Permit me a space in your widely read newspaper to express my views on the need to support the Federal Government in boosting rice production in Nigeria.
Rice is one of the staple foods in this part of the world, though the ban placed on foreign rice has made it somewhat hard for some Nigerians to enjoy rice due to the stones found in local rice which now floods the landscape. As good as the idea of encouraging local production is, it has some attendant negative consequences which need to be checked, including high cost of the commodity. Before the ban by the present Federal Government, Nigerian markets were filled with foreign rice and it was affordable with people having options. However, one looks at it, the ban on rice importation into the country is a welcome development and a blessing in disguise as Nigeria is mainly known for her love and high preference for foreign goods or products.
For Nigeria to put a restriction on rice importation, we need to be well prepared and able to produce what we want to stop importing. Local farmers alone lack the facilities to facilitate the production of rice. Farmers are unable to cope with demand. Many farmers do not have mechanical help and infrastructure that can meet up the market demand without government intervention. Some of the local rice are okay for consumption, while some are not even good to the sight, much less to consume. Some of the production need more sophisticated materials to make the production effective and successful. Before cooking this rice one has to pick out the small stones, rice husks before being able to eat the rice without caution.
To enhance our production there is need for more investment into the agricultural sector. There is needs for upgrade to meet up the market demand of rice and marketing of rice at a cheap price. Government need to put in more resources to improve agricultural growth by training the local farmers, educating them on rice production, giving grants or low interest loans, providing fertilizers, providing machine that will make the cultivation and harvest of rice easy.
The government also need to carry out rice farming project across the country and other important agricultural farming project to create job opportunities. Our local rice should also be suitable for consumption first before thinking of export. That way we can hold our heads high and pride ourselves over food sufficiency, a development that will also boost the national economy.
Ken-Saro Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori
Promote Vocational Education, Please
The essence of university has for long been defeated in Nigeria. In the actual sense, not everyone should be in the university, as the university is meant for individuals’ with high level of thinking, innovation, problem-solving and sound reasoning.
The university is meant to be a research citadel where new ideas required to power local industries and organisation are nurtured, while evolving new strategies for economic productivity. Untill we go back to the basics of education and learning in Nigeria, we will continue to produce substandard graduates in quality and quantity.
Handicraft is entirely another different world, required for people who harness the practicality of the ideas being developed in the universities, and churn it out in massive industrial productions. I believe both handiwork and education are important in today’s Nigeria.
In Nigeria, the school system has no content of reality of life outside, thus limiting the capacities of students to get employment or engage in self employable ventures.
We see many students leave school and cannot represent themselves in any forum, or show intelligence even in the field of study they so prefer. The community see all who have been to school as people made for white collar jobs (office jobs) and this affects the students from venturing into small personal business or engaging in other innovative thinking.
I perceive this as a failure of the education system and a narrow approach to the celebrated curriculum and therefore, recommend learning at all levels to gather information, generate ideas and discover hidden capacities that are needed for the turnaround in the country.
Vocational education which was once a perfectly respected, even mainstream educational path, came to be viewed as a track for poor students. People have huge and diverse range of skills and learning styles.
The dearth of vocational education at the secondary school level has bred a skill shortage in manufacturing sector today. Many of the jobs are attainable through apprenticeship, on the job training, and vocational programmes offered at community colleges. They do not require expensive, four- year degree programmes for which many students are not suited.
Put Politics Aside…
The race for selection of the next president for the most populous nation in Africa has started. Although, Nigeria has 18 registered political parties, two of them; the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are more prominent. The nation is expecting the two parties to name their presidential candidates.
Obviously, we have quite a lot of credible candidates/interests all over Nigeria, but the needs of Nigerians should be considered first. Rotational candidacy has been put into practice since the beginning of this political dispensation and since it has been accepted by the majority of the populace, it should be encouraged to continue. Any party that drops this concept will be seen as having no prepared credible candidate from the zones that is denied the slot.
The media has important roles to play in this assignment. The media should consider majority interest when analysing the capabilities of each candidate. What Nigeria needs is a president with strong vision for the future of the country. We need an experienced person as president; someone who can communicate effectively and who is capable of making strong decisions in the overall interest of the nation. He should have crisis management skills and collaborative abilities to move the country forward. He should be passionate about the development of Nigeria and be creative in thinking.
More than ever before, Nigeria needs a strong, selfless leader with a good knowledge of the economy; a courageous and internationally respected personality.
This is the time to get our acts together and ensure we get it right.
Borikiri, Port Harcourt.
Don’t Die Avoidable Death
In one of the parishes I worked, a woman always came to me with bloodied nose and swollen face, fatal decoration from the man she called her husband. It was always a dilemma counselling her because I could see her helplessness. The next thing she feared more than loosing her life to her beastly husband was actually losing her marriage to him. To worsen her case, she did not have anything doing economically.
Long story short, I finally convinced her to run for her life, after receiving more bouts of life threatening beatings. I paid for her transportation to her uncle’s house. After two weeks, she came telling me that the man called and begged her to come back, she was obviously looking for my approval for her chicken-hearted and lilly-livered disposition. In my magnanimity, I chased her back to her uncle’s house.
After some months, the man went to beg. When I was consulted, I told the uncle to give the man two major conditions: 1. Empower the woman economocally. 2. Deposit an undertaken never to beat her with the police and the uncle.
Death in marriage by the hand of an abusive spouse is avoidable, do not honor it. We all woke up to the sad news of the death of Osinachi, a gospel singer, famously known for the song ‘EKWUEME’. Suddenly, the cause of her death started filtering. am now reading that she died of injuries from violence by her husband.
The news going round now is that she was been enduring this violence for years. So, her death, for me, was avoidable. Whatever made her to stay in that marriage despite constant life-threatening violence can never be godly.
There is nothing pious and righteous about enduring life-threatening violence till death. The Bible never said “ Blessed are those who are killed by their husbands or wives, for theirs is the kingdom” No!
If spousal violence is the cause of Osinachi’s death, she will not be the first, I do not know if she will be the last, but I hope hers will help in the liberation of many women in such situation.
I repeat, there is nothing godly, pious or Christian about staying with a man who beats you mercilessly and puts your life in danger. God can save you miraculously from accident, armed robbers, bandits, etc, but you see a violent husband or wife, you have to save yourself: RUN.
Reverend Father Oluoma,
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