BusinessDay

When it mattered most: The game changer (1)

For those who were hoping that between now and the presidential election, it is going to be quite time, what looms on the horizon is huge disappointment.

The first salvo has been fired by “Sunday Telegraph” newspaper on its front page on July 2, 2022.

Headline: “Abacha didn’t steal, he hid the money in private account” – Al-Mustapha

“The former Chief Security officer to late Military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza al-Mustapha has absolved his boss of corruptly enriching himself while in office. According to him, many of the recovered funds being repatriated back to the country are from private accounts not linked to the former leader who used some unnamed Nigerians to warehouse the country’s funds when many western nations imposed economic sanctions on the country. Speaking as a guest in a Channels Television programmes, Politics Today on Friday, al-Mustapha is the Presidential Candidate of the Action Alliance also stated that his late boss took some decisions that attracted so much enmity to him.

“There was time I gave an interview about General Abacha. When sanctions were imposed on Nigeria stakeholders of this country were called and agreements were reached, money was credited to their accounts but to my greatest surprise many of those that got money didn’t return them,” al-Mustapha said. He went further to ask, “Was Abacha in any of those countries where the monies were taken into? Do they (foreign banks) have his thumb print? Is there any evidence of him depositing money? Where is one single paper to show that he took the money away?

“Today, a twinkle of it (the funds) are being returned but the question was did Abacha sign any of such accounts?” Al-Mustapha stated his late boss offended many people by taking some certain policies to sustain Nigeria, adding, “I saw an interview granted by one of his ministers on my way to the studio disowning him.” According to him, “I have no regrets (working with late General Sani Abacha). Once you join the military, you should be opened minded to work anywhere. You can be posted to the worst part of the world or the worst part of the country.”

He said his personal destiny took him to all the places he served as a military officer during his career. On his presidential bid, he stated that the country was in a precarious situation that should prompt committed Nigerians at this time to recognise the enormity of the problems confronting the country.”

In order to make sense of the rage and turmoil which have engulfed our nation, we have to report to science and remind ourselves (a revision course) of Sir Isaac Newton’s (1643 to 1727).

(i) First Law of Motion:

“Every object in a state of rest or uniform motion will remain in that state unless acted upon by a force.”

(ii) Second Law of Motion:

“The rate of change of the velocity of the object is proportional to the force applied to it.”

(iii) Third Law of Motion:

“Every action calls forth a reaction that is equal and opposite.”

Perhaps we should create space for Vince Lombardi (1913 to 1970):“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.”

It was “Saturday Independent” newspaper of July 2, 2022 that delivered a front page shocker: Headline: “Nigeria spends N16bn annually to import beans”

“Dr. Rose Gidado, country co-ordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, Nigeria chapter, has said Nigeria spends an estimated N16bn annually on the importation of beans or cowpea.

Read also: Nigeria saves $5m on rice imports daily – Presidency

Gidado who stated this in Abuja at Science Hang Out organised by Alliance for Science Nigeria in collaboration with Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology.

She pointed out that despite the fact that Nigeria is the number one producer of cowpea in the world, there is a consumption deficit of 500,000 tons, prompting imports from neighbouring countries.

She, however, expressed optimism that the cowpea import gap is expected to decline, following the release and commercialisation of Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea in Nigeria.

It would be recalled that the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) had approved its first genetically modified crop: the Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea.

This move was after the cowpea or beans had been genetically modified to resist the pest – Maruca Vitrata, an insect that has the capacity to damage over 80 per cent of beans pods.

The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with the support of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) developed the PBR Cowpea.

According to Gidado, “With PBR cowpea, the gap in production will be bridged and Nigeria will save N48 billion annually on its import bill.”

The new bean variety, according to her, would ensure that farmers spray less pesticides but get a bumper harvest which would help them to defeat poverty and transform the Nigerian economy.

She noted that Nigerian beans farmers have been grappling with many challenges such as spraying pesticides about eight to ten times on their farms in each planting season in a bid to ward-off destructive pod borer insect, known as Maruca Vitrata.

Commenting on the safety concerns raised by some people with regard to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or foods, the Country Co-ordinator, OFAB allayed the fear, describing agricultural biotechnology as the most regulated sector.

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