By Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed that he did not only engage in crayfish farming business but also pioneered its association, lamenting however that his arrest, detention and imprisonment by the then military dictator, General Sani Abacha, ended the once promising venture.
Obasanjo, however, said he is already re -strategizing in conjunction with other Catfish farmers on how to reposition the subsector, boost the country’s crayfish productivity and income for the operators.
The elder statesman and foremost poultry farmer disclosed this at the weekend when the farmers, under the aegis of the Catfish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFAN), met with him as a founding member of the body at the boardroom of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
He expressed satisfaction in returning to the association, after an interregnum, assuring that the industry would be at enviable heights in no distant future if they all worked together as a body.
“I started the Poultry Farmers Association and as a result of its achievements, that was why I began the catfish association too. What put me off was that I was arrested, detained and I was imprisoned.
“When I came back, I had thought I could return to my farming business before I was taken to the golden cage in Abuja. I will say it has been an interregnum. But, I am back home now,” he said.
The CAFAN Grand Patron also said that farmers had been overwhelmed by the intermediaries in the industry, emphasising that there was need to change the situation in order to make headway in the industry.
“The situation in the catfish farming is caused by the farmers, because the farmers have allowed these intermediaries who do nothing to be dictating for them. You are the ones working and they are the ones making the profit. It shows that the farmers are not liberating themselves.
“And if you want to liberate yourself, within a year, we can do it. And that is what we have to do. We have to re-strategise,” Obasanjo disclosed.
He commended the leadership for it steadfastness under the new Catfish Farmers Association of Nigeria, as he formally enjoined the leadership to join at the December 29 showcasing of his aquaculture venture to the Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
The National President of CAFAN, Sunday Musa Onoja, said the exemplary traits of the former President in farming could not be overemphasized in and outside the country, adding that the association would no doubt tap from his experience to take catfish farming to the next level.
The association’s identification card (ID) was presented to Obasanjo by the Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, Chief Tayo Akingbolagun, while the Vice President (Southwest) Prince Olorunfemi Sunday, the Ogun State Coordinator, Dr. Jaji Kehinde, and other members from Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Lagos watched in admiration.