Sunday 2nd October 2022

Category: General

Food Support Scheme: We’ve engaged over 50 SMEs in Osun – Govt

…marks one year anniversary of the scheme

The Government of Osun, on Tuesday, disclosed that it has successfully engaged over 50 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) since the introduction of its Food Support scheme one year ago.

The State Government noted that the impact of the scheme that was introduced to provide food support to vulnerable residents, has been very holistic and greatly felt by different sectors of the State’s economy.

This is even as the government marked the one year anniversary of the existence of the scheme with the flag-off of the 12th edition which held at the open space of the Local Government Service Commission, State Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo.

According to the government, the initiative has helped to feed 360,000 vulnerable residents with the multiplier effects on over one million people constituting various households that had benefited in one way or the other since the inception of the programme last year.

Speaking at the flagoff ceremony of the 12th edition of the programme, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said the positive impact of the scheme on the economy of the State cannot be over-emphasized as it had helped to stimulate the economy through the promotion of local production, encouragement of local entrepreneurs and by extension, alleviation of poverty and hunger.

Oyetola, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prince Wole Oyebamiji, said the government was fulfilled in the execution of the programme as promised on monthly basis saying its sustenance had in no measure contributed to the growth of the local economy.

The Governor said: “Exactly a year ago when we launched the monthly Food Support Scheme, a lot of people were skeptical about its sustenance and doubt that the programme would last for three months. But to the glory of God and in line with our promise that as long as I remain the Governor of the State, we will continue to feed 30,000 vulnerable citizens, we are here to mark the 12th edition of the scheme.

“Consequently, we decided to distribute gari as we did last month to boost local production and encourage our local entrepreneurs. When we are talking of agriculture, when you produce and there is nowhere to sell, you will not assist the economy of the State, so, I am sure that our cassava farmers today are happier than they were five months ago .

“What we are doing is the essence of government and what good governance stands for, people must be happy with the government and the best way to achieve that is to ensure economic base that is why our government has been working hard to build a better economic base for the development of the people of Osun and advancement of the State.

“Since we commenced the programme, the level of acceptance and feedback has been very unimaginable as being demonstrated so far by many of those that have benefitted in one way or the other from the initiative. As you can see, women have been extremely involved in the scheme, take for instance, in the production of gari, women play dominant role and don’t be surprised that there are women farmers who cultivate cassava too in this state because if you go through the Ministry of Agriculture, there is a unit for women in agriculture and they are extremely doing very well.

“So, women play a key role. In other clime, women are highly illustrious, they are industrious and they are intellectually based. I advice them not to take agriculture for granted so also our young ones, there are programmes and policies that have been designed to support whoever shows interest in farming.”

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Special Duties and Regional Integration, Engr. Olalekan Badmus, said the execution of the initiative has been very participatory, collective and holistic.

Badmus noted that the scheme had brought a paradigm shift to local production just as it had really helped to advance and promote the cause of local entrepreneurs who were hitherto not fully engaged.

He added that the testimonies received through the feedback mechanism provided to assess and evaluate the impact of the scheme has been very encouraging to the extent that people have keyed into the little opportunity provided to galvanise, stimulate and lubricate the economy of the State for the growth, progress and development of the State.

“Going by the 11th edition that we did, you can see that the level of appreciation was very good and basically the feed back has been very encouraging as this had helped in no measure to surge up the level of productions by the suppliers.

“You will agree with me that so far, we have done 360,000 households and the implication of this is that most of these households have father, mother and children and what this implies is that over one million lives have been impacted through this scheme.

“So, this is enormous and it is only in Osun you can talk of this people-oriented programme. The impact has been well felt and people appreciate it and they are also aware of what Mr. Governor has been doing to reach out to the people particularly the vulnerable citizens.

“So far, we have been able to engage 50 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMSEs). We are happy to have made this feat within one year particularly on gari production, because we have been able to show that consistently, our local entrepreneurs can produce the product.

“This has helped them to expand their business, get more patronage through the awareness we have created for them among other advantages.

“Basically, this has been very impactful to them and I am sure this is going to improve the SMEs in the State particularly women entrepreneurs, because from the investigation we have done, women are largely involve in the production of most of the local staple foods”, he added.

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Akande’s horse and Oyetola’s victory

– Ayodeji Olonode

The strategic engagement tour of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola across the federal constituencies of Osun was laced with eloquent gestures of appreciation of his impact on the people of Osun. On the other hand, the creative declaration of support and symbolic endorsements of Oyetola for a second term in office have also not escaped public notice.

