…

I don’t have N1billion in my account. But if you say I have investment worth billions, yes.

Your lifestyle does portray your worth. You don’t have a private jet to fly you around and enjoy life. You go about in Ankara…

What do you mean? Is my Ankara not clean? What do they expect of a billionaire? As a reasonable person, can you eat more than your stomach can take? Maybe because I have seen it all. If I want to eat amala, I eat it. That is not the way I look at life. My worldview is that it is the responsibility of the elite to bring up the people behind us. If there had been no free education and scholarship, maybe I would not have been educated. Also, the national atmosphere affects your investment. What is the essence of going in a private jet when 80 per cent of Nigerians are not able to feed themselves? There are so many things around that can lead to unrest. When the salary of man is not enough to buy a bag of rice at N30, 000, how do you expect him to live? He will come and waylay you, if you are not careful. So, you will be spending more money on security than you should be spending.

Why do I have to spend my money buying diamond ring or gold? What does Bill Gate wear apart from blue jeans and shirt? The people I related with when I was growing up influenced my life style. I have seen poverty. When I was in school, my mother used to give me her cloths to take and pawn with the pawnbrokers who second hand clothes and it was such money I used to pay my school fees. I dropped out of school for one year in 1961 because my father could not afford to pay my school fees. How much was it then? Was it not 15 pounds? I was in Form 4 then.

My father taught me that there would always be room for excellence. I went for the entrance examination of Ibadan Boys High School and I came back told my father that many people brought their children in big cars. My parents had no cars. That was in 1957. I told him those big men would have influenced the principal. My father said ‘don’t worry; there will always be room for excellence.’ And it paid out. When I took the entrance to Olivet Height, I could not pay the acceptance fee on time. When I got there, the principal (of blessed memory), said registration was late and had been closed. He asked for my name. I said Rashidi Ladoja. He exclaimed, ‘where have you been?’ I said I was looking for money. He asked me to go and meet the vice principal, Mr Onakoya, who was taking Mathematics. They called me in after their meeting and said, ‘how can we deny somebody who came first in the entrance examination a space? They normally would take 25 pupils in a class, but they had to make an extra space for me to be the 26th person in the class.

Whether you cloth is N1m per yard of N10, the most important thing is that you are covering your body. If you have money, you can exhibit it and I don’t begrudge those who do so. They can do whatever they like with their money. I know someone who said because he suffered to get educated and make his money, he would never fly in any class lover than First Class. But I fly Economy class and people ask me why. I ask them what is wrong about it? We will get to our destination at the same time, though they may get out of the plane before me. The plane will be evacuated in less than 15 minutes. I always look at it from this angle: if I give my mother the difference between First Class ticket and Economy, the money will travel. My mother would pray for me and she would distribute it to her family and say this is the money from your son and they will also pray for me. I make them happy. The only thing I will from British Airways is ‘thank you for flying with us.’

Are there things you are still aspiring to achieve?

Personally, from the beginning, I wanted to be an engineer. Today, I am an engineer. I got employment with Total Nigeria, four months before I graduated from University of Liege in Belgium. So, it was my choice to come back to Nigeria to take up my employment upon graduation. This is different from what obtains in the country today. I did not know anybody at Total to influence my getting the job. It was based on the fact that I had what they wanted and they took me.

Since that time, God has been very kind to me. I stayed in employment for 13 years and later resigned to venture into the world and God has been very kind to me. At that time, opportunities were there and they are still there. My prayer has always been that God should give me the grace to identify opportunities and utilise them when they are passing by. I still say such prayer till today. Opportunities will continue to pass; we need the grace of God to be able to identify and hold them. If they say the need an engineer and you are not an engineer, you can’t take it even though you see the opportunity. That is what I mean by the grace to hold it. When you look at the business world, I was a name. I was a trailblazer. I was dragged into politics in 1991/1992. Not that I did not know what politics was as my father was a politician. He was a councilor who represented one local government. The whole of Ibadanland, where we have 11 local governments now, was just one local government at that time. He was a disciple of Adegoke Adelabu. I also grew up with my uncle, Alhaji S. Are who defeated Mojeed Agbaje in the 1959 House of Representatives election. So, I can say I came from a political background. My grandfather was even said to be one of the Ajeles who was voted for by the people. So, being in politics is not strange to me. I am grateful to God that when I was dragged into it, I also made success of it. Politics is one vocation that is very risky. From the time I joined politics, I was a member of the Senate. I won an election then. I was forced to go into exile because of my belief. There were so many times I escaped being lynched. And when you are in government, you don’t know who your real friends and your real enemies are. Your friend today becomes your enemy tomorrow and your enemy becomes your friend. In fact, if you do not go into politics, you will not know what human beings are. The person that is singing your praise today may become your enemy. Of course, it is in the Bible, hosanna today, crucify him tomorrow. It is very risky to be in politics in Nigeria. I don’t know whether it is the same in other places. But the experience I have in Nigeria is that being in politics is a very risky job.

Would you then say you regret your going into politics?

Not at all. Through politics, I had the opportunity of living some of my dreams out and influencing and helping people. I knew that if there was no free education done by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1955, maybe I would not have been educated. If there were no scholarships, I would not have done HSC and university education. So, that prompted me to try to give as many opportunities as available to as many people. However rich you are, you still need the power of government to do so many things. We said we wanted to do education reform with the powers of the state. We were able to do it. We shaped the people. By and large, I was happy I went into politic because it gave me insight into what actually life is and what it ought to be. If you were apolitical, living in the fool’s paradise and saying you can afford all the good things of life, I don’t know whether that can give you more satisfaction than helping people. You can award 1,000 scholarships, but it is not the same thing as when you are in government. I don’t regret going into politics, but it is a hazardous job.

