Laleye Dipo in Minna
As Nigeria continues to grapple with shortage of food despite abundance of natural resources, the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello has urged polytechnics to salvage the situation by bringing about scientific innovations that would not only reduce drudgery in farming but also accelerate food production.
He said the essence of polytechnic education worldwide is to intervene in such critical areas and also provide middle-level manpower to solve problems.
Bello made this known at the combined convocation ceremony of the state-owned polytechnic in Zungeru, where over 24,000 graduands received their diploma and higher national diploma certificates for the first time after 13 years.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, the governor regretted the serious food shortage facing all parts of the country “even in the midst of plenty. This is the time our polytechnics should show their competence and capability.
“Polytechnics have the capacity to provide solutions to the ongoing challenges of food shortage and its attendant crisis in Nigeria, I therefore urge the state polytechnic to put in place the necessary machinery required to impact positively on the agricultural sector of the state.”
The governor stressed the need to revolutionise the agricultural sector so as to put it in position to create employment opportunities for the youths in the country, adding, “polytechnic graduates are needed more than ever because of the emerging world food crises.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, Governing Council of the institution, Alhaji Mohammed Bawa drew the attention of the state government to the inadequate teaching staff in the polytechnic, warning that if the situation is not speedily addressed it could hamper the development of the institution.
Bawa called on the state government “to grant employment waiver to the polytechnic so that it will not face the wrath of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).”
The Rector, Dr. Umar Egbako said the internally generated revenue (IGR) is N300 million which he said is not enough to solve the problems facing the institution.
He described the polytechnic as “one of the fastest developing institutions in the country” and appealed to the government to intervene in all perspectives.