On January 27, former governor of Osun and first interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, gave Oyetola a horse, whilst the tour moved to Ila federal constituency. As he handed the well-adorned white horse to him, he charged Oyetola to ride to power.

Akande’s gesture was an acknowledgement of Oyetola’s sterling qualities that have made him a toast of the good people of Osun in the last three years. It was a testament to Oyetola’s power, tirelessness and stamina, the exact type that is required to engineer the Osun he inherited. It was a symbol of heroism, to celebrate his bravery against the megalomaniac and his goons, in the noble fight to defend the aspirations and collective interest of the people. It was a celebration of Oyetola’s intelligence by which he was able to keep all ducks in a row with Osun’s very lean purse, attending to both emerging and inherited issues (including defrayal of loans he didn’t take) without borrowing a dime.

The other angle to the gesture is the prophetic dimension it exudes, especially with the succinct rider that followed: “…ride to power”. This was more than an endorsement of Oyetola’s candidature, it was a declaration of triumph before the blast of the umpire’s whistle. It was an unveiling of the man who was pressing from victory unto victory. The “social distance” between Oyetola’s score and those of his co-contenders at the recently conducted primary of the All Progressive Congress in the State foreshadows the eventual triumph of the mam destined for the office.

February 8 witnessed another symbolic presentation as the tour hit Ifelodun-Boripe-Odo Otin federal constituency, with the people pulling an interesting stunt, sending out a strong message about what Oyetola represents through the gift of camel.

It is common knowledge that a camel is an epitome of service, relieving others of their burdens and taking them across dry, thirsty lands to the people’s desired destination; just in the exact fashion Oyetola has committed himself to the service of Osun, bearing the burdens of every social category and taking them to their desired destinations one after the other.

Just as the camel doesn’t embark on any journey for itself, the good people of Osun have been at the heart of the programmes and policies of Oyetola’s administration in the last three-plus years. Oyetola is paying full salaries. He implemented the federal government’s approved minimum wage, he is paying pensions and gratuities regularly as well as the inherited arrears. Osun isn’t buoyant but Oyetola believes strongly that burdens must be lifted off people’s shoulders.

To ensure citizens have access to healthcare at the grassroots level, Oyetola embarked on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and revitalisation of 332 PHCs at a go. He enrolled the vulnerable, including the aged and people living with disabilities into the Osun Health Insurance Scheme at free premium to enable them to enjoy quality healthcare. He feeds 30,000 vulnerable persons on a monthly basis through the Osun Food Support Scheme, and on the verge of rolling out other specific support programmes for the elderly and widows. He has provided loans and credit facilities for citizens, including women and youths, empowering over 18,000 Osun youths through various schemes including loan disbursement to enable them to start new businesses and boost existing ones.

The burdens that drilled pockets, damaged people’s health and even resulted in deaths, have been systematically lifted by Oyetola since his emergence.

A camel comes prepared for the journey and helps others make that journey as well. Oyetola isn’t a leader by accident, he was built for a time like this. After many years in the Private Sector, he came into political office with a fervent resolve to apply private sector results-oriented principles to fill the gap in governance so that the people can truly enjoy the dividends of democracy.

Although camels can run (and even race at up to 40 miles per hour), they usually pace themselves, reserving energy and reaching their destinations with the same stamina they started with. Some thought it was “Initial Grah-Grah” when Oyetola began paying full salaries of workers, until he took it some notches higher, lifting embargo on promotion and conversion of workers, implementing CONHESS and CONMESS for medical and healthcare professionals, implementing minimum wage for regular workers, among other welfare revolutions.

Some thought he will soon run out of gas when he approved the reconstruction/rehabilitation of 10 township roads across the state in less than a year in office, until he approved the reconstruction of 52.5km span of roads, mobilized contractors back to site of (inherited) abandoned road projects; constructed an iconic flyover at the heart of Osogbo to address recurring accidents and usual logjam at the intersection; and recently, he is on a 200km road rehabilitation spree.

“Baba jeje” has not run out of gas, he is still firing from all cylinders. He is still surging towards the rubicon with the same level of stamina he started with. Covid-19 induced lockdown didn’t reverse his commitment to paying full salaries, constructing roads and fulfilling his promises to the people.

