Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has applauded Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) for reducing unemployment in the state through the establishment of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) and investing in agriculture.
Governor Fayose noted that ABUAD was the second largest employer of labour in Ekiti after the state government, saying that through ABUAD, so many small and medium scale businesses had sprang up in the state capital.
The governor stated this while declaring open the edition of the Afe Babalola Agricultural Expo open at the campus of the institution, on Wednesday. He was represented by his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola.
Governor Fayose urged other citizens of the state to emulate the legal icon by initiating programmes in the area of Agriculture, and social services to benefit the people of the state.
In his address at the occasion, Chief Babalola urged the state government to include rice as on of the areas to be given priorities noting that the Federal Government has pledged to donate a rice processing mill to ABUAD.
He said that the even if the Federal Government reneged on its promise, the University would buy the mill, adding that rice produce in the state, through the assistance of the state government, could be processed at ABUAD.
In his key note lecture titled, “Food sufficiency, a Myth or Really”, the Chief Executive Officer of Chocharis Motor, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, said that every Nigerian must take another look at farming.
He said that farming is the only way out of the economic crisis facing the nation saying, “If you eat today, you better thank the farmer.”
Maduka urged the Federal Government to provide the enabling environment for agricultural endeavours, while urging the people to go back to farming.
According to Maduka, “I dream of Nigeria that poverty shall be no more, prosperity would be in abundance, of sound security, where my son’s and daughters proudly displaying their international passports and where great technological development is in abundance.
“We are blessed with great opportunities in agriculture. There is opportunity for everybody to become anything he wants in this country.”
Maduka, however, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reduce interest rates to 2 percent and elongate payment of agric loans to 10 years.