A Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan, Professor Sulaiman Adesina Yusuf, has warned that the storm of poverty in Nigeria is about morphing into a hurricane that can consume anything in its course.
He gave this warning in an inaugural lecture he delivered on behalf of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Ibadan.
The inaugural lecture was entitled “Living in the eye of the storm: what options for Nigeria?”
He said there is a deafening sound of bipolarity with the high income group becoming thinner, the middle income group disappearing, and the low income group increasing exceedingly in Nigeria.
The lecturer gave principles of economics by Okoruwa (2017) as measures to improve the welfare of Agricultural Economics without necessarily giving meaning to the well-offness or the unfortunate circumstances in the field.
He said it was time for all – the rich and the poor, the people in government, civil servants, programme implementers, and other stakeholders to collectively fight the storm of poverty and vulnerability.
Professor Yusuf warned that if the country fails to eradicate poverty, poverty will eradicate Nigeria stressing that when the poor are hungry and angry, the rich will not be able to sleep well, if they sleep at all.
To address poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria, the inaugural lecturer advised that as individuals, people should diversify their livelihood portfolio; engage in home gardening and urban farming; social networking and social capital development and place emphasis on community-driven development.
The lecturer gave the conceptual framework for poverty and vulnerability Storm. The effects of Storm, which he defined as poverty, food insecurity, and vulnerability, are low resilience, unemployment, and low human capital development among others.
He further the lecture by mentioning the causes of the Storm as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, conflict, banditry, and economic crises among others.
Professor Yusuf called for the establishment of a National Poverty Alleviation Platform; the creation of accurate database and improved registry of the poor and vulnerable; early warning systems; and reprioritisation of funding in favour of the social sector and pro-poor interventions.
He also recommended that there should be an excellent blend of Town and Gown, adding that there is a need for academia to reach the town for awareness, sensitisation, advocacy, and areas of collaboration.
The lecturer mentioned his contributions to the immediate UI community as a member of the academic staff who has been privileged to serve in diverse capacities in the course of duty.
Professor Yusuf, who stated that the current administration has taken a proactive step by removing subsidy on PMS, advised the government to redirect the petrol subsidy funds to education, healthcare, infrastructure development and provide cushion for the poor through targeted intervention which may include cash-plus empowerment and other palliatives.
At the event were the the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima (GCON)., UI Vice Chancellor, UI Central Mosque Chief Imam.
Also present were the former Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje (OFR); a former UI Vice Chancellor, Adewole Folorunsho Isaac; Deans of faculties; Provost of UI College of Medicine; Provosts of UI Post Graduate School; and Kingsley Chukwuma, the founder of Leaders Fort Company, The Fort Institute, and the Bookers. OYO NEWS