It was inevitable perhaps, that it had to come to this. According to news reports, thirty acres of farm land used for the cultivation of Indian hemp, with a market value of forty million naira, has been destroyed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Osogbo, Osun State capital.
The Deputy Governor of the State, Erelu Olusola Obada who witnessed the destruction lamented that valuable lands in the state were being used to cultivate Indian hemp instead of staple food crops. For once the intellectually challenged deputy governor was talking sense, to an extent. Apart from lamenting, Erelu Obada should ask herself some questions about the effectiveness of the government of which she is by virtue of her position, a key player.
An important area of discourse is, how come valuable farm land in the state is now devoted to the cultivation of Indian hemp instead of staple food crops? No prices for guessing correctly the answer. Quite elementary really. Consumed by indolence and time wasting the Oyinlola/Obada maladministration have not come out with a blueprint to revive, modernize and uplift agriculture in Osun State.
The famously inept duo, fixated on allocations from the ‘mainstream’ have not been alert enough to see the endless possibilities that the modernization of agriculture provides. Now the chickens have come home to roost. Apart from the socio-economic disaster of farm lands being turned into hemp farms, federal allocation is dwindling as a result of the worldwide economic meltdown. Oyinlola and his sidekick Erelu Obada failed to prepare for the rainy day and now the disaster is multi-faceted. Once again the age long truism is being confirmed, this being that indolence, inability to plan and maladministration comes at a cost. In this instance a big debilitating cost.
Nature of course abhors a vacuum. If the Osun State government does not know what to do with fallow farm lands under its watch enterprising miscreants will show it the way. Hemp farms have become employment and income generating schemes precisely because of the ineptitude and planlessness of Oyinlola and his government. The hemp farm revelations reflect the moral decay and administrative bankruptcy of the government in Osun State.
The deputy governor shouldn’t just lament she should resign. There is nothing new about having well coordinated and implemented government backed agriculture initiatives. Mrs. Indira Grandhi’s ‘green revolution’ is still to date a masterpiece of social engineering.
Mrs. Gandhi conquered famine and agricultural backwardness by introducing improved new seeds, in addition she trained an army of agricultural extension workers to show the peasant farmers how to improve their yield and introduced better storage and preservation systems and networks. Unlike the inept Erelu Obada, Indira Gandhi was a determined, highly focused lady. Not for her the frivolities and silly indulgences so beloved of by the hare-brained Erelu. Not surprisingly Indira Gandhi’s achievements live on long after she has passed away. On the other hand, no one is likely to remember Erelu Obada within days after she has left office.
The rightful owner of the mandate to govern Osun State, the valiant well prepared Engineer Rauf Aregbesola has a well thought out blue print for the modernization and revitalization of agriculture in Osun State. Like the Awolowo government in the 1950’s, the peasant farmer would have been at the focal point of the programme.
Under Aregbesola, revitalized commodity boards would have been used to revitalize the agricultural sector. Osun State would have gone for a large slice of circa N200 million a day of the huge Lagos metropolis appetite for food products. The effect would have been a phenomenal increase in the living standard of those involved in agriculture. There would have been no space for fallow farmlands to be used as Indian hemp farms.
Under Aregbesola agriculture would have had a pride of place. However, the master manipulators of elections have so far delayed him from executing his meaningful, pro-people, well thought out programme. The people of Osun State are much poorer for it. Indian hemp farms will continue to crop up as long as a do-nothing administration is in place. It is a crying shame.