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War-torn Ukraine donating grain to Nigeria amount to national disgrace — Obi

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Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party has described the grain donation by war-torn Ukraine to Nigeria as a national disgrace.

The former governor of Anambra State who commended Ukraine for their generous donation in a statement on Monday, stressed that a situation like this highlights the importance of sound political leadership as the first concrete requirement for any nation desiring to develop and enhance the standard of living of its citizenry.

Obi noted that it is rather disheartening that Nigeria that was once economically confident, blessed with vast arable land and abundant natural resources, now rely on a war ravaged Ukraine for food assistance.

While describing the donation as a national disgrace which he said stems from years of leadership failure, Obi however added that the development calls for urgent reflection and a reordering of the nation’s national priorities and resource management and allocation.

The statement reads, “Let me begin by sincerely appreciating the war-torn nation of Ukraine for their generous donation of tons of grains to Nigeria thereby aiding our current fight against nationwide hunger.

“As laudable as Ukraine’s kind gesture is, it speaks volumes for us as a people endowed with all needed human and natural resources, that a country officially prosecuting a brutal war of national survival with its powerful neighbor, Russia, is generous and kind enough with their food supplies to help us who are officially at peace.

“For the people of Ukraine, this act of human solidarity testifies to a rare generosity of spirit which should earn them greater global solidarity. It demonstrates our shared humanity.

“However, a situation like this underscores vigorously the importance of sound political leadership as the first concrete requirement for any nation desiring to develop and enhance the standard of living of its citizenry.

“It is disheartening that our once economically confident nation, blessed with vast arable land and abundant natural resources, now relies on a war-torn Ukraine for food assistance. This national disgrace stems from years of leadership failure, necessitating urgent reflection and a reordering of our national priorities and resource management and allocation.

“Instructively, Ukraine, with a population of 43 million on 603,728 km2, outshines Northern Nigeria, covering 744,249 km2 with a young, energetic population exceeding 100 million. In 2015, Ukraine’s GDP per capita was $2125, compared to Nigeria’s $2680. By 2022, despite being at war, Ukraine’s GDP per capita exceeded $4000, while Nigeria’s regressed to $2184. Ukraine cultivates over 60% of its arable land, whereas Nigeria has over 60% uncultivated arable land.

“Despite the conflict, Ukraine feeds itself, and exports agricultural products worth over $ 25 billion which is about the same value as our crude oil export earnings, and it serves as a strategic global food supplier, even providing aid to a peaceful yet unproductive Nigeria.

“To overcome this embarrassment, we must aggressively reorder our priorities by investing resources in productive sectors like agriculture. Addressing insecurity is crucial for farmers to return to their fields, enabling a productive manufacturing sector and supporting small businesses.

“In 4 to 5 years, this concerted effort can reverse the current trend, leading us toward a productive and New Nigeria that I believe is possible and within reach.”

Recall that it was reported in some section of the media last weekend that Ukraine donated 25,000 tons of wheat to Nigeria to help address food insecurity caused by conflicts and regional instability.

The donation aims to provide emergency food assistance to 1.3 million crisis-affected people in northeast Nigeria.

Of recent, food inflation in Nigeria has sparked widespread protest ad strikes from the country’s labour unions.

The initiative, called “Grain from Ukraine,” was launched by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to support vulnerable families in Nigeria facing rising food prices and limited access to staple foods.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) facilitated the shipment of the wheat from Ukraine to Nigeria with the help of several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and others, who covered the transportation and distribution costs.

The donation was combined with cash and other commodities to meet the basic food and nutrition needs of crisis-affected individuals for two months.

The collaborative effort between Ukraine, WFP, and other countries plays a crucial role in alleviating suffering and maintaining human dignity in conflict-affected areas with increasing food prices.

The British High Commission Development Director emphasized the importance of supporting vulnerable populations during these challenging times, expressing pride in being part of the global community helping distribute lifesaving grain across Nigeria.

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