Ooni honours IITA boss Sanginga over contributions to agriculture
The Ooni of Ife, (Dr) Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has conferred a traditional title, the Aare Afurugbin-Ola of the Source, on the outgoing Director-General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Nteranya Sanginga, following his contributions to agriculture and youth development in Nigeria and Africa.
While honouring Sanginga with the title in his palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State, at the weekend, the Ooni said the palace gave Sanginga the honour “in recognition of the illustrious career, service, leadership and commitment to Africa in the field of agriculture and youth empowerment.”
He explained that the title, “the Aare Afurugbin-Ola of the Source” implies “The Lead sower of Wealth and Prosperity of the House of Oduduwa,” and his wife, Mrs. Charlotte Sanginga was also honoured with the title of the Yeye Aare Afurugbin-Ola of Ife.
Dr Sanginga, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the first African Director-General of IITA, from November 2011 and now leads a team of 250 world-class scientists from 47 countries spread in 22 countries all over sub-Saharan Africa to help smallholder African farmers and farming communities attain a better life using novel scientific approaches and innovative developmental interventions.
The Ooni Adeyeye revealed that the advisory team of the Royal Palace of the Arole Oodua had recommended him to be celebrated and bestowed with the honorary chieftaincy tittle of “the Aare Afurugbin-Ola of the Source.”
This is the first international honorary chieftaincy that the Ooni has bestowed.
The Ooni Adeyeye said: “We found Dr Sanginga worthy of the prestigious chieftaincy tittle in recognition of his unquantifiable contributions to food security and agro-economic development in Africa. I wish the Aare and Yeye Aare Afurugbin-Ola of the Source longevity and old age.”
Former president of Nigeria and IITA’s honorary ambassador, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, congratulated Dr Sanginga on the conferment of the title.
Obasanjo said: “I note with satisfaction that this title reflects a positive trend in our social and cultural life as a people becoming increasingly united in spite of nationality and ethnic diversity.
“Indeed, this is a well-deserved honour as Dr Sanginga has done Africa proud, and also many that are devoted to the improvement of the human conditions on our planet through commitment to ensuring food security in Africa. IITA under his leadership has remained a dependable organisation in his steadfast fight against poverty and hunger in Africa.
“I am confident that he will regard this distinction as a challenge for him to continue to offer exemplary leadership in public service and remain a positive role model to younger Nigerians.”
“The Sangingas will regard this as a challenge; a challenge to do more than what they have done at this moment and I will want to assure the Ooni that from what I know of the Sangingas and what I know of his works and commitment to agriculture, he will live up to the expectations and to the honour that have been bestowed upon him.”