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Nigeria’s Democracy Has Matured – VON D-G

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The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, says the 21 years of uninterrupted democracy has taken Nigeria far in various ramifications and development.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Thursday that Nigerians needed to celebrate June 12 as the new national Democracy Day with gratitude to God and a deep sense of reflection.

President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 recognised the outcome of June 12, 1993, Presidential Election and declared June 12 as national Democracy Day instead of May 29.

The day will now be marked on June 12, 2020 for the first time.

Okechukwu, therefore, said “we thank God for 21 years of uninterrupted democracy, which has taken Nigeria far and the country has achieved a lot in various ramifications and development.

“Within this 21 years, we recorded a geometric leap in terms of number of schools, both at the primary and secondary levels, built in the country by government and individual Nigerians.

“Our school enrolment increased geometrically as well; with little or no out of school children in most states of the federation. Thanks to the Federal Government school feeding programme and other school enrolment enhancement interventions.

“The number of universities both government-owned and private added more than twice what it was before 1999.

“We have more Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) across the length and breadth of the country serving our people in our villages and communities.

“We have more roads and more usable one already fixed by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and more truck A roads being fixed across the country presently.”

Okechukwu said that the most important and recent positive development making huge success is the President Buhari Agrarian Revolution, designed to uplift millions of subsistent farmers to become mechanised farmers.

He said that presently, more people engage in one form of agriculture or agro-allied business or the other than before.

The VON boss said that the Buhari Agrarian Revolution had put in place programmes which Nigerians could participate and make robust gains from the revolution.

“One of such programmes in the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme, which I will encourage every Nigerian, as well as groups at village and community levels to key into.

“The CBN is providing a near-zero interest soft loan for farmer/farmers and agricultural technical support in the programme to ensure participants succeed.

“This programme has what you might also term 100 per cent return on investment because the CBN will also off-take or buy-up all produce of the farmer/farmers at the end of the farming season, leaving them with zero post-harvest loss.”

The director general said that with the numerous people-friendly agriculture policies and programmes practically running nationwide, it was clear that President Buhari had laid a solid foundation for the diversification of the economy from oil dependence.

Okechukwu added that “in some years, Nigeria and Nigerians will be exporting rich and value-added agricultural and agro-allied products to other countries and will definitely depend less on oil.

“Its foreseeable effects will be food sufficiency, millions of jobs in small agriculture/agro-allied cottage industries and better security since millions of youths will be engaged.

“Most importantly, there will be improvement in general livelihood of Nigerians and the economy through increased productivity and foreign exchange earnings.”

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