Senator, representing Ibadan South Senatorial District, Dr Kola Balogun has attributed the increasing social vices and spate of insecurity across the country to what he described as the stagnated national economy.
While declaring open a three-day training and empowerment value chain programme he facilitated for youths in Oyo South Senatorial District, the third within the year, on Monday, Senator Balogun said the economy is not producing, and instead of being producer country, Nigeria have rather become a consumer nation, adding this is accountable for all the pervading negativities across the land.
The training held at the Institute of Agriculture and Research Training (IAR&T), Moor Plantation, Ibadan had about 121 participants in attendance during the opening ceremony, also attended by Senator Balogun retinue of aides, including his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Dapo Falade.
Speaking further at the event, Balogun said all hopes are not lost, if only all stakeholders, including governments at all levels, can put in more efforts to make the agriculture sector more vibrant through improved value chain.
“Growing up as a child, it was an era when they used the proceeds from cocoa farm to build the Cocoa House, Liberty Stadium in Ibadan and other infrastructure in the old Western Region.
“Agriculture then was the mainstay of our economy. If petroleum had not been discovered, if things are still going on as they were then, things would have been better for us in the South-West.
“If petroleum had not been used to distort our economy, if things were not disrupted, Nigeria would, today, have been the greatest net exporter of agricultural produce.
“But there would come a time when petroleum would not be productive any longer. There would come a time when petroleum may even dry up.
“There is still hope, however. The country can change for better if the agriculture sector is well attended to. Agriculture is one of the sectors we can use to diversify the national economy.
“I am so enamoured to training and empowerment in agriculture because it is a means to eradicating poverty. The value chain in agriculture is a means for those who receive the training to earn more income by engaging in all forms of economic activities in the sector,” he said.
Senator Balogun urged the participants at the training and empowerment programme to utilise the benefits of the training to engage in economic activities that can be beneficial to them and the society.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Executive Director of IAR&T, Professor Veronica Obatolu, thanked Senator Balogun for his genuine interest in the socio-economic development of the people of Oyo South Senatorial District.
She said she is particularly happy that the federal lawmaker has been consistent in facilitating agriculture training and empowerment as a means for youths in the senatorial district to have a source of income.
Addressing the participants, Professor Obatolu said: “With a deep knowledge of the various value chains in agriculture, the sky is the limit for you.
“I will enjoin you to listen to the training and endeavour to put into practice what you are being taught. You will also be empowered with some money at the end of the training programme to be able have a lifelong means of livelihood.
“So, you should put the empowerment into your business. The money is not for buying new clothes; it is not for marrying new wives or for celebrating birthdays or other events. Use the empowerment seed proactively.”