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If Yoruba cannot grow their food, Yoruba must starve & – Tola Adenle

[In my continued puzzled state over the subsidy lie and the exposes of dirty deals, lack of consistent figures from different government agencies, costs in human lives lost, I have continued to marvel at how many essays I have written on the deceit and betrayal of a people.  Two days ago, the open sore that refused to heal made me post http://emotanafricana.com/2012/02/05/mommy-daddy-abole-le-dibo-fun/ from 2006.

Still combing through old files with the words “subsidy lie” which are my coinage for any file name on “subsidy removal”, “oil subsidy”, etcetera, I came across the short piece down here from 2010.  The one posted on the 5th and this confirm what most Nigerians know for a fact:  that the “oil subsidy” is really a scam that successive Nigerian governments air from time to time to deceive the people while those who actually feed fat off the people’s resources through subsidy from government, go unpunished.

The last paragraph about “Hausa/Fulani turning …” concerns a recent event in 2010 when, as usual, herdsmen killed Yoruba who challenged them on herdsmen’s cattle being allowed to turn farmlands into rubble…  TOLA, February 7, 2012.]

Yoruba must grow their food or starve

This title is a variant on a saying ascribed to Gandhi that India should manufacture her own cloths and make her own clothes or else go naked. He practised what he preached and the rest is history.

Readers should pardon the title but Yoruba were the crying babies when Northern Nigerian farmers unleashed a simple law of supply and demand on the South:  they claimed taxes, charges, police collection, etcetera as excuses for the blockade of supplies of tomatoes and all peppers.  And with those nothing-succeeds-like-excess parties starved of weekly tons of peppers for cooking zillions of food vats most of which often go to waste, Yoruba women were in panic mode, ready to crawl from Lagos to the over-supplied-with-fertilizer North.

Before you could spell t-a-t-a-s-e (tatase), a pepper variety I did not come across till I was almost thirty, prices had gone through the roof.  I have asked my spouse who grew up in circumstances where huge cooking was a daily affair in the same southwest if he saw this strange pepper in his childhood. Ditto friends who grew up in fancier places than my rural background where the idea of a good pot of soup to accompany iyan was a lot of vegetables plus atarodo or sombo – both hot peppers – with or without egusi.  Never!  The okro soup we had only on Sunday mornings with amala had the peppers and everything cooked together – today’s “designer” alasepo!  In those dark ages, beans, onions, etcetera were grown by farmers, housewives (behind homes) as well as on school farms.

Please do not tell me it is impossible in big cities for many families to grow a sizeable portion of their produce.  During the Kosovo War, I was always amazed at images of window ledges holding containers for vegetables, tomatoes, lettuce, etcetera.  Or how about this: Iceland, with barely any summer, has been known to grow 80% of her potato needs, 800 tons of  tomato which was two-thirds of annual consumption, and 700 tons of cucumber, 70% of domestic demand for her less than 500,000 people in one particular year.

Our dire situation brings to mind a story by the always practical Professor Sam Aluko.  As he drove towards Ife University with an Israeli colleague years ago, Prof. was intermittently asked if the zillions of palms along the highway were on plantations.  Something like “God put them there” was his constant reply.  The colleague’s comments about a people so abundantly blessed but with so little to show remains well-deserved.

The Tatase Blockade has not affected me. What!  Being forever a country ‘girl’ who abhors atarodo the size of lemons and tatase the size of grapefruits – thanks to endless fertilizer supply for Northern farmers by Agric Ministers who are ALWAYS Northerners – I buy the tiny local variety during season, freeze some and dry some.  I checked these items at Ibadan and Osogbo before writing this. While prices are much less than during The Blockade, they remain in excess of preBlockade time.  By the way, the last time I bought peppers was in October. Impossible!  I know that NEPA is a kill-joy but if you buy much and dry them, you would require very little fresh for taste.  Try vegetable plus egusi with dried atarodo, onion and fish without even Maggi/iru, you’ll be amazed at the taste!

As sybaritic Yoruba women ran from pillar to post during The Blockade, it occurred to me that raising prices was the real reason.  The Yoruba have sayings for just about every happening but they apparently do not learn from them.  When hungry, one asks you to act arrogant and refuse to eat food not freely offered! How about this blast from Nigeria’s political past:  next time, “boycott the boycottables”!

