Chancellor of Landmark University (LMU), Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Bishop David Oyedepo, has said the only challenge confronting the economy in Nigeria is how to utilise various research findings in the academia for economic emancipation.
“We don’t have problem with capacity; but capacity utilisation,” Oyedepo said at the university’s fourth inaugural lecture delivered by a professor of Production Economics, Olasunkanmi Bamiro, last week. The lecture was titled: “Roadmap to Canaan: Production Efficiency and Integration in agribusiness”.
“We have deep insights and we sleep with these insights. A lot of ideas that could have changed the economic fortune of this nation are locked up in archives. Papers have left us where we are, we should stop counting papers and start counting products,” Oyedepo added.
Oyedepo, therefore, advised that LMU should not hold further inaugural until the message of the lecture is utilised. He also extended the same piece of advice to universities nationwide that desire workable national development, saying that it is the only way Africa can wriggle out of the woods.
“Landmark, as well as every university across Nigeria, has a big task of translating all these lectures into products. We don’t have to wait for big machines from somewhere. We can start from where we are by improvising.”
In his lecture, Bamiro said Nigeria could attain food security if effort is geared towards increase in yield of all food crops through efficiency in agricultural production and adoption of vertical integration in all agribusiness enterprises.
“Effort has to be geared towards increase in yield of all food crops. The two roadmaps or routes to Canaan-food security discovered are efficiency in agricultural production and adoption of vertical integration in all agribusiness enterprises.
“Apart from food security that will be attained, vertical integration will solve the herdsmen and farmer clashes and minimise risks,” he said
Bamiro said the perceived inefficiency in the use of resources is due to lack of user’s technical know-how. Bamiro recounted the enormous success Nigeria made in agriculture at independence in 1960, noting that at the time over 70 percent of Nigerians practised agriculture and engaged in allied occupations as their means of livelihood. He added that Nigeria produced the bulk of her food, and exported a sizable quantity of agricultural commodities, which accounted for between 60 – 70 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings. He nonetheless, lamented that this has declined to 1.2 percent in 2005.
“Nigeria is richly blessed with huge natural and human resources. She is endowed with about 91.1 million hectares of land, the 2nd largest in Africa and the 32nd largest in the world. The nation is also richly endowed with about 1.3 million hectares of inland water bodies and a coastline that extends over at least, 853 kilometres. Despite these enormous potentials, Nigeria – like a prodigal child, still wallows in the wilderness of poverty, hunger and widespread food insecurity,” he added.
He lamented that rather than help the economy, the exportation of the nation’s raw materials has plunged the nation into despair.
Baniro said the earlier Nigeria engages the chain of production of these raw materials, the better it is to achieve desired profitability, efficiency and productivity.
For Nigeria to get to the Promised Land, Bamiro noted that she must achieve the four dimensions of food security, which are: affordability, access, stability and health.
Earlier, LMU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Adeniyi Olayanju underscored the importance of lectures in an academic environment.
“It is an essential feature of an academic institution and today’s lecture makes an important contribution on the role of the university within the wider community as a forum for public enlightenment especially as it relates to agricultural sustainability which is in line with the university’s vision of leading an agrarian revolution for Africa.”