Osun state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has disclosed that his government has intensified plans to revive the lost glory of cocoa production, saying that the state could easily generates N40billion annually through the commodity.
Aregbesola made the disclosure while addressing people of the state during the Christian and Muslim Inter – Religious Service to usher in Year 2016, held at the car lot, Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo.
Aregbesola who extolled Almighty God for sparing the lives of the people of the state to witness the new year, said 2015 was the year of liberation, deliverance and total freedom from the bondage of maladministration of the erstwhile administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The state helmsman held that his government has identified about 66,000 productive cocoa trees across the state, saying once these are practically manifested as being projected, it would bring over N40billion to the economy of the state.
Aregbesola who bemoaned the way and manner at which the nation’s economy was practically and technically ruined due to ineptitude, corruption and impunity that characterized with the immediate past administration, lamenting that over 70 percent were deduced from the allocation revenues to the state during former President Jonathan’s government.
Aregbesola further said that the nation has gotten to stage where nothing should be expected by the states of the federation from the Federation Accounts, noting that the panacea to current economic meltdown is for all to imbibe the spirit of hard working, patience and as well extend full support to government as the country is gradually ushering from economic hardship to prosperity.
He reiterated that no stone would be left unturned by his administration in ensuring a genuine economic diversification, adding that his government has made available everything humanly possible to revamp the agricultural sector as the only realistic economic alternative to oil.
Speaking on the benefits and opportunities available to the state if the agricultural sector was fully resuscitated especially during this trying period, Aregbesola said his government would ensure employment generation and wealth creation through the potentials embedded in agriculture.
He said he has called on the relevant stakeholders and those at the helms of affairs to collaborate with the state in promoting the agriculture and solid minerals, adding that Lagos state had already agreed to provide markets and buyers for all the farm products in Osun.
According to him, “the era of revenues from the Federation Accounts has gone. We must firstly appreciate this and work very hard in our bid to diversify our economy through agriculture.
“It is unfortunate that our economy has been bastardized and nearly run aground, but notwithstanding, our government would not deviate from the right cause of living to its expectation and continuously bring smile to the faces of the people of the state.
“In view of this economic challenges, our government has intensified efforts to revamp the lost glory in the agricultural sector and as well generate huge revenues from cocoa production as we have rich capacity in the product.
“Our state is currently have nothing less than 66,000 cocoa trees which can fetch us N40billion every year if fully cultivated.
“To this end, we have made available all necessary ingredients to ensure full cultivation of cocoa production across the state in a bid to gear up our revenue capacity.
“In achieving this, our government has already collaborated with some stakeholders especially Lagos State Government to help us in opening a market for our farm produces in the state.
“This among others if fully realized would in no doubt gear our Internally Generated Revenue.
Governor Aregbesola however called on the people of the state to aid his government in the area of prompt tax payment, saying no government would succeed without tax.
Earlier in his introductory remark, the Head of Civil Service in Osun State, Mr. Sunday Owoeye emphasized the need for all the civil servants to keep pace and cooperate with the current administration of Governor Aregbesola in his bid of building a viable and better future for the entire citizenry.
Owoeye who lamented over what he described as Nigerian Mono-product economy of crude oil said the erstwhile governments especially the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has forfeited the fortunes embedded in the nation’s God-given abundant resources which was later snowballed into the current economic quagmire.
The Head of Civil Service in the state held that unless Nigerians rise to the occasion and embrace the current economic realities by truly diversifying the economy to enhance and boost the revenues capacity, the nation would continue to languishing in economic anomalies.
Owoeye called on the people to adapt to the changing reality of the current economy, saying in spite the fact that real ‘change’ is difficult, everyone must see the need to change the face of the economy by contributing their individuals’ quota towards the growth, development and all round transformation of the state.
Owoeye charged the citizens of the state to tap and explore the abundant potentials endowed in agriculture and solid minerals to chusion the effects of the current dwindled revenues to the state and as well enhance the Internally Generated Revenue.
According to him, “the significance of this new year inter-religious service is for us to be more prayerful to Almighty in the fact that God preserves each and everyone over the myriads of tribulations encompassed the last year.
“This year actually signaled and called on us to be more dedicated, more committed, more patient and more prayerful towards the upliftment of the current government in the state as the entire country battles economic quagmire.
“Since Nigeria has lost confidence in the potentials embedded in our crude oil, therefore there is the need for all to brace up with the government and provide needed support and cooperation to achieve all round development.
“In our bid to achieve bountiful economy, there is the need for us to go back to farm as the only alternative to avert the effects of the dwindling revenues in the state and Nigeria at large because farming is the only venture in the country which is permitted by all.
“We must embrace farming to increase our productivity against the backdrop of the economy.
“To achieve all these, citizens in the state must demonstrate high sense of commitment, dedication, perseverance, diligence, resilience and patience in helping the government to get over the present excruciating economic impasse.
He commended Governor Aregbesola for being resilient, dogged and forthright in discharging his constitutional responsibilities to the people of the state in spite the adverse effects of national economic challenges.
Owoeye stated that the Aregbesola led administration has brought the real change required by the people of the state, urging him not relent in his efforts to continuously building a better future for the present and incoming generations.
“It is evident that Mr. Governor has demonstrated the needed sincerity towards the implementation of all his policies and programmes and this had equally manifested in all his unprecedented projects so far.
“Aregbesola is already on the top chair towards driving the revenue of the state to an enviable position in the interest of all.
“Governor Aregbesola has proved to us his ever-readiness towards the administrative and economic challenges facing the country orchestrated by the immediate past administration at the centre.
In their separate sermons, both Islamic and Christian clerics, Dr. Afiz Oladosu and Reverend Elisha Ogundiya called on the people of the state to rally round the present administration of Governor Aregbesola in turning around the fortunes of the state for the benefit of all.
The duo held that the current administration of Governor Aregbesola has demonstrated its unusual commitment and passion to development, growth and transformation which according to them had reflected through its numerous people-oriented projects.
They called for attitudinal change as the nation is facing with economic recession, saying the only way to revive the deplorable state of the nation’s economy is for all and sundry to change their attitude to government and as well see government as an institution of change and development.
“The only way to achieve a sustainable economy is for us to change our attitude and support our leaders to herald in desired developments and transformation.
The religious leaders noted the economic crisis facing the country through the effects of oil glut that led to dwindling revenues was not the major problem of Nigeria, saying the challenges came from the bad attitude of the Nigerian people especially those at the helms of affairs.
They therefore implored those at the corridor of power to embrace attitudinal change and lead in the direction of God as they are expected to provide an enabling environment for the benefit of all.
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