Obaseki Pays Buhari A visit Over Ranching Fund, Backs E-Transmission Of Results

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Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to make funds available for private businesspersons to set up cattle ranches in the state.

Obaseki made the appeal on Wednesday when he visited the President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the governor affirmed that while many southern states had ratified the anti-opening grazing law as agreed, Edo State had yet to do so because it wanted to be sure it could enforce the law.

The governor said he told Buhari that the people of Edo had resolved that ranching was a private business, adding that the Federal Government should make funds available for interested individuals under the National Livestock Transformation Programme since it (ranching) was expensive.

His words, “Principally, there were four issues I discussed with him. First has to do with the position of Edo State on the anti-grazing law. As you know, most southern states have passed laws relating to open grazing, but Edo has not, because we want to ensure that whatever laws we pass are laws that we can enforce.

“We’ve had extensive consultations with our people, extensive town hall meetings to deal with the issue that yes, we do not want open grazing; it is out-modeled, it’s outdated. However, what are the options?

“If we are asking that we should now have ranches and these cattle should now be constrained to specific areas, such as ranches, then who provides the land?

“What I came to discuss with the President was that since the people of Edo would rather invest privately, those who are interested want to make it a private concern, then the National Livestock Transformation Programme, which is now being implemented by the Federal Government, should acknowledge our model, and should also be able to help people benefit from the funding that is now being made available for people who want to go into the livestock business and make investments in ranches and other similar livestock programmes.”

The governor said he also spoke with the President on the debts owed by federal agencies to the state and asked him for intervention.

He applauded Buhari for his assistance in efforts to retrieved Edo artefacts from Europe and other countries, assuring him that Edo would continue to support his regime.

Obaseki, however, denied claims in some quarters that he would return to the All Progressives Congress, saying he would not contemplate such a move because of his integrity.

While calling for electronic transmission of all election results in the country, the governor affirmed that he could not abandon the party that gave him cover while he was pushed out of his former platform.

He said, “I think I’ve shown that I’m a politician with integrity and I have made it very clear that I didn’t leave the other party on my own; I was pushed out of the party, and someone else gave me cover, gave me an opportunity.

“It will not be the right thing to do to now leave who helped you, who gave you the umbrella in your storm, and then go back to the person who pushed you out.”

While reacting to the Senate’s decision to reverse its earlier resolution on electronic transmission of election results, the governor affirmed that he would not have won a second term had the Independent National Electoral Commission not deployed technology during the elections.

He added, “INEC has shown it from my elections that as soon as you vote, and the votes have been counted in the polling units, then that results should be made available, such that you already know what you expect to be collated at the ward collation points.

“What has happened in many cases in the past is that people go and vote; the votes are counted in the polling units. They know, but by the time it gets to the collation point, it changes.

“But this time around, because of the transparency, everybody will see and know what they are expecting to be collated from the polling units. That was what happened in my election.

“So, I am a very strong advocate for electronic transmission of results from elections and I want to also note that from my personal experience, INEC has the capacity, INEC has the technology, and also the understanding of how these things should work. So, they should be encouraged. I hope and pray that the President will assent to that bill.”

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