Osun is on a journey, not a sprint. The man who is qualified to lead Osun is one who has a journey mentality, who is futuristic in his orientation, who will build structures for a rewarding future like the Dagbolu International Trade Centre, who will not plunge the state into further debts… That man, definitely, is Oyetola.

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Oyetola: Making Osun Nigeria’s face of mining revolution

By Femi Babatunde

When Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, on November 7, 2019, sounded the closing gong of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and also made a vociferous call to the investing community to tap into the economic diversification agenda that his administration was plotting for Osun, one couldn’t help but wonder how the soft-speaking taciturn would thrive where radical agents that preceded his advent couldn’t.

Two years after, that simulacrum of a bell of prosperity has birthed realities, such as Segilola Gold Project and the Omoluabi Badger Mines, among other entrée that are validating, not just Osun’s openness for business, but the fertility of its soil.

Osun was an archetype of a dehydrated entity amidst abundant water supply. With large gold deposit and other brands of solid minerals shut up in its belly, Osun’s celebration of blessed paradox featured endlessly in its description as a civil service-oriented economy, like the proverbial son of the butcher scrambling for bones.

Osun almost made a grand entry in the past years into the league of notorious socio-political agencies where the concept of blood diamond gained firm standing. With fields overtaken by illegal miners of mixed descent, it was a matter of time before the state became guilty of blood.

But with the emergence of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, irresponsibility lost its glorious rank in the mining sector, with responsible mining becoming the theme song of his administration. This, of course, became necessary for the administration’s diversification agenda.

As part of measures to tighten the loose ends, Oyetola swung into strategic action to secure Osun’s mining assets in order to encourage investors of the safety of their investments. This birthed the inauguration of the Joint Task Force (JTF), an intervention that has drastically reduced criminal activities on the mine fields in the state, including a covert operation that didn’t spare violators, especially foreign nationals.

On the flip side, Oyetola’s government designed a broad strategy to address structural and institutional factors such as rural poverty, lack of alternative livelihoods, and difficulties in meeting legal and regulatory requirements that tend to push artisanal gold mining operators deeper into the informal economy.

Setting up mechanisms for the registration of artisanal miners through biometric data capture on RFID-enabled tags was one of the derivatives of this broad strategy, which thankfully earns a patronage from the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMDI), a comprehensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining development programme.

One of the success stories from this was the national breakthrough recorded in 2020 through the production of Nigeria’s first artisanally-mined and refined 12.5kg gold bar, sourced and refined in Nigeria, and in conformity with the standard of the London Bullion Market Association.

So, with a solid groundwork in the mining sector, Oyetola’s call to investors was far from what Esau-like thinkers regard as political gimmick.

The September 11 visit of Oyetola and some media chiefs to the Omoluabi Badger Mines Gold Buying and Refining Centre was a prima facie validation of his desires for responsible mining, which came alive when Badger Mines showed the inspection team round the gold refining process, an environment-friendly process that neither polluted the waters nor degraded the soil. As the team and other observers watched in awe, a gold bar weighing two kilograms (2kg) was produced.

It felt like a father witnessing the birth of his child. Oyetola couldn’t hide his joy. The visiting team couldn’t hide their amazement either. “I’m very happy to hold the first refined gold in the state in my hand. I’m happy to say that this is yielding the desired result of the Economic and Investment Summit. I must commend the first investor who decided to launch out. I’ve told the world that very soon, we won’t be relying on Abuja to finance our projects. This is just the beginning. I’m delighted to have this as part of the fruits of our investment summit. I’m particularly happy because this is responsible mining. You don’t have to degrade the environment. It also presents an opportunity to train our youths in trade”, Oyetola said.

Again, on December 13, it was time for another facility tour, this time to the mining sites of Segilola Gold Project, there was yet another unveiling of unrefined Gold samples, mined by Segilola Resources Operating Limited. For the records, Segilola Gold Project is Nigeria’s first and largest industrial-scale gold mine, and the most advanced gold project with an indicated resource of 608,000 ounces grading at 4.7g/t, an inferred resource of 68,000 ounces grading at 4.8g/t, and a probable reserve of 517,800 ounces of gold grading at 4.02g/t as of March 2021.  It is one of the highest grade open pit gold projects in West Africa.

Segilola is the flagship project of Thor Explorations Limited, a Canadian gold exploration and development company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties in West Africa. A project with such international network and worth, domiciled in Osun, reveals just how the state is fast becoming a poster boy for mining revolution in Nigeria.

