By IFEANYI CHUKWU NWANNAH
Zamfara State was carved out of old Sokoto State in 1996. It has 3.7 million people who are predominately farmers. Its motto is “farming is out pride,” it has Bakalori Irrigation Dam where rice and other crops can be produced to feed the whole West Africa and have a lot for export to generate revenue for the country.
The late Ahmadu Bello Sardaunan Sokoto had a very large farm in Bakura
that houses zamfara College of Animal Science, yet Zamfara remains one of the poorest states in the federation that wholly rely on oil revenue because politics of cause has made the people very lazy resulting in the influx of the youth to urban towns thereby making the agricultural activities to dwindle very drastically. The people have been blindfolded by power drunk politicians to believe that they can get rich quick through politics, rather than farming.
These able bodied youths are being used by greedy politicians as thugs to achieve their aims. Those who assume political offices refuse to revitalize the farming activities but rely fully on oil revenue which they siphoned as public wealth into their private pockets using the young ones to meet their selfish interests. They collect the money and wait for another month for another federal allocation which is not even used for the development of the people.
They make the youth to be roaming the streets begging for alms, abandoning agriculture to suffer setback.
Zamfara is a state blessed with abundant agricultural resources which the people don’t need to go into politics. There are large number of farm lands
waiting to be cultivated but nobody will cultivate them except the aged people yet the north are shouting of marginalization and nobody is marginalizing them but they are marginalizing themselves because of laziness. The economic prowess of the people have been neglected for economic growth hence they carry cutlasses and dangerous weapons, smoke India hemps and drugs to kill innocent people in the name of politics.
In youth that are suppose to develop the area are used as thugs by the greedy politicians to achieve their political ambitions but who cares?
Politics of bitterness has made dark cloud to hand over the youth because they are indoctrinated by the politician. The urban areas are crowded by thugs abandoning the state that has abundant agricultural resource because the government made it so as they use the youth for the selfish interest.
As a result, the socio economy began to be marred due to incompetence and the laziness to follow the path of farming which they were known for. Record has it that since the state was created in 1996, it has been under going gradual development and metamorphosis in the economic, political and social sectors. There is not policy frame work that places full participation of agriculture in the efforts to tackle the sector backwardness that can help the people for sustainable economic growth.
The major problems is based on the observation is the government efforts to encourage the youth then sector for urgent development of agriculture. There are much power in every sector of agriculture but unless something is done, Zamfara State may remained economically backward until the end of time. May be the state government may go to Abuja to collect its Federal allocation one day to discover that there is no fund from oil.
There is need therefore for agriculture to be promoted. The youth should be sponsored to attained agricultural schools with practical knowledge and not only theoretical side of it. Zamfara should be a powerful agricultural base capable of transforming the state with viable agricultural potentials.
For several years the state has remained saddled with economic problems
of development due to lack of funds. There must be plans and established
projections of prosperity in agriculture. The shortages of funds, which the state is must be overcome. The truth is that Zamfara is one of the most powerful states in the federation.
The problems of agriculture in the northern setting have been discoursed so many times by agricultural experts in various fora. But the basic reality is that majority of the people in state are themselves agriculturally handicapped who need intensive enlightenment and orientation on the necessity on their part to contribute towards the development of agriculture for economic growth.
Majority of rural populaces by their background have developed lukewarm and lackadaisical attitude to farming aggravated by inherent problems of funds and the poor performances in their farms have been discouraging parent and public participation in active agriculture. People these days are more obsessed with material gains.
And again, the present economic problems have rendered farmers dormant
in various localities. Thus the farmers can no longer take effective participation in farming. Politics has created wide disparity between the agricultural sector and public. As many people in the rural area and even urban area hesitate to go into farming, many politicians encourage them to hold on to their doubts and hesitation. Thus mediocrity overwhelms merit and constructive thinking.
As majority of the people are obsessed with something else, their
performance in promoting agriculture becomes inadequate. In the above mess and the cumbersome bureaucratic exigencies, agricultural activities are thrown into confusion and abysmal uncertainty.
In fact that gave way to agricultural and food insecurity. In fact it has been proven severally that many agricultural scientists have been found wanting and reckless in the discharge of their official responsibility and subsequently leading to poor performance, poor infrastructural facilities, inadequate fund and the seemingly confused policy plans. All these threw the system into confusion and uncertainty. Certainly, committed attitude, openness and probity must be the only yard sticks towards agricultural stability and progress.
But the governments must provide adequate funding and enough incentives for the desired results to be achieved otherwise the thorny issues of agriculture must continue.
Agricultural experts should be invited to advice the state government on all matters relating to the development of towns and villages in the state.
Moreover, beneficiaries of the scheme will be employed youth, who will be on the same opportunity with civil servants in the state.
Other people that will hope fully take advantage of the program include non – Governmental organizations, farmers and other retired civil servants. It is hopeful that through industrial agricultural initiative scheme, cottage industries under the industrial drive and trade development and model villages under the village integration and community service, the objectives of establishing the programs will be vigorously pursued so as to make Zamfara people the most industrious people in the country.
The law that establishes this programs will reproduced entirely to give
focus to the objectives, organizational frame work, strategies and the
unique mechanism for poverty alleviation provided by the government
instead of giving them, motorcycles and cars to kill themselves. The
alleviation and economic self reliance to the indigenes of Zamfara
state should be the focus of Governor Abdulazeez Yari.
Such initiative will also mandate the farmers to inculcate productive
ethics on civil servants with a view of creating an income source during the service as government staff such skill acquisition will further stimulates them to live independently on retirement. It will create in them a new lease of life and a new life of direction and purpose.
This also will create the formation, design and the implementation of job creation program with emphasizes on small and medium scale enterprises (b) implementation of the projects through investment, promotion and advancing human development.