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Introduce annual national yam exhibition to boost agriculture – Obasanjo urges Ebonyi State

By The Citizen
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Former President Olusegun  Obasanjo has advised the Ebonyi State Government to introduce annual national yam exhibition  as means of encouraging  farmers  to put in more effort in agriculture.

Obasanjo , who noted that Ebonyi  was one of the four pilot states selected for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal number two, an international    zero hunger project,  suggested that the best yam farmer  should be given accolades as means of motivating others.

He spoke during a one-day  South-East  Economic  and Security  Summit in Enugu  where Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State advocated the  resolution of boundary disputes to foster peace and development in the South-East  geo-political  zone.

Obasanjo, in a statement on Sunday by  Umahi's Chief Press Secretary,Emma Anya, said, “Last year leaders met in New York, United States at the end of millennium development goal. They came with sustainable development goal and had 17 goals. Item No.2 is zero hunger by the year 2030.

'So they approached me and said yes, zero hunger but we want you to lead the zero hunger review in Nigeria We took four states and said will will focus on the  four states as pilot states.

' I want to take Ebonyi which is one of the four pilot states in the federation. Why can’t Ebonyi as a yam producing state have an annual yam exhibition. An annual yam exhibition where you will have judges that will determine who is the best yam farmer of the year. Not in Ebonyi State but in Nigeria but Ebonyi State will be the state hosting annual yam exhibition. That way you bring new  interest  to yam production. You start glamorizing farmers and farming.”.

At the event which was hosted by Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi  Ugwuanyi  and   attended by Deputy Senate President  Ike Ekweremadu,  Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Anambra State Deputy Nkem Okeke, and retired army chiefs, Umahi  said that an end to    boundary disputes  in the South-East was needed  for   peace and development  to  take place in the zone.

Umahi said,  “Let me say that one of the key areas the promoters and organisers of this very important programme must help us as Governors to look into is our boundary problems amongst ourselves. 'There are many developments that should have taken place in those locations we have issues with our ourselves and I think there is the need to resolve them”

The governor , who noted that the challenges facing the region were beyond economic and security issues, urged  the leaders of the zone to  unite  and  ensure peaceful coexistence among the states.

“We also need  other summits. There is nothing we can achieve as a people without a political platform. So we will be needing political summit and integration; We will be needing cultural summit and integration and we will also be needing a love summit and integration,” Anya's statement quoted him as further saying.

He observed that mineral resources abound in the south-East but regretted that much had  not been done to harness them.

The governor therefore called for public private partnership as well as the federal Government to assist the states in the South-East to develop their   natural resources  and boost the economy of the Igbo  and Nigeria in general.

Umahi added,  “Our economic summit and security to my understanding must be of two types and for this to work, the promoters are already in place that is the organisers and so these promoters and organisers  should  look at the individual states in the  South- East where we are endowed with natural resources  and  give ideas to bring people that can assist us in the development of those God- given natural resources”.

Speaking also,  Senator Ike Ekweremadu condemned the continued detention of the IPOB leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and called for his release.

“If the court says you should be released from detention, government must do everything to respect that and everybody who is accused of an offence must as a matter of necessity and in good time too have a say in court. This  reminds me of the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu. Whatever is the offence he must have a say in court. If the court  says he should be released, he should as well be released,” he said.