From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has spoken on the leaders that Nigeria needs in order for the country to overcome its myriad of socio-economic and political challenges, threatening its corporate existence.
He made the disclosure in his address on the occasion of the ‘Nigeria Prays South West Prayer Rally’ held at the headquarters of the Men of Issachar Vision Ministries, Olororo, Ojoo, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The programme is being convened by the former military head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon (retd), while Rev’d Moses Aransiola is the National Director of the spiritual project.
Makinde, who was represented by his Executive Assistant on Administration and General Services, Rev’d Idowu Ogedengbe, stated: “The leaders that we need in the face of our present realities must be ready to work towards reversing the decline in virtually all our economic indicators. A situation in which we are paying more on debt servicing than what we are earning as national revenue is not healthy for the future of our nation.
“We need a nation that works; a nation that can compete favourably in a rapidly changing global economy. Today, global inflation is rising due to rapid increases in the prices of food and more recently as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“This ought to be an opportunity for nations like Nigeria with massive arable land to step up food production. Just like Egypt under the leadership of Joseph became the food basket for the then known world, it is possible that Nigeria will not only become self-sufficient in food production but she can become succour for many nations in Africa and indeed the world.”
Makinde also described as unsatisfactory the rise of food import bills in Nigeria by 45 per cent within 12 months, saying the development is not healthy for the country to achieve food security.
He noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reported recently that Nigeria’s food import bill jumped by 45 per cent from $1.87billion to $2.71billion (N1.12trillion) in 12 months, saying: “This is very unsatisfactory. At the minimum, considering our massive arable land, we hope for increased investment in the nation’s agricultural sector as well as other key sectors of the Nigerian economy.”
Makinde stated that Oyo State has seen an impressive investment in agribusiness as a result of the policies of his administration in a bid to expand “our domestic economy. Since the inception of our administration in 2019, Oyo State has attracted over N23 billion in agribusiness investments. We need to see more of this at both the national and sub-national levels.”
He urged Nigerians to “pray that our nation will not be reckoned with as an insecure destination for foreign capital; that Nigeria as a nation shall no longer eat up investments due to insurgencies, banditry and terrorism. Let’s also remember to ask God to heal our economy and restore the value of the naira to compete again with the major currencies of the world.”
The governor also asked Nigerians to pray to God for the emergence of “men and women after His heart, who will naturally care for the masses; men that love the truth and hate covetousness to be the ones saddled with the responsibility of steering the wheel of governance in Nigeria, particularly as we elect our leaders, come 2023.
“Let us pray that God will give us faithful, patriotic and able men, who have learnt the art of good governance and nation building; men that are well instructed towards upholding the dictates of the rule of law, equity, probity, fairness and justice.”