Day quest for Federal College of Agric took Ise Ekiti community to Reps

By John Odunayo

The people of Ise Ekiti in Ise/Orun Local Government area of Ekiti State have appealed to the House of Representatives to expedite action on and pass the bill for the establishment of a college of agriculture in their community before it.

The traditional ruler, the Arinjale of Ise Ekiti, Oba Adetunji Ajayi, said that establishment of the agricultural institution in the community, which is endowed with vast fertile land for diverse food crops, would contribute largely to solving the country’s economic problem by ensuring food security.

Oba Ajayi, who spoke in Abuja in his presentation before the House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions in Nigeria, said, “I am here in double capacity. I am here to represent my community and as a successful farmer. I left the University of Lagos in 2001 as a lecturer to answer the royal call and since then, I have been into agriculture.

“We are talking of food security in Nigeria, this is an inward looking approach solution to the economic problem of Nigeria which President Bola Tinubu is trying to do. Ise Ekiti is readily available to join hands with the Federal Government to provide inward solution to the problem we are having.

“We know about a lot of rice production going on in the North, but we want it to be done across Nigeria and Ise Ekiti will be readily available to cooperate with the FG in terms of cocoa production, in terms of cassava etc. We have land readily available. These are among reasons we appeal to the House to give our bill for the establishment of College of Agriculture in Ise Ekiti special and accelerated hearing”.

Speaking on qualities which made Ise Ekiti suitable for the College of Agriculture, Oba Ajayi, who went down memory lane, said, “At a particular time, Ondo State (now Ondo and Ekiti states) was the highest cocoa producer in Nigeria, then, we were favourably competing with Brazil. Then, when Ondo State was the highest cocoa producer, Ise Ekiti took the third position, the first now in Ekiti State.

“Ise Ekiti is not here alone, but in conjunction with Ekiti State Government. We have a forest reserve that is gazetted, that the government is controlling. The government has approved and given us the go-ahead to locate this Federal College of Agriculture right beside the forest reserve.

“We have nothing less than 100,000 hectares of land for that. I want to assure the Federal Ministry of Agriculture that the land is free from encumbrances. Our people are ready, we are only waiting for you,” the monarch said.

Speaking earlier, an Ise indigene and Emeritus Professor Philip Adetiloye, in his presentation on the topic, “Justification for the establishment of Federal College of Agriculture at Ise Ekiti” before the House committee, said establishment of the college in Ise Ekiti would, among others, be of advantage to farmers, youths, Ekiti State and Nigeria.

Prof. Adetiloye, who said Ise Ekiti had potentials for agriculture, said, “The only way to lift agriculture is for the FG to provide the College of Agriculture where we can train students, train farmers, provide research and also extension to farmers to make sure that Ekiti State can produce meaningfully to ensure food security, promote industrialization and job creation in Nigeria”.

He said, “We (Ise Ekiti) need the federal college of agriculture where we can train experts. The number of farmers are dwindling because we are ageing. Our fathers were farmers, but as they are dying, the lands are being abandoned, production is going down.

“We need a young crop of experts who will be farm managers and who will be farmers to manage these resources.

“In addition, Ekiti State supports various food crops. Cassava is a major industrial crop which is produced in abundance here. Ekiti State can produce a lot of food crops and oil palm. We have all these potentials in agriculture. And in order for us to contribute meaningfully and to assist in the development of Ekiti State, it is agriculture that we have to lift,” Adetiloye said.

Earlier, the House of Representatives member representing Ekiti South West, Ikere and Ise/Orun Federal Constituency, Hon Adeniyi Ojuawo, who welcomed his constituents into the National Assembly, made a presentation on why his hometown is qualified for the institution.

The Chairman, Ikere, Emure and Ise/Orun Joint Security Committee, Elder Tunji Falana, lauded the presentations of the monarch, Prof. Adetiloye and Hon Ojuawo, which he said were hailed by the Ise Ekiti sons and daughters in attendance including former Minister, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, a prince of Ise Kingdom.

Falana especially praised Ojuawo for his hospitality, saying, “From the chartered aircrafts (to and fro), the luxurious accommodation provided for us, the sumptuous and delicious cuisines, the fully air-conditioned ambassadorial shuttle bus and what not! We are grateful.

“While appreciating our patriotic sons and daughters living in Abuja, I extend special thanks to two jolly good fellows – Engineer Tunde Atua and the highly cerebral Mr Adebayo a.k.a Peroo, who kept our company for the two days. May God bless all Ise Indigenes in Abuja. Amen”.

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