Ladoja faults economic diversification programme
Former governor of Oyo State and national leader of Accord Party, Senator Rashidi Ladoja has described the diversification of the economy, particularly to agriculture, as a mere lip service.
He said none of the levels of government have actually put in place a coherent policy to that effect.Ladoja, in an interaction with reporters in Ibadan to mark the Eid e Kabir, said this government is talking about agriculture and diversification of the economy from crude oil, but has not moved away from the artisanal method of agriculture to an industrial and commercial one.
He said nowadays, people don’t get the money to procure farm equipment because they can’t go and borrow money with the level of interest rate charged by banks as high as 22 per cent. How many farmers have borrowed money at a single digit interest rate being talked about by the government? Farmers have said they have not got it.
The former governor wondered: “How many of our young people, particularly in Ibadan or Oyo State in general are interested in agriculture? Those into real farming, especially in the state are the Benue, Togo, Benin Republic people.
“Things are going to be tougher than government has told us because the psyche of our people needs to be reoriented. I only hope that we will be able to survive this hardship that we are all going through.”
Ladoja urged President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors across the country not to task the patience of Nigerians in view of the citizens’ endurance of the current economic hardship.
He said Nigerians are generally good people who repose confidence in God and showed understanding with the leadership, despite the hardship they are going through.
According to him, “We should continue to pray we don’t fall into the same situation as countries that experienced the Arab Spring. Anybody who saw Syria before and now will know that something has happened. Egypt before the Arab Spring and Egypt of today are not the same. The same thing goes for Libya and Iraq. And these are areas where civilisation was already advanced.”
He maintained that the ‘change-begins-with-me’ slogan meant to drive an attitudinal change among the citizenry should begin with the president and his cabinet since Buhari rode to power on the change slogan.
Ladoja maintained that the leadership is too far from the people they are leading. “Nigerians don’t need more than the basic things to live. How do we explain a situation where workers have not got salaries for months and government expects them to be coming to work and if they fail to come, they will be threatened with sack?” he queried.