The only problem I had was that, when I look at where we are coming from before Independence and I was not too young then. I was 11 years old when we started free education in 1955 and when the military took over in 1966, I was already a mature man, above 21 years. So, I can say sincerely that I saw Nigeria before, during and of course Independence and that most of the problems we have started after the military coups. People believe the masterminds of the 1960 coup were parochial. They killed the Premiers of the Northern, Sir Ahmadu Bello; they killed the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, they killed the Premier of the Western Region, but failed to kill the Premier of the Eastern Region and the President of the country at that time. So, people saw it as Igbo-engineered coup, which led to a counter-coup six months after.

You can see that the military threw us into the crisis we have, because the soldiers then were young, just reading books on various forms of political ideals like communism, socialism and all that and they were imagining. Most of the time, when they saw politicians arguing, they thought they were fighting.

Which of the epochs you just mentioned would you say represents the golden years for the country?

I think the period between 1960 and 1966 was very good for the country. We had regional governments and particularly in the defunct Western Region, we had the opportunity of testing what governance is and our resolve and everybody was developing at its own pace. The Premiers and the Prime Minister were consulting. I remember when they wanted to build Kanji Dam, there was a meeting where it was said they would build it and agreed on how to raise money for it. It was a consultative meeting. Nobody was lording on the other person and there were plenty chances.

After I left school, I was working as a teacher in Ibadan Boys High School. At that time, we were running the programme from January to December and the university was running September to June. So, when you leave school, you had to wait till September to go to the university. And once you made your papers, the universities would take you, having applied directly to it since there was no JAMB at that time. Everything was done on merit then and we were sure of getting one scholarship at that time. I applied for scholarship from the Federal Government, the Western Region and there were also community scholarships and you were sure of getting something. So, that was a very nice period.

And there were checks and balances, the civil service was very supportive and people could easily criticise. The criticisms were what the military took as antagonism. The newspapers then were full of intrigues. I recall one headline Akintola Ta Ku in one of the covers of an edition of the Nigerian Tribune. If we had continued with regional government, Nigeria would have progressed better and we would have outgrown whatever internal problems we have. The problem of the West then was the crisis in Action Group and the major crisis in the West was in 1962. As a student in Ibadan Boys High School in 1963, Chief Awolowo lived inside our compound; our tennis court was at the back veranda of his house. When he sat in his veranda, he would be looking at our boarding house. We saw him as part of us. They resolved a lot of crises around that axis. The Action Group headquarters was down the road nearly opposite Odion Cinema with the palm tree in front of the party secretariat. Most of their meetings were held there. I am not saying there were no problems then; we did have and they were resolved. But when the military came, everybody was muzzled.

Are you saying Nigeria should revert to regional government? People have said rather than amending the 1999 Constitution again, a return to the 1963 Constitution which recognised regional government should be made?

That will be fraught with other difficulties as well. We have broken into states. Are you sure Lagos will be willing to share its IGR of more than N30billion with the remainder of the South-West? Are you sure Ondo State will be ready to share its 13 per cent derivation fund with other states? So, we have to exercise caution on this issue. It is not the constitution that is wholly wrong. The problem is also partly with those who apply the provisions of the constitution, the operators. There is no constitution that is perfect. Some of us still feel nostalgic about the Westminster-type Parliamentary system that we ran in the country. I don’t think we should be spending so much on governance. The cost of governance is too high. It is rumoured that each senator costs us about N30m in a month and each House of Representatives member, about N20m. How can we spend such money to fund people that are not up to 500? This is apart from their constituency allowances and other perks.

But the National Assembly members have counter-argued that focus should be on the Executive Arm of government which gulps more money to run and maintain…

The presidential system we are running is too expensive, whether you are talking about governors, president or National Assembly members. Maybe we should go back to the Parliamentary system whereby the Prime Minister will be a member of the legislature and everybody will know what others are doing. In that case, governors will sit in the Houses of Assembly in their states as members of the house. So, it is not a question of the governor doing things that the lawmakers are not privy to. I think there will be more transparency if everybody is sitting together, rather than the governors or the president having his own kingdom and the lawmakers creating theirs as well. There will be more accountability because they will be able to talk to the governors and directly to the president since they are all equals. Look at Westminster in London, they have question time and the Prime Minister is in attendance to give answers to all their questions. So, it is not calling one Garba Shehu or Femi Adesina to go and respond to issues. It is the president himself that will be answering. But what we have now, the checks and balances are not there. I will support a parliamentary system.

As a big time farmer, how serious is the issue of farmers-herders to food production decline?

It is very critical and seriously affecting food production. If the farmers can’t go to their farms, will the crops grow themselves? God has been kind to us by giving us arable land and good weather. But we still need to cultivate the land and if you don’t, you won’t eat. So, when people are saying food is expensive, of course, it will be expensive because too much money is chasing too few goods. The economy is also not standing. Investors are not coming. Who is going to invest in the country when you can bring $1m today and get N500m and in a month’s time, you will need N600m to buy $1m? The devaluation of the naira is making things unstable. It is a known fact that Nigeria is heading towards famine. Benue used to be our food basket, but they are no longer going to farms because of the herders who are occupying their farmlands. Even here in the South, people are afraid to go to their farms because they can be murdered or kidnapped. Look at what happened in Igangan. Dr Aborode was going to his farm when he was murdered. The police have a lot to do in this regard. They are not up to the level we expect them to be.

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