By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Monday restated that his administration will not renege on its promise banishing hunger and making life meaningful for the people of the state.The Governor at a programme commemorating the 2016 International Day of Poverty Eradication in Osogbo stated that his government remains resolute to do everything humanly possible to champion the cause of creating wealth by eradicating poverty.
Aregbesola in a speech titled; “Poverty Has No Place With Us”, said all his policies and programmes have been with the intention to eradicate poverty, make lives more abundant and as well create wealth for the citizenry.
He said his government’s six-point integral action plan of Banishing Poverty, Banishing Hunger, Banishing Unemployment, Restoring Healthy Living, Promoting Functional Education and Enhancing Communal Peace and Progress are designed to lift the condition of the people from being poverty stricken to being wealthy.
Speaking on some of the achievements of his administration, he recalled that his tenure had successfully established Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) through which over 40,000 cadets were employed into public works within two years.
“We gave the first batch safe landing with jobs in teaching, various agriculture schemes and ICT. For this, Osun now has one of the least unemployment figures in Nigeria while the state is also among those with the lowest crimes rate.
“The N200 million monthly allowance paid to the cadets reflated the economy of Osun and shot it up to the seventh largest GDP in Nigeria, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics”, he added.
Identifying quality and functional education as panacea to poverty eradication, he stated that the state as part of its commitment to education, is building 100 elementary schools, 50 middle schools and 20 high schools.
He said the state has increased the number of teachers, renovated existing schools, provided teaching aids and as well increased subventions to schools.
On health, the Governor said his administration, having employed a multi-faceted approach towards achieving its goal of providing healthcare for all, embarked on health-related programmes targeted to promote personal hygiene.
He said, “Indeed, in a recent World Bank publication, Osun came second after Lagos in the result of a national assessment for 2014 on infant and maternal healthcare delivery.
> “In addition, we have renovated nine state hospitals, as well as constructed nine trauma centres at the State Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo. There is also the upgrading of our existing primary healthcare centres while new ones are being built.
“To further enhance these efforts, medical equipment, furniture and electrical appliances have been procured for some of our health facilities where these are needed.
“Furthermore, ambulances were purchased and are now in full operation under the Osun Ambulance Services (O-Ambulance), which is aimed at improving the quick-response capacity of the health system, in cases of accidents and emergencies.
Describing work as antidote to poverty, Aregbesola called for productivity in all sectors of the economy, saying “we should also work hard and increase our productivity”.
“While government will continue to do everything within her means to provide for the people, we should all be productively engaged, especially in agriculture where we have comparative advantage.
“There is no way we can create wealth from low productivity. Even in agriculture which is our main occupation, productivity has been very low. While Nigeria is the leading producer of cassava for instance, the traditional yield per hectare has been around 10 tonnes while global average in 2010 was put at 12.5 tonnes”. The governor stated.
In his welcome address, the Chairman Osun Community and Social Development Project, CSDP, Alhaji Abdul-Rahaman Musa, commended Governor Aregbesola for all he has done in giving life in abundance to the people of the state through various poverty alleviation programmes in the state.
Musa held that the state under the leadership of Governor Aregbesola has witnessed growth and poverty, reduced through the demonstration of high sense of passion, having consistently pursued actions tailored towards increasing access of poor people to social and natural infrastructures.
> He said the government has clearly demonstrated its commitment towards regular payment of annual government contributions to the cause of Community and Social Development Project, adding that the state has released a total sum of N550million directly between 2010 and 2015.
> Musa disclosed that the agency has obtained for the projects a concessionary non-interest loan of N1.3billion from World Bank between 2010 and 2016.
> “We are very happy to join other nations of the world in marking this international event while sharing with you the success stories in terms of the achievements of the State in the fight against poverty through the Community and Social Development Project, CSDP.
> “This day is being observed every year since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly, by resolution 47/196 of December 22, 1992 designated this day to promote eradication of poverty and destitution in all countries.
> “It’s objective is to draw attention to the importance of poverty eradication for building sustainable futures for all. In CSDP, the community members are in the driver’s seat, they identify their priority project in a democratic manner and implemernt it through an implementation committee democratically elected by themselves”, he added.
> Earlier, the General Manager, Osun CSDP, Mrs. Funmi Abokede, commended Governor Aregbesola for being consistent in his payment of counterpart funds.
> She said Osun has been very committed in the payment of annual government contributions to the cause of CSDP which according to her has helped the agency to move forward in all its programmes.
Abokede disclosed that CSDP is being funded by Osun state government and World Bank just as she revealed that Osun has been the first among its counterparts in the regular payment of CSDP counterpart funds throughout the country.
“Osun has been leading in the payment of counterpart funds just as a total sum of 550million has been released between 2010 and 2015.
“Our agency has completed 311 micro projects in line with the six-point integral action plans of the state government”, added.
She said the agency has adopted a democratic development project which according to her aimed to remove people out of poverty.
Abokede sought for continual support of the state government, the World Bank and the people of the state just as she urged the people to always stand for poverty eradication.
She therefore promised that the agency would remain committed in its efforts to continuously develop the minds and the people through regular and timely execution of pro-masses projects across the state.