By Simeon OSAJIE
A frontline Edo 2024 gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of Labour Party (LP) in Edo State and founder of Okoukoni Care Foundation, Mr. Martins Azekhumhen Okoukoni has assured Edo people of his resolve to transform the agricultural sector in the state, when voted into power.
Okoukoni made his position known during the week, at Munich, Germany while addressing a gathering of Edo State indigenes who are resident in the country.
In his address, Mr. Okoukoni said taking a critical look at the state, he discovered that we are highly blessed by God as our vast lands are very fertile. This gift of nature has not been fully utilized by successive governments and the people. The inhabitants are hard-working people, but received little or no support from the authority.
“How do we have a state ministry of agriculture across the eighteen local government area of the state, yet the people are hungry? To him, this is a monumental error that needed attention with immediate alacrity,” he said.
Making reference to the United States and Europe, the Edo 2024 governorship hopeful said, few foreign nationals can feed six to seven states combine in Nigeria. The reason is because of their huge involvement in mechanized farming. In Nigeria, votes are allocated yearly on agriculture in the budget, yet nothing is done to ameliorate the plight of the suffering masses.
According to Okoukoni, “In my opinion, I recognised the fact that security is one area that has impeded the few who has the energy to farm. I promised to tackle the security situation headlong so that people can be motivated to return back to farm. Life has no duplicate, therefore people’s life must not be used to play gamble as personal safety is key in whatever we do.
“Apart from the fact that adequate security would be provided, to motivate the people for enhanced agricultural productivity, the government must also be involved. Doing this requires revamping our agriculture sector which has become comatose as it only exist in theory.
“My government would also encourage the people by giving loans and other incentives to them, so that their operations can conform to modern day method of farming which is purely mechanized. Farming, during his tenure would not be entirely left to farmers alone; state government shall be involved in other to boost food supply and have enough to export, if the need arises.”
On a final note, Okoukoni encouraged the people especially the youths, to embrace farming. “To me, farming is much more than cultivation of yam and cassava. Livestock and poultry farming is also another area wherein one can rake in millions if they have the necessary information and training required. By getting this done, I would have succeeded in helping to promote my slogan of “bridging the gap between the rich and the poor.”