From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benign
For the Honorable Minister of Budget and Planning and former Edo State Commissioner for the Environment, Prince Clem Agba, he was doing just what he was appointed to do, bringing the federal government closer to the people but without knowing it, his work could attract praise from far and near even his parents.
Among those who recently decided to honor the minister is the Weppa Wanno Pyramid Club, which, after a wide range of consultations, awarded him the “Icon of Rural Development in Nigeria” award.
The event, which took place at the Edo Heritage Hotel in Benin City, saw the crème de la crème of Weppa Wanno’s sons present from far and near to honor the Minister for his many contributions to the development of rural areas. in Edo State and, by extension, Nigeria.
Addressing guests, club president Dr Austine Aipoh said the club’s choice of minister was based on its willingness to reward hard-working individuals who have contributed to the development of the company.
He said Agba was able to use his office to bring a smile to millions of Nigerians by connecting many rural areas of the country with major cities.
Accepting the award, the Honorable Minister said that 60 percent of Nigerians live in rural areas and the desire to improve their lot has compelled him to bring the federal government’s attention to these communities.
“60 percent of the Nigerian people who live in these rural areas, the poorest of the poor, the very vulnerable who produce the food we eat at least 90 percent, because of this commitment I pushed very hard in the various committees that I even belong to the Blueprint Advisory Committee which is chaired by the vice president, that we should not want to copy the Americans who run in space because they have conquered hunger. They took care of basic infrastructure. If we copy them, we will miss our way, ”he said.
Agba said that we have to go back to the base, and for him that base is rural development, ensuring that we create the environment to encourage value-added industries, build those value changes, which will ensure that we We have storage facilities, processing facilities that would reduce or even completely eliminate post-harvest losses which are currently estimated at 50 to 60 percent depending on the type of product.
He said that for ten thousand tons of food that we produce, we lose 6,000, adding that it does not happen to the market and for him, he does not think that increasing the number of acreage is the solution because if we increase the number of areas to produce more, we also invariably, geometrically, increase the percentage of post-harvest losses.
Agba said he would do his best to make people in rural areas feel the impact of the federal government’s presence.
“I will do my best to continue promoting rural development across Nigeria.
“I was just saying to the grand principal chief,
Izuagbe last night about two days ago I got a letter from the people of Enugu that they want to give me a chiefdom title, I said why, he said I opened the place , for 40 years, they have not had a road, they have never seen a federal minister who came to the end to inspect the roads, I saw that the road was halfway, and through this extra N17b, we put more funds there and the road is almost over and they are indeed very grateful and for that reason they want to honor me. What more ? So I just ask for your prayers, and God continues to give us the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to do what’s right because the best thing to do is do what’s right, ”he said. -he declares.
Now that more rural roads are connected to cities, the honorable minister has tasked various regions to look inward and find out what they can easily produce in exchange for what they cannot.
“I just got back from Rome where I went to lay out Nigeria’s position on our food systems because if you look at different regions of countries we have different comparative advantages in terms of the type of food we produce and we say that we should have a dashboard approach that shows what can grow well where you have these benefits and make sure the foods we eat are fortified, then we will be able to eliminate stunting and l ‘wasting that occurs in our children,’ he said.
The minister maintained that the federal government is committed to improving rural life.
“The federal government is doing a lot, we just talked about the additional rural roads N34b, N17b added as part of the sustainability plan, N8b in the 2021 budget for rural development. These were meant to be responsibilities of the sub-national government, so the federal government does a lot, ”he said.