Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian President, has berated the administration of Second Republic President, Shehu Shagari, for allegedly scuttling the progress made by the country to be self-sufficient in rice production.
Obasanjo recalled that in 1979 when he handed over power as military Head of State, Nigeria was almost achieving self- sufficiency in rice production.
He, however, noted that the inconsistent policies by Shagari’s administration which set up a committee on importation of rice, stifled the laudable move.
Speaking at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the former president said the shift in policy focus sent farmers packing as imported bags of rice began to arrive.
According to Obasanjo, “One of our problems in this country is inconsistency in policy. In 1979, we were getting to a place where we would be self-sufficient in rice production, but then a new administration came and set up a presidential committee on rice importation instead of a presidential committee on exportation of rice.
“In no time, when the imported rice started a arriving, those farmers who were cultivating rice gave up.
“Today, I commend Hyst Global Business Limited and the Chairman, Mr. Biodun Onalaja, for his doggedness, persistence, and stubbornness.
“It is not easy to succeed here as a farmer. But I want to say Onalaja is a success story, because despite the odds he never gave up.”