Akin Olotu, the Special Adviser to governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state on Agriculture and Agric-business, has described as untrue the insinuation that Akeredolu hates Nigerians from the North.
Olotu stated this in a statement while reacting to comments credited to Akeredolu on beef consumption in the southwest region.
The special adviser to Akeredolu said the comment he made while addressing some school Principals in Akure was misinterpreted on some online platforms.
Olotu explained that the subject matter he commented on was to encourage local produce in secondary schools and had nothing to do with his Akeredolu.
He noted that he did not represent the governor in the program and the statement he made was his own personal view, not the governor’s view about the subject matter .
Olotu said “I am constrained to react to the news gathering momentum online on the issue of consumption of beef in the southwest.
“Let me start by saying that the way it was reported could portray the governor in a bad light because it seem as if he is all out to fight our brothers from the North because they are the ones producing our cattle. Far from it, I repeat, far from it.
“Number one, I was not there to represent governor Akeredolu. There were very serious members of government there, so there’s no way I could be there to represent him, I was there in my personal capacity as a Farmer, an agro business entrepreneur.
“I was invited to address and advise the secondary school principals in the state on what they could do in terms of agriculture and on getting there, the first thing I told them was that they should discourage using school farm as a place of punishment for secondary school students in the state.
“I told them that unconsciously using school farm as punishment is making them to loose interest in agriculture. They see it as punishment because in their formative years in secondary school, that is what the school authority has made them to understand unconsciously.
“Number two, I went further to let them know that in Nigeria today, most of our students applying for admission into Nigerian universities, they don’t like to choose agriculture, I attributed the issue of punishment and societal view on farmers as one of the problems that people believe that their children should be doctors and engineers, lawyers and I went further to say that unconsciously too, maybe government policy, country wide is equally not in favor of people that read agriculture.
“For BSc in agriculture, you spend five years and you come back to start from level 8, and engineer starts from level 9, a lawyer starts from level 10, a doctor starts from level 12. If we look at those three, they are rendering services that we have a system that doesn’t promote those in the service sector above those that are into real production. I said it’s a national problem, the country should look into it critically.
“I told them that our secondary schools in the state could embark on agro ventures that are very simple and the requirements in terms of finance is very low. I said I will be very happy, if today all over Nigeria, when people talk about snailery, they refer to Ondo state, all secondary schools in Ondo state produce snails.
“We can produce rabbits, it has one of the best meat in this era where people are complaining about cholesterol, rabbit has a very lean meat, we can produce mass rabbit for grill and for sale, we can sell live to people, I equally mentioned planting in bags, I mentioned tomatoes, I mentioned goat rearing and things like that.
“I reminded them that about three years ago, we gave out some seedlings to some selected secondary schools in the state, we gave out oil palm seedlings, cocoa, cashew to some of the schools and we are going to move round to see how they are managing what they were given and those that did well, will be rewarded with an award this year.
“I proceeded to let them know that those students will become change agent in the society, what is being done in their school, when they get home, they will put it into practice and the advantages are numerous.
“They will increase the income of the family, it will enhance food security in the family, the state as a whole will benefit because they will produce and we can sell to other states, the excess that we cannot consume in the state, by so doing, our secondary schools will be earning revenue, when they have broken louvers, broken asbestos, they don’t have to run to the ministry of education for approval or wait for the whole structure becomes dilapidated before they can make progress.
“It’s a good story today if every secondary schools in the state is having a revenue, even a million naira every year from their agro venture. This is possible and our young ones will become very much encouraging, secondary schools can serve as an incubation centers for a new generation of agro prenuerers, people that will manage our economy in the nearest future.
“I told them about planting of trees too, in public schools in particular. Most of them are complaining about encroachment on their land. I said if they plant tree crops like cocoa, oil palm, cashew, economic trees like malina, thick, as fence round their schools, it will be quite difficult for anyone to jump over those trees and encroach their land, by doing that, they are generating income, they are protecting their land which is better.
“I mentioned Imade college in Owo, there are big trees at the front of the school, directly, it is a local action with global impact, big trees in front of Imade college, big trees front of Owo High school, and some secondary schools across the state, it is something that we have to encourage because we will be contributing to the issue of taking away green out gases, the emphasis on carbon dioxide which is the largest out of the green out gases causing ozone layer depletion.
“I also mentioned the issue of broiler because of my experience with the people in the state, our young ones were producing broilers in large quantities, we were using it for school feeding until there was problem with school feeding and the market was no longer available, so I said when they produce, they have to be taking it around or they have to send it to Osun state, they are the one that will come to pick our broilers in the state away and by the time it is processed finally, the label on it will read Osun.”
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