As the 2019 presidential elections draws near, both the candidates of the PDP and that of the APC will continue to undermind each other’s integrity and achievement in other to convince the public of their suitability or otherwise to hold office.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has faulted the federal government’s claim that Nigeria has reduced its dependence on foreign rice imports, saying that it is false.
Relying on a recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Markets and Trade Report, the former Vice President observed that Nigeria now imports more foreign rice than it did under the previous administration.
A statement emanating from his campaign organisation in Abuja on Tuesday noted that on several occasions, the Muhammadu Buhari administration had bragged that its biggest achievement is reducing Nigeria’s dependence on foreign rice.
The statement added: “Recently, President Buhari himself made this boast when he said to British Prime Minister, Theresa May on April 16, 2018, as follows:
“We have cut rice importation by about 90%, made lots of savings of foreign exchange, and generated employment.
People had rushed to the cities to get oil money, at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land. We are making steady progress on the road to food security.”
“This claim was also made by the minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who on May 2, 2018, said as follows:
“Unemployment in Thailand was one of the lowest in the world, 1.2 per cent, it has gone up to four per cent because seven giant rice mills have shut down because Nigeria’s import has fallen by 95 per cent on rice alone.”
“However, recently released data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Markets and Trade Report has proven these claims by President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to be false.
“According to the World Markets and Trade Report of the USDA, which is a public document, Nigeria imported three million metric tonnes of rice in 2018, which is 400,000 metric tonnes more than the quantity of the product imported in 2017.”
The statement further said:
“It does not end there. The report shows that there has actually been a steep drop in commercial rice production from its 2015 peak under the previous Peoples Democratic Party administration.
“According to the report, ‘Nigeria had consistently milled 3,780,000 metric tonnes annually – a drop from 3,941,000 metric tonnes recorded in 2015.”
The Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation therefore appealed to President Buhari and his government to be truthful to the Nigerian public, rather than claim progress they have not made, because no matter how far and fast falsehood has travelled, it must eventually be overtaken by the truth.
The statement affirmed that the former Vice President “will always be honest and transparent with the Nigerian people as he carries all citizens along in his mission to Get Nigeria Working Again.”
Do you believe Atiku’s revelation regarding Buhari’s achievement as it concerns food security accurate or is he just trying to score cheap political points?
Have your say on the matter in the comment section.