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Obasanjo urges DR Congo to invest in agriculture to help Africa cut $50billion food import bill

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Chief Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has called on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to invest in agriculture and particularly cassava, soybean, cowpea and plantain to help Africa cut down annual food imports that is estimated at $50billion.

Obasanjo spoke on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, during the official inauguration of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Kalambo research station in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by the country’s President, Felix Tshisekedi. The research station is named “The President Olusegun Obasanjo Research Station”, in honor of the ex-President who is also the IITA Goodwill Ambassador.

Giving a shoplist of crops the gover“The first crop to take is cassava… The second crop is soybean because it is very important for human nutrition and livestock. The next is cowpea and lastly plantain. If we invest in these crops, we will be able to reduce the $50bn that Africa is spending annually on importing food,” Chief Obasanjo said.

The former president underlined the importance of research to agricultural transformation, citing the Nigerian example where his administration was able to raise cassava production by 20 million tons during his eight year-tenure.

He commended Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General for his leadership, and the institute (IITA) for its excellent research in addressing the problems facing Africa.

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The IITA ambassador congratulated President Tshisekedi for providing the enabling environment and support to IITA to establish the centre, stating that he felt deeply honored to be part of it.

At the inauguration were Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB); Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde; and the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, among others.

Dr Sanginga  said the research station was in dedication to IITA and its partners’ mission of fighting hunger and poverty in Africa and would contribute towards boosting agricultural productivity in DR Congo and the region.

“The station is a symbol of our dedication and commitment to building the research and development capacity in DR Congo and the Great Lakes,” he said.

He reiterated the importance of research to agricultural transformation and cited the progress made by Nigeria in cassava to the role of research innovations developed by IITA and its partners.

The IITA Director for the Central African Region, Dr Bernard Vanlauwe added that the lab building was built in record time using modern methods and materials.

“Indeed, the first stone was placed in October 2017 and the building completed in 18 months. This speed and efficiency symbolize the nature of the activities taking place in the lab, namely the rapid and large-scale production of healthy planting materials of crops of key importance to the DRC as well as the production of bio-fertilizers to ensure the growth and quality of these crops,” he explained.

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For many years, the station in Kalambo operated in project mode but in 2011, the IITA Board of Trustees decided to elevate it to become the focal point of the Institute’s regional hub for natural resource management in the Great Lakes. It now also features a first-class tissue culture lab for the vegetative multiplication of cassava, banana, coffee, yam, and potato.

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[email protected]: Eschew politics of bitterness, collaborate with me to return Oyo to Pacesetter status – Makinde

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Oyo State governor, Engr.  Seyi Makinde, on Sunday congratulated a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and governorship nominee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, on the occasion of his 50th birthday anniversary.

Governor Makinde, in a statement signed  by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, expressed gratitude to God for granting Adelabu, his opponent in the 2019 election, the grace to witness the golden jubilee of his birth.

The governor noted that achieving such a landmark age can only be a privilege from God.

He, therefore admonished the businessman to see the new age as a great responsibility and a challenge to put in more efforts into serving humanity and making a meaningful impact on society.

He further admonished him to imbibe politics without bitterness by freely contributing his quota to the development of the state without any hint of political consideration.

According to Governor Makinde, anyone who reaches the 50th birthday landmark is on his way to becoming an elder statesman and, as such, bears more responsibilities on his shoulders.

The statement reads, “I celebrate my brother, Oloye Adebayo Adelabu, the governorship candidate of the APC in the March 9, 2019, governorship election, in our dear state, on the occasion of his 50th birthday.

“Anyone who lives to celebrate the golden jubilee must see it as a great privilege from God and one should be grateful. It is on this note that I give gratitude to God on behalf of Chief Adelabu.

“Also, a 50th birthday is always celebrated with fanfare, because it is considered a landmark; it is the invitation to becoming a statesman and it confers on one a great respect as well as responsibility.

“I encourage Chief Adelabu to note that this is the time for politicians across all divides in the state to eschew politics of bitterness by freely contributing their quota positively to the developmental efforts of the incumbent administration, since the saying is always right: government comes and government goes but the people always remain.

“I will admonish my brother to, in the spirit of this new age, freely discharge his responsibility to the people by committing himself more to serving humanity and making a meaningful impact on the society.

“It is my expectation that as he clocks 50 and with the responsibilities that come with it, Chief Adelabu will attune his mind to collaborating with the Oyo State Government to return the State to the Pacesetter status it occupied especially in the First and Second Republics.

“As he celebrates his golden jubilee, I pray to God to continue to grant him good health.

“I wish him a very Happy birthday and many happy returns”, the statement concluded.

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Ladoja At 76: Alao pens emotional thank you message to ex-Oyo governor

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Ibadan North East/South East Federal House of representatives nominee of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the 2019 election, Mr. Semih Oladimeji Alao on Friday penned an emotional appreciation message to former Governor Rasidi Ladoja, describing him as the most innovative personality in politics. 

 

 

The Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Chief Ladoja, was born on September 25, 1944.

 

Alao in a message obtained by Mega Icon Magazine also thanked the former governor of Oyo state for his amazing efforts and support over the years.

The message reads, “Happy 76th Birthday to Osi Olubadan of Ibadan, the most innovative person in politics today. High Chief (Daddy) Rasidi Adewolu Ladoja.

 

“Not only do you seamlessly adapt to address the emerging challenges from the persistent ones that we face in our society today, but you are also always striving to make things better with new approaches and such unfaltering determination.

“I just want to thank you for all of your amazing efforts and support over the years!

“Many happy returns to you today Sir”, it added.

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2020 budget touched all sectors of economy inspite of COVID-19 – Makinde

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Governor Seyi Makinde has said that the 2020 budget of Oyo state touched every sector of the state’s economy has requested by citizens and stakeholders.

The Governor, who spoke through his deputy, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, disclosed this at the 2021 town hall stakeholders meeting held at Igboho.

The governor lamented that COVID-19 brought a shrink to the budget on capital expenditure, adding, that the state is still managing to accommodate all the needs of each community as highlighted by the stakeholders.

 

He said that the state is poised to engage more stakeholders in the preparation of the 2021 budget by consulting across the seven geopolitical zones in Oyo state as opposed to the three senatorial districts for the 2020 budget for more openness and transparency.

 

Governor Makinde further asserted that his administration is predominantly about inclusion which is the fulcrum on which democracy rests, urging the people to come out and dialogue with government since they are the most affected by the decisions of government.

 

While x- raying some completed projects executed by his administration in Oke-Ogun region, the governor disclosed that government has begun the remodeling of OYSADA headquarters at Saki, upgrading of various primary healthcare centres and facilities and the set up of a specialist hospital.

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The state helmsman urged the people to be security conscious in the face of recent security challenges, saying, security is our collective responsibility.

While responding to the requests and submissions from all local governments and stakeholders, he assured that the state will ensure that the issues of security, education, employment and power supply will be looked into and will get budgetary attention in 2021 within the available resources.

 

Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Barr Adeniyi Farinto highlighted the projects the government executed as requested by the people of the region in the 2020 budget meetup with stakeholders.

 

He said the construction of the Moniya-Iseyin road, return of OYSADEP now OYSADA headquarters to Saki, fixing of Saki- Ogboro- Igboho road among other things are a promise kept by the current administration.

The commissioner urged the citizens of the food basket region of the state to make inputs and cooperate with government in fixing roads and other projedts to enable government in delivering on its promises.

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