I Will Transform Oyo State As Governor-NNPP Governorship Candidate, Popoola
The Governorship Candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in Oyo State, Engineer Joshua Olukayode Popoola has said that he would embark on the transformation of the state, which would make it less dependent on money from the Federal Government by diversifying into agriculture.
Engineer Popoola, who was at an interactive session for governorship candidates organized by the Ibadan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pointed out that his government would strive to bring Oyo State back to its former status as one of the major commercial hubs in the South West.
He said that the state, with a population of over 7.8 million people, has the greatest opportunity to forge partnerships that would enable it implement economic goals and drive accelerated growth in “our key economic sectors.”
He said that his administration would engage in wealth creation through agribusiness that would develop small and medium scale enterprises across the agricultural “value chain, providing linkages between the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of agriculture.”
He disclosed that Oyo State has about 28.542 km with over 1.2 million farmers, and favoured with good rainfall and fertile land to cultivate crops such as maize, yams, millet, rice, plantains, palm produce and cashew.
Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman of the occasion, Engineer Bamidele Johnson, disclosed that the programme was not meant to humiliate any of the candidates, but to give them a platform to roll out their manifestos, which will enable members of the public to be familiar with them.
He insisted that such programme is not new in the advanced countries and that it’s time to put “our politicians to test before they get to the positions of authority.”
The Chairman of the Planning Committee, Alhaji Abdullah Abiola Alli, said that the event was created to give the contestants a fair play to let them tell members of the public what they intend to do if they become the governor of the state.
While thanking the dignitaries from all the organised and registered sectors of the economy such as Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), labour unions and artisans, he maintained that the event will forever be in the memory of members of the Ibadan Chamber of Commerce and industry, (ICIS).
Farmers, he said, would be supported through organized cooperative agricultural extension services and partnership with agricultural agencies and development finance institutions, while funds would be targeted at agricultural to encourage large farming.
The agriculture drive of the state, he said, would be targeted at exportation to take advantage of global markets.
Engineer Popoola said that the NNPP government in Oyo State would resuscitate farm settlements and agriculture research centres, while the local governments and the LCDAs would be encouraged to invest in agriculture, with support from the state government, to enhance food production and food security to boost employment creation.
He also said that to facilitate the efforts of the government in this direction, the local governments would be made to open up villages through the construction of road networks to ease transportation of farm produce from the villages to market centres, just as genuine farmers would be encouraged with finance and technical support, adding that bureaucracy would not be allowed to be a hindrance.
He said, “we also intend to subsidize agrochemical products and other inputs that will be made available to farmers at
the identified selling centers proximal to the farmers.”
According to Engineer Popoola, all these would be done with the autonomy of the local government.
The NNPP Governorship Candidate further told the gathering that the pride of the state would be reinvigorated if elected and that he would work towards accelerating growth in trading and commercial activities.
He said that his government would support business initiatives, including the regeneration of “our markets. Key to this drive will be the involvement of all parts of the state. Major markets across the state will be upgraded with modern structures and improved access roads.”
According to Engineer Popoola, the NNPP government would make sure that it focuses on the industrialisation of the state, saying that all the previous papers and researches would be dusted and they would be made government documents for implementations so that whenever a new government comes, there is going to be continuity in most of the strategic and enforcement formulated laws.
“As one of our priorities, we will facilitate the rebuilding of major manufacturing companies in the state. Industrial hubs will be created, where public-private partnerships can provide the necessary infrastructure. Access to finance and markets are areas of SME development that will be given significant attention,” Engineer Popoola said.
Gubernatorial candidates of other political parties, who attended the programme included Chief Bayo Adelabu of the ADC, Hon. Taofeek Akinwale of the Labour Party, Akim Yusuf of the ADP, and Barrister Micheal Folorunsho Lana of the SDP, while the candidates of the PDP, Governor Seyi Makinde of the state and Senator Teslim Folarin of the APC were absent.
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