It goes without saying that the project is not just expected to hasten Osun’s economic diversification, but also Nigeria’s economic diversification and reduce unemployment among the youth populace.

Courtesy of Oyetola, Osun no longer tramples on its assets, but now wear its gold as a magnetic pull for investment opportunities that translate into prosperity.

These investments and many other prospects are a vote for an assured future, for a prosperous Osun on one hand, and for the development partners across many sectors whose stakes are guaranteed by the commendable peace profile of Osun, the best in the nation.

Oyetola has showed very strong and instructive examples even to his fellow governors on the art of looking inward to proffer enduring solutions especially to economic challenges. But in spite of the achievements in mining and several other sectors that have huge implications for economic development, so much remains to be done to sustain the tempo of Osun’s marshall plan for economic sustainability; but the key lies in the hands of citizens going into 2022, whether this development matter much to them, than untenanted promises that are best communicated through theatricals by charlatans.

Interestingly, expansion in investments is also beginning to bring along increased development in housing and real estate.

Indeed, for Osun, it is the beginning of a new dawn

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Osun Govt Grants Authority to Alaago of Alago- Ijesha to Wear Beaded Crown

The State of Osun Executive Council on Monday granted authority to Chief Oladipo Olaitan the Alaago of Kajola Alago-Ijesha in Atakumosa East Local Government to wear beaded crown. The approval is with immediate effect.

According to a statement made by Osun Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode, shortly after the State Executive Council Meeting, the step is in line with Section 28, sub section 1 of the Chief’s Law Cap 25 Laws of the State of Osun.

The statement added that the authority to wear beaded crown on the throne of Alaago of Kajola Alaago Ijesha in Kajola town of Atakumosa East Local Government Area of the state is with immediate effect.

According to the statement,” The Council today granted authority to the Alaago of Alago-Ijesa in Atakumosa East Local Government Area of the state, Chief Oladipo Olaitan to start wearing beaded crown with immediate effect.

“This is in line with Section 28, sub section 1 of the Chief’s Law Caps 25 laws of the State of Osun”.

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Governor Oyetola celebrates Prof Adewole @67

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola on Wednesday felicitated former Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole on the occasion of his 67th birthday, describing him as a patriotic Nigerian and a true Omoluabi.

The governor in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, commended Adewole for his contributions to the development of the State and Nigeria as a whole.

Oyetola also commended him for upholding the ethos of a true Omoluabi in whatever he does and wherever he serves.

He said “On behalf of the Government and good people of Osun, I felicitate former Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole on the occasion of his 67th birthday.

“Professor Adewole is patriotic Nigerian and a true Omoluabi. I appreciate him for his service and also commend him for his contributions to the development of our state and Nigeria as a whole.

” It is my prayer that God will grant you long life in service to Him and humanity”.

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With Oyetola in Osun, no one is left behind

By Ayo Olonode

The veteran Yoruba movie actor, Taiwo Hassan, popularly known as ‘Ogogo’, recently burst into the minds and views of people again after a long time. The spotlight wasn’t a function of a new cinematic experience, but a regurgitation of a scene from an old flick which probably resonates more with emerging realities on the Nigerian streets.

The viral scene had ‘Ogogo’, in his characteristically humourless and pensive tone, engage the phrase “gbogbo wa la ma je breakfast”, to preach life’s affordance of fortune to every human although within differing time zones.

It is not illogical to be apprehensive in a world that economists have posited those human wants are unlimited but the resources to satisfy them are limited.

In a place like Osun State, where the monthly allocation coming to it from the federation account is not only analogously little but subject to mammoth deductions aimed at liquidating financial commitments of yesteryears, it is not groundless that citizens are on tenterhooks about the possibilities of the government ‘cutting soap for them’ in the form of dividends of democracy.

But in a little over two years of his administration as governor of the State, Adegboyega Oyetola has made bold statements about the possibilities of dividends of democracy penetrative the nooks and crannies of the State. There is hardly a sector of Osun’s economy that the gentleman governor has not touched.

There is scarcely a Ward in the State that Oyetola has not impacted through actions that resonate with the needs of citizens. The 332 Wards across the State can boast at least one highly functional health facility, thanks to Oyetola’s revitalisation of Primary Healthcare Centres across the Wards. Oh, he also revitalised General Hospitals.

