By Joy Odor
Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, an aspirant come September 2024 Edo election has informed that with 1.6 million hectares of arable land in Edo and fertile land, my policies is to bringing on board if elected as the Governor all year around farming seasons that would sustain food security and provide food supply.
He maintained that with 1.6 million hectares of arable land, Edo people need to leverage on what the state has, saying with the abundance resources, they can mobilizes resources, harness potentials and move those things forward.
Umakhihe who disclosed this at the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Media Centre shortly after submitting his Expression of Interest and Nomination forms affirmed that his intention to revolutionize agriculture system in the state.
The former Permanent Secretary noted that he has contributed in no small measure ideas that have continued to assist the country to greater heights, narrating that he is more than prepared to leverage on those advantages that he has gone through over the years of service to the nation.
He also added that to tackle insecurity in Edo state through the deployment of neighborhood watch as a way to guide against infiltration of communities by unknown people.
”But first we must also tackle the insecurity in the system. I have elucidated here how I would tackle security, because security itself is of serious concern. My strategy is of intelligence gathering and involving the traditional institutions in security matters.
”I have looked at it and see that people need to leverage on what Edo state has, the abundance resources, so that we can mobilizes this resources, harness potentials and move those things forward. As we speak, Edo state has 1.6 million hectares of arable land.
“And this is me, somebody who has worked in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for over three years, and i believe, that I can revolutionize agriculture in that state. For sure, what you hear in my place about farming is rainy season and that is the only time they farm but I tell you the big concept I have is, all year round farming.
“There will be no dry season or rainy season for farming. It will be all year round. Rice for example, you can cultivate three times in a year, l want to be able to get irrigation scheme across the length and breath of those arable regions and ensure that we farm all year round and it doesn’t stop there.
“I ‘m also going to mechanize agriculture, provide satellite data centers, across the 18 local government areas where people can just hire the tractors and develop, protect their lands.
”I have seen that some farmers, over 50% of their cost is on land preparation, while that is off and the rest is very easy. My focus is on agriculture.
”And of course empowering the neighborhood watch so that together we can have the security situation nipped in the bud and every Edolite can sleep with their two eyes closed.
“I have also taught of education, we have some infrastructure in some of the schools, some are dilapidated, but then we also believe that we can innovate rehabilitate all of those structures.
“And the original problem is having personnel to teach in those schools, the schools are lacking teachers, attention will be paid to have the qualified teachers in those schools and also training and retraining will be essential for those teachers so that they can impact on our students.
”I have also itemized what i will do, my focus will be on primary health care, i have also optimized issue of women empowerment, youth empowerment.
“But i want to tell you that as it stands, i am the best man foe this job, i have a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, i am a chartered accountant, other Masters of Business Administration and I have a PhD in security and strategy” he maintained.
Umakhihe resolved that to govern Edo, is borne out of the need and desire of his people to experience real governance that will touch every edolite.
“I am one who has served at the top echelon of the Federal Civil Service, I have served as a Director in several ministries from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to the National Sports Commission, Federal Ministry of Sport, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“I have had extensive diplomatic interaction because my oversight then covered over 116 diplomatic missions as at the time I was serving there.
“So having retired from service, now is the time for me to concentrate solely on Edo state and my slogan has always been if I could do it without making any electoral promise, now I want to make one which I must fulfill.
“But I want to tell you that as it stands, I am the best man for this job”, he gloat.