Prof. Adeniyi Agunbiade, the Vice Chancellor, McPherson University, Seriki Sotayo, Ogun State, has charged government at all levels, especially those incharge of Ministries of Agriculture, to exhibit good leadership towards the development of the sector.
He also assured that he and other scholars will continue to engage in thorough researches to help in the development of means of making food available to the generality of the people.
The University don spoke as the guest lecturer at the 20th Memorial Lecture in honour of Prof. A.A. Adegbola on the theme, ‘All Flesh Is Grass: The Dimension of Non – Ruminant Feeding & Nutrition’, which took place at the main auditorium of the Ikorodu Town Hall, Ikorodu, on Saturday, November 6, 2021.
He said that the challenges confronting the implementations of research in Nigeria emanated from bad leadership, while urging officials saddled with the responsibilities of managing the affairs of the Ministries of Agriculture at all levels to show selfless leadership.
The guest lecturer, while responding to questions from dignitaries and participants at the event, said that:
“As researchers, we are doing all that we can do to transform our research into reality”, he said.
“For example, we produce garri, eggs and other produce at the McPherson University and all these are exportable. These are as a result of research that transformed into realities.
“Reason why many researches in the country have not been put into practice is because there is a leadership problem. Leadership is all about selfless service”, Prof. Agunbiade said.
“It takes intentional approach to transform research into reality”.
He charged those overseeing Ministries of Agriculture to be selfless in discharging their responsibilities.
“Those in positions of leadership at federal, state and local government levels should demonstrate acts of selflessness and on our part (scholars), we will continue to do our best to do good researches”, he said.
Prof. Agunbiade also charged the government to develop policies that would be enticing if youths are to be encouraged to go into agriculture.
“Government must go back to developing policies to deliberately boost the interest of our young men in agriculture like it was the case before”, he said.
n his lecture, the lecturer said that livestock has contributed immensely to the development of Agricultural economy in Nigeria.
“Animal production constitutes a major component of the agricultural economy in Nigeria. Its estimated GDP value was in excess of 5.82billion naira as at December, 1997 (Ladan, 2008)”, he said.
“Nigeria has a population of 80.8million goats, 42.5million sheep and 20.7miion cattles. The Non Ruminant population consists of 207.6million poultry and 6.64miion pigs (Statista, 2021).
“The larger population of the ruminant species is largely concentrated in the Northern region of the country while the Southern region harbours the bulk of the non – ruminant animals (the poultry and pigs).
He also said that Nigeria has the second highest number of stunted children in the world.
“Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 32 per cent of children under five.
“Seven per cent of women of childbearing age also suffer from acute malnutrition”.
The Senator representing the Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Tokunbo Abiru, who chaired the occasion, commended the Resource Group for its engagements over the years, stating that such have been of immense help to the system.
He added that the group’s agenda for development aligns with his own legislative agenda which he has been executing since his emergence as the Senator representing Lagos East.
Senator Abiru asserted in his synopsis that the vision of IDRDG, in line with projecting academic growth and development, is part of his core agenda.
He emphasized the need to focus on capacity and resource development, especially for youths if the country is to survive, adding that only those equipped with functional digital skills and know – how will survive in the work environment in the years to come.
Bashorun Babatunde Rotinwa, the Chairman, Ikorodu Division Resource Development Group (IDRDG), in his speech, thanked the Chairman of the occasion and the guest lecturer for honoring the group’s invitation.
He said that IDRDG is honouring late Prof. Adegbola with the lecture because of his contributions to educational development.
“Distinguished guests, suffice to say that Prof Anthony Afolabi Adegbola was a man of many parts. The history of Ikorodu Division (education and human capital development) and the field of Agriculture in Nigeria and Africa cannot be written without making references to his contributions”, Bashorun Rotinwa said.
“His contributions transcended the academics and Ikorodu Division. He was one of the pioneer members of IDRDG that ensured the completion of Ikorodu Ultra-Modern Hall that we are today. He supervised the completion of the Hall while working at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Osun State. He shuttled between the two towns because of his passion for development of Ikorodu Division.
“His love for education development cannot be over-emphasized and history cannot forget him. He initiated the establishment of the Education Committee of IDRDG which metamorphosed into the Ikorodu Division Human Resources Development Board (IDHRDB) which focuses on harnessing the resources of the Division towards the development of its human capital.
“Today is another memorable day to celebrate his laudable contributions to his field (Agricultural Science), Ikorodu Division and humanity in general and to remind ourselves that the gift of life given to us is an opportunity to contribute our quota to the betterment of our society and humanity. We also need to emulate his good deeds and keep his legacy alive”, he added.
Emeritus Prof. Kunle Ade Waha, OFR, OON, Chairman, Ikorodu Division Human Resources Development Board (IDHRDB), said that the body, which was setup by the IDRDG, is saddled with the responsibilities of harnessing the resources of the Division and develop its human and material resources for the betterment of all.
Others are Harnessing all donations to the Board to enhance Educational Infrastructure of schools and school pupils, Participating in Educational Activities aimed at the development of the youths, Annual Review and Analysis of WAEC/NECO Examination Results to assist Government in pursuing policies to guide better results in future, Organizing of the first, second and third Education Stakeholders’ Summit in the Division, Organizing of Late Professor Adegbola Memorial Lectures, Establishment of Prof. Adegbola Science Centre on a site at Lagos State Polytechnic Ikorodu, Organisation of Fact-Finding Visitations to Secondary Schools in the Division and Establishment of Eminent Persons of Ikorodu Division (EPID).
He added that the Board has handled and executed many programmes over the year among which are: Laying of the foundation for the establishment of Ikorodu Division Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Organizing of workshops for Mathematics teachers in the Division, Perfecting Procedures for admitting distinguished indigenes into Ikorodu Division Hall of Fame, Organizing Remedial Coaching classes for SSS2 and SSS 3 Students, Organization of special Coaching classes for WAEC and NECO classes in English and Mathematics and Organizing Career Guidance Lectures to Secondary School Students, Assisting youths seeking admission into Tertiary Institutions of Higher Learning, Sourcing Job Opportunities for Graduates, Assisting Primary and Secondary Schools in upgrading there educational facilities and Documentation of Educational Infrastructures in the Division.
He also said that the Board has completed plans to organize Annual Book Expo and organise Seminars for Teachers in the Secondary Schools.