Vanguard (Lagos)

19 December 2012

Nigeria: Agric Minister Sues for a Return to Agro Economy

IT was a dream come true as the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, convoked no fewer than 5,249 graduates in an impressive ceremony that kicked off penultimate Monday and ended last Saturday, which was witnessed by eminent personalities including 15 Vice-Chancellors.

Giving the breakdown of the class of degrees, the VC, Prof. Omole, said that 78 students made 1st class; 1,161 made 2nd class (upper division); 2,260 made 2nd (lower division); 877 made 3rd class; 100 with pass degrees while 773 students (Clinical Sciences and Dentistry) were unclassified.

For Postgraduate Diplomas and Degrees, 200 were awarded Postgraduate Diploma Degrees; 2,249 with Masters; 599 with Masters of Philosophy while 178 bagged their Doctors of Philosophy.

Earlier, on Thursday, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, also an alumnus of the university, delivered a lecture titled "Transforming Agriculture to Grow Nigeria's Economy."

He said despite our huge agricultural potential, Nigeria, which used to be the major player in agriculture in the world, has lost its place in the global community. He posited that the entire Western Region built its economy on cocoa in the 1960s. Indeed, the University of Ife was built from cocoa money.

"Nigeria accounted for 18 per cent of the global export in 1961. Cocoa farmers were rich. While the Nigeria's cocoa sector stagnated, the global market for cocoa rose from 1.8 million metric tons in 1961 to 2.7 million metric tons by 2008"

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