Oyo Governor Reveals Why Nigeria Is Experiencing Economic Woes
SAN FRANCISCO, April 05, (THEWILL) – The Oyo State Governor, Mr. Abiola Ajimobi on Monday attributed the pervading economic challenges faced by the country to the failure of past governments to save for the rainy day during the oil boom, worsened by the neglect of agriculture.
The Governor, who spoke during the state's Agriculture Initiative Stakeholders' Consultative Forum, held at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building in Ibadan, noted that the forum was aimed at involving stakeholders in his administration's resolve to diversify the economy of the state through the exploration of aggressive, all-inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chain.
According to him, “We did not save for the raining day when there was oil boom in the country. We relied heavily on income from oil. But we have all been jolted into reality now that a barrel sells for all-time low of $30.
“Nigeria has depended so much on oil which has now lost its value at the international market. So we have to look for alternative sources of revenue which is through aggressive investment in agriculture.”
Ajimobi pointed out that the dwindling allocation from the Federation Account as a result of the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market had called for massive investments in farming.
“The fall in crude oil price has done more good than harm as it has opened our eyes to the effectiveness of mechanized farming as our saving grace,” he stated.
The Governor pointed out that Oyo has the largest expanse of arable land in the entire South of the country with 28,545 square kilometres, adding that it also has the largest concentration of agriculture research institutions in Nigeria.
While stressing that the state was strategically located to be the food basket of Nigeria, he expressed regrets that its potential had remained largely untapped over the years, short-changing the state of the huge revenue that could have accrued from agriculture.
Ajimobi, who said 28 out of the 33 local government areas in the state have been identified as agrarian, added that 100 hectares of land would be set aside in each of the council areas for cultivation.
He said the scheme would be all-inclusive, as it would involve students, civil servants, the state-owned College of Agriculture, Igboora as well as other agriculture research institutions based in the state.
The forum was attended by royal fathers, including the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji; Baales; local government transition committee chairmen and other stakeholders in the 33 local council areas of the state.