Mr. SeyiFashokun, an Accountant with the SARD-SC Project was one of those who were honoured and given long service awards during the last Open Day celebration, on Saturday. It was a special moment forFashokun who was recognized for his 20years meritorious service in IITA.
The Open Day programmewas organized to recognize employees who have served the Institute variously for 10 years, 20 years and 30 years by presenting them with awards, certificates and gifts. Employees who have retired within the year were also recognisedby the management.
As one of the awardees, he could not hide his joy and appreciation to the institute for giving him the opportunity to have served this long. Recalling his early years in the organization, Fashokun inferred that his experience has been both pleasant and challenging. He joined IITA in 1992 and it has been a rewarding experience for him, having been able to fulfill his dream of furthering his education to the highest level. “When I joined IITA in 1992, I had the intention to further my education to the highest level, I thank God today that IITA allowed me to achieve all these. I have qualified as an Accountant, and have a Bachelor of Science Degree from OlabisiOnabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State and Masters in Business Administration degree from ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. The free weekends in IITA afforded me the opportunity to pursue my education to this level,” he said.
The challenging aspect, according to Mr. Fashokun was that he was able to survive three regimes of different Director –Generals in the institute, which have come and gone with their different peculiarities.
The theme of this year’s Open Day is: “It’s IITA’s Time.” Held in an ambience of fun and conviviality, gaily dressed employees and their loved ones had a good time and enjoyed various cultural performances on display at the event. The event started with tree planting at the staff Garden followed by the Open House and Exhibits and exhibitions and displays of various agricultural produce. Children were not left out of the fun, they took parts in several programmes designed for their maximum enjoyment.
In his speech at the occasion well attended by members of the management, the Deputy Director -General,Corporate Services, Dr. Kwame Akuffo-Akoto said the Open Day programme was “the management’s way of appreciating everyone’s contribution to boosting agricultural research and development.” “It is time for families,spouses and their children to visit where their partners, or fathers work to see how they are contributing to poverty alleviation and ensuring food security in Africa.” He said IITA is a great place to work and commended the employees for their contribution but urged them to push their level of productivity higher from 88 percent to 98 percent for the development of the institute. Dr.Akuffo-Akoto also spoke about the beauty of the diversity in the institute, and said it gives him “great pleasure to see various humanities from all over the world with different religious inclinations working together peacefully and towards a common goal of alleviating poverty in Africa.”
One ofthe events of the day, was the awards of scholarships to deserving children of employees in Secondary and tertiary institutions in the country. Mrs.Kwame Akuffo-Akoto presented the IITA Women’s Scholarship awards to the children. The Women’s Scholarship Schemewas founded in 1993 to reward brilliant students with a token amount of money for their education.
The significance of the day according to Mr.WoleAmusa,Human Records and Documentation Officer, the Open Day is a day the institute brings all categories of employees; Internationally Recruited Staff(IRS), Nationally Recruited Staff and casual workers, and their children together, irrespective of status. “It is a time to havefun and honour those who have served the organisation for many years.”
Other engaging events of the day include: dancing competitions for children of employees and the staff, raffle draw, cultural displays. It was a rollicking time for the employees and they are looking forward to next year’s Open day celebrations.A total of 43 employees were honouredfor long service awards during this year’s open day celebration.