The Rural Sociological Association of Nigeria (RuSAN) has advocated the emancipation of rural families from poverty and other challenges threatening their livelihood as citizens of the country, saying that rural families must be set free from slavery, dependence and subjection. The advocacy was flagged in the Welcome Address of the National President of RuSAN, Professor O.B. Oyesola during the opening ceremony of the Association’s 29th Annual Congress on Monday, 12th October, 2020 held at Landmark University Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria. 

According to Professor Oyesola, the wellbeing of rural families is relatively poor compared to their urban counterparts despite the contributions of these rural families to national development which include provision of raw materials to the industries, provision of labour, ensuring food security, and improved national economy among others. Professor Oyesola added that most rural families in Nigeria engage in farming as primary occupation, using hand tools for their farming activities with little or no support from the government, a situation that could be seen as slavery in this contemporary epoch. “It is evident that rural families are working tirelessly, but their urban counterparts and the elites are reaping their harvest,” he said. 

He noted that the reality of the dividends of their labour are far-fetched not only on their living conditions but also their communities at large. Professor Oyesola therefore expressed optimism that the Congress would birth a road map towards the emancipation of the rural families as its discussions would focus on evolution and transitions in rural family life; coping strategies of rural farm families with climate change, environmental and socioeconomic challenges; democracy, political participation, government policies and rural family life; rural family responses to globalization, ICTs and communication systems; farming systems and structural changes in rural family enterprises; integration and survival strategies of rural families in cottage industries and non-farm vocations; the challenges of crime and criminality on livelihood of rural families; and the rural families and emerging trends in traditional health care and beliefs systems.

In his Welcome Remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adeniyi Olayanju had leveraged the platform to reiterate the University’s commitment to her agrarian vision, noting that it has been the driving force for partnering with relevant bodies, associations and individuals towards making global impact like many renowned institutions of the world. Acknowledging RuSAN as a value-adding partner in the drive of the agrarian revolution, the Vice-Chancellor commended the relevance of the theme and the aptness of the congress in addressing the disproportional impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on agriculture. He noted that the people that are mostly affected by the pandemic are the rural families whose mainstay and occupation is farming. He said the impact will not only be on the rural dwellers but the entire society, which if not given due attention might lead to HUNG 20. Professor Olayanju was, therefore, optimistic that the congress will produce insights to mitigate the negative effect of COVID-19 on the rural family. 

While appreciating the association for giving Landmark University the hosting right, the registrar, Landmark University, Miss Fola Oyinloye, also tasked the Association to follow all their deliberations with requisite actions that would bring about the emancipation of the rural families thereby making agriculture even attractive to the urban dwellers.

The Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences, Professor Olasunkanmi Bamiro on behalf of the association, appreciated God for the commencement of the week-long congress. His appreciation also went to the Chancellor of Landmark, Dr. David Oyedepo for being at the vanguard of agricultural revolution on the continent of Africa through the education platform. He also appreciated the management team ably led by the Vice-Chancellor for their support by fostering a conducive environment and facilitating the congress. In furtherance of this appreciation, RuSAN presented awards to the members of management which included the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olayanju; the Registrar, Miss Oyinloye; the Dean, CAS, Professor Bamiro and the Director of Finance, Mr Oludare Fadoju. 

The opening ceremony was concluded with a keynote address on the theme of the congress “Emancipation of the Rural Family in Contemporary Nigeria” delivered virtually by Professor Lateef Sanni of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta FUNAAB. Participants both onground and online later went into their technical session which was divided into 5 sections




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