Osun state Governor, Rauf Aregbesola has said that the social investment programmes introduced by the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency is a pathway to overcoming poverty and other problems affecting Nigeria.
The Governor described it as a good move by the Federal Government, and called on all and sundry to embrace and utilise the programmes.
He made the remark at Government House Oshogbo, when he hosted a team of delegates from Oyo, Ogun, Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu, Lagos and Borno states, currently in Osun to understudy the successful implementation of the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, which is part of the Social Investment Programmes of the federal government.
Governor Aregbesola described poverty as a monster that must be well fought and overcome, in order to successfully fight corruption and move the country forward. He said poverty is the bedrock of corruption in Nigeria thus, must be uprooted now.
“Nigeria must get this right. So many people don’t know why social investment is important… poverty pre-dominates the mentality for survival among Nigerians and it is this survivalist tendency that is the bedrock of corruption that we have witnessed in this country,” he said.
He said until poverty is properly checked, it will continue to be the bane of development in Nigeria.
“Until we check, fight and exterminate poverty, we might be grappling with something we cannot manage. So poverty must be fought and the beginning of this fight against poverty is the social inclusion that President