By Evelyn Osagie
The ancient town of Iwoye Ketu, Ogun State, was agog when the Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), President National, Chief Anibe Achimugu of Iwoye Ketu, was conferred with a chieftaincy title.
It was a homecoming event of a sort for the NACOTAN chief, who posited that the town is fast becoming a major cotton destination for investors and tourists.
Iwoye Ketu is a prehistoric cotton growing community situated at Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State, bounded in the west by Benin Republic and Iwajowa Local Government Area of Oyo State in the north. The community hosts 10,000 hectres of land approved and designated for cotton production by the state government. The community also gave out 1000 hectres for cotton production.
Conferring Achimugu with the title, Aare Gbegbaaje of Iwoye Ketu, was a deliberate move to encourage the harnessing of the vast opportunities that the cotton holds across all the value chain, according to Ooye of Iwoye Ketu, His Royal Majesty Joel Ademola Aremu Alaye Alaja V.
The move, he said, was also inspired by the unique position and role of cotton in boosting of local economy of the community, state, and the nation at large, saying: “I am convinced that this relationship with NACOTAN will guarantee a boost in the economy as well as massive reduction in youth unemployment”.
Reiterating his commitment to lead the association in line with the transformation agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government and Ogun State government in the cotton, textiles and garment sub sector, NACOTAN President at the chieftaincy installation ceremony, expressed appreciation to Kabiyesi and the town’s council of chiefs.
“A strong production base is sacrosanct and this is a responsibility the association has embraced in every sense of the word. The title Aare Gbegbaaje places on him a deeper sense of responsibility in ensuring that cotton takes its rightful place in the transformation of our economy.
“For me, this is the foundation of the laudable idea of the Federal Government in revamping the Cotton Textiles and Garment Sector of the economy.And I must appreciate the Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun for his administration’s support to the cotton, textile and garment sector in the state. Indeed, the provision of the 10,000 hectres of land for cotton at Iwoye is a feat that will go a long way to assist the association in achieving her objective of a strong production base. We will stop at nothing in working with our farmers, the local communities and the relevant stakeholders in achieving this,” he said.
He, however, called on other state governors to emulate this gesture in putting cotton on the front burner as the commodity is the next oil in Nigeria. In his words: “If the oil boom of the 70’s took Nigeria to where it is today, all hands must be on deck for the cotton boom that will take the country to where it should be in the days ahead.”
On his part, while citing the efforts of the Ogun State government as well as the role of the community to the development of the cotton industry, NACOTAN Ogun State chapter chair, Mr. Olorunshola Osasona, noted that the conferment of the chieftaincy title on the cotton boss will go a long way to strengthen the relationship between the association and the community.
According to him, the deliberate state-backed opening up of the Adire market to the online platform to attract greater patronage of both local and international market is a very proactive effort in the right direction. “We will not just produce our cotton for export and those in the textile value chain will not have to depend on importation of their raw materials. This then places a great sense of responsibility on cotton farmers to increase their production capacity. I applaud the governor for the initiative of Adireogun.com., a digital market space with the largest inventory of Adire textiles and accessories to feature over 2000 merchants from Abeokuta- the premiere centre of Adire production,” he said.
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