By Grace Alegba
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday in Lagos said that his administration would continue its drive to develop mechanised farming to achieve food security in the country.
Buhari made the assertion at the 75th anniversary lecture of Island Club with the theme “Nation Building and Institutional Development, Lessons for Nigeria from the Island Club at 75″.
The president, represented by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that efforts by previous administrations to improve the agricultural sector failed because of selfish interests which he fought after taking over power.
He said the manufacturing industry largely depended on agriculture, hence the administration’s passion which was yielding positive results.
He noted that several small businesses had been groomed and grown in the various agricultural value chains and the feat was impacting positively on the nation’s economy.
Buhari said that Nigeria was spending huge revenue on importation of rice before his administration took the bold step to stop the trend of importing things Nigeria could produce.
“We will do more for food security of our people,” he said.
On infrastructure, the president said that most of the nation’s roads, bridges, power plants, sea ports and other facilities were overstretched because of neglect and lack of renewal by previous administrations.
He said that several roads, rail and power projects had been completed, adding that so much had been achieved such that every state in the nation had projects completed with some ongoing.
He added that the Tincan Island to Mile 2 Road in Lagos causing gridlock in Lagos had been awarded and that work would begin on it in November.
He listed other ongoing projects in the South-West to include the Lagos-Ibadan rail, Lagos-Ota Expressway rehabilitation and Ikorodu Sagamu reconstruction project among others.
Buhari said that institutions in the nation were working and commenced the Island Club for contributing its quota to the progress.
He said that the fact that more was being expected from most institutions in the nation did not mean that they were not functional.
“Institutions have never seized to exist,” he said.
On the security situation, Buhari said that his administration had been able to recover territories occupied by terrorists before his coming to power.
He added that some abducted Chibok School girls were freed and all the abducted Dapchi School girls except Leah Sharibu, who is still in captivity were freed.
He appealed to Nigerians to let go of negative beliefs and support the APC government in its goals as well as give the president another chance to complete his good works by voting him for a second term in 2019.
Speaking in his own capacity as a grand patron of the Club, Fashola appealed to the chairman to lift sanctions against some erring members in the spirit of the anniversary.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, represented by the Deputy Governor, Mrs Idiat Adebule, while delivering his goodwill message commended the contributions of the club in both the public and private sectors of the economy.
Ambode commended the club’s efforts in promoting unity across cultures in the country and enhanced the socio-economic development of the state.
“On our part as government, we will continue to accord pride of place to social clubs in the state because we believe they have very important roles to play in ensuring social stability, promoting understanding and cooperation which are critical to economic growth, prosperity and general development,” he said.
Mr Olabanji Oladapo, Chairman, Island Club, prayed for the continued progress of the members of the club as it celebrated its 75th anniversary.
He described Fashola as a “true home boy in whom the Island Club is proud of and pleased with”.
He said that the purpose of the lecture was to contribute the clubs knowledge to key sectors of the nation’s fabric.