Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu
By Isaac Asabor
Victor Hugo once remarked: “You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.” Today, Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu’s action plan for Edolites when he eventually becomes the governor of Edo State in the next political dispensation is such an idea that nobody can resists as it is now. In this context, the action plan is encapsulated in the economic policies he would be advocating by the time he takes his seat at Osadebey Avenue, particularly those involving the agricultural sector in the state.
To the view of this writer, Agrodubunomics is an agricultural economic policy which Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu will be bringing to bear as the next governor of Edo State upon his victory in the forthcoming general elections in the State. It is an agro economic policy that will be associated to Investment in Agriculture.
As everyone is no doubt aware, agriculture represents a large proportion of the total economy of any nation. Demand for agro products is on the rise due to demographic and improved income from farming. Edo state is essentially an agrarian society, and agriculture was the main-stay of the defunct Mid-West Region. Therefore, Odubu is poised to re-engineer the agro sector to eradicate poverty by creating wealth and increasing food production.
He is also poised to encourage small scale farmers to maintain and, perhaps, increase their holdings, while the government under his leadership will support the farmers with critical farming inputs, even as it will encourage them to form cooperative societies to take advantage of new trends in farming techniques, ICT, mechanized farming, high yield crop variety, easy access to fertilizer, market access and pricing and irrigation for off raining season farming.
Not only that, he is poised to build new rural farm roads while old ones would be expanded for ease of access and evacuation of farm produce.
Odubu in his expected tenures in the next political dispensation has for the umpteenth times asserted that his focus will be on those crops with comparative advantage for maximum gain. According to him in a media parley recently, the intention is to optimize value chain investment in Oil Palm, Cocoa, Rice, Cassava, Rubber, Plantain and the Citruses best suitable for our clime.
He said, “There will be improved land management to make access to land less cumbersome for would-be agricpreneurs, while the current size of the state farm bank will be expanded.
Facilitate single digit interest rates with relevant agencies and banks for Edo farmers and where necessary, provide direct grant to them.
Revamp and revitalize existing farms and plantations while encouraging new ones via Public Private Partnership”.
As gathered, through PPP scheme, government will invest in silos and other storage facilities to assist farmers deal with post-harvest losses”.
Against the foregoing backdrop, there is no denying the fact that Odubu understands the importance and role of agriculture in everyday life. Without doubt, a pragmatic approach to the development of agriculture is what Edolities are expecting in the next political dispensation, and that is what Odubu will be moving on to attain by the time he becomes the governor of the State.
It is germane to applaud Odubu in this context in his determination to deepen the State’s economy in the next political dispensation as most Edolite’s main source of livelihood is farming. About huge percentage of the population in the State; particularly of those in the rural areas, rely directly on agriculture as source of livelihood.
Not only is Odubu going to Osadebey Avenue with an idea whose time has come, there is no denying the fact that the growth of the agricultural sector in any economy contributes to marketable surplus. This trite fact cannot be different in Edo State. Many people in the State are no doubt engaged in other areas of businesses that made it compulsory for them to rely on food production. By the time God, in His infinite mercy, gives Odubu the grace to become the governor as he aspires to be, it cannot be pooh-poohed that as agricultural sector development takes place in the State, production increases that there would be expansion of marketable surplus. This may be exported to other States in the country, and even to overseas countries.
Also, in as much as most manufacturing companies rely on agriculture for main source of raw materials where the bulk of the agricultural products are transported by roads from farms to factories there is no doubt that such activities at the point of value chain would be capable of boosting the economy of the State.
The fact cannot be argued against that construction of irrigation schemes, drainage system as well as other such activities in the agricultural sector will provide larger employment opportunities. Odubu, no doubt, is poised to bring a big idea as been seen in “Agrodubunomics” that nobody can stop to him from taking the agricultural sector in the State to the next level; even as he can through that provide more employment opportunities for the labor force in the State. This, in turn, will reduce the high rate of unemployment in the State and enhance Security. To me, it is against the backdrop of the benefits that are inherent in agriculture that all Edolites should rally round Odubu in ensuring that he is adopted as the consensus All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer and in the same light vote for him at the much expected general elections.
Since agriculture employs many people, there is no doubt that it will in the same vein contribute to the economic development of the State. As a result, the income level in the State as well as people’s standard of living will be improved. The fast rate of development in the agriculture sector will offer progressive outlook as well as increased motivation for development. Hence, it will hasten the creation of a good atmosphere for the overall economic development of the State as economic development relies on the agricultural growth rate.
Against the foregoing backdrop, it would be recalled that with 1.1 million hectares of cultivable land and a teeming young population, Edo State is undoubtedly one of the few states in the country with huge potential for agriculture. Also, the state has a landmass of about 19,187Km2 of which about 70 percent is cultivatable. There is no denying the fact that Odubu with the idea he is set to bring, and which is encapsulated in Agrodubunomics that his tenures, when given the opportunity by the people of the State , that he will go a long way in using agriculture to turn the economy of the State around.