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CVL holds discuss on leadership and the challenge of ultra-poverty

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Among the many economic tools deployed to address poverty alleviation in Nigeria, experts have stressed that improved agriculture and an all-inclusive, extensive education remain the strongest, surest and easiest way to free the nation particularly, and the African continent at large from the current grinding poverty.

Speaking at the weekend in Lagos during the 12th Annual Lecture and Symposium of Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), its founder, Prof. Pat Utomi, noted that until Nigerians impact in the younger generations the right leadership qualities, the nation would never grow beyond the gross poverty line.

For the seventh-term United States’ Congressman, Jerry Waller, every child in Nigeria should be given a chance at education, as they have the potential to change the world, and “education is the best investment in lifting people from poverty.”

The forum had such other speakers as the former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Executive Director of UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Lagos State standard-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.

Similarly, agriculture experts have urged the Federal Government to redirect its current system of farming production to embrace a more regenerative agric strategy for better yields.

In his address at the 16th Bassey Andah Memorial Lecture in Calabar, Cross River State, the founder of Songhai Farm in Benin Republic, Rev. Fr Godfrey Nzamujo, regretted that despite improved food production, food supply remains very low due to the old style of production.

Nzamujo added that the disheartening socio-economic situation would continue and definitely get worse if African nations continue to navigate with the same old map that uses mechanistic paradigm, which was developed centuries age.

Speaking on the theme, “Agriculture and Food Security in Africa,” Nzamujo regretted that “to a large extent, Africa has succumbed to the logic of poverty or underdevelopment simply because we are no longer capable of internally generating the capacities to build the appropriate institutions and structures that will enable us to consistently produce the social values, goods and services that correspond to our needs and desires.

From Washington, Accra, Abuja and elsewhere, global leaders participating in the 12th Annual Centre for Values in Leadership Lecture/Symposium at Muson Centre in Lagos whose theme for 2015 was “Leadership and the Challenge of ultra-poverty: Transforming the poorest of the poor” have called for solidarity with the poor. Charging that the ultra-poor are wrapped in the dignity of their creator and can be a great asset to society,

AMONG the many economic tools deployed to address poverty alleviation in Nigeria, experts have stressed that improved agriculture and an all-inclusive, extensive education remain the strongest, surest and easiest way to free the nation particularly, and the African continent at large from the current grinding poverty.

Speaking at the weekend in Lagos during the 12th Annual Lecture and Symposium of Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), its founder, Prof. Pat Utomi, noted that until Nigerians impact in the younger generations the right leadership qualities, the nation would never grow beyond the gross poverty line.

For the seventh-term United States’ Congressman, Jerry Waller, every child in Nigeria should be given a chance at education, as they have the potential to change the world, and “education is the best investment in lifting people from poverty.”

The forum had such other speakers as the former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Executive Director of UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Lagos State standard-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.

Similarly, agriculture experts have urged the Federal Government to redirect its current system of farming production to embrace a more regenerative agric strategy for better yields.

In his address at the 16th Bassey Andah Memorial Lecture in Calabar, Cross River State, the founder of Songhai Farm in Benin Republic, Rev. Fr Godfrey Nzamujo, regretted that despite improved food production, food supply remains very low due to the old style of production.

Nzamujo added that the disheartening socio-economic situation would continue and definitely get worse if African nations continue to navigate with the same old map that uses mechanistic paradigm, which was developed centuries age.

Speaking on the theme, “Agriculture and Food Security in Africa,” Nzamujo regretted that “to a large extent, Africa has succumbed to the logic of poverty or underdevelopment simply because we are no longer capable of internally generating the capacities to build the appropriate institutions and structures that will enable us to consistently produce the social values, goods and services that correspond to our needs and desires.

Passive consumerism, shallow and piecemeal solutions, and the quick adoption of other peoples’ experiences, solutions, systems of production and values are cheap substitutes for doing the hard work of growing up and developing native competencies and processes that would guarantee sustainable, broad-based and inclusive growth on the African continent.”

According to him, “regenerative farming technology and super soil development at Songhai constitute a part of our drive to develop authentic technologies that bring into play the natural forces of synergy and amplification (enzymatic actions) in nature that have been ignored by conventional methods.”

For Prof. Patrick Erhabor, Africa’s food crisis could be tackled through a blend of both short and long term measures of food redistribution, improved, modern system of farming and technical knowhow, among others.

Utomi classified education and leadership empowerment as the best ways to lift the nation from poverty because one cannot lead except with a vision of what the world should look like, and that is only attainable through education, training and empowerment.

“Leadership qualities and education are fundamental to human progress,” he stated. “We should not live in a world of enough brains and plenty human resources and yet be so much tied up in poverty, so we aim to empower the youths so that their dignity would be preserved, and then they can do away with poverty in their lives because poverty takes away the dignity of a person.”

According to him, the theme of the programme, “leadership and the challenge of ultra-poverty: transforming the poorest of the poor,” became necessary given various statistics and the World Bank’s report, which stated that more work needed to be done to end poverty in Nigeria, otherwise by 2030, the country would be among the top 10 countries contributing to global poverty.”

Also, Ghana’s Minister for Food and Agriculture, Fiifi Kwetey, described poverty and hunger as complex problems with no simple solution, stating: “Poverty affects both rural and urban areas, and is associated with social problems such as malnutrition, disease, violence and poor education.

“The line between cause and effect often blurs as poverty leads to hunger, which leads to violence and conflict, environmental destruction and displacement of people, which in turn lead even to greater poverty and more hunger.”

He stressed that though Africa is committed and united to one course – development, to achieve its targets, massive increase in agricultural productivity among its countries is required.

More so, the need for rapid agricultural development for poverty alleviation is particularly pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, as there has been no increase in fertilizer use and crop yields, but the population has been increasing, meaning less food for everyone, he added.

“To lift countries out of poverty, large increase in the scale of agricultural research and environmental assessment will be required,” Kwetey said.

“Information concerning soil fertility deficiencies should be readily disseminated to farmers in a timely manner through government agricultural research institutions, therefore enabling them to input the required fertilizers on time and thus increase food production.

Given that Africa has 800 million hectares of uncultivated land, “agriculture is 11 percent more productive than any other investment or sector; we at the individual level hold the key to our transformation but must be determined to work collectively to change Nigeria and Africa.

Government, on its part, must provide leadership by creating, promoting and sustaining programmes that would improve agricultural development like research, provision of machineries, financing, standaization of inputs, collaboration with private sectors, as well as ensuring that small-scale farmers are encouraged.”

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