Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Any commissioner in Abia State that dislikes farm work will henceforth have a change of mind as the state Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, on Thursday ordered all members of the state executive council to start farming.
He made this known at the quarterly press conference on the activities of his administration, saying that the agricultural revolution initiative of his administration entails that farming must be embraced by those in government.
“All members of the executive council will engage in farming,” he emphasised. However, Ikpeazu did not specify if any sanction awaits any commissioner that failed to heed the directive to own a farm.
The governor explained that it was necessary for government to live by example and practice what it preaches thereby encouraging youths to go into farming.
He said that he was determined to diversify the economy of Abia and make it totally independent of oil money to survive in the present economic melt down.
“If oil likes, let it fall or stand, we are going to chart a course for ourselves. We have to diversify,” he said.
As part of the move to revitalise agriculture, Ikpeazu said that the state would embark on massive production of oil palm, cassava, and cocoa, a cash crop that Abia was ranked as number six producing state in the country.
He also disclosed that arrangements had been conclude for the establishment of poultry village in the state in collaboration with Obasanjo Farms Limited, adding that all the modern facilities and equipment needed to run poultry farm had been procured. With the facilities in place, he said poultry farmers would only be required to just bring their day old chicks and breed, adding that his intention was to make Abia the poultry hub of the South-east zone.
The Abia chief executive said the road projects of his administration were on course as 27 out of 65 roads have been completed in 10 months, adding that all the ongoing road projects remain active.
He also said 800 street lights installed as compliments of the newly completed roads are all functioning out of the 1,000 earmarked for Abia cities while three bridges have been built.