The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta has played host to the duo of Pro-Chancellors of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, (MOUAU), Abia State and University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM), Benue State, Honourable Lawal Zayana and Professor Al-kasun Abba respectively
Welcoming his colleagues to the University during a special meeting with the Principal Officers and Deans of Colleges, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, FUNAAB, Dr. Barr. Aboki Zhawa said that the essence of the gathering is to chart the way forward for the three Universities of Agriculture.
Speaking at the meeting, the host said, “It is time to start thinking together and move our Universities forward. Let it be that it was done during our time.”
The Pro-Chancellor recalled that last year, the three Universities of Agriculture in the country were brought under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, noting that outside them, other conventional universities have their Faculties of Agriculture while other Institutes of Agriculture are all over the country with their researches dumped after much efforts.
Expatiating further, Professor Abba revealed that the trio had met and have been floating ideas on how to give Agriculture its pride of place in the country and to make it attractive to prospective undergraduates seeking admission into the University.
Professor Abba lamented that Agriculture has not been a popular course in Nigeria Universities, noting that most of its graduates seek jobs in Banks after their University education rather than floating livestock farms, fishery and Cash Crop Farms, which according to him, is a trend which they look forward to change.
According to Professor Abba, they (the Pro-Chancellors) felt that an Agricultural graduate must know how to drive a tractor, think of what to do to be more sustaining, while the three Universities must be able to have student exchange programme for at least a semester.
Making his contribution, Right Honorable Zayayana revealed that they are in FUNAAB to sell the idea they have been grooming, hoping that it will be of benefit to both the students and the entire community.
According to Honorable Zayayana, the three Universities of Agriculture, beyond training students, should also have impact in the society.
After much deliberation, it was unanimously agreed that to steer the process to success, the Vice-Chancellors of the three Universities will meet, in attendance with the Pro-Chancellors at the initial stages and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Chairman Committee of Deans and Directors (CODAD) and 2 Agricultural based courses Professors from each University as members of the meeting.
It was also agreed that a Temporary Secretariat be set up for the take-off of the constituted committee, with FUNAAB unanimously chosen to be the Secretariat for the Universities.
While the Committee will engineer the process, other arising matters are to be ironed out when they start meeting.
Responding to the proposal, the Chairman, CODAD, Professor Amidu Mustapha described the Pro-Chancellor’s proposal as laudable, because it is worth thinking about. He said it is timely especially at this time when Agriculture is becoming much more important to a country that is clamouring for diversification.
Professor Mustapha said that if academics from the three Universities come together, “We are going to come up with good position about this.”
Earlier, while welcoming the guests, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako appreciated the Pro-Chancellors for their laudable idea.
He informed that the Pro-Chancellors had been on ground a day before, and had been touring the University’s facilities to see what is happening in FUNAAB.
Facilities toured were, the Cassava Processing Factory, the Bakery; the Newly Completed Female Hostel (Block A) under the NEEDS Assessment Project of 2013, which is also billed to be commissioned during the forthcoming Convocation Ceremony.
Also visited were, the Information and Communication Technology Resource Centre (ICTREC) and the FUNAAB Zoological Garden.