Now, if only southwest governors would spend part of their security votes AND local government chairmen would spend part of their allocations on farming, we can encourage school farming, including in cities where containers can be used, and intensify the old Farm Settlements that are being re-started.  I know these work because I’ve planted peppers, including tatase in little containers and use the yield as green peppers in fried rice and Chinese chow mein.  I once planted Chinese broccoli (bok choy) and it thrived [at Ibadan].

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The “subsidy” lie:

NNPC is supposedly “owed” N800 billion.  By whom?  Who do state governors, rigged in or not – represent since they support “deregulation” that will solve Nigeria’s economic ills. Many governments “subsidize” one way or the other: petroleum prices in producing countries, the E.U’s farmers and the U.S. where government buys wheat, cows, etcetera from farmers only to destroy them to stabilize market prices.

According to a news report, gasoline arrives at filling stations at N35.50/liter against N65.00 official price, and even with N110 price a while back, Mokola AGIP, Ibadan sold for N65.00.   Did Mr. X’s AGIP sell at a loss?  How about Venezuela – where petroleum reportedly sells for N4.50/liter – whose Ambassador recently cheekily told Nigeria to use her resources for the betterment of her citizens’ lives? Okay, Venezuela is headed by “socialist” Chavez while capitalist South Africa, an importer, reportedly sells for N27.00/liter.  Does high profit margin have anything to do with gas stations in every Nigerian corner?

Various multi-million naira ads are running in various newspapers by a “Movement for Economic Emancipation” with wild claims addressed to “elder statesmen; key stakeholder groups…scholars of repute” to “Save our soul on the huge cost of fuel subsidy”.  Who funds these facile and fraudulent ads? Excerpts from just one:

“In 1960, you fought a just cause for the independence of our dear nation …you won because you believed in her bright future.  50 years down the line, our critical infrastructure and basic social amenities have deteriorated.  Our national wealth that could have delivered the promise of a brighter tomorrow is being wasted on illegal fuel subsidy…Is this the Nigerian dream you fought for?  Will you continue to keep quiet while the labour of our heroes past slips away in vain? …”

This new psychological warfare on the masses – added to financial and physical warfare – has been taken to cyber space where warriors – the type first seen when Sahara Reporters started the Ibori stories – defend “deregulation”: Unrated ( Autho  “I beg all concern [sic] to see good reason in the deregulation of this sector. There will be no debt owned [sic]… Market forces will come to play and we shall be happy at the end … I belong to the deregulation vanguard”!

The Ibadan AGIP marketer lies at a Hospital and many residents are praying for his recovery from an attack.  He has always sold at government prices these last two decades since I first noticed people willing to join mile-long queues at his station where queue jumping is sub-culture. He left his station for home on a night not too long ago and was reportedly shot at in front of, or near his house.  Who dunnit?  In a civilized country, crime investigators would be interested in Shylock marketers around Mokola although I’m not saying they did it.

If votes ever count, governors and legislators who support policies that bring suffering on the masses would never be re-rigged in.  This is one of the reasons why Labor must come out strongly for the Uwais electoral reforms so that David Mark and those that believe that “calls for Iwu’s removal trivialize electoral reforms” will never have the back-door opportunities that rigging guarantees, again.

+ + +

Finally, how can Hausa/Fulani continue to turn Oyo and Ekiti North into killing and raping fields, after ruining the farmlands with impunity?  Who will save us?

The Nation on Sunday, March 28, 2010.

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11 Comments on “If Yoruba cannot grow their food, Yoruba must starve & – Tola Adenle”

  1. folakemiodoaje Says:

    Selfishness is a big problem beclouding the foresight of our people on important issues.

    The point raised on Ministry of Agric and the fertiliser subsidy is noted and it is one that I think is grossly unfair. At the time of Obasanjo, he was preoccupied with his farm alone that he forgot to think about the country as a whole, fertilisers distributed was mainly in the north and to a few large scale farmers in the south – subsistence farmers that are the majority had no chance.

