Posted by Emmanuel Onwubiko | 11 March 2015 | 3,167 times
An issue that has consistently rang a bell of importance and acceptability in the camps of the two leading presidential candidates in the March 28th 2015 presidential election is the quality of persons nominated as field-workers for both sides of the political divide, to seek the mandate of the electorate for their principals.
In the case of President Goodluck Jonathan, an interesting angle is the engagement of a core loyalist and a respected human rights activist, Chief Longers Anyanwu of Imo State, as one of his mainstream youth-led field campaigners.
Incidentally, Chief Anyanwu is credited to have founded the Imo State ultra-modern Pre-nursery Oil Palm-seed Development Centre in Nekede, near Owerri, the Imo State capital, that produced over 5 million high-yielding tenera species seedlings, commissioned by late President Umaru Yar’Adua. This remarkable achievement earned Chief Anyanwu an award in 2013, by the Malaysian Oil Palm Corporation: ‘Award of Excellence’ in Kuala Lumpur.
Anyanwu, who served as Commissioner for Agriculture for four years under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration in the state, blocked serious avenues for financial leakages in the agric ministry.
“Billions of naira has been wasted in the last three decades for procurement of tractors of all types in Nigeria.
Why has there not been a corresponding impact on large scale farming or commercial farming?” he once queried.
The answer is simply because the environment for tractorisation has not been in place. It costs an average of N350,000 to clear and prepare a normal arable land to make it tractorable. In the case of swampy areas, it can even cost more. You find out that to prepare 10,000 hectres of available land before tractorization would take billions of naira, which shows that only government can do this primary agricultural development before agro business can work through tractorisation.
An average tractor will require a minimum of, at least, five hectres to work on a day to archive optimum utilisation.
How feasible to get this quantum of prepared land is a great challenge to large scale farming in Nigeria.
Recommendation: Government should set aside agric zones where lands must be prepared by government and leave it for leasing.
‘World Bank Rural Area Revolution Using Small-hold Land Scheme Initiative,’ a paper he presented in 2010, at the World Bank Round Table, in Washington DC.
This gentleman activist wrote an articulate and scholarly piece on how to take Nigeria's agro-sector to the next level, as alternative source of foreign revenue.
He wrote as follows: “Realising the difficulties in getting large size of land in Imo State for agric purposes, because of the small size and nature of land ownership in Igbo land, it becomes difficult to get enough.
However with various World Bank-sponsored agric programmes such as FADAMA, food security, roots and tuber, etc., rural farmers mobilised through cooperatives and CBOS to benefit from World Bank grants and soft loans, which has led to larger output of agric product.”
“My paper posited that the World Bank, indeed, the international donors, will achieve meaningful impact better, if the partner directly partners with the rural and very poor of the poor in the land. Instead of wasting Nigeria’s mega oil dollar on ‘grant’ for white elephant projects in the cities, without feasible impact.
Until Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s government, past governments only paid lip service to agric development.”
Anyanwu has a rich background in activism:
• Involved in student leadership from secondary, high school to university levels
• Active member of defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) campaign council member of Hope ‘93
• Involved in the formation of Peoples Democratic Party PDP in 1998; being a leading member of Vision 98 and New Era Alliance that eventually merged
•Served in various committees of the PDP, both at state and national levels
•Chairman Sure-P, Imo State
• Coordinator, Jonathan/Sambo Forum, Imo State
• Member, PDP Gubernatorial Appeal Panel for Adamawa 2014
• Former chairman, Forum of Conference of State Commissioners for Agriculture, 2008-2010.
As an activist, I am usually delighted to see such respectable quality of activists working to rebuild our country, through the platforms of their political parties. There is no doubt that Anyanwu can bring quality service to bear, if rewarded with higher national calling, if his team is reelected on March 28th 2015.
Next week we will highlight one of the activists in General Buhari’s campaign council.
•RIGHTSVIEW appears on Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).
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