Ripples Nigeria/Cannabiz Africa
11 February 2023 at 09:15:00
Africa’s most populous nation, largest economy, and top oil producer—will hold a presidential election on Saturday 25 February 2023. Of the 18 candidates, just three have a real chance to win, but outsider, the AAC’s Omoyele Sowore is hoping his pro-cannabis stance will get him elected.
African Action Congress (AAC) presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore will push for the legalisation of cannabis if elected Nigeria’s president on 25 February 2023.
Sowore had in an interview with Ripples Nigeria on 20 January 2023 in which he decried Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil and reaffirmed his commitment to diversify the Nigerian economy should he get to power next month.
The rights activist, who stressed the commercial value of cannabis, said the importation of the substance would boost the country’s foreign earnings.
He said: “There are some weeds on earth, there are reasons why God created them. For example, cannabis, if you take it the right way, will increase your thinking. I am not taking it but I will legalise it. It is not that you should abuse it.
“In fact, the non-legalisation of cannabis is why people abuse it. There is no place you will reach in Nigeria where you won’t be able to buy cannabis if you want it. They are selling it in the mosque, in the church.
“Pastors are taking it and Islamic clerics are also taking it. If you want to buy good cannabis, you will get it from NDLEA (National Drug Law Enforcement Agency). If you know how much they are making from cannabis in this country, you will marvel.
“The rest is medicine, it is money. Canada is making over $4 billion from cannabis. If Ondo, Edo, Sapele in Delta and Ekiti are exporting cannabis, they will not be requesting oil money in Abuja.”
Tweeting last week, Sowore insisted the country negatively affects Nigerians more than cannabis and poison.
He wrote: “Cannabis is illegal in Nigeria because they claim it will make people “run mad” but Nigeria itself is legal and it makes more people run mad every year and even kills more people than tobacco and alcohol, road accidents and poison!”
Whoever wins the elections will have a tough job on their hands. Time Magazine reports that Africa’s largest economy, still recovering from a COVID-19 shock that triggered the country’s second recession in just five years, continues to struggle. Inflation reached 21.5% at the end of 2022. The unemployment rate stands at 33 percent for all adults and 42.5% for young adults.
Some 40 percent of the country’s 221 million people live below the poverty line, according to The World Bank last March, and “many Nigerians—especially in the country’s north—also lack education and access to basic infrastructure, such as electricity, safe drinking water, and improved sanitation.”
The value of the naira, Nigeria’s currency, plunged last year as oil theft, a chronic problem in Nigeria’s south, took a bite out of the country’s oil exports. A plan to replace old banknotes with new ones has gone completely off the rails this week, leading to cash shortages, protests, vandalism of bank buildings, and fights at ATMs. Acute fuel shortages for consumers have also set voters’ teeth on edge. Corruption remains endemic.
The now 13-year insurgency of terrorist group Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc in the country’s northeast. There are secessionists in the southeast, led by the Indigenous People of Biafra, who are accused of most of the dozens of attacks aimed at election workers and facilities over the past four years. Well-armed criminal gangs commit crimes in multiple regions.