Don’t abandon farms for politics – Umahi

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The Governor of Ebonyi state, David Umahi has advised the
people of the state not to abandon their farm work and other agricultural
ventures because of the general elections.

Umahi gave the advice recently in Abakiliki, at the launch
of the 2019 farming season in the state.

The event was attended by rice and cassava farmers,
traditional rulers and beneficiaries of government’s empowerment schemes, among
other stakeholders.

The governor told the people that government has enough
funds to assist farmers during the farming season.

He said: “We have funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria
(CBN) and Federal Government so farmers should register with the State Ministry
of Agriculture and Natural Resources to be able to access the loans.

“You only need to tell us how much fund, fertilizer and
herbicides you want and how you intend to pay back because we will not profile
farmers this farming season.”

He said that government would only verify the farmlands to
be used for cultivation but will not provide rice seedlings to farmers this
year.

“Our own people, including workers and government officials,
dealt with us last farming season and when we are eating our future, we do not
know.

“You pay high amount of money for rice seedlings and they
(officials) would get the seedlings through the farmers and supply them to us.

“We are therefore not procuring rice seedlings for anybody
again,” the governor said, adding that farmers should produce their own
seedling or go to Benue to buy.

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“My father was a farmer all through his life, trained all
his children to the university level but never sought for government’s rice
seedlings,” he said.

He further advised civil servants, who had yet to access the
N4 billion agricultural loan for farmers, to register.

He, however, warned that the facility would not be treated
like the issue of gratuity.

“The records of the gratuities paid by the past
administrations in the state were burnt. “Otherwise, the 40 per cent payment we
made could have been used to pay all the civil servants,” Umahi said.

The governor, who is seeking re-election on the platform of
the Peoples Democratic Party, appealed to the traditional rulers to persuade
their subjects to vote for him on March 9.

He said that voting massively for him in the election would
demonstrate the people’s appreciation of all that God had used him to do for
the state.

“The turnout of voters on February 23 was poor. You should
persuade our people to vote for us instead of voting on the basis of
clannishness,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the traditional rulers, Eze Charles
Mkpuma, the Chairman of the state Traditional Rulers Council, admitted that
votes were cast on clannish consideration.

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“We shall, however, guard against such attitude on March 9.
We shall use the election to reward you for the rapid transformation witnessed
in the state under your watch,” Mkpuma said.

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