Ile-Ife - The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, said the nation would bounce back on track in spite of the present economic challenges facing it.
Oba Ogunwusi said this during the courtesy visit by some management staff of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, (FIIRO) to his palace on Thursday, in Ile-Ife.
He said that the country needed to engage its citizens, particularly the youth in empowerment programmes to be able to achieve the expected economic growth.
The royal father said the nation's strength lied in its human capacity, adding that there was need for continuous empowerment programmes.
Ooni lauded FIIRO's management's readiness to support and partner with the palace on its proposed empowerment programme and provision of employment for youths in Ife, Osun and the country at large.
He said the country was blessed with such an institute which had come up with several products, relevant to the planned empowerment programmes.
The royal father commended the management of FIIRO for its continuous commitment in ensuring self -reliance among Nigerians, saying this would help reposition the country to compete favourably with its counterparts.
The monarch said that there was a 'renewed hope' for Nigeria, and thousands of youths that were jobless to be gainfully employed as agro-entreprenueurs.
Ooni urged small and medium firms, stakeholders, individuals, local, state and Federal Government to partner with FIIRO.
Oba Ogunwusi pledged full support for the institute and urged its management to continue to ensure that it maintained quality products that could boost patronage locally and internationally.
He also urged Nigerians to always patronise made-in- Nigeria products so that the country could reduce its imported items and boost foreign exchange income.
Oba Ogunwusi assured the team that the Ife citizens would not relent to give the institute plots of land to set up an institute for training programmes.
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The Director-General of FIIRO, dr Gloria Elemo, commended the royal father's efforts in ensuring that youths and widows were empowered.
Elemo said that the institute would give its technical support to ensure that the "empowerment programme becomes a success".
She said that the Federal Government's had always insisted on the diversification of the economy from the oil- sector.
The director-general said that it was obvious that the agriculture sector could help boost the nation's revenue which was dwindling because of fall in crude-oil prices in the international market.
Elemo also said that adequate provision of agro-processing tools to youths and widows who want to be self- employed was necessary to improve their production capacity.
She insisted that agriculture without value added chain could not sustain the economy.
Elemo said that FIIRO understood that and in its 60 years of existence, continued to improve in its agro-processing methods and tools to make farming less stressful.
According to her, FIIRO is the best in processing solid minerals, crops like cashew, cassava, yam, fruits, plantain and fish among others.
The director-general presented over 200 researched and packaged products in various form of powder, juice and wine.
She also showcased some machines to the royal father which she said were available and at affordable prices.
He said if the three tiers of government, individuals could partner with FIIRO, there would be poverty alleviation in the country, thereby, making youths to be gainfully employed.
Elemo called on Nigerian youths to be focused and ready to establish themselves without waiting for government.