The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday revealed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration begged Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbeh, to join the government.
Mr. Osinbajo made this remark at the Nigerian Initiative for Economic Development held at the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja.
The acting president, while unveiling the potentials in the Nigerian economy, said apart from power and other economic investment areas, there is huge investment potential in the Nigerian Agricultural sector.
He, however, jocularly said Mr. Ogbe, was literally begged to join the government, adding that he was enjoying the wealth made from his agriculture investment.
“You heard the Minister of Agriculture talking about agriculture and the sad poem. By the way, I took the poem from him. This is a poem about how miserable it was at the time. Let me assure you that Chief Audu Ogbeh became very wealthy in the farming business,” he said.
“We literarily had to beg him to come into government because he seemed to be enjoying his wealth a little too much. But the truth of the matter is that the agric sector is a massive, massive sector.
“There was a Mexican who came to Nigeria; he is one of the big banana farmers, banana and pineapple farmers, and he is still in Nigeria. He is in eleven states now. He came in on the invitation of some Nigerians who wanted to export bananas.
“They wanted him to come in here, grow banana and export them. But what happened? After a while, they found that he wasn’t interested in exporting anything at all. When they asked him why, he said: “Look, I’m selling this stuff here. I’m making more money here than exporting it. Every one of these bananas I’m selling; every one of the pineapples I’m selling. He is still very happy with the market and the market is growing. The market is right here, this is the kind of place where you really just have to be here!”
The acting president explained further that Nigeria, with the size of its economy, is a huge investment market in Africa, adding that Lagos economy is almost six times of Rwandan economy.
“My friend is from Rwanda. Rwanda is a very lovely country and Paul Kagame is an incredible individual doing really good things in that country and I believe that the country will do great things,” he said.
“But compare Rwanda to Nigeria in terms of just the size of the economy. We have 36 states in Nigeria. Lagos alone which is the commercial nerve centre is six times the economy of Rwanda.
“So, really when you compare some of these things people say ‘Oh! I want to go to there; I want to go here…Yeah!’ It’s okay. But the truth of the matter is that if you are really serious about investing in Africa, this is where you have to come to.
“This is absolutely where you must come to. There is no other place,” he added.
He also expressed excitement about the partnership being built with the Nigerian Initiative for Economic Development NIED, adding that the government will facilitate regular engagement with stakeholders on a regular basis.
“We should not lose focus. I like the idea of investors knowing that the reason why you are coming to Nigeria is not to help Nigeria. You will ultimately end up helping Nigeria, but the reason why you are coming here is because this is a good place to do business.
“And that is the only thing that should interest us and focus our minds. Ultimately, we will help our country, but first and foremost, this is a very, very good place to do business and it is going to be a profitable place—and very profitable for all of us.”