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Oyo governor–elect, Makinde unveils plan on agric

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Oyo state governor-elect, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde on Monday pledged to give agricultural development priority attention when he is sworn-in on the 29th May, 2019.

The governor-elect gave this assurance at the opening of a two-day workshop on Human Resource Development of Rural Farmers through Innovative Information Technology held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.

The two-day workshop organized by Dr. Lilian Otaye-Ebede and Dr. Olatunde Durowoju on behalf of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) forms part of the remit of the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) to tackle the challenges faced by developing countries. It was attended by various stakeholders including farmers, farm owners, extension agents, academics, members of research institutions, advocacy groups and other relevant stakeholders who converged at IITA, Ibadan to discuss the challenges affecting the effective and efficient dissemination of information on innovative technologies to farmers, especially rural farmers.

One of the key themes that emerged from deliberations in the workshop was a need to urgently assess extension services through public and/or private partnerships in order to ameliorate the lack of funds and capacity that have plagued that sector of the value chain.

Another important theme that emerged was the need to have pressure groups/lobbyists from different stakeholder committees that will advocate for investment in agricultural support services both from public and private establishments. More importantly, the stakeholders felt the context of the farmers should be considered when designing and disseminating new technologies. Therefore, farmers should be engaged from the idea generation phase all through to the prototype testing phase.

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Engr Makinde,  who declared the workshop open, said he was surprised at the level of poverty of people in the rural areas of Oyo State during his campaign before his election. He wondered what had happened to the extension systems of transferring improved technologies to farmers in rural areas of the State. He promised to pay serious attention to the plight of rural farmers “because without food security no country can claim to be totally independent,” he said.

Presenting a paper on the occasion, the governor-elect  noted that agricultural information generation and dissemination were necessary for the development of agriculture.

He lauded the sponsors – Liverpool John Moores University for developing such an initiative and for working in collaboration with IITA and Practical Action Consulting in delivering this important project.

The PDP chieftain added that it would be the priority of the next administration under his leadership in the state to proffer solutions to the challenges of poor farmers in the rural areas.

“The obvious manpower and infrastructural needs of the  Extension Services Department of our Ministry of Agriculture shall be addressed with utmost urgency, poor rural roads, power and water  supply are issues that shall be addressed equally and  simultaneously if we want free flow of information dissemination in rural agriculture,” he emphasized.

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Makinde concluded that there must be a regular forum for the town and the gown to meet under his administration to bring the benefits of agricultural research institutes, universities and all other agro-allied institutions in Oyo State to bear on the farmers to help solve the problems of food insecurity. 

In his own address, the Director for West Africa at IITA, Dr Robert Asiedu pledged the commitment of IITA to work with the state and Liverpool John Moores University to help improve agriculture and the livelihoods of farmers in the state in particular, and Nigeria in general.

He explained that as an institution, IITA had set for itself the goal of taking “11 million people out of poverty and reclaiming 7.5 million hectares of degraded land,” and that to achieve that goal required partnership with state and non-state actors.

 

 

By Idowu Ayodele

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Ex-Vice President, Atiku Condemns NBC N5m Fine

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Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on Thursday condemned the fined of N5 million imposed on a Lagos-based radio state – 99.3 FM Nigeria Info by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Atiku, in a statement he personally signed asked the NBC to drop the penalty against the station, describing the reason given for its action as an attempt to gag the media in the country.

Atiku also disagreed with the nation’s broadcasting regulatory agency with its argument that the interview that the station had with a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, constituted any infringement and exposed the media outfit to trading in hate speech.

He argued that whether or not, what Mailafia during the programme aired on the radio station was a false claim, it was not the responsibility of the NBC to impose a sanction for a comment made by an individual.

Atiku added that the former CBN deputy governor had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents, saying that they were at liberty to prosecute him in court if they were not satisfied with his explanations.

He insisted that it was wrong to make a scapegoat of the media platform which provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.

