Dignitaries from all walks of life including former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Governors Seyi Makinde and Nasir El-Rufai of Oyo and Kaduna States; former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja; President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, among others paid glowing tribute to the immediate past Director General (DG) of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, as he bowed out after 11 meritorious years leading the largest agricultural research institute in Africa.
Delivering his goodwill message at the send-off and commemoration service in honour of the former DG at IITA Conference Centre, Ibadan, Obasanjo said Sanginga led the institute to incredible heights in science, impacts and relevance across Africa as the first African DG in the history of the research institute.
Obasanjo, whose message was delivered by the President of AfDB, Adesina, described Sanginga as an accomplished scholar, whose tenure would be enshrined in gold in the annals of the history of IITA.
“It is the end of a tenure that will be enshrined in gold in the annals of the history of IITA. Not only that, but also in the annals of the history of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
“You can never lead well unless you know where you are leading people. He knows where he was leading people. As a scientist, a microbiologist, he put together a team of scientists that he guided to be one of the best in the world. He led as scientist the legumes programme, led in the savanna programme, and led in the research and development of the alley farming. He led his team to even develop promiscuous soybeans. How in the world did your wife allow you to do that?” he said.
The former president added that Sanginga made IITA the most sought after international agricultural research centre in the world.
Speaking, Makinde said the state had grown and increased economically in Agriculture through Sanginga’s innovation.
“The younger generation has equally been empowered through the various agricultural scheme projects that were made available in the state through the shared knowledge of the celebrant,” he said.
In his remarks, El-Rufai said before Sanginga became the DG, he was not told the economic status of the research institute was going down, but with his uncommon focus and leadership, he turned things around.
Responding, Sanginga appealed to African governments to increase budgetary allocation to agriculture.
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