Eminent personalities, notable politicians and scholars on Saturday agreed on the need for Nigeria to move away from building strong individuals to building strong institutions as a means of achieving sustainable national development.
The personalities who spoke at the maiden Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable organized as part of the activities marking the 69th birthday of the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in Ibadan, included a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington and wife of the governor, Dr (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi.
Others were former Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, Senator Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi and an industrialist, Chief Kola Daisi.
Speaking on the theme: “The Imperatives of Building Institutions for Lasting Legacies”, they all affirmed that while strong individuals were necessary for visionary leadership, it was only strong institutions that could enhance proactive leadership, good governance, effectiveness of the rule of law and inclusiveness of the citizenry.
Touching on the theme of the discourse, Gowon identified the civil service as one of the key institutions that any government must strengthen, noting that “protecting the integrity, confidentiality and impartiality of civil servants would enable them give political leaders the right advices.
For Tinubu, while institutions are important, a leader cannot be deemed to have succeeded, no matter how much he has achieved infrastructural renewal and other areas of development until he developed people who could succeed him and nurture the institution that he had built.
He said: “We have seen infrastructural renewal across the state; we have seen demolitions, emotions, expressions, reforms of traditional institutions. You have proved that you don’t lack courage but you can be successful as a leader not only in terms of bricks and mortals but how many other leaders you have developed who can succeed you and build on your legacies; otherwise, as you leave, the empire crumbles; the institutions you have built will go into ruins.”
Tinubu declared Ajimobi as a leader who demonstrated the rare combination of thinking and doing, adding that he had exhibited the quality of a good leader who had the courage of not only taking actions but being ready to face the consequences of his actions.
While agreeing on the need to build strong institutions, Akande however warned against what he called the growing institution of bullies who, he said, derived satisfaction in benefitting from the public purse without providing the commensurate value.
He noted “regardless of your profession, if you take money for the job you have not done, you are a third. In other countries, when people go on strike, they do not take salary for the period. All you leaders who allow people to steal from public purse should henceforth watch it.
In his own submission, Aregbesola recalled that one of the reasons why a former US President, Barack Obama shunned Nigeria and chose to visit Ghana during his visit to Africa was due to the lack of will by our leaders at the time to support the growth of institutions.
“During that visit, Obama observed that African leaders should look at building institutions and not individuals. And for me also, even though we need strong, thoughtful, resilient, idealistic and iconic people to look up to as pace setters, but Africa can only be great if we shift our focus to building institutions which will outlive these individuals,” he said.
The US ambassador, who address the gathering the gathering via an amplified telephone call from Abuja, said it was time for the people of Oyo State, Nigeria, development partners and business associates to shift attention from sustainable development to profitable development because without profit, development cannot be sustained.
He further noted that oil and land were not the important asset of the country but the people of Nigeria themselves, adding that “how the people of Nigeria, working together to transform and strengthen institutions from inside out is the only way for creating trust that will ensure development, trust for people to take their hard earned capital and their very lives and invest in the country because they will be welcomed and well treated”
According to the envoy, institutions don’t have memories and reputations, it is the leaders that drive them.
In his own submission, the Senate Leader said strong institutions were created and nurtured by strong men; leaders of vision and integrity who were focused, noting that after Tinubu had created strong institutions in Lagos State, he made sure that strong and competent leaders succeeded him to make the institutions sustainable.
“We also have such a leader in Governor Ajimobi. He came with a vision; he had courage and competence; he believes in probity and that is why Oyo State has had a smooth primary; the governor is more interested in people who can sustain his institutional reforms and other legacies and not in his own personal preferences,” he said.
Speaking about the governor, Oba Adeyemi noted “Ajimobi is the 20th governor that I have worked with. I have worked intimately as a son and as governor. If you are brilliant, truthful and hardworking, he will work with you. He runs an inclusive government but you can only get something from him if you key into his vision of RTR, meaning reformation, transformation and repositioning”.
During the panel discussion that was moderated by Prof. I. A. Adeyemi, the discussants including Prof. Tunji Olaopa, a retired federal permanent secretary and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof. (Mrs.) Oluyemisi Bamgbose, also harped on the need for building institutions that would ensure sustainable development.
While expressing gratitude to the guests, Governor Ajimobi noted that “all developments are sustained by visions, intellectualism, principle and the courage we need to implement what we have envisoned; we started this roundtable because we believe no social or physical development can be achieved without intellectual and human capital development.
The governor added “no leader is successful until he has chosen a worthy successor; all actions that I have taken were guided by God and the determination to make a difference. When we came, we saw broken bricks but we are leaving Oyo State with marbles.”
