By Ewa Innocent, The Sight News
Abakaliki: Ebonyi state Governor, Engr. David Umahi, has advised the people of the state,not to abandon their farm works and other agricultural activities for politics.
The advice came during the flag off ceremony of this year’s farming season held at International Conference Center,(ICC),Abakaliki.
Addressing the people, Umahi said government has got enough fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria to assist the farmers this year,and urged them to register with the state ministry of agriculture.
His words,“We have funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and from Federal Government,so farmers should register with the state ministry of agriculture and natural resources to be able to access the loans.
“You only need to tell us how much fund, fertilizer and herbicides you want and how you intend to pay back because we will not profile farmers this farming season”.
According to the governor, government would only verify the farmlands to be used for cultivation but will not provide rice seedlings to farmers as previously done.
“Our own people, including workers and government officials, dealt with us last farming season and when we are eating our future, we do not know.
“You pay high amount of money for rice seedlings and they (officials) would get the seedlings through the farmers and supply them to us.
“We are therefore not procuring rice seedlings for anybody again”, the governor insisted, adding that farmers should produce their own seedlings or go to Benue to buy.
“My father was a farmer all through his life, trained all his children to the university level but never sought for government’s rice seedlings,” he stated.
Umahi, advised civil servants, who could not access the N4 billion agricultural loan secured for civil servants in the state , to get registered, but warned that the facility would not be treated like the issue of gratuity.
“The records of the gratuities paid by the past administrations in the state were burnt.Otherwise, the 40 per cent payment we made could have been used to pay all the civil servants,”.
Umahi, who is seeking re-election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), appealed to the traditional rulers to persuade their subjects to vote massively for him come March 9, 2019.
He said this would demonstrate the people’s appreciation for all that God had used him to do for the state,and decried the low turn out of voters during the last February elections.
“The turnout of voters on February 23 was poor. You should persuade our people to vote for us instead of voting on the basis of clannishness”,he appealed.
Responding,the chairman of the traditional rulers council, Eze Charles Mkpuma,who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers, admitted that votes were divided and cast on clannish considerations.
“We shall, however, guard against such attitude on March 9. We shall use the election to reward you for the rapid transformation witnessed in the state under your watch,” Mkpuma assured.
Those who attended the occasion were rice and cassava farmers, traditional rulers, beneficiaries of state government empowerment schemes,members of the community social development agency,among others.