Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has declared a state of emergency in cocoa production to ensure that the state maintains its position as the leading cocoa producing state in Nigeria.
The governor made the declaration when the Yoruba Patriot Movement (YPM), a socio-political group, paid him a visit in Akure on Friday.
“It is true that most of our cocoa trees are ageing; we will bring different species of cocoa for re-planting to replace the ageing ones.
“This will revive the dwindling fortunes of cocoa in Ondo State and Nigeria in general. The state government is committed to revolutionalising cocoa production,’’ he said.
Akeredolu called on farmers to embrace all-year round farming, saying this was a panacea to the food scarcity being experienced in the country.
He emphasised the need for restructuring the federal system of government to cede more powers to states in calculated efforts to enhance the country’s socio- economic and political development.
He said that the concentration of powers in the centre had largely contributed to Nigeria’s nation-building problems.
“We have been clamouring for the country’s restructuring for a long time and this must remain our focus. We must ensure that we speak with one voice to attain our dream.
“We must give it whatever it takes to restructure Nigeria for good governance and the betterment of the nation,’’ he said.
Earlier, Chief Oladosu Oladipo, National Coordinator of YPM, said that the major concern of the organisation was widespread poverty and food security challenges facing the Yoruba nation.
“We seek government’s assistance in the area of basic infrastructure which includes dams to cushion the effect of drought and provision of security for the lives and property of our people.
“For instance, the Ogerego Dam in Oyo State, which would have been the largest dam in West Africa, was abandoned.
“The dam could have served as a means of electricity generation and massive irrigation farming, which would have saved us from shortage of food.
“The widespread poverty in South West can only be reduced by venturing into agriculture; with government providing basic infrastructure like good roads and markets, among others.
“We are planning to hold an economic development summit for the Yoruba nation, where inputs will be needed for the preparation of a well-thought-out position paper on production functions for the Yoruba nation,’’ he said.
Also, Dr Fredrick Fashehun, Founder of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), urged the people of Ondo State to support the Akeredolu-administration and ensure its success.
He appealed to the state government to accord priority to the security of lives and property of the people.
Fashehun urged the Yoruba nation to remain united and speak with one voice on national issues.
He also said that the restructuring of Nigeria would aid efforts to reposition the country for impactful governance.