The UN-FAO in December conferred an award on The Gambia when it was ranked as one of thirteen countries to have edged closer to eradicating hunger, but OJ has described the award a ‘joke’.
In an exclusive interview with The Standard, the ruling-APRC loyalist countered: “Every genuine Gambian with a mind, eyes to see and ability to feel will understand that that the assertion that Gambians are in urgent need of food aid is bogus and baseless. Whatever report OJ [may have quoted from] that indicates such is baseless, unfounded and unfair and does not represent the realities on the ground.
“Let OJ tell us from July 21 1994 backward, how many tonnes of rice and other cereals were produced and consumed in this country. And today, 2015, how many tonnes are being cultivated locally thanks to the sound policies government put in place. Let him tell us what policies and programmes he had put in place as a minister of agriculture. It was all synonymous to failure; he led that department and ministry to bankruptcy, and to total failure. What legacy has he left as a minister of agriculture at that time? If OJ was given a simple piece of note at the time he was minister [by FAO] to say, ‘we want to thank the government of The Gambia for their strides in agriculture’, he would have been blowing his trumpet till today.”
When put to him OJ’s assertion that the FAO’s yardstick to measure the country’s progress was based on the Kanilai farms, the young politician said: “He is wrong. The FAO as an organisation in this country went across the length and breadth of this country and they have seen what is happening. They met people who matter because it is not about sitting in your house and come up with a so-called report. It is an insult for him to say Gambians are starving. OJ knows what he is saying is not the reality. It is erroneous, misplaced, bogus and baseless. He is just making unnecessary noise. He is not honest to himself and he is not only unfair to government but the people of the Gambia. You see he cannot fool the Gambian people. Gambians are sick and tired of people having benachin or whatever and sit under their mango trees and start narrating elusive dreams to the people. If OJ is not selfish, he would have congratulated the president for this award for small Gambia to be recognised by FAO for the positive impact of his leadership in agriculture.]]>