Arakunrin Rotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, by nomenclature, is a legal luminary, former Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and current Governor of Ondo State stirred the hornet’s nest last Tuesday when he told Nigerians that his government was proposing to start cultivating the much dreaded marijuana which the Yoruba call Igbo in the state citing the humongous revenue to be derived from the sale of the weed and its medicinal ingrdients as his reasons.
Arakunrin Akeredolu by all standards is among the most learned persons in the country and how does he think that growing marijuana in his state to boost the state revenue and for medicinal purposes still baffles us and most articulate Nigerians. Knowing full well the high potency of the weed to wreak havoc on the potential smokers.
The governor failed to mention one, just one ailment marijuana could cure. Ondo State is, as everybody knows, as agrarian state whose inhabitants are mainly farmers who grow food produce to feed the indigenes and export. To now wanting to start cultivating marijuana which the state is already known for is a disservice to the state and by extension the whole country.
His purported action will definitely throw up some worrisome issues first among which is the youth will now be free to smoke the weed at random. Some farmers may likely give up their vocation and become heavy growers. Which countries does Akeredolu intend to export the weed for big revenue, is it US, Britain or others which already know the much havoc the weed would cause their citizens.
Does the governor want to embark on building psychiatric hospitals in the state to treat prospective patients? The state cannot at present afford this self-inflicted sorrow on the citizenry. If the governor wants to boost the state revenue, it is not, we say not, by growing marijuana whose results will fall back strongly on the citizens and thereby increase the state problems, compounding them instead of solving them. The direct impact the cultivation of the weed will have on the populace especially the youths is better imagined than experienced. Students will have full liberty to smoke marijuama at will and that will affect the school system, overstretching their teachers’ discipline of them. Moreover, crimes and criminality will assume an uncontrollable crescendo that would relatively affect good governance. The much expected big revnue the governor envisages cannot assuage the volatile problems it will eventually encounter.
Judging by Governor Akeredolu’s mien, he should forthwith jettison this devilish idea of cultivating marijuana to rake in some dollars to augment the state’s finances which may be counter-productive much later. Let him use the large expanse of land available in the state for other profitable ventures like food farming and useful infrastructure, improvement of state farming and othe credible vocations for the people’s benefit.
Money realised from cultivation of marijuana is obviously not clean money. Let him look inwards if he wants to boost the state’s internally generated revenue rather than resorting to cultivating marijuana which at the end may not do the state any good, for people will be quick to label the state marijuana state an acronym the state does not deserve.
The state is well known for its reservoir of academics in all facets of knowledge. They can advise him on ways to boost the state revenue rather than taking to planting of marijuana to get huge revenue. The state is equally blessed with technocrats who can be of benefit to the governor on how to boost the state revenue. He should stop thinking of medicinal benefits that could be dervied from planting of marijuana.
The planting of marijuana could be replicated by most states if allowed to take off which could trigger off unquantifiable crimes and criminalities in the nation thus compounding the problems security agencies are currently battling.
We, therefore, appeal to Governor Akeredolu and his cabinet to forget this satanic project of marijuana planting in the state so as not to precipitate an unforeseen wildfire of crime and criminalities among the youths who may take to weed smoking to commit violence and other various culpable offences that could slow down governance. Surely marijuana is not a better alternative to boost the state revenue. Let Governor Akeredolu not compound the problems he is currently facing in office as the state executive. Those who are advising him to take to planting of marijuana to boost the state revenue are doing the state a disservice and are his arch-enemies he should avoid like a leper.
The projected fund Governor Akeredolu intends to invest in his proposed planting of marijuana could be put to other gainful capital projects that would be beneficial to the state citizens rather than building of psychiatric hospitals for the treatment of marijuana-smoking youths and hoodlums in the society.