Oyetola saved a number of public facilities from outright ruin under his revitalization scheme. Some of the PHCs that had previously been overtaken by monkeys and other animals, according to reports, have been put back in shape and are already delivering values to the people of Osun.

As part of efforts at ensuring that the vulnerable in the society also have access to qualitative healthcare, Oyetola not only released take-off grant for Osun Health Insurance Scheme but also paid about Four Hundred and Seventy-Seven Million Naira as premium for the enrolment of vulnerable citizens of the State into Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS).

At Local Government level, there is scarcely any of the existing 30 LGAs that Oyetola hasn’t impacted. Recently, Oyetola flagged-off the Osun Food Support Scheme by which he now feeds 30,000 vulnerable citizens, comprising 1000 persons systematically drawn from each local government, on a monthly basis with effect from March 2021.

At the Federal Constituency level, there is scarcely any of the 11 constituencies that Oyetola hasn’t either opened a new road or reconstruct existing ones that had become death traps.

Salvaging bad roads across the State, for Governor Oyetola, was not a matter of ostentation but of bringing economic and social relief to the people of the State. It was a matter of empowering rural farmers, for instance, to facilitate easier movement of their goods to the markets, mostly in the urban areas.

At the level of children, Oyetola has prioritised and paid purposeful attention to the education sector with the aim of making education more qualitative and functional in the State. With high-grade educational policy review and other strategic initiatives like the Smart School Initiative, Osun children are coasting in a 21st century-compliant learning environment, among other advantages.

The youths have also enjoyed dividends of democracy under Oyetola’s administration in scintillating and epoch-making fashion. Oyetola’s youth empowerment, youth engagement, youth entrepreneurship and youth education agenda, has seen him string a number of youth-centered policies and actions like dedication of two percent of 2021 budget to youth entrepreneurship and skills upgrade that will focus on ICT, mining, empowerment programmes, trainings and other related areas.

Oyetola has also flagged off business concerns that will provide huge job opportunities for youths, like the Dagbolu International Trade Centre and the Ethanol Bio-Refinery Factory.

The colouration of the State’s civil service has changed significantly in the recent history of Osun. Aside sharply departing from the practice of paying modulated salaries to workers, which was in force before his assumption of office, Oyetola lifted the ban on the promotion and conversion of workers since 2012, and in addition implemented the Federal Government’s newly approved minimum wage.

Even the senior citizens are not left out in the matter. Retirees who have had to endure the strains of unpaid pensions over the years now have their hopes renewed by a leader who sympathises with their plight. Oyetola, since inception of his administration, commits not less than Seven Hundred and Eight Million Naira every month to offset pension arrears and ensure that the welfare and wellbeing of retired civil servants isn’t thrown into jeopardy.

The thread goes on but the denominator remains constant, that Oyetola keeps ensuring equitable distribution of dividends of democracy in his administration.

And so, whether you are a teacher or a farmer, a civil servant or a business owner (MSMEs especially), a rural dweller or urban dweller, student or professional, and even regardless of affiliation or ideological subscriptions; the antecedents of the helmsman in just a little over two years call for calmness, because with Oyetola, nobody is left behind; everybody is at the dining table, for breakfast, for lunch, for supper.

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Mining pollution: Osun vows to go after defaulters

… as Oyetola inaugurates Committee on mineral resources management in Osun

As part of efforts toward sanitising the state’s natural resources sector, the Government of the State of Osun has warned mineral resources explorers who fall short of environmental standards in the state to henceforth comply with the government’s regulations or face legal action.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola disclosed this on Wednesday while inaugurating the Osun Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee in the State.

Oyetola who bemoaned the negative impacts of the activities of some players in the sector, charged the committee to work towards reversing the emerging effects of pollution and environmental degradation.

“Most recently, the Osun River has been polluted with heavy metals and other contaminants thereby threatening our investments in the water sector. Our land is also littered with an array of abandoned mining sites that require decommissioning and reclamation.

“I hereby call on this Committee to rise to the occasion. The time to rein in the defaulters and ensure this ugly trend is reversed is now”, Oyetola stated.

In his earlier remarks, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Prince Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo, lauded Governor Oyetola for his commitment to the regulation of the mining sector and enforcement necessary for commercialisation of the sector.

“The effect of the Governor’s intervention is culminating in the ease of social tension in the state as a result of the influx of a lot of miners from different parts of the country. It is also helping to improve and enforce compliance in the environmental sector of the State”, Binuyo stated.

