Professor Gbolagade Ayoola
Born to the royal family of the Owus at Orile Owu in Osun State, and having his deep ancestral roots in Ibadan in present day Oyo State of Nigeria, Professor Gbolagade Babalola Ayoola started his educational pursuit in 1960 at the Baptist Day School, Orile Owu. In 1974, he obtained the West African School Certificate at the Community Grammar School at Iroko, near Ibadan in the defunct Western State, now Oyo State, after which he proceeded to the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University where he bagged his first degree in Agricultural Science. He obtained his Master and doctoral degrees in Agricultural Economics in 1983 and 1988 respectively from the University of Ibadan.
Professor Ayoola started his academic career as a Research Associate at the University of Ibadan in 1984, and later at the World Bank-assisted Federal Agricultural Coordinating Unit (PCU). In 1988, after the completion of his Doctoral studies, he joined the academic staff of University of Agriculture, Makurdi as a Lecturer, where he rose through the ranks to become a Professor in 2003. While in the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, he served as Head of Department of Agricultural Economics and Director, Centre for Food and Agricultural Strategy (CEFAS) before he voluntarily retired from the institution in May, 2009.
Professor Ayoola is a Policy Economist of world renown and a public spirited agricultural policy analyst and advocate, with primary expertise in farm inputs policies, commodity programming and rural infrastructure. At Ibadan, he formulated the “Calculus of Variations” model of optimal control for commodity programming and agriculture planning.
Professor Ayoola is an international scholar of repute, as a joint Visiting Scholar to the Economics Department, and Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University, Ames Iowa, USA in 1996, where he sponsored the “Deathly Embrace Theory” of the dual economy (Agriculture – Industry) structure, for calculated policy intervention in a developing country context.
The agricultural landscape in Nigeria has also reaped the benefits of Professor Ayoola’s professional services in large measure. Following the intellectual stocking he undertook in the USA in 1996, he returned to the country to establish the Farm & Infrastructure Foundation (FIF), an organization for promoting policy best practices in agriculture and rural development, through public-spirited policy advocacy, evidence-based policy research and knowledge-driven policy brokerage.
Professor Ayoola is also a consultant to several national and international institutions in development and finance. As the Founder and President of Farm & Infrastructure Foundation (FIF), Professor Ayoola launched the NATIONAL CAMPAIGN ON RIGHT TO FOOD in 2008. Towards this end, he currently serves as the Chairman of the Voices for Food Security (VFS), a consortium of civil society organizations and non-state actors operating in the agricultural policy space.
Professor Ayoola is widely published both at home and abroad with over 150 books, chapters in books, learned journals, conference proceedings etc. He is also the Publisher of the Nigeria Agriculture Digest.
Professor Ayoola is a Fellow of the Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists (FNAAE), a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants (FIMC) and Fellow of the Institute of Quality Assurance (FIQA). In his private life, he is happily married to Professor. (Mrs.) Josephine Bose Ayoola, and blessed with four children (Tai, Kenny, Iyin and Simi).
Professor Sani Miko
Born and brought up in the Northern part of Nigeria, Professor Sani Miko had all his educational years in the North. In 1983, he got admitted into the famous Ahmadu Bello University where he bagged his degree in Agriculture. He obtained his Masters in Agronomy and Doctorate in Irrigation Agronomy from the same University in 1991 and 1999 respectively.
Professor Sani Miko started his academic career in 1984 as a lecturer, researcher and extensionist at the Faculty of Agriculture/ Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University where he meritoriously worked for 17 years before transferring his service to the Faculty of Agriculture, Bayero University Kano (BUK). In the course of his duty, he was appointed as the Coordinator for the Monthly Technical Review Meeting (MTRM) for Sokoto State in 1999 and was later transferred to Zamfara State in 2002. He was also a Wheat Extension Consultant for Sasakawa Global 2000. While working at BUK, he served as Head of Department and later as Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture.
Professor Sani Miko is a stakeholder in facilitating and strengthening linkages between value chain actors towards increasing farmers’ productivity, enhancing youth participation in development activities, improving post-production, market systems including storage, efficient labour and time-saving handling. He is a professional in Project Management, Staff Development, Agricultural Production and Productivity and Promotion of small-scale technologies appropriate to different socio-economic context in relation to women, youth and farmer organisations.
He is presently the Country Director of Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), a position he had held since 2009 and some of his achievements include, among many, securing sub-contracts with USAID market’s projects from 2010-2016, managing N2 Africa project for 5 years, securing two AGRA grants totaling over $2m, training of women and youth in farming and extension services, establishment of 21 Agro-processing centres, collective marketing of 28,000 metric ton of produce to off-takers by 575 commodity groups and facilitation of Capacity Assessment of farmer groups.
Professor Sani Miko has published over 65 journal articles in national and international journals.
Mr. Muhammed Kawu
Mr. Mohammed Kawu hails from Niger State. In 1981, he had his Primary School Leaving Certificate from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Staff School, started his secondary education same year at Government College, Kaduna, transferred to ABU Demonstration Secondary School in 1982 where he had his Senior Secondary Certificate in 1986. A graduate of Business Administration from ABU, he also holds an MBA (2008) and Masters in Islamic Banking and Finance (2018) from the same University.
Mohammed Kawu, a banker par excellence, started his banking career at Chartered Bank as a Trainee Banking Officer and rose to Assistant Banking Officer. In 2000, he joined Ecobank Nigeria Plc. where he worked for a year before moving to Prudent Bank Plc. from 2001 to 2006. He rose through the ranks from Assistant Manager to Deputy Manager. He joined Skye Bank Plc. in 2006 as a Manager and because of his exceptional performance and dedication to work, got promoted to Assistant General Manager, a position he held before exiting in 2017. Presently, he is with Wema Bank Plc. as Deputy General Manager and he is saddled with the responsibility of supervising business development activities for all branches in the North and Abuja.
Mohammed Kawu has attended several trainings on leadership and management, communications, financial analysis, investment, anti-money laundering, strategic marketing and customer service across notable institutes like Lagos Business School, KPMG, British Council and Philips Consulting.
Mohammed Kawu is a force to reckon with in Commercial and Corporate Banking.
Hajiya Asma Begum Mirza
Hajiya Asma Begum Mirza is a dual citizen: Nigerian by naturalization, Pakistani by birth. She is a graduate of Pharmacy from the Ahmadu Bello University. In 2014, she obtained her Masters in Pharmacology and Therapeutics from the same University.
She started her career as early as a pupil pharmacist at the Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1985. Though it was an internship but she garnered much experience which solidified her background in the pharmaceutical world. In 1988, she joined Health Services Management Board (HSMB), Katsina State as a Pharmacist in charge of Maternity Hospital in Katsina State. Because of her crave for industrial pharmacy, she went to Pakistan in 1992 and joined the services of Highnoon Laboratories Limited as a Trainee Pharmacist and within six months, she was promoted to Production Pharmacist. In 1995, she started working for Wilson’s Pharmaceuticals as a Production Pharmacist and before exiting in 1998, she was promoted to Assistant Manager Quality Control. Due to her entrepreneurial endowment, she took up active control of her business outfit, Asma Pharmaceuticals Limited in Nigeria and Pakistan.
Although a pharmacist, she is into agriculture. She is presently cultivating on her 70 acres of farmland in Kaduna and planning to develop it into an integrated farm.. She is the Secretary to the Board of Directors of Cherry Hearts Academy and Khadija Trust Foundation. She is President over several Multipurpose Cooperative Societies as well.
She is fluent in English, Punjabi, Urdu, Hausa and Hindu and conversant with French and Arabic.