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The former vice president, however called on the NBC to review the hate speech prohibition code, noting that the interpretation of same was offensive to the notion of free speech

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Ooni Condemns Big Brother Naija, Suggests Replacement

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The Arole Oduduwa and Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II  on Wednesday condemned the prominent Big Brother Naija reality show which he said has been misrepresenting the goodness of the Nigerian youths.

Ooni who doubles as Co-chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria(NCTRN) also offered a suggestion for a reality show which will project the country’s values, charging leaders of the National Youth Council of Nigeria to work out plans on the show which will be called, “The Big Nigeria Reality Show”.

According to the monarch, “Nigerian youths are found of accusing and abusing our leaders, stop abusing them and do your bits. Let’s wear our thinking caps and begin to act like real leaders that we are.

“In the last general election, the total number of vote cast is around 27 million while over 170 million people voted during the 2019 Big Brother 9ija reality show. This is a practical reality of who Nigerian youths are and where our priorities lies as Nigerians

“The funny side in all of these is that we still go to bed, have a good sleep and wake up with the hope to meet a Nigeria we didn’t create. Nigerians Youths! Nigerians Youths!! Nigerians Youths!!!

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“Unfortunately, every time I talk about this kind of attitude, everyone just laugh and moves on. What kind of nation are we building?

“When people say this country, or what kind of country is this, they are indirectly saying these people – it is the people that make a country; so what kind of Nigerian youths are we?” , the Ooni queried.

Ooni added, “The proposed show will be structured in a way that young professionals, talented individuals and others across several field of endeavour will be showcased and helped to reach their peak. This would help the participants and also help viewers to have access to people that can be seen as role models”.

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COVID-19:  ‘I took black seed oil, black seed, alligator pepper, bitter-cola’ – Oyo  commissioner narrates his isolation experience

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Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun has expressed fear that despite unrelenting campaign to sensitize the people on safety regulations against the Covid-19 pandemic, many still went about without fear of contracting the virus.

 

Olatubosun stated this while answering questions on his experience during his self-isolation period at his office on Wednesday afternoon, saying the State’s Covid-19 Task Force toured over 600 communities in the State to sensitize people about the dangers of the virus and how to avoid contacting it.

 

He said the task force thereafter embarked upon community testing, which revealed that most people in the rural communities did not heed the warnings and have been infected already, as the results from communities showed.

 

“You would not believe that while I was on self-isolation at home, some people still came to my house on Sallah day to celebrate with me, they did not fear at all, I had to send emissary to them on phone with gifts and asked them to go home, it was that bad.

 

“We preached the dangers of Covid-19 at all nooks and crannies of the State, we toured 600 rural communities like the holy prophets did, but our people did not heed the warning in time, which led to the outburst of the disease in rural areas at a point, but thank God the curve has slowed and we now have insignificant numbers coming from the rural areas.”

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Dr Olatubosun said the State government has perfected what he called risk communication approach to fight people’s apathy to the danger inherent in getting infected with Corona virus.

 

He said the approach would consider communicating major consequences of not following Covid-19 safety protocols, which he said will entail the use of visuals, voices and graphics to showcase testimonial cases of people that earlier showed apathy and later contracted the disease.

 

On how he survived the virus and psychological effects of the 56 days self-isolation, the ex-council boss said despite that he was asymptomatic of the virus and endured six tests before being certified to be negative.

 

He opined that although the world has not come out with a vaccine against the virus, the standard World Health Organization (WHO)’s medical recommendation for treatment was abiding, but for Nigerians, supplementing the orthodox medicine with local herbs helped him a lot to recover.

 

“I took 25 bottles of black seed oil, a bowl of black seed, a lot of alligator pepper and bitter-cola as well as different brands of herbal concoctions which I drank at interval and used for steaming after my normal drugs, but the utmost is prayer to overcome the trauma.”

 

Olatubosun praised Governor Seyi Makinde as a worthy war commander that never abandoned his soldiers no matter their conditions, adding that the governor would call him in the morning and in the evening everyday to know his condition throughout his self-isolation days.

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He said the efforts of the State helped mitigate the spread of the pandemic and infection as the State had 95% recovery rate.

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