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Nigerian Ambassador to Jamaica hails Osun’s rich cultural heritage, seek cooperation

The Nigerian Ambassador to Jamaica, Hon Mrs. Maureen Tamuno, has hailed Osun State as a place with rich cultural heritage, adding that the government and its people have invested appreciably in preserving its rich traditions.

Tamuno, who led a delegation from the Rivers State All Progressive Congress on a courtesy call on Governor Adegboyega Oyetola in his office, on Friday, described her experience in Osun as a revelation worth exporting.

She indicated her willingness to collaborate with the government of the State of Osun toward leveraging on the bilateral agreement that exists between Nigeria and Jamaica.

In his remark, the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, lauded the Ambassador for seeing the possibility of a collaboration, adding that Osun deserves greater attention in the international space because of its huge cultural capital.

“Our state is the cradle of the yoruba race and by extension the cradle of mankind. So there is no reason why we should not seriously market what we have.

“During our annual Osun-Osogbo festival, people travel from far and near to come and celebrate the festival at the UNESCO rated Grove. We have several tourist sites all over the State and what we try to do is to bring in the private sector to participate in the development of these sites. We are ready to package these sites and market to other countries.

“I am glad that you have willingly tried to see the possibilities of a robust collaboration. That is the essence of having representatives who recognise the values in their home front.

“We are ready to partner with well-meaning people and export our culture in the process. We are ready to welcome investors. We are committed to creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, and we make bold to say that Osun is relatively the most peaceful State.

“We are committed to a creative way of marketing what God has given to us, while also making gains from cultural tourism”, Oyetola stated.

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With Oyetola, Osun ain’t seen anything yet!

By Ayo Olonode

When he stopped our hunger, exiled in AFUSA and started paying our full salaries, we thought we had seen it all.

Then he started offsetting pension arrears, paying gratuities…

And then implemented the Federal Government’s new minimum wage,

And then lifted the eight-year long embargo on teachers’ and civil servants’ promotion and conversion in the State;

Then he started fixing forsaken roads and rebuilding badly built ones, clearing the mess of the past,

And then started constructing a premium flyover at the Olaiya Intersection in Osogbo to save precious lives from avoidable accidents;

Till he rebuilt and fully equipped 332 Primary Healthcare Centres and nine General Hospitals because he knows health is wealth,

And then financed health insurance for the vulnerable across the State because the poor also deserve to live;

Then he reformed the education sector and addressed the manpower deficit across public schools,

Then he restored stolen names and glories of all our schools;

And also gave our schools back their histories and uniforms,

He also allotted 18 percent to education in the budget of the current year (2021), a figure that situates Osun within the UNESCO’s benchmark;

Till he empowered many youths and other citizen groups through skills acquisition programmes,

And gave seed loans to MSMEs to bolster their trades;

Till he flagged off the construction of an International Trade Centre in Osun, the Dagbolu Inland Dry Port project,

And other industries that are improving the commercial lot of Osun people,

Among which include an Ethanol Bio-Refinery Factory, and a fruit juice factory at the Free Trade Zone;

Till he diversified the economy, and changed the narrative of Osun from being a civil-service oriented state;

Till he put mechanisms in place to address transport-related crimes;

Now, he is feeding 30,000 poor and vulnerable citizens every month…

And you think you’ve seen it all?

With Oyetola, you ain’t seen anything yet!

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Osun Food Support Scheme: Feeding the needy in thousands

By Ayo Olonode

Under the bright radiant and warm southern sun at the State Secretariat, Abeere, was a jubilant eruption of adulation by different groups and fervent prayers of monarchs for Governor Adegboyega Oyetola at the flag-off of the Osun Food Support Scheme.

The scheme, which was designed to feed 30,000 poor and vulnerable citizens once every month till the end of Oyetola’s administration, is a pace-setting Post-Covid-19 Social Protection drive in Nigeria.

The Covid-19-induced lockdown in 2020 was one singular event that unearthed the necessity of an emergency food relief for the economically vulnerable whose standards of living were worsened by the debilitating cousins of Covid-19 that accompanied it to our world and space.

The State of Osun was fresh off recording its lowest ever poverty and inequality index, according to a report from the Nigerian Living Standard Survey, thanks to the rocketing effect of the payment of full salaries of workers across the State and the good governance model of Oyetola’s administration, which restored the citizens well-being above the borderline of poverty.

