Thursday 19 January 2017


The Summit with the theme: 'Increased agricultural productivity for sustainable growth' was held in Abuja, 14th January, 2017. The following were the participants:

*Dr Mike Omotosho, CEO Mike Omotosho Foundation - Convener
*Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II - Keynote Speaker
*Prof. Jacob Olupona, Harvard University, USA - Co-chair
*Dr. Angel Adelaja, CEO/Founder Fresh Direct Nigeria - Discussant
*Prof. E. Ajayi, Registrar/CEO, Nigeria Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) - Discussant
*Jon Eberly, CEO Clock Four, California, USA - Discussant
*Arc. Kabiru Ibrahim, National President, All Farmers' Association of Nigeria - Discussant
*Tony Obuh, Proprietor, Toni-Chuks Farms - Discussant
*Cyril Anyanwu, Bank of Industry (BoI) - Discussant
*Dr. Olasupo Musa, Development Specialist - Discussant

All the presenters and discussants were dissatisfied with the fact that Nigeria spends about $10b annually on food importation. A nation that cannot feed itself automatically drops from the third world to the fourth world! As a conflict transformation specialist, I found Ooni of Ife's suubmission that "In Ile-Ife today, the youths are no longer carrying guns because most of them are gainfully engaged on the farms. The 'guns' they carry now are ideas and hard work to shoot down poverty". For me, this was the high point of the event - the fact that agriculture is successfully being used as a tool for peace.

The Ooni has partnered with the BoI to secure soft loans for youths who return to the farm. I wish other monarchs could emulate the laudable steps taken by the Ooni. Other communities should copy the Ife example to reduce the youth bulge through sustainable engagement in agriculture. When the youths are gainfully engaged in agriculture, they stay out of trouble and drugs. This state of affairs could engender peace in any community.

While returning the youths to the farm for prosperity and peace, I agree with Dr. Angel Adelaja, CEO of Fresh Direct that the totality of the agricultural value chain should be targeted, not just farming. Besides, more emphasis should be placed on organic produce and advanced technology for agriculture like hydroponics to get maximum yield from minimal land. The possibilities in agriculture for peace and sustainable development are indeed endless.

Related Links

*AfDB backs young 'Agripreneurs' to beat climate change
*Prospects in agriculture for G5 Sahel countries till 2040
*Young men create Facebook-like App specially for farmers to network
*Digital agriculture is transforming farmers' lives
*Financial inclusion: How Nigerian small-scale farmers are locked out
*When small farms fail,whole economies fail - which leads to poverty. Make agriculture more resilient
*Importance of biotechnology in agriculture
*Corn production in Nigeria
*What will food security look like in Africa after the pandemic? 
*Soil-less agriculture: A golden future for turmeric

Saturday 7 January 2017


Former Nigerian leaders, Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon, Ernest Sonekan collaborated with former deputies - Ebitu Ukiwe, Alex Ekwueme, Oladipo Diya and current Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to sing a hymn for a greater, united and peaceful Nigeria in 2017. The song is Isaac Watts' hymn.

The lyrics of the song are as follows: 'Our God, Our help in ages past' with the video recorded early December, 2016. The beauty of it is that the video was recorded in the Aso Rock Chapel, the seat of government. As a conflict transformation practitioner, the video is indeed symbolic for me. In fact the leaders in the video have been affectionately referred to as constituting "the senior boys' choir".

This is the very first time that so many former Presidents, Vice Presidents and the current VP have come together to pray for Nigeria through an evergreen song. Though their voices may not meet the required standard of a professional classic opera, the collaboration seems apt in Nigeria's present circumstances. What with the economic recession, the youth bulge, multiple taxation, malnutrition, unemployment, insurgency, kidnapped citizens, etc

Some say it is not enough to sing, but that our leaders should do the needful by cutting the cost of governance and let the change start with both the leaders and the led simultaneously. But I say there's nothing wrong with the effort of these well-meaning elders. Prayers can go on parri pasu reforms...