Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Vice Chancellor, Landmark University Omu Aran, Prof. Aize Obayan, has hinted that, in view of the current economic recession in the country, there will be no jobs outside agriculture to meet employment needs of young people in the country by 2035.
Obayan who disclosed this to journalists in Omu-Aran during the 62nd birthday of the Chancellor of the university, Bishop David Oyedepo, said that “the dire economic situation in the country had necessitated urgent intervention from agricultural sector in a bid to transit from import based to the desirable export-driven economy”.
She said, “According to a World Bank projection, about 100 million young people will be joining the labour queue by 2035. This is an awful picture of a nation with lesser job opportunities, which implies that there would be no jobs outside agriculture to meet the employment needs of these people. Experts agree that the next gold pool of jobs would be in agriculture and services sector of the economy”.
Obayan, who said that the global economic downturn, occasioned by the fall in crude oil price, was taking toll on Nigeria, added that attaining success in the agricultural sector would reduce food importation that fuels domestic inflation and depletes foreign reserves.
She stated “As an importing nation that needs dollar reserves to support her import needs, Nigeria’s reserves keep depleting as world oil price declines. To stop bleeding the external reserves, the Central Bank of Nigeria has urged Nigerians to begin to process raw materials so as to get more value and earn more foreign exchange.
“Wisdom, therefore, demands that agricultural products should be used as input for our own home-made products so that we can export finished products.”
The vice chancellor also said that the agric-based institution had not relented in championing crusade of awareness that agriculture is not just about farming, but about entire value chain, which she added that it had been gaining grounds.
“It is capable of turning people, particularly the youths into agricultural entrepreneurs”, she said.
Obayan also said that the Landmark university had collaborated with other agricultural farms like Shonga Farms, Kwara state, Songhai Farms, Benin Republic, and Elpassso Farms in Pretoria, South-Africa with intention to boosting food production and reducing poverty in the country.
She described the Chancellor of the university, Dr. David Oyedepo, as a visionary leader of a global repute whose obedience to the divine call and passion for the vision had brought remarkable transformation to educational landscape and agricultural revolution in Africa.
“We are here today, celebrating a man with a selfless service to God and humanity, an illustrious son of Africa who through capacity initiatives and efforts has provided hope to many lives globally.
“We are appreciating God’s grace upon the life of His Servant whose agenda to drive change and transformation in Africa and the world at large is unmistaken.
“We are celebrating a man of vision who demonstrated a prompt obedience to divine instruction and by this provides a better platform for the landscape of agriculture and education.”