By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday declared that the problem with Nigeria is not policy formulation but implementation.
Chief Obasanjo stated this in Ibadan while unveiling a 10.5km ring road named after the outgoing Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the institute’s Agricultural Transformation Building, in Ibadan,
According to the former President, lack of political will to implement various policies formulated by successive administrations in support of agriculture has being the bane of the growth and development of the sector.
Chief Obasanjo pointed out that Nigeria had enough policies on paper capable of transforming its agriculture sector to one of the most productive in the world, but for lack of proper implementation.
Speaking further, he lamented the huge gap between research institutions and the smallholder farmers in the country, adding that there is the need for the extension of the benefits of innovations and research breakthroughs to the ordinary farmers.
According to Chief Obasanjo, this was the only was the existing gap could be closed in order to ensure total agricultural transformation.
Commending the IITA for its efforts in agricultural research development in Africa, he tasked the institute not to rest on its laurels.
The former President then commended Governor Abiola Ajimobi for supporting IITA through the construction of a perimeter fence within the sprawling complex, which was a demonstration of his administration’s support for agricultural development.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi in his remark said his support for IITA was in furtherance of his administration’s transformation of the agric sector as the contributions of the institute to the state’s agricultural development and the successful implementation of its various policies formulated to enhance the growth of the sector.
The governor maintained that Oyo state had comparative advantage of a wide arable landmass, concentration of research institutes in Ibadan, clement weather, agric-friendly policies of the state and vast population and that the peace and security in the state makes it the best place to invest and promote agriculture.
Director-General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, said that the rejuvenation of IITA facilities in the country was crucial to the institute’s sustained efforts to transform agriculture in the continent of Africa, saying
the institute was excited with the exemplary gesture of the state government in supporting infrastructure in an international agricultural research center.
Dr Sanginga said that the naming of a road after Ajimobi was one of the ways to show the depth of the gratitude of the management of IITA to the governor for his uncommon assistance as the newly constructed agricultural transformation building would accelerate the pace of research and accommodate the critical human and material resource needed to bring transformation to the agricultural sector.