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Ukraine Donation: National Disgrace Stemmed from Years of Leadership Failure – Peter Obi

Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 election, Mr. Peter Obi has described the 25,000 tons of wheat donation from Ukraine as a ‘national disgrace’.

The Senior Communications & Public Diplomacy Officer of the British High Commission in Abuja, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe had disclosed in a statement issued on Thursday that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) encouraged the benevolent donation from Ukraine.

The supply was targeted at providing emergency food assistance to 1.3 million people affected by crisis in the northeastern part of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Obi in a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter on Monday commended Ukraine’s generosity, however, he stressed that the donation is a testament to the years of poor leadership in the country.

“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 neighbour, 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,” he stated.

According to him, “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.”

He further stated: “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.”

He advised that to overcome the embarrassment, Nigeria must aggressively reorder 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.”

Hope Ejairu

Hope Ejairu is a writer, sports analyst and journalist, with publications on print and digital media. He holds certifications in various media/journalism trainings, including AFP.

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