Billy Graham Abel, Yola
The paramount ruler of Ganye Chiefdom in Adamawa, Umaru Adamu Sanda, has called on governments at all levels to fast track investment in the agricultural sector in the country in order to diversify the Nigerian economy, boost internally generated revenue and create employment for young people.
The Gangwari Ganye told reporters that his community, which is popularly dubbed the food basket of the Adamawa, lacks comprehensive and strategic investment in its agricultural endowments which has the potential to alter the landscape of Nigeria’s economy.
He made the remarks at an interactive session with journalists at his place in Ganye.
Umaru Sanda said his area grows cash and food crops like Cocoa, Irish potatoes, among several other crops, that could be harnessed on an industrial scale but that the community would require investment in road networks and farm equipment to realise its true potential.
“I am happy and fulfilled that I have reached twenty years in office and this kingdom has achieved much and contributed its quota to the development of this country,” Sanda said.
“Besides oil and gas, the next line for income generation for this country is agriculture because it would raise the income level of our peasant farmers, diversify our economy and the trickle down effect would be enormous.”
He added that “this kingdom is blessed with vast agricultural and natural resources with land stretching to the borders of the Cameroon republic.
“We grow crops like Cocoa, Irish potatoes, but there has not been markets for them after our people were encouraged by government to go into Cocoa farming.
“We need government at all levels, federal, state and local governments, to invest in both infrastructure like roads and farm implements, to aid our people [to] graduate from being just subsistence farmers to commercial and industrial farming.”
Speaking on the challenges of marking his 20th anniversary on the throne during a coronavirus pandemic, the native ruler said: “We have engaged all our communities on the compliance to all the rules guiding individuals and communities with respect to the coronavirus.
“Following the Executive Order by the governor of Adamawa State closing all cattle markets in the State, my chiefdom did not only comply with it but we have taken a step further because I have ordered the temporary shutdown of all markets in our borders with Cameroon in order to prevent the community transfer of the disease from Cameroon into the State.
“Ganye market is attractive to people… especially [from] places worst hit by the virus like Kano. We also do all we can to prevent them from coming in.”
Speaking on his twenty years in office, Sanda said, “I am most proud especially of the mammoth unprecedented crowd that thronged my coronation as the monarch of this chiefdom.
“Since my installation as the monarch of the Ganye Chiefdom, this community has been the most peaceful comparatively to other parts of the country.
“We have not witnessed any religious, ethnic or geographical conflicts, even if does happen, it is usually settled within the local community.”
The ruler used the occasion to draw the attention of government to the challenges of unemployment, saying: “Or communities cannot make progress without education and if we encourage our people to be educated and then there is no employment or some form of economic activities, then there is bound to be some deviation.”
He noted that his time in office has seen some members of his chiefdom attain some important national offices, including the former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar and the former National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur.