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Extension Services Providers Gradually Resume Training of Farmers while Adhering to COVID-19 Safety Measures

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Extension agents working under the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM), Oyo and the University of Agriculture Makurdi (UAM) have concluded plans to resume training activities previously halted by the COVID-19 lockdown across the country under a cautious regime. The training activities will adhere strictly to the rules on physical distancing set by the country on COVID 19, coordinators from JPDM and UAM have said.

The two organizations are partnering with the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for the dissemination of the AKILIMO decision support tools to farmers in Oyo State and Benue State. AKILIMO is an all-in-one agronomic advisory tool developed by ACAI that supports cassava growers with knowledge and recommendations to intensify their cassava-based cropping systems.

Both JDPM and UAM commenced full dissemination activities in 2019 and have so far covered dozens of rural communities and local government areas in the two states; gathering farmers at their homes, village squares, under trees, community schools, and churches. Using battery-powered mobile projectors, videos, and other paper-based tools developed by ACAI, the organizations (through their extension networks) are teaching farmers best weed control methods, safe use of herbicides, and best planting practices in cassava-maize farming systems.

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The training activities were however halted over a month ago following the outbreak of COVID-19 and lockdown measures put in place by the state and federal governments to curtail the pandemic in Nigeria.

But at separate meetings held recently at the JDPM office in Oyo and another in Benue, the extension agents resolved to resume training under COVID 19 regulations set by the government to ensure that cassava farmers were armed with best-bet weed control and planting techniques as the farming season begins.

Godwin Atser, IITA, and ACAI Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist, who was present at the meeting in Oyo, commended the extension agents for the work they did before the lockdown.  He stated that “recommencing the training at this time is a humanitarian gesture to farmers to enable them to avert hunger and cushion the effects of the looming economic recession.”

The trainings will be conducted based on government COVID-19 safety rules and regulations which allow a limited number of persons to gather while maintaining a physical distance.

Other safety measures harped upon at the meeting included the proper washing of hands and compulsory use face masks by trainers and trainees at every training event. Farmer Field days which are to come up soon will also be conducted under COVID 19 rules.

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Godwin, who expressed his appreciation to the extension agents for their hard work and cooperation towards the success of the ACAI project, stressed the need to follow up on farmers who have been trained and have adopted the intervention in order to serve as points of reference to others.

The meeting, which used its sitting arrangement to illustrate how the extension agents could ensure social distancing at their training venues, also made plans for advocacy visits to community and local government leaders to ensure the sustainability of the project.

At the end of the parley, safety kits (nose masks, hand wash, buckets with water taps) were distributed to all the extension agents present.

Also present at the meeting were the JDPM coordinator, Rev. Fr. Gabriel Adeleke and the dissemination project leader for JDPM, Mr. John

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Ajimobi lived a fulfilled life – Sheik Bello

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Family frowns at continued politicization of  late governor’s death, burial

 

Immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has been described as a once in a lifetime leader who only comes around in a generation.

This was the verdict of Sheik Muideen Bello who delivered the sermon at the 8th day fidau prayers for the former Governor.

 

Sheik Bello said Ajimobi died a fulfilled man after having achieved all God wanted him to achieve.

“ When Senator Isiaq Ajimobi entered Baitul -L- Atik, he asked God to let him see 70 years because no one in his lineage had seen it. He asked God to make him the first Governor to serve two terms in Oyo state. He also asked God to grant him mercy to build a befitting mosque for HIM. God granted all his requests. He died a fulfilled man”, the preacher said.

According to Sheik Bello, an individual like Ajimobi was a special creation of the Almighty Allah and a leader like him will not come around for another 50 years.“ He was a special being, we can never have a Governor like him in Oyo state who had done so well until the next 50 years”.

The scholar who was accompanied by other notable Islamic scholars and clerics in leading series of prayers for the repose of the soul of the deceased recounted the various encounters he had with the Governor and where he (Ajimobi) had emphasised how he longed to break the family jinx of living beyond 70 years.

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“Many times, he didn’t hide his secret prayers of how we wanted to live for 70 years because his father had died before the age of 70.”

 

The cleric also condemned people for only coming out to sing the praises of the deceased Governor after his death said such hypocrisy will attract judgement and punishment from the Almighty Allah. The fidau prayers which started shortly before 11 am was strictly a family affair in line with the Covid-19 protocols as laid down by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). There were less than 30 people at the ceremony which included Dr (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi, wife of the late Deputy National Chairman (South), the All Progressives Congress (APC), the children and extended family members.

Sheik Bello further enjoined those present at the event to be prayerful at all times in order to live a good and fulfilled life like Senator Ajimobi did.

Before the event ended, special prayers were offered for the protection of the family, Oyo state and Nigeria as well as prayers for the departed former Governor.

Meanwhile, the family has reacted to the issue of the inability of the Deputy Governor not having access to the venue.

 

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In a statement signed by Bolaji Tunji, Special Adviser on Media to Senator Ajimobi, the family of the former Governor were not aware of the incident with the Deputy Governor, just as they frowned at the continued politicization of the death and burial of their husband, father and grandfather.

 

“In view of the disinformation going about concerning the inability of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan’s inability to gain access to the venue of the 8th day Fidau prayers for HE, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

“We want to state clearly that the event was announced as strictly a family affair. However, some dignitaries arrived for the event prior to the commencement of the prayers and were permitted entry and because they were not family, they were taken to a sitting room specially prepared for that purpose.

” There was a need to comply with the Covid-19 protocol as established by NCDC – Social distancing, not more than 30 people in a place and seats arranged, accordingly.

“Once we reached capacity, the gate was locked in order to reduce the continued presence of people at the event.

” No one was aware that the Deputy Governor was coming as neither the advance team nor the protocol informed us.

“The Deputy Governor arrived after the prayers had started and once the family was informed they proceeded to the gate in order to usher in the Deputy Governor.

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“By the time we got to the gate to usher him into the sitting room, he had left. Everything happened within a few minutes.

“Through a serving Senator and a former Attorney General we tried to get in touch with him that it was not to slight him and he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family. Unfortunately, he had left.

“There was no attempt to disturb or detain the DSS details of the Deputy Governor. From information available, they did not park within the same area as the Deputy Governor and had to do a catch up in order to meet the deputy Governor ‘s convoy that had already left”, the statement explained.

 

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Group congratulates ex-Oyo commissioner, Olowofela on new appointment

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Prof.Olowofela

A socio-political group under the aegis of Tinubu Legacy Forum (TLF) has felicitated with the former Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in Oyo state, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela over his appointment as member,  Federal Character Commission (FCC).

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday swore in Professor Olowofela and other board members of the commission in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The group in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Hamzat Olalekan on Friday and made available to Mega Icon Magazine, noted that Olowofela’s optimism, intellect, humility, loyalty, perseverance and political consistency paved way for this appointment; urging him to keep the good personality on strive.

“Following the Senate approval of Prof. Olowofela’s appointment and 36 others’ appointments to the Federal Character Commission (FCC), the entire membership of Tinubu Legacy Forum (TLF), nationwide and diaspora under the BOT Chairman, Alhaji Ganiyu Akeem felicitates and rejoice with him as he was sworn-in yesterday, 2nd July, 2020 alongside other members by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We believe your optimism, intellect, humility, loyalty, perseverance and political consistency paved way for this appointment; keep the good personality on strive and the sky wouldn’t be your limit.

“Accept our heart-warming congratulations, may God Almighty guide, protect and see you through to the next level”, the statement reads.

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The ex- Ido Local Government gaffer would be representing Oyo state at the Federal Character Commission (FCC).

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Ajimobi will be missed’, Makinde condoles with late governor’s family

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The Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has stated that his predecessor, late Governor Abiola Ajimobi would forever be missed by all and sundry.

Governor Makinde in a condolence letter dated 29th June, 2020, entitled “Letter of Condolence” stressed that late Governor Ajimobi lived a life of service to humanity and has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of Oyo State in particular and Nigeria in general, saying, “I have no doubt he will be missed by all and sundry”.

It would be recalled that the former governor was reportedly died of complications from Coronavirus on Thursday June 25 at the First Cardiology Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos and his remains were laid to rest at his , Oluyole residence on Sunday June 28, 2020.

 

According to the letter which was personally signed by Governor Makinde on behalf of the government and good people of Oyo State, also commiserated with the family over the shocking demise of Ajimobi.

 

The letter which was received and acknowledged on Saturday, (04/07/2020) by the bereaved family reads in part, “our consolation however, is that Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has brought his rich wealth of experience for the transformation of the state.

“As we mourn his passage, let us take solace in the righteous life he lived and his legacies which we shall fondly remember. May God Almighty give members of the family, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss”, the governor submitted.

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