Thursday, 24 April 2014
Rejoinder: Who Will Save Awo's Agro-economic Legacies From Total Destruction?
For the information of Mr Kotoye and other agents of rent seekers like him, it is important to emphasize that I have never been a business man all my life. I did not, at any time, bid for the management of Apoje farms; neither do I have any subsisting case on Apoje in any court of competent jurisdiction anywhere in the country. I am also not a politician; neither am I a card carrying member of any of the political parties. But, I am, like hundreds of others, a proud beneficiary of Awo’s agro-economic legacies, being a recipient of Cocoa Marketing Board scholarship (1958-1962). And, as a lecturer in UI (1967-87), I used these projects as the laboratories for research and practical exercises in Production Economics and Agri-business. Also, as the Agricultural Analyst (1975-1977) in EPPU, I led the team of Analysts that developed commercialization plans for all the large scale agricultural projects in the Region. This was with a view to maximizing the multiplier effects of these plantations on the economy of the Region
Contrary to Mr Kotoye’s assertion, my intervention is patriotic and in sympathy with the poor, jobless and traumatized majority who has been at the receiving end of poor governance in Nigeria. My goal is to contribute to the emancipation of disenchanted youths and vulnerable class in the host communities from agonizing joblessness, poverty, hunger and socio-economic deprivation.
I am not frustrated but disenchanted. And my disenchantment is with the ruling class that promoted a system that permitted progressive destruction of all agro-economic projects that our forefathers labored very hard to build; a system that encouraged destructive exploitation of Apoje for 7years under a lease arrangement that generated only N270,000 for Government; a system that approved a concession arrangement based on a reactivation blue-print of doubtful technical feasibility, managerial capacity and financial viability; a system that rendered Apoje plantation the most technologically backward and unproductive in the history of plantation management in Ogun State
Nobody should blame the distinguished Commissioners for resisting, with dignity, exemplary courage and self assurance, all attempts by some legal counsels of the Concessionaires to use intimidation and legal technicalities to abort the public hearing on Apoje lease and concession
- Prof Bisi Ogunfowora