National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Saturday, stressed the need for Nigerians to put away their differences and unite as one because there are strong forces bent on breaking the country’s destiny.
Tinubu spoke at the 23rd and 25th combined convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM) in Benue State.
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The APC national leader who alongside the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Godwin Emefiele, Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Slyva, a former Governor of Adamawa State, Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd) and Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari bagged the university Honourary Doctorate Degrees in various field commended the institution for doing the convocation despite daunting challenges of insecurity and COVID-19 pandemic.
“Terrible people and strong forces want to break Nigeria’s appointment with its greater destiny. These people have unleashed terror and violent criminality against us. By attacking agricultural players across the nation, they seek not only to ravage the agricultural community, but to visit misery on the rest of the nation through food scarcity and food costs that poor people can simply not afford.
“In effect, these mean forces seek to impose a food production and distribution crisis on us by disrupting strategically important agricultural areas and activities. All of these has underscored the importance of the agricultural sector to our collective condition.
Harps on gov’t effort to revamp Agriculture
He noted that the federal government has devoted itself to improving the nation’s agricultural sector, adding that though important strides have been made, yet, the country has not reached the promised land.
Tinubu said the government, and Nigerians must continue to do more even as he emphasised that agricultural players cannot feed the nation and fight evil actors at the same time.
He therefore suggested, “We must decide whether our farmland and grazing areas are to be battlegrounds, or they are to return to their role of feeding the nation. This is where committed Nigerians of all stripes and vocations must join in peace and unity.
“Whether city or rural dweller, whether farmer or herder, we must join in common cause against the real enemies that we face: the terrorists and bandits who attempt to pull us apart. Those who need peace in order to ply their trade must recognize the bigger threat that now confronts them.
“We can work the differences between farmer and herder. However, there is no way to reconcile either with terror or banditry without forfeiting their livelihoods, if not their very lives. Thus, first and foremost, good Nigerians must stop fighting each other so that we can present a unified front against the common violent threat.”
Tasks military to enable farmers return to farms
He further suggested that the military must begin to revise their strategies so that agricultural communities are better protected to enable higher food production, thereby reducing hunger and poverty because in the war against terror and criminality, the nation must protect its ability to feed its people.
The former Lagos State governor added that during this moment of food scarcity, the nation must launch a program to expand production of food staples, maintaining that the concept of ‘agricultural sustainability’ advocates food production in a way that makes the optimal use of existing technical capacities by focusing on the most appropriate genotypes of seeds and livestock for our environment.
“we must do more to secure the basic hopes and aspirations of the local farmer that he can live more than a life or toil in penury. Let us return to the commodity boards or similar arrangements that guarantee minimum prices, and thus incomes for farmers of strategic crops,” Tinubu posited.
Earlier, Vice Chancellor of FUAM, Professor Richard Kimbir, intimated that a total of 8192 graduands comprising of 7073 for First degrees and 1119 for Higher degrees were awarded degrees and certificates, adding that of the higher degrees, 365 have Postgraduates Diplomas while 686 have Masters and 68 have PhD degrees.