Peter Obi Laments Nigeria’s Dependence on War-Torn Ukraine for Food

March 4, 2024
Peter Obi

By Adedapo Adesanya

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 polls, Mr Peter Obi, has lamented Nigeria’s dependence on Ukraine, a country ravaged by war, for food aid.

Mr Obi, in a statement on Monday, expressed dissatisfaction at the current economic realities and recounted times when the Nigerian economy was faring better than that of Ukraine in 2015.

“Ukraine cultivates over 60 per cent of its arable land, whereas Nigeria has over 60 per cent 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,” Mr Obi said.

Ukraine has been attacked by Russia since February 24, 2022, after President Vladimir Putin claimed that the neighbouring country was a territory under it.

Mr Obi, in his statement today, said Ukraine’s GDP per capita was $2,125 in 2015 while that of Nigeria was $2,680.

But lamented that as of 2022, the reverse had taken place, with Ukraine’s GDP per capita exceeding $4,000, while Nigeria’s declined to $2,184.

He lamented that the regression in economic growth is attributed to a failure in leadership over the years, adding that Nigeria has remained unproductive since 2015.

“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,” he said.

Ukraine had recently donated 25,000 tons of wheat to Nigeria, in a move it says will help tackle the emergency food crisis affecting over 1.3 million people in Northeast Nigeria.

The development is part of the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) response in northeast Nigeria amidst inflation and food price spikes.

The contribution is also part of Ukraine’s humanitarian Grain from Ukraine initiative launched by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The shipment was made possible through the collaborative effort from the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Norway, the Republic of Korea and Sweden, which has helped cover the costs of transporting the wheat from Ukraine to Nigeria and its distribution to the families who need it.

Deadly conflicts in Nigeria have displaced millions of households from their homes and farmlands which negatively affected food production and supply.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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