Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified policy implementation and not formulation as a major problem hindering Nigeria’s growth and development.
Obasanjo made his thoughts known in Ibadan on Saturday at the inauguration of Sen. Abiola Ajimobi Ring Road held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
“Our problem in this country has always been that of implementation. The 25-year Oyo State Government Agriculture Policy Framework presented is a good thing.
“We have formulated several policies in the past that suffered implementation. I hope your successor will implement it,” he said.
The former president appealed to Ajimobi to allow the IITA Director General to present the 25-year Agriculture Policy Framework to the incoming governor of Oyo State.
He said that four major things, namely technology, research, product and innovation were needed to make Oyo State the food basket of the country were already in the state.
Obasanjo said that matching technology with finance and human resources was one of the challenges facing agricultural development.
He said, “If you go into agriculture you may not be rich like Dangote, but you will be satisfied and comfortable. You will be comfortable because you are close to nature.”
Obasanjo, who said that a gap existed between research institutes and farmers, called for the encouragement of farmers.
“Every individual is a stakeholder in the agriculture value-chain. If you are not a farmer, then you must be a consumer. If you are not a farmer, you can encourage a farmer,” he said.
Obasanjo, who is also a goodwill ambassador of IITA, expressed appreciation to Ajimobi for his support to the institute.
Ajimobi on his part expressed happiness that he was able to develop a 25-year agricultural policy framework for Oyo State.
He expressed the hope that its implementation would transform the agricultural sector.
He said that agriculture had the highest capacity to promote industrialization by taking advantage of its rich value-chain.
“Oyo State is the best place to promote agriculture and it has the largest concentration of agricultural research institutes in Nigeria. This state is also the largest producer of cassava in Nigeria.
“I am happy today to develop a 25-year Agriculture Policy Framework for Oyo State. I am sure that the implementation of this policy will place the state as the food basket of Nigeria,” he said.
Earlier, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director-General, said the rejuvenation of IITA facility in Nigeria was crucial to the institute’s sustained efforts to transform agriculture on the continent.
“We are excited to see a state in Nigeria showing the example by supporting infrastructure in an international agricultural research center. This is not common, and we commend the government and people of Oyo State,” he said.
Sanginga also commended the government of Nigeria and the AfDB for their support towards the construction of the building.
He added that it would accelerate the pace of research and accommodate the best/critical human and material resource needed to bring transformation to the agricultural sector.
The IITA DG said that the IITA station in Congo would be named after Obasanjo in October.
Also among the speakers were Dr Alfred Dixon, IITA P4D Director for Development and Delivery, Dr Robert Asiedu, IITA R4D Director, West Africa as well as Prof Segun Adekunle, Special Adviser to Gov. Abiola Ajimobi on Agriculture.