In recognition of his service milestones, the Kwara State University, Malete on August 22, 2017 celebrated the Nigeria’s new Ambassador to Japan, Prof. Mohammed Gana Yisa.
Held at the University Mini Convocation Arena, the event attracted dignitaries from all walks of life, including the Ambassador-designate to Malaysia, Alhaji Nurudeen Mohammed.
Until his appointment, Yisa was the Deputy Provost (Administration), College of Engineering and Technology and Head, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, KWASU.
Speaking at the ceremony, the new Ambassador, who was accompanied by his wife, family members, friends and well-wishers, thanked the University for the recognition and pledged his continued support and contribution to the development of the Institution.
He also promised to woo investors to Nigeria and facilitate collaboration between some Nigerian universities and their Japanese counterparts, especially in the area of research and staff exchange.
“This year, the Japanese Government will give postgraduate scholarship to more than 12 Nigerians and I am happy to say that one of our staff in Agriculture also attended the interview. So, there are opportunities in the educational sector,” he said.
The Nigerian Ambassador, who noted that he has already swung into action by reaching out to Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a mandate to pursue Nigeria’s foreign policy, said he has also held meetings with the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria and all agencies of Japanese businesses in Nigeria, with a view to strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.
He said: “I have started seen results from that meeting (with agencies of Japanese businesses in Nigeria) because those executives contacted their parent companies in Japan and I have started receiving emails booking appointments with me. I had to tell them that I am still in Nigeria but I will soon leave for Japan. That is just to point out the fact that we are already in the business.
“Today we have just about 5,000 Nigerians in Japan and over 90 per cent of them are from the East. So, our people are not there. Secondly, the trade relation with Japan is in favour of Nigeria because the business is worth N5 billion. That is, our export to Japan is worth $5 billion, but our import from Japan is just $711 million.
“One will be happy to see that we have a positive outlook but we shouldn’t be happy because all that is mainly oil and today countries are running away from oil. So, the need for diversification is also very, very important. And one strong area that I will seriously be working on is agriculture. Not because I’m an Agric Engineer, the reason is because one of the few alternatives that this country has is agriculture and Japan needs raw materials from Nigeria.”
Aside agriculture, the new Ambassador said he would pursue the power sector intervention by the Japanese Government as soon as he assumed duty, stressing that he would also pursue vigorously, economic matters, Nigerian citizens’ welfare, and international diplomacy in that country.
Prof. Yisa also pledged to work with his counterpart from Kwara North, Ambassador Nurudeen Mohammed, posted to Malaysia, in the overall interest of Nigeria.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of KWASU, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, described Yisa as an exceptional human being, who has contributed significantly to the development of the University and Kwara State as a whole.
Na’Allah, who expressed confidence that the new Ambassador will do Nigeria proud in his new assignment, said: “I just want you to know that everyday you are there, please think of KWASU and whenever you come back to Nigeria, think of KWASU. Anywhere you are, you are a KWASU man to the core.
“I want to tell you that we are with you all the way. We will support you. We are going to go into partnership with the Japanese University, and with you, we will make a difference for Nigeria.”
Dignitaries at the ceremony took turns to shower encomia on the new Ambassador and pray for his success.
Leading members of the Kwara State House of Assembly to the event was Hon. Sikirat Anako, who represented the Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad.
Also present were Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology in Kwara State, Dr. Aminat Ahmed; and that of Commerce and Cooperatives, Hon. Ahmed Mohammed Rifun; a former Nigerian Ambassador to the Royal Kingdom of Netherlands, Dr. Nimota Nihinlola Akanbi; Special Adviser to the Kwara State Governor on Community Development, Alhaji Usman Ndakotsu Mohammed; and Sarkin Samari, Patigi, Alhaji Hassan Mohammed, who represented the Etsu of Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Chatta Umar.
The list also included representative of the Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Command, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operation Department, Suleiman Bala-rabi; the Oluju of Iludun-Eju, Engr. Moses Ayodele Adewuyi; a delegation from Federal University of Technology, Minna, led by Prof. Salawu Sadiku; a former Head of Service, Kwara State, Alhaji Dabarako Mohammed, President, Nigerian Japan Alumni Association, Prof. Mohammed Dawuda; the celebrant’s sibling, Prof. K. M. Baba; industrialists; serving and retired permanent secretaries; Principal Officers of KWASU; staff; students; and a host of others.
Highlight of the ceremony was presentation of the University Plaques to the two new Ambassadors by Na’Allah.
The Chairman, Organising Committee, Prof. Kazeem Gbolagade; the College of Engineering and Technology; the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; and the Student Representative Assembly also presented gifts to the celebrant.