The National Chairman of Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s agricultural revolution, which has added value to crops produced, locally.
He was speaking to State House Correspondents on Thursday, after he paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Oshiomhole said the President’s decision to encourage local production of rice in particular, has made it possible for Nigerians to patronise home grown rice during festivities like the recently celebrated yuletide season.
““We decided at the level of the national working committee to pay a new year visit to Mr President and to congratulate him on what we have been able to accomplish last year and also to commend the President for the renewed hope as captured in the new year message that was delivered to Nigerians.
“Few years back, people were always afraid of what will happen during the Christmas season, all your money, all the little money you are saving to take back home to celebrate with your people, you end up patronizing ‘Black Market’ to buy a litre of petrol at two, three, or four times the value and sometimes it is adulterated. And we see pictures of people who are stranded across the country because they cannot access petrol.
“I also think that we ought to celebrate the fact that we are able to celebrate Christmas and New Year and people have rice everywhere that was not imported from other countries- Nigerian made rice.
“Now if we can sustain this policy for another one year or two years and Nigerians get used to eating Nigerian rice and our farmers get a ready market for rice, obviously, that aspect of food security would have been put behind us. I thought it was something that we should commend the President for what he has done and the courage to put Nigeria first before any other sentiment. So, we can say that we can see a gradual revolution taking place in the agricultural sector,” he said.
The APC Chairman stressed that President Buhari’s New Year message was unique and has give a lot of hope to Nigerians.
He said: “We also thought that giving the reactions of some opposition, we reassured Mr President that there was nothing wrong and we are indeed happy with the New Year message to Nigerians.
“The responsibility of every leadership is to inspire hope. Life is sustained and driven by hope and the challenge of leadership is not to join the people to lament that things are terrible, to give up and join the people in wallowing in self-pity.
“The principles of leadership is to inspire people, give them hope and in this case, in line with the principles of Accountability and Democracy, democracy is not only about voting and everybody goes to sleep, it’s all about explaining periodically what he is doing, what he is going to do differently and what he hopes to accomplish within a given time. And I think that is what the President’s New Year message sought to do.
“And I am surprised to see that there are people who begin to wonder why should the President reassure Nigerians that he is not going to do Third Term in office because Third Term was planted by PDP- People’s Democratic Party it is still in the sub-consciousness of most Nigerians that the first Nigerian President who tried to do Third Term, emptied the treasury to bribe members of the National Assembly and since that President left, thanks to the National Assembly, no other next President has done 8 years in office. You can recall that President Yar’Adua unfortunately has since joined his ancestors, and President Jonathan did 6 years and so by the special grace of God, this President (Buhari) whom we pray will do his 8 years complete in line with the provision of the constitution.”
Oshiomhole said he was not perturbed by calls by some members of his party that he should resign, adding that he has achieved a lot for the party.
“You also know this proverb, “It’s a tree that bears fruits that attracts stone.” You hardly see people throwing stone at a dry tree palm tree. But if you see a mango tree when it is its season, people throw stones at it when passing. I think that is my lot but my report card is also very clear.
“In my own case, and I challenge anyone to say that any of these things are not true. We the executive members of the party were sworn in on the 3rd of June 2018, at about 6 pm. Two weeks later, we went to Ekiti to contest election against a PDP incumbent governor Fayose and we won. And Kayode Fayemi today is the governor of that state. Few months later, we went to Osun State, we contested a by-election, we won and we had the Osun State governor elected for his first term.
“Then we went for the national elections, you know all the tensions in the country at the time. The gap between President Buhari and the former candidate of the PDP Abubakar Atiku was about four million voters. The one between President Buhari and former President Jonathan in 2015 was about three million. So under my leadership this President has more votes than the first runner-up, we would like to claim credit for that because if it went the other way so we would be crucified.
“The National Assembly, you know we had all kinds of contestation, because the opposition was determined to turn APC to a minority in the two chambers of the National Assembly and we had to do what we had to do to persuade the senators to stay we are still the preferred party of choice and we marketed all those senators, we backed them up with logistics, we backed them up financially from the party’s coffer and at the end of the day I am proud that we won more senate seats and more House of Reps seats. But even more outstanding if you ask me, it’s that, we also had the majority in both chambers of the National Assembly in 2015 but the party didn’t have the capacity to handle the majority and make good use of it. The result was that you had a senate President that was of APC and a deputy senate president that was of PDP even when APC had clear majority because we could not manage our numbers.
“Last year, you will bear witness to the fact that we did our homework, we carried out extensive consultation, extensive persuasion and negotiations with the members of the National Assembly and the party zeroed on a senate president, a deputy senate President, a speaker and a deputy speaker and we mobilized and worked round so that even with secret ballots senator Ahmed Lawan and Ovie Omo-Agege emerged as president and deputy while in the senate and in the House of Representatives Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and Wase emerged also as speaker and deputy respectively, all the preferred candidates,” he said.
Oshiomhole assured Nigerians that going forward in 2020, the APC would ensure that it takes into account all the mistakes it made in 2019 so that the party will be more stronger, more coherent and more peaceful.