Osun State University recently became a center of global attraction on Monday, 9th April, 2018 when it hosted delegates from 19 African countries to participate in a five-day training workshop organized by the African Forest Forum (AFF).
The workshop, entitled, “Modelling Climate and Applications to Forestry Sector in West and Central Africa”and held from Monday, 9th to Friday, 13th April, 2018, kicked off in the Olagunsoye Oyinlola Auditorium, Main Campus, Osogbo and continued at the Western Sun Hotel in Ede,Osun State. It was officially declared open by the Governor of Osun State and Visitor to the University, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
In his remarks at the opening of the five-day training programme, Governor Aregbesola thanked the Forum for considering the State worthy of hosting the programme which he described as extraordinary.
“I have been informed that this is the first time a university in Nigeria will be hosting an event of this magnitude on the platform of the AFF. We are indeed excited about this,” he added.
The Governor,who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Grace Titi-laoye Tomori stated that Osun State is one of the forest-rich states in Nigeria, adding that the large chunk of the timber resources used in Oyo, Lagos, Kwara and many northern states of the federation are sourced from the State.
He however identified illegal logging, encroachment and deforestation as part of the major challenge hindering the government from getting the deserved returns from its rich forest estates.
He expressed hope that the deliberation would bring about an outcome that would assist the government in its ongoing efforts at preserving its various rich forest estates and getting the full values from these great resources.
In hiswelcome remarks,the Vice-Chancellor,Professor Labode Popoola,said the hosting of the programme was timely as it came at a time when the University was on the verge of creating a Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources out of the current Faculty of Agriculture in Ejigbo Campus.
“This new Faculty, will house the forestry, fisheries, wildlife and ecotourism programmes. Hosting of this training workshop has further given us the desired impetus to conclude the process with dispatch,” he hinted.
He thanked the Governor for the support given him to hostcolleagues with whom he had“worked for nearly two decades in the quest for Sustainable Forest Management globally.”
Also speaking at the opening event, the Chairman of the AFF Governing Council, Mr. Macarthy Afolabi Oyebo maintained that the programme was a demonstration of the fact that the African Forest Forum as a pan African organization recognized the need for capacity building and skill development on the continent in order to build the resilience to climate change effects.
He thanked the Governor and the University for hosting the Forum in Osogbo which he described as a beautiful city.
The Executive Secretary of the AFF Secretariat, Professor Godwin Kowero who also spoke at the event expressed optimism that by the end of the programme the delegates to the workshop would have built capacity in themselves to use the models to explain the implications of climate change in forestry and related sectors at their work places.
“And this is precisely one of the capacities AFF and its partners are keen on building on the continent,” he added.
In addition to the training, the delegates were on Wednesday, 11thApril, 2018 given the opportunity to visit the palace of the Ataoja of Osogbo where they were warmly received by the traditional ruler and his Council chiefs and later led on a tour to the sacred Osun groove, in the ancient city of Osogbo.
The hospitality reached a memorable crescendo on Thursday when the delegates were led by the Vice-Chancellor on a visit to the State Government House where they enjoyed a dinner with Mr.Governor. Each of the delegates had an opportunity to receive a handshake from the Governor with a gift –a beautifully designed art frame bearing the statue of Oodua, the father of the Yorubas.
The eventful five-day programme was graced by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) represented by Mr. Moussa Leko.