By Rodsimeon Idaewor
THE D-day at Ugbokun, Monday August 29, 2016 was the ground-breaking ceremony of Prof. Pat Utomi’s ‘Integrated Produce City’ at Ugbokun Community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.It is a comprehensive agricultural empire from cultivation of a diversity of crops, processing, storage and marketing to the nation and export to the world at large. The farmers’ dream city, a real trail blazer, has opportunities and potentials for generating jobs, food and forex in abundance.
He’s investing some billions of dollars (loan syndication by a consortium of banks).
I have the honour to have graduated from the University of Nigeria Nsukka’s famous Department of Mass Communication, where Prof. Utomi graduated much earlier than I. We pride ourselves as Jacksonites because the building housing the department is called Jackson Building after the duo of John and David Payne Jackson, who were among the foremost journalists in the forefront of nationalism in fiercesome struggle for Nigeria’s independence. The department published The Record newspaper which was again named after the newspaper that was published by the Jacksons.
To show solidarity with Prof. Utomi,a great Jacksonite, l was there early enough with a fellow Jacksonite, Mr. Adams Adimah, an amiable personality.
The Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, performed the official ground-breaking ceremony amidst cheers and cherries from a crowd of politicians who sought to make a political capital of someone’s uncommon dream and risk capital.
Significantly, the weather was amazingly friendly: a rainless day in a session of rains in Benin and environ.
That said, l noticed an overwhelming potential in Prof. Utomi. He exudes a tremendous aura of hope and confidence in a gloomy spectre, or should l say hope in a hopeless socio- economic landscape. Such a rare human should not be contented with the Ugbokun experiment, profoundly noble as it is. I believe, rather strongly, that an alliance of the Utomis across the nation should aim higher to access political power when their actions will have salutary and hypodermic needle effect on a weary citizenry of a mismanaged entity called Nigeria.
Methinks the leadership of 21st century Nigeria calls for humans with uncommon capacity to think out of the box and act with decisive positive results.