As part of measures to consolidate this gain, which appeared threatened at the time by the economic externalities that trailed the pandemic, the government of the State of Osun responded with a multi-pronged food aid designed to help both the vulnerable and stakeholders in the agriculture and food supply chain.

Households numbering tens of thousands benefitted from the emergency food relief of the government at the time, distilled directly from the government through the 21-man Food and Relief Committee comprising eminent sons and daughters of Osun, set up by Governor Oyetola to help the cause of citizens’ welfare.

The participation of the private sector during this time was also notable, as a number of role players in the sector made donations of relief materials to support the government in the fight against Covid-19.

Notably, the government announced on 30th May 2020 that it took delivery of five truck-loads of food items – which included noodles, spaghetti, salt, sugar, etc. – from the private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID), adding that 75 trucks bearing the rice component of the donation were expected to be delivered to the state.

The government, on 30th July 2020, announced its readiness to commence distribution of the palliative by 11th August 2020, after the flag-off and official handover had been done by CA-COVID at Ede. Unfortunately, the distribution could not follow the timeline set by the government because CA-COVID had not officially handed over the donations to the state due to a delay in the delivery of the rice component.

The narrative was turned on its head by the tragic season of looting. Governments across the country had to explain endlessly that it didn’t hoard the palliatives to punish its citizens. The blackmailing community in Osun even went as far as saying that the items were being hoarded as campaign materials for the gubernatorial election that wouldn’t be held till 2022!

Although, the government made efforts to set the records straight as soon as the misinformation began to spread like wildfire, it soon got vindicated through a letter from CACOVID in the later part of November.

All the while that these slanderous episodes played out and the overwhelming flood of disinformation inundated the State, Oyetola remained single-minded in his passion for the welfare and security of citizens.

Barely four months after the best-selling looting epic and the propaganda that ensued from it, Oyetola dropped a joyful screamer of an announcement, that his administration was set to feed 30,000 poor and vulnerable citizens with effect from March 2021.

The Osun Food Support Scheme, according to Governor Oyetola, would run till November 2022, which marks the end of his administration in the first instance. By that token, Oyetola’s administration would have impacted 570,000 beneficiaries across the 30 Local Government Areas of the State.

The methodical manner of administration of the scheme, as outlined by the government, also attested to the perceptive objectivity that formed the foundation and ferment of the scheme.

The government had noted that for effective administration, the scheme would target persons with special needs and disabilities in all LGAs; the poor and the vulnerable in churches will be reached through the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN; the needy and the poor in the Muslim community will be reached through Osun Muslim Community; the vulnerable among artisans through their associations; the needy among other ethnic groups in the State through their leaderships; the traditional worshipers through their association and traders through Iyalojas and Babalojas.

Aside feeding the poor and vulnerable among citizens, one other interesting talking points of the scheme is its commerce-centered disposition and its overall implication on the State’s economy.

The scheme is another of Oyetola’s indirect effort to change the narrative of the State from being a civil service economy state, to a place of robust economic undertakings. The scheme came fully armed promoting Micro, Small and Merium Scale businesses both in agriculture and food supply chain, in a bid to boost local economy. It is sourcing all commodities locally to encourage farmers and businesses.

Monarchs, politicians, religious leaders, representatives of people groups in Osun, have all taken turns to laud Oyetola for the selflessness that underscores this initiative. They have taken turns to commend him for impacting the marginalised across the State in manners that lend credence to transformative and humane actions that are above politics.

He deserves it. Oyetola richly deserves commendations and superlatives in tons for the Osun Food Support Scheme initiative.

But beyond that, Oyetola deserves an apology from those who have tried everything in their evil arsenal to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of Mr Oyetola. This is one leader who has shown nothing but genuine passion for the welfare and security of the people of Osun, despite the limited resources in the State.

The man who was wrongly accused of hoarding food items for election purposes (not minding the expiration date of the items), is the same person who has started impacting not less than 30,000 households across the State on a monthly basis.

Oyetola has carried on, unperturbed by the accusations of the little men because he knows what his mandate is and he’s determined to ignore small-minded back-biters. His focus is to make the State of Osun better than he met it, and the Osun Food Support Scheme is one of his steps in that direction. Since Osun people are Omoluabis, the citizens have decided they aren’t just going to mask up and move on like nothing happened because this is one good turn that deserves sincere appreciation. And so, the people say thank you, Mr Governor

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