BusinessDay

N4bn monthly allocation not enough for Ekiti – Ojo

...Vows to boost private sector participation, infrastructure, agriculture

A contender to the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket for the June 18 Ekiti State governorship election, Kayode Ojo said the state’s monthly allocation of between N3 billion and N4 billion from the Federation Account was not enough to develop Ekiti with about three million population.

Ojo, however said if given the mandate, he will boost the revenue base of Ekiti through investment in private sector participation, provision of infrastructure and rejuvenation of the agricultural sector which the state has a comparative advantage.

The governorship aspirant who spoke with journalists at the weekend after submitting his expression of interest and nomination forms at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja said as a purely Civil Service State, the allocation from the Federation Account is mostly utilised for payment of workers salaries and emoluments.

“Basically, that has stunted the growth of Ekiti because if you don’t have the money, you can’t invest on any kind of infrastructure or any kind of development. So we are going to do things differently. We’re going to bring people who will bring in investment, which will create jobs and at the end of the day, create revenue for the government.

“This is going to be our main focus; to open up every area of the state to both the agricultural routes, the capital city whereby investors can have free access to do their business and we want to make Ekiti a destination, not only in Nigeria and not only in West Africa, Africa but in the entire world.

“We want people to come into Ekiti and people can only come into Ekiti when there is adequate infrastructure and the environment is conducive for business. So that is going to be our focus,” he said.

Ojo stressed that if elected as governor his administration would massively invest in agriculture in the two-pronged way of food and cash crops; empower farmers and set up special programme that could help in taking produce to the agro-allied industry to process them into finished products to avoid wastage.

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“So, massive investment is going to be made into that and that is what is going to support growth, inspire a lot of people to go into agriculture. Government in itself, will also partner with both local Ekiti people, Nigerians and other foreign firms to go into other types of agriculture which is going to include all those cash crops like you want to talk of coffee, cocoa, among others.

“We are also going to do a lot in animal husbandry. We are also looking at setting up Tanneries that can compete and even beat the one that we have in Kano to produce leather goods and all those things for export to Italy and all those places.

“We will look into a lot of products in Nigeria today, that we are not producing enough that we are spending billions of dollars importing. We are still spending so much money; billions of dollars importing sugar into this country. We have a plan where we can set up a sugar plantation and produce sugar.

“Talking about closing the gap between the haves and have nots, we cannot consume our way out of poverty. We have to produce our way out of poverty. So when we get our people engaged in infrastructural projects, we get them engaged in all these agricultural investment and development, of course, prosperity will meet them along the way. That will reduce the level of poverty in Ekiti,” he said.

Ojo who stated that he has no political god father but ‘God the Father’, said there was nothing wrong with endorsement of aspirants by anyone, stressing that Ekiti people were politically wise and most of them are behind him.

“We are going to go to the field and we are going to contest at the primary and I know one thing and I believe that by the grace of God, I, Kayode Ojo is going to win that ticket. In Ekiti if you go there, you talk to the people, you talk to anyone, they would say that their candidate of choice is Kayode Ojo because the people know what I bring to the table.

“During Covid-19 situation, I supported the State and I distributed over 10,000 packages to 10,000 homes in Ekiti on my own. I gave support to the State Governor; I donated N5 million to the State Government. I haven’t taken one Penny from the coffers of the State Government. As we are speaking today, I am singlehandedly donating the Fire Station at our new Airport,” he added.

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