Christopher Isiguzo and Gideon Arinze in Enugu
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has been nominated as the Chairman of the 6th African Veterinary Association (AVA)/ 53rd Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) Annual, Joint Congress 2016, slated for Enugu next month.
The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Prof. Denchris Nnabuike Onah who briefed newsmen Enugu on Wednesday on the forthcoming congress said President Muhammadu Buhari will be the chief host, while ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water, Hon. Tchambakau Ayassor and the Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Hanna Louisa Bisiw will function as keynote speaker and Guest of honour respectively.
Nnabuike said while Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi will host the congress which is ths first to take place in Nigeria, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Audu Ogbeh will be the guest of honour.
Onah said the theme of the conference billed to take place between October 31 to November 4, is “Towards Economic Diversification and Sustainable Development in Africa.”
Speaking further on the conference theme, Onah recalled that before the Nigeria/Biafra civil war, the regions made tremendous achievements with revenue earned from agriculture but after the war the country descended to a mono economy with crude oil as the only revenue earner.
He expressed regret that crude oil was used to destroy the livelihood of those in the oil producing areas and yet there was no investment of the oil proceeds.
“The money from oil ended in individual pockets. There was no thinking about tomorrow. There was no thinking of tomorrow. We developed insatiable appetite for consumption. If we must be like other nations, we must diversify.
“Japan does not have land but they produce rice and throw into the Atlantic Ocean. Unless we go back into farming, crop and animal farming, our economy cannot grow. If we do not go back to production, then, we are not going anywhere” Onah said.
He said whereas Israel produces more eggs than it needs, we are still in Nigeria fighting over crude oil, adding that any serious nation must power its economy with young men and women.
He however stressed the need for alo tiers of government to partner with Veterinary doctors in order to ensure food security and safety.
According to him, the Association was ready to liase with farmers in order to power an economic rejuvenation in the area of animal and crop production.
“Having a joint congress of these two big Associations in Enugu at this time will add to the growth of the State the south East and the nation at large” he said, noting that the congress is programmed to be a tourism harvest for the State and an opportunity to meet with and attract investors to the State and Nigeria in general. Ends