    Apart from our over-reliant on the north for many food products, lack of preservation is another big problem, so people sell cheap to minimise wastage.

    Maybe now people will see clearly.

    Like

    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      emotan77
      emotan.wordpress.com
      info@emotanafricana.com
      197.211.53.17
      In reply to an earlier essay posted here. Comments will be cross-referenced under essay:
      https://emotanafricana.com/2015/04/16/if-yoruba-cannot-grow-their-food-yoruba-must-starve-tola-adenle-2/

      Dear Folakemi,

      Thank you for this, and please do not get me going on retired General Obasanjo because it’s at his doorstep that I believe most of Nigeria’s problems lie. The few essays from my weekly newspaper days carried over to this blog – mostly written during his presidency – said this same thing. While we are all aware of his forever running around all over the place where those before him do not go, I’ve given up writing on him.

      He had the chance to re-make Nigeria: lot of goodwill, a press that was very supportive but he went the way of the typical African despot, especially during his second term.

      Check out just these two essays:
      https://emotanafricana.com/2012/11/14/retd-gen-obasanjos-verdict-of-history-is-already-in-tola-adenle/

      https://emotanafricana.com/2012/11/14/retired-general-obasanjo-let-nigeria-be-tola-adenle/

      Now, as for the present, I’m in agreement that our people will open their eyes and see.

      Sincere regards,
      TOLA.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • folakemiodoaje Says:

        E se. Sincerely, how I wish we have many more elders like you! Most of the problems we are dealing with today are carried-overs for lack of adults to shed lights.

        Thank you for lending your voice. Thankfully Internet is there for those who care to learn …

        Like

      • emotan77 Says:

        Dear Folakemi,

        Modern communication resources make it easy not to be an onlooker in matters that concern all of us, and no matter our ages, we should strive to keep up with discourse on our country.

        One of the most prolific contributors to this blog – like your good self – is 78 years old, and she does not allow important issues go by or come up without lending her voice.

        Sincere regards,
        Tola.

        Liked by 1 person

      • folakemiodoaje Says:

        Agree on the ease of information dissemination of today.

        I used to think that other elders, the educated and enlightened ones just don’t care anymore as they are not that affected by all the issues at home, and of course reading posts such as yours reveal I was wrong. In a way it is inspiration for the youths to persevere and use available medium to lend our voice.

        Thank you

        Like

      • emotan77 Says:

        Dear Folakemi,

        Thanks, indeed. It’s easy to believe as you did, and to quite a great extent, it’s true. After all, the older ones enjoyed the benefits that abounded in Nigeria of the past in getting educated, jobs, et cetera. Unfortunately, though, it does not appeal to older people alone. When you read on any issue in the West – burning issue or not – you find there are thousands of comments.

        The only sites where you can find tens/dozens and sometimes hundreds of comments are issues that concern ethnic rivalries: Yorubas being abused and bullied by Ibos; handful Northerners abusing Ibos & Yorubas and, of course, Yorubas answering back in like awful language.

        On the whole, therefore, we all need to strive to be proactive because the lack of it is part of the reason for corruption festering to its present situation.

        Sincere regards,
        TOLA.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Folabi ayoola Says:

    Yoruba land is a nation, but it is so disgusting that yoruba nation lacks independent-minded leaders even though we have everything that a nation should have. Production of food in the land is a primary objective.

    Fuel subsidy removal is a poblem of jonathan administration . Any administration after jonathan will inherit the problem because his administration cannot get out of it before it expires. President jonathan should create avenue for nigerians to support his policies..

    Yorubas should think inward on how to make the region to be independent on production.
    Regards, Folabi

    Like

    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      Thanks, Mr. Ayoola. The points you’ve raised about independent-minded leadership may seem remote but it’s one of the main problems in the region because it seems the leadership has set its sight on non-achieving central and some other state govts as the standards to emulate for governance. The region used to be a pace-setter in many things and I understand your point as meaning food security should be a part of this. Regards, TOLA.

      Like

      Reply

  3. emotan77 Says:

    Thanks very much, Dear Femi.

    This subject needs continuous attention before it really gets too late.

    Regards,
    TOLA.

    Like

    Reply

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