The mobile phone scheme is a great thing. Adesina’s plan has a lot of merit. He knows if the farmers have access to cell phones, they can call the government and tell them the roads are bad, they need fertilizers, they need silos and they need someone to negotiate better prices for their products.
I’ve been so caught up in the Lance Armstrong confession that I was beginning to think every celebrity and authority figure is a fraud. You see, I was so moved by the tale of the man with one testicle that dominated every dual-testicled man in cycling that I bought the yellow Livestrong wristband and wore it for a long time.
I wanted some of that Armstrong unbeatable mojo. Of course, I could have gone macho and had a testicle removed too. But, I’m lily-livered and I know it. I decided I could be invincible like Armstrong by wearing the wristband. I was until my twelve-year-old niece beat me silly in tennis. It was the first time I suspected Armstrong was a fraud. Now, with his own mouth, he has admitted to it.
I turned to Nigeria to look for a new hero and discovered that the usual band of critics who has nothing to do with their time where attacking the one minister they needed to roll out the drums in support of. This is a man that the eminent secretary general of the United Nations called “an eminent personality”. And, we’re not talking about the Ota farmer. We’re talking a professor who used to sit in an air-conditioned office in America and tell African farmers how to farm.
The critics, most of whom call themselves columnists, were getting their panties up in a bun because of the proposed N6b mobile phone for farmers scheme. I knew they were all wrong and the minister was right. Just to prove that I decided to do what any logical person would do. I called a couple of my uncles who are rural farmers to find out how mobile phones would put more food on my table.
I couldn’t get through to my uncles – one in a rural farm in Oyo State, the other up north. That got me worried. I feared the mobile carriers had gone anti-government and were blocking calls to rural farmers.
When I finally got through to them via other relatives, I was informed my uncles couldn’t answer their phones because their batteries were dead, they ran out of credit and they were broke on account of poor harvest.
I immediately became a convert in the mobile phone scam, sorry – scheme.
I tried calling the federal ministry of agriculture to register myself as the number one supporter of the mobile phone scheme. Turns out the federal ministry of Agriculture and rural development does not have a website or a website you can pull up through Google. And, their Facebook page lists them as a company with 31 likes, attributes that makes me wonder what the two people talking about them were talking about.
I thought it’s a cool thing that the head of a ministry whose department is stuck in the previous century is doing his best to bring Nigerian farmers into the new century. That for me is the very definition of selflessness. Once every Nigerian farmer has a cell phone and start friending themselves on Facebook, the minister can go back to the president for a billion naira to develop a website for the ministry of Nigerian farmers.
Anyone who doesn’t think the honourable minister is a genius for coming up with this scheme deserves to be denied food for a year. If the minister is guilty of one thing, it’s insubordination. His boss, President Goodluck Jonathan, knows Nigerian farmers still think the world stay in touch via telegram. So, in his 2013 budget presentation, he said, “the Ministry of Agriculture, for example, will work with the Ministry of Communication Technology to ensure that 5 million farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs receive mobile phones to be able to access information about agro-inputs through an e-wallet scheme.”
But, when Adesina claimed the government only has plans for 2 million farmers. I would never hold an agricultural man responsible for simple arithmetic except when he messes with my yams. But, I’m confused about his assertion that the government will not buy the phones from “China or anywhere else”. That struck me as odd because I think he’s forgotten that the Vision 2010 thing has been moved to 2050. Someone needs to text him and remind him that as at today, the only thing we produce are scandals.
If anyone knows the minister’s phone number, please get in touch. I have an excellent idea on how I can help the minister procure or subsidize the N6b mobile phone scheme. Even though it’s still January, I can promise his top staff big Christmas hampers if he signs off on my deal. If you have any problems with me giving the top agricultural ministry staff hampers next December, send me your address too. I will include you in the hamper list.
Frankly. I think the so-called critics and columnists miss the point. The mobile phone scheme is a great thing. Adesina’s plan has a lot of merit. He knows if the farmers have access to cell phones, they can call the government and tell them the roads are bad, they need fertilizers, they need silos and they need someone to negotiate better prices for their products. Then the president can go to the National Assembly every quarter and ask for budgetary supplement on behalf of the Nigerian farmer.
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