By Adeniyi Onaara
The group said they went to meet Obasanjo to ask his assistance with the issues the Nigerian rubber sector is facing.
The National Rubber Producers, Processors, and Marketing Association of Nigeria’s Osun State branch presented former President with a live crocodile (NARPPMAN).
After a closed-door meeting, the group led by its chairman, Evangelist Oluwatosin Jeremiah, gave the gift to the ex-president at his house in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, on Monday, May 23, 2022.
Mr. Oluwadamilare Ajayi, the Wildlife Curator at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Wildlife park, received the crocodile after Obasanjo received it.
Jeremiah while addressing journalists after the meeting said they visited Obasanjo to seek his help on the challenges facing the rubber industry in Nigeria.
Asked why the group presented a life crocodile as a gift to the ex-president, the group leader said, “We can’t give him money, that’s why we settled for this and you can see how he received and valued it.”
On the challenges facing the rubber industry, Jeremiah said many commercial banks are not willing to grant financial aid because of the six years gestation period of rubber.
He said, “Rubber will take six years before you start reaping the benefits. So, because of that gestation period commercial banks are running away from it. This has made it difficult for rubber to strive in Nigeria.
“Since we have discovered that Baba (referring to Obasanjo) recognised rubber and knows its importance to the sinking Nigerian economy, that’s why we came to seek his help. How do we raise money to develop rubber industry?
He, however, disclosed that Obasanjo was ready to help them.