IITA-ACAI to train 30,000 farmers in Abia, Benue, Oyo, Osun, Ogun
About 30,000 farmers from Abia, Benue, Oyo, Ogun and Osun states will benefit from the training on the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management & Best Planting Practices, says Godwin Atser, ACAI Digital Extension & Advisory Services Specialist today.
The trainings are aimed at empowering farmers with the knowledge to boost cassava and maize productivity and yield per hectare. This will subsequently increase farmers’ incomes, better their livelihoods, and create jobs for more people.
The trainings are being done in close collaboration with state Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs) and other extension service providers.
To ensure a seamless and successful dissemination of the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices tool, the team has developed videos and translated same into local languages – Igbo, Yoruba, and Tiv, targeting the respective zones.
The ACAI team has also procured mini-projectors and mobile phones to empower extension service providers in the participating states.
The Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management was first developed by the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project. The tool has since integrated the best planting practices of ACAI. Farmers who use the toolkit have more than doubled their cassava yield from the national average of 9 tonnes per ha to more than 20 tonnes per ha.
“It is amazing to see how the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management & Best Planting Practices Decision Support Tool is changing the face of cassava farmers,” Atser added.
Dr Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development & Delivery described the toolkit as an innovation that combines a set of agronomic recommendations and plant protection products to control weeds and increase the productivity of cassava.
Beyond Nigeria, several other countries have requested for the toolkit with ACAI team training partners in Liberia, Tanzania, Burundi, and Zambia.
Apart from the use of videos, the ACAI team has put up the recommendations from the Six Steps on Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices on the 3-2-1 service of Airtel where subscribers in Nigeria can dial 3-2-1 and get information on cassava weed management and other agronomic practices free of charge up to 10 times in a month.
“The idea is to get the recommendations to thousands of farmers across Nigeria and Tanzania so they can get better yield from cassava farming,” Dr Dixon added.
Broadcast Content Regulation: Makinde Seeks Govt, NBC, Media House Owners’ Cooperation
Oyo State governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has advocated mutual cooperation among the broadcast house owners, government and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to ensure sanity in the profession and promote development agenda.
The governor who spoke through the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun on Thursday while receiving the NBC Zonal Director at his office said the essence of broadcast which was to disseminate information to the generality of the people would only be achieved if the players towed the path of professionalism.
Olatunbosun the State administration has been using all communication outlets to reach out to the masses, not just to broadcast government programs and achievements but to allow the people set developmental agenda alongside the government, as government represented the people, adding that town hall meetings were also used to coalesce ideas and get feedback.
“Ibadan is the base of broadcast industry in Nigeria because broadcasting started here, we are using this medium to assure the practitioners that the present administration will work towards collaboration with broadcast agencies and the stations in the State to make sure the industry develops.
“Parts of the mass media tools the governor believes should be used to project and coalesce ideas for good governance is town hall meetings that will involve all categories of the society, this will be used to identify the core yearnings of the people in order to promote agenda-setting mechanism.
“It is our belief that with cooperation among the owners of broadcast stations, broadcast agencies, which NBC is among and the State government that will lead to regular meetings through which issues relating to the progress of the industry will be discussed and the code of conducts will be regularly harped upon, sanity will be fostered and maintained among practitioners.”
The Zonal Director of NBC which comprised of Oyo, Osun and Ogun States, Mr Raphael Akpan sought the cooperation and assistance of the State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to regulate the State-owned broadcast stations, adding that all private stations in the State have been abiding by the rules guiding the practice of broadcast.
Akpan said the agency has sanctioned most of the private stations through fines payable to the agency’s purse while it has been fair to all broadcast stations, whether private, government or community-owned.
Just In: Makinde appoints Ogunwuyi DG investments, public-private partnership agency
The Executive Assistant to the Oyo State Governor on Investment Promotion, Honourable Segun Ogunwuyi, has been appointed as the pioneer Director-General of the newly-established Oyo State Investments and Public-Private Partnership Agency.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Seyi Makinde, Moses Alao, indicated that Hon. Ogunwuyi’s appointment was approved by Governor Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday.
The appointment is to take immediate effect.
In a letter conveying the appointment, the Governor congratulated Hon. Ogunwuyi, wishing him success in his new task.
Hon. Ogunwuyi, represented Ogbomoso North/Ogbomoso South in the 8th House of Representatives. Prior to that role, he was elected into the Oyo State House of Assembly in 2011.
Hon. Ogunwuyi holds a B.Sc. in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
He is a Certified Accountant and Financial consultant, who has consulted for top organizations like TNT Logistics (UK), Baker Hughes (UK), Nokia Siemens Network (Finland) and NNPC (Nigeria), among others.
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