Delta State Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to support willing states to establish ranches as alternative to open grazing.
Okowa made the call on Sunday at the third session of the 15th Synod of Asaba Diocese of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at St John’s Anglican Church, Okwe, Oshimili South Local Government Area.
He said that open grazing had caused serious conflicts between farmers and herders, leading to loss of lives and sacking of communities in parts of the country.
He said that Federal Government could not be thinking of increasing food production and putting food on the table when herders were destroying farmlands with their cattle.
According to the governor, prices of food items had gone up because farmers cannot go to their farms for fear of being attacked by armed herdsmen and bandits.
“The Federal Government should support the development of ranching because it is in the best interest of the country.
“I want to thank God for Delta State. We have challenges in almost every state in this country, but I want to thank God for the relative peace in the state.
“I know we still have farmers-herders clashes in Delta, of which our Southern Governors have come out to make a statement and we are going to follow it through.
“Thank God our Northern brothers are beginning to realise that the suggestions we made were right and they are for the best interest of this country.
“We just hope that the Federal Government will put things together that will enable us be able to stop open-grazing.
“We know open-grazing can’t be stopped in one day, but an action must be started and pursued in such a manner that we are able to truly ensure that the cattle in this country are properly grown in the ranch in such a manner that we would not have the cattle destroying people’s crops,” Okowa said.
He disclosed that work had commenced on Isheagwu-Ewulu road to open up that part of Aniocha South Local Government Area.
On allegations of recycling of politicians, Okowa admonished political leaders to realise that they occupied every office at the instance of the people and must do everything possible to represent the interest of the people.
He expressed delight with the sermon at the service, saying “I want to thank the preacher for your words to us. I believe that whatever man is, it is by the grace of God.
“We understand the fears that we have as it concerns the politicians in this country. We know that politicians have continued to recycle themselves.
“We do know that there are some politicians who may not care about the people.
“But, there are some few politicians who care about their people and I believe that it is possible to make things work just as every Governor works in his own way as led by the spirit that is in him; if you are of God, God will lead you aright.
“We are aware that some governors, a few though, have gone to the Senate and have made their impacts but some others may not have made their impacts. Some people will go there to make their impacts while others will go there just because they want to exercise that power.
“I don’t want to praise anybody, but I know when somebody like Saraki was there, he was a former governor, but he was bold to speak the truth.
“We have people today who may not be governors yet they can’t speak truth to power.
“I do not believe that all governors have to go to the Senate; and I do not also believe that all governors should be banned from going to the Senate.”
“I believe that there’s a need for politicians to draw close to God. They need to realise that it’s not all about us, but for the actions they are taking to impact on the lives of the people.
“For me as a person, I would ordinarily wish to retire, if God wishes so but the important thing is, I do not know what God wills for me. I will pray about it. And I always tell people, I like to pray about it.
“As for what I will do going forward, I do not know. I will pray continuously. If my God wants me to retire, I will retire willingly. But if God calls me and says do this, it will be very disobedient not to obey God. Let the will of God be done in my life,” Okowa added.
He congratulated the retiring Bishop of Asaba Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt Rev’d Justus Mogekwu, for his contributions to the church and for his prayers for the state.
Earlier in a sermon titled “Encounters with Grace”, Rt. Rev’d Benson Chukwunweike, Bishop, Missionary Diocese of Agwu/Aninri, urged Christians to work for the grace of God to abide in them, adding that God gave positions of authority to those he chose.
“Your worst days are not so bad that Grace cannot find you. Grace sets aside the judgement that has been written against you and when grace is set to work it puts your enemies to quietness,” the cleric said.
He condemned the recycling of leaders in the country thereby depriving young people the opportunity to lead.