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Nigeria’s Yoruba king confers title on IITA chief

The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Oba Enitan Adeyeye, one of the most influential traditional rulers in Africa, will confer a traditional title on Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Dr Nteranya Sanginga, come December 11, 2021.


Dr Nteranya Sanginga, DG, IITA with the Ooni of Ife His Imperial Majesty Oba Enitan Adeyeye        Photo: Olusegun Adebayo, IITA


The Ooni of Ife, who sits in Ile-Ife, the cradle of the Yoruba civilisation, is the natural head of the entire Yoruba people. On the other hand, Dr Sanginga, a Congolese national, is the first full-blooded African to head the Ibadan, Nigeria- headquartered institution.

Dr Sanginga is also the regional director for West and Central Africa at CGIAR, a global partnership that unites international organizations engaged in research about food security including IITA; he will be conferred with the title of Aare Afurugbin Ola of the Source (Lead Sower of Wealth and Prosperity of the House Oduduwa). Additionally, he was recently appointed as chairman of the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP).

A press release by IITA, Africa’s premier institute for research-for-development (R4D) in agriculture, says the conferment, which will take place at Ile Oodua, the Ooni’s palace in Ile-Ife, southwestern Nigeria, is in recognition of Dr Sanginga’s immense contributions to agricultural research and development in Africa.

In 2018, he on behalf of IITA, received the Africa Food Prize for the Institute’s trailblazing research which has impacted positively on the lives and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers across Africa. Earlier in 2016, IITA received the Al-Sumait Award for Food Security for its groundbreaking research for agricultural development which continues to positively affect the lives of millions African citizens.

Over the past 50 years, IITA’s world-class agricultural innovations have fostered food and nutritional security and safety, increased food production, reduced poverty levels, decreased postharvest losses, promoted mechanization of agriculture, and generated jobs and wealth creation for young people and women in the agricultural sector. Consequently, IITA had lifted millions of African farmers out of peasant farming and given them the opportunity to practice agriculture on a more profitable scale through agribusiness.

To develop the next generation of farmers, agribusiness entrepreneurs, and science leaders, IITA under Sanginga had built the research capacity of national agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa, providing opportunities for young scientists and entrepreneurs to adopt and introduce various agricultural technologies while also developing the skills of young people to become self-employed and employers of labor in the agricultural sector.

The event, which is the first international honorary chieftaincy conferment in the reign of the current Ooni of Ife, will have in attendance, serving and former heads of state, diplomats from within and outside Africa, captains of industry from all over Africa, as well as members of the international development community, among others.

The IITA believes the conferment of the traditional title on its chief would promote socioeconomic and cultural ties between Nigeria and Dr Sanginga’s country – the Democratic Republic of Congo – two of Africa’s most endowed countries in terms of human and natural resources.


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