The dignitaries almost caused the event to flop.
Nigerian dignitaries who were to play a major role at a programme of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, on Monday, absented themselves from the programme, causing a major re-organisation at the event.
The dignitaries that were absent include the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi; the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina; Minister of Environment and Science, Hadiza Mailafia; Minister of Technology, Bassey Okon; and the Commissioner of Agriculture in Ogun State, Ronke Somefun.
The programme, Agricultural fair, was the first in a series of events to mark the 25th anniversary
of the University. It started two hours behind schedule because of the absentee dignitaries.
Messrs Adesina and Sanusi were expected to deliver first and second keynote addresses. Both men were absent and sent no representatives or official reason for their absence.
Following the absence of the dignitaries, the keynote address was delivered by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Felix Salako.
Also, the absent Minister of Science and Technology, Ita Okon Bassey, was to chair the first plenary session at the event while former President Olusegun Obasanjo was to be the special guest alongside Governor Amosun.
At the ceremony, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Bandele Oyewole, said the webometrics ranking of universities, which placed the institution second in Nigeria, is not a total reflection of quality.
FUNAAB, in the current ranking by webometrics, is 2nd behind Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State; and 29th among African universities.
“I am pleased to inform you that FUNAAB is now webometically ranked as number 29 among Universities in Africa and second in Nigeria. While webometric is not a total reflection of quality, it reflects the
Universities commitment to excellence,” he said.
Mr. Oyewole, while speaking, said the theme of the fair, Agriculture and the Future of Nigeria, suggests that the future of Nigeria lies in functional and dynamic agriculture.
He explained that the fair was to showcase the research efforts of the University in the last two and half decades, the present stage of development of Nigerian agriculture and the need for further
development in the sector.
The Vice-Chancellor said Nigeria has come to a point where introduction of cutting-edge technology to activities in the country should no longer be ignored as Nigeria is one of the most vulnerable in security arising from food shortage and consequences of global environmental changes.
“The challenges of flood, land degradation, drought, desertification and other impacts of climate variability are only additional stressors to the eminent problems that constraint livelihood, impinge poverty alleviation and the capacity of the government to meet its development goals,” he said.