Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade has tasked governments at various levels to diversify their economies by investing heavily in agriculture in order to address the army of youth unemployment in the country.
Ayade gave the charge during the conferment of the Governor of the Year Award on Agro-Industrial development on him at the Independent Newspaper Award night held at the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking after receiving the award, the governor said his administration realised at inception that Agro- industrialisation was the best way to go in a mono-economy like Nigeria’s, hence his aggressive pursuit of the policy, adding that he totally aligns with President Muhammadu Buhari’s roadmap for Nigeria beyond oil.
Ayade stressed that Agro- Industrialisation was the antidote for youth unemployment and hunger.
Said the governor: “I agree with President Muhammadu Buhari that his roadmap on Nigeria beyond oil, Agro-Industrial revolution was the way to go. If you dont have food on your table, you don’t have business being here because hunger would not have allowed you to be here.”
The real revolution, according to Ayade, “is the Agro-industrial revolution. It is the first step to take for any nation that is a developing one, and wants to see tomorrow.
“For what our young men and women are going through in terms of unemployment, we definitely need to focus on youth unemployment and we can only start it by digitalising agriculture thereby attracting our young ones who are out of school into agriculture.”
The governor warned that if the massive youth unemployment bedevilling the nation was not urgently addressed, it may spell doom for the country in the nearest future.
“I believe that the entire country is watching and conscious of the fact that the massive unemployment, if not addressed, I’m sure in the next five years, we won’t have the luxury of sitting like this or even for an award,” he stated.
Ayade, while thanking the management of Independent newspaper for finding him worthy for the Award, said he was dedicating the honour to “the young men and women who for no fault of theirs are finding employment a bit of a challenge.”
Continuing, the governor said: “Through technology-driven agro industrial development, we can curb insecurity and other socio-economic challenges that are threatening our nation.
“Today in Cross River state, we are making young people millionaires through agriculture which is known as G-money.”
Earlier, the management of Independent Newspapers lauded governor Ayade’s agro- Industrialisation drive, acknowledging that he has made a name for himself as one governor who has identified agriculture as the basis for the growth and development of any society.
“One thing is very significant in Cross River under this charismatic leader. He has made agriculture, particularly rice production, very attractive to young ones, leading to an influx of young minds into rice production,” the paper said.
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