With the drastic fall in oil prices globally and Nigeria’s inability to live as a self-feeding nation in spite of the huge opportunities for agricultural activities to thrive, the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) recently created a platform that stressed the need for the country to think out of the box and return to its lost glory.

At the opening of the NIPR Annual National Conference and AGM, which took place on Thursday, 14th April, 2016 at Premier Hotel, Mokola Hill, Ibadan, Oyo State with the theme, “Networking for National Economy: The Synergy of Agriculture and Communication”, Nigerians, in turns, advocated the need for the country to return to agriculture, which hitherto, formed the basis of our self-sufficiency.

For NIPR President and Chairman of Council, Dr. Rotimi Oladele, there is the urgent need for Nigerians to rise up and live a life of ‘a self-feeding nation,’ stressing that the choice of the theme for this year’s conference was informed by the need to remind us that we are Nigerians, who value what treasures Nigerians had in our agricultural setor as environment and heritage.

He regretted the fact that in spite of the great treasures we have in agriculture, Nigerians have neglected agricultural sector for almost five decades and now live the lifestyle of a consumer nation that neglects local content and products.

Speaking in a similar vein, former President of NIPR, Chief Ajibade Oyekan, was of the view that no nation of the world can survive if it depends on importation of food, saying: “It is shameful that Nigeria still depends on importing things like food. Look at a country like China; fifty years ago, China was a poor country like Nigeria; but someone took courage and they all agreed to move forward. Today, they have put their name on the world map.”

Continuing, Oyekan said: “We have our own crops, yams, cassava, potatoes, beans and soya beans amongst many other crops. We have to be progressive in our thinking; otherwise, we will continue to import everything.” 

Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade (rtd), former Nigerian Army Spokesman, who was chairman on the occasion, maintained that it was necessity that had brought Public Relations practitioners together to raise the need for Nigerians to pay more attention to the issue of agriculture.

Presenting a paper, entitled, “Networking for National Economy: The Synergy of Agriculture and Communication”, Dr. Iyke Orji, Director of Capacity Building at the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), lamented that the Nigerian environment appears to be at a state of flux, creating a vacuum between turbulence and stability.

His words: “We are faced with economic uncertainties; we are not networking for a national economy that will bring about national stability. Nations without networking capability find it difficult to manage their national economy. We therefore need national economic networking by thinking outside the box which can allow ideas that can change a strategic direction of the nation so as to chart a road map for stimulating economic growth and development through agricultural communication.”

He further regretted that the epileptic power supply in the country has also affected agro-allied industries and consequently leading to food insecurity, saying Nigeria needs more effective networking for socio-economic and moral emancipitation that will put the nation in good light in global committee of nations.

For Mr. Akin Akinnayajo, a Food Security Consultant, his paper, entitled, “Becoming a Feeding Nation,” stressed that food is very essential if the nation must move forward, and that Nigeria can only sustain itself in food production if its citizens remain disciplined.

He identified poverty as one of the major problems affecting food production and therefore called on government at all levels to do everything possible to motivate and encourage farmers if the nation must move forward.

The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, a Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), and nine years standing Member of NIPR, who was in attendance, was accompanied by his Special Assistant, Mr. Law Ikay Ezeh, as well as his Media Assistant, Caleb Nor, who is also an Associate Member of NIPR.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja