By Adewumi Ademiju, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has urged States in the Southwest to adopt a common strategy to curb the menace of herdsmen so as to prevent people of the region from being consumed by hunger.
The governor said it would be impossible to encourage people of the region to embrace farming when their investments were being lost daily.
In his welcome address at the quarterly meeting of Southwest governors in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on Monday, Fayose described the menace of herdsmen as a major impediment to the development of agriculture in the Southwest region.
He also called for unity and brotherliness among governors and leaders in the Southwest zone, saying; “it is not our own making that we are brothers from the same zone, and if we are serious about developing this zone, we have no option than to be our brothers’ keeper.
“Therefore, to move the Southwest zone forward, we must respect the political beliefs and opinions of others and we must not do anything that will undermine one another.”
The governor said the Southwest must collectively determine its place, benefits and status as Yoruba nation in the Nigerian nation, pointing out that “in the 2017 federal government budget, the Southwest is one of the least beneficiaries.
“The federal government 2017 budget is about N7 trillion and the only capital project allocated to Ekiti State is the Akure – Ado Ekiti road to which N250 million was earmarked. What can N250 million do on Akure – Ado road that is begging for reconstruction? There is even no guarantee that the N250 million budgetary provision will be made available at the end of the day. I am sure this is applicable to other states too compared to other zones.
“We must therefore ask pertinent questions. How much did the federal government allocate to irrigation, construction of dams and storage facilities to boast agriculture in the Southwest?”
The address read in full; “I welcome you specially, to this very important meeting, which is aimed at fostering unity and development in the Southwest States.
“Particularly, I appreciate my brother governors for this visit, which to me and the people of Ekiti, is historic. It is historic because the meeting is holding in my state, not minding that the last meeting was my first attendance. I appreciate you.
“I also acknowledge our collective patriotism in fostering unity and development in the Southwest States. No doubt, your sincerity at the last meeting held in Ibadan, Oyo State won me over and I am now more than ever before, committed to the integration and collaboration.”