By JOSHUA DADA, Osogbo
The federal government has declared its determination to provide all that it would require to ensure that the agricultural intervention project to be pioneered at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife and bankrolled by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the tune of N3bn, is tremendously successful.
The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe who expressed the determination equally accepted a challenge from the Soil Science department of the institution’s Faculty of Agriculture, in respect of the need to canvass requisite soil test in order to determine the appropriate quantity and type of fertilizer to be applied on farmlands in different parts of the country.
Ogbe while speaking at a public forum to sensitize the members of the University Community and environs on the need to seize the opportunity of the intervention project, noted that it would serve as their quota to government’s initiative to diversify the nation’s economy from its mono-resource nature to multi-resourcefulness.
The public forum, facilitated by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Obafemi Awolowo University, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, saw Chief Ogbe lament the untold hardship which the prevailing economic recession in the country has subjected citizens to, adding that Nigeria has failed to utilize all her endowments for the betterment of her citizens.
While pleading with Nigerians to be patient with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the efforts to turn-around the fortunes of the country, the Minister urged Nigerians, especially youths to embrace agriculture as it is the only way out of the economic recession facing the country now.
He challenged the ivory towers to partner the government in the effort to reposition agriculture in the country, saying that the country’s economy had been sick for more than forty (40) years as a result of dependence on crude oil at the expense of other sectors.
“The nation’s economy is a consuming one. We import nearly everything. This is responsible for the weakness of the nation’s currency. Bad economic policies coupled with lack of long-term plan have set the nation back drastically”, he said.
Chief Ogbe, commended the authorities of the University on its cattle-rearing technique following the information provided by Professor Aderibigbe that the University has a ranch where it rears cattle with international best practice, and sell nourishing beef to members of the University Community at one thousand two hundred naira per kilogram.
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, OAU Governing Council, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, in his address, stated that OAU is ready to partner with the Ministry to move agriculture forward as OAU has both manpower and natural resources to support the programme and make the University the food basket of Osun State.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tope Ogunbodede, in his own remark expressed his administration’s appreciation to the Minister for the visit and further commended him for his outstanding commitment to the success of the proposed agriculture intervention project in OAU.
He similarly thanked the Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi for facilitating the town hall meeting, stressing that OAU has all it takes to accomplish any agricultural programme the Minister brings to OAU.