A former Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Bello Adamu, has called on the Federal Government to set up an inquiry into the claims stellar performance being made by the incumbent Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina. Adamu, who was Minister between 2000 and 2006, described Akinwunmi's claims as spurious and embarrassing to the country. Akinwunmi is widely held up as one of the bright lights of the Jonathan administration.
In an piece published by online newspaper, thecable.ng, Adamu, using figures from the National Bureau of Statistics and Central Bank of Nigeria, drilled holes in the extravagant claims of performance that minister has been making. Contrary to an improvement in the sector as claimed by Adesina, Adamu showed that the performance of the sector has been on the slide since the end of the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration between 1999 and 2007
A table showing the yearly growth rates of GDP.for the sector points conclusively to the slide. In 2007, when Obasanjo left office, the figure was 7.20 per cent. It slid to 6.30 per cent in 2008, 5.90% in 2009, 5.60% in 2010 and 2011, 3.97 % in 2012 and 4.50% in 2013. Under Obasanjo, it was 2.95% in 2000, 3.88% in 2001, 4.25% in 2002, 6.47% in 2003, 6.50% in 2004, 6.70% in 2005, 7.40% in 2006 and 7.20% in 2007.
"From the performance levels indicated, the growth rate of the agricultural sector has been on the decline since President Olusegun Obasanjo left office. I have however noticed that the achievements being mentioned at various fora especially by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, have no basis except that they were stated by the Honourable Minister in charge of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina
". I have personally spoken with the SSA as to his source and he gentlemanly told me that he got all he said from the Minister. I reminded him that there are independent government agencies especially the National Bureau of Statistics that he should check with, and he promised to take up the issue with the Minister and revert back to me," Adamu wrote.
"On the issue of fertilizer, it is only God the Almighty that will judge the unfair way past administrations are being portrayed. To claim that there was subsidy of N870 billion spent on fertilizers since the use of fertilizers was initially encouraged by the Government about 40 years ago is most unfair, as I doubt if the entire agricultural budgets for the whole period was up to that sum.
"For a fact, from 1999-2007, the total subsidy on fertilizers was under N25 billion. This can be verified from the Budget Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance. However, according to Dr. Adesina the subsidy which was abused and corruptly taken was claimed to be N26 billion annually over a period of 40 years. He further claimed only N2.9 billion reached the farmers annually.
" Any discerning person can see clearly that under Obasanjo’s administration, we had only N3 billion on average per annum for fertilizer subsidy. How can N26 billion be corruptly taken annually when only N3 billion was allocated annually? And where did the figure of N870 billion subsidy on fertilizers come from when only about N25 billion was committed in eight years, which represent 20% of the 40 years mentioned?
"It is clear that there is no basis for the claim being made by Dr Adesina except for the purposes of getting unearned awards at the expense of those who served in previous administrations," Adamu added.
The former minister also took a hammer to Adesina's claims that he stopped gargantuan corruption in fertiliser distribution within 90 days of him being in office.
"The Minister of Agriculture proudly stated that he stopped corruption of 40 years in 90 days. This statement is misplaced, as over the purported period, he had not overseen the purchase of a single bag of fertilizer.
"This can only be accepted as a statement of intent and not an achievement. Dr. Adesina can only claim this as an achievement if there was successful supply of fertilizers to farmers during that period.
"Under the Obasanjo administration, we NEVER HAD A SINGLE MIDDLEMAN. Fertilizers were sent directly to state governments that then arranged distribution to their own farmers.
"It is a great pity that Dr. Adesina keeps on making claims instead of doing his job and allowing to be judged afterwards. I would not have had any problems with his false claims except that it tends to disparage those who served before him and their respective Presidents.
"Facts on the Nigerian economy should be taken from the National Bureau of Statistics and the CBN, not plucked from space, massaged and deployed to malign others, pull wool over the eyes of members