Chief Afe Babalola(SAN)
• Empowers 115 youths in agribusiness with N30 million
By Rotimi Ojomoyela
The founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), on Sunday, said the current 1999 constitution can not sufficiently address the socio-economic challenges currently pummeling the nation.
Babalola, who described the 1999 constitution as part of the problems of the country, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the drafting of a new constitution that will capture the agitations of many Nigerians.
The legal luminary said there is need to empower the different regions to effectively address the challenges of insecurity, unemployment and poverty in their respective zones.
The frontline lawyer and elder statesman said this at the weekend in ABUAD farm in Ado-Ekiti during the grant award ceremony of N30 million and equipment to about 115 youths in the 2020 Youth Employment in Agri-business and Sustainable Agriculture (YEASA) in partnership with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria expressed regret that present crop of leaders are only interested in pursuing personal wealth at the deterrent of the system and the citizens.
According to him, ”There is a very simple solution to the growing insecurity in the country and that is a new constitution. We need a new constitution where the different nations that were formed together can develop at their own pace. West was doing well during the old constitution, likewise the East and even the North but the one we are using now whose leaders see politics as the only lucrative business.
“We don’t need transactional leaders anymore, we want transformational leaders as you can see I am transforming this place. In the early years in 1960 people were not earning salaries but allowances and they were doing well but now you see people selling their property to contest election because of money they will get in the office, that is not the ideal thing. The solution is a new constitution for the people. We need people who will serve without earning salaries. “
Babalola who empowered the youths from Oyo and Ekiti States with equipment and grants after weeks of training in various agricultural based businesses lamented the poverty level in the country noting that he would continue to do everything possible to end the menace.
He told the beneficiaries to be committed and deployed the grants given judiciously for them to be employers’ of labour and banish the chain of poverty from the society.
He said, ” We introduce this program to help end poverty in our society and that is why we are training you and giving you grants to start your business. We want to make you self employed and remove poverty from around us.Nigeria today is a poor country and I have said I will continue to do everything in my own way to eradicate poverty in the country. ”
” Tell your friends out there to embrace this training and be able to transforming their lives through agriculture. There is a need for our youths to engage their hands in productive things especially in agribusiness.”
He advised the beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunities being offered by financial institutions especially Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture to boost their businesses.
Speaking, the project manager, Professor Amos Onasanya said the 115 youths have been trained in fish production, fish value addition, moringa value addition and mango value addition for them to earn income and create employ opportunities.
He explained that the grants given to each of the beneficiaries would help them to establish their agribusiness in rural areas of Oyo and Ekiti states, adding, ” very strict monitoring and evaluation system and tools have been developed for monitoring of all the established agribusinesses in terms of performance as well as impact in terms of employment opportunities created, revenue and profits.”