By Nosa Obaze,
The issue of cattle colony has been causing a lot of brickbat in Edo State especially between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It all started early in the year when the rumour went round that the Edo state government was trying to coarse the state house of assembly to come up with a legislation to establish cattle colonies. The PDP was in the vanguard of opposition to the alleged plot.
The state government had to come up with a statement denying the allegation in its entirety.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, to Edo State Government, in a statement stated:
“Our attention has been drawn to another set of lies by the dying Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has approved land for the establishment of cattle colonies in Edo State.
“We wish to categorically state that the Godwin Obaseki-led government has not entered into any agreement for cattle colonies in any part of Edo State.
“The claim is the PDP’s concoction, fabrication, and the aim of the dying party, peopled by rogues and bandits, is to attempt to smear the rising profile and image of the Obaseki administration.”
Going further, he added: “Only a hopeless party like the PDP tells such barefaced, blatant and brazen lies because it has no issues to bring to the table. It is also not true that the Edo State Government is not doing anything about the activities of the Fulani herdsmen in Edo North.
“The security challenges we face today in Nigeria’s North East region originated with the PDP.”
He explained that “every educated Nigerian knows that the nation’s security apparatus are controlled by the federal government and it will amount to sheer mischief to blame Governor Obaseki for the nation’s security challenges.
“No amount of misinformation by the ailing PDP will sway Edo people and residents in the state, who witnessed the criminal activities of the PDP while the party was in power. Edo people are very intelligent who can sense a lie from a distance.
“The PDP lacks the credibility to speak on any issue in Edo State. Rogues and looters cannot suddenly turn advocates of good governance. PDP cannot give what it does not have.”
However, like the proverbial wild fire, the argument has refused has to die. At a recent ‘meet the people tour’ embarked upon by the PDP in Edo North, Chief Dan Osi Orbih, the chairman of the party in the state, accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of been behind the plan by the federal government to set up cattle colonies all over the country, arguing that when discussion on the idea came up, Governor Obaseki was the only one that did not object to it.
But in a swift response the state government denied it, saying that it has not ceded land, in any part of the state to anyone, for ranching project.
According to Obaseki, “The Edo State Government wishes to clarify that it has not ceded any land, in any part of the state, for ranching project to anyone.”
He explained: “my administration recognises that animal husbandry is a form of business which is done by private individuals, and the state government does not, as a matter of policy, directly engage in business.”
The governor reiterated that under his watch “the Edo State Government will remain an enabler of businesses through policies, incentives and laws and will continue to play this role to attract private investments that will create jobs for our teeming population.”
He however noted that “private individuals and groups that have submitted proposals to get involved in animal husbandry will receive the support of the federal government through the Edo State government for the success of their businesses.”
The governor enjoined Edo people to ignore effort by some individuals to give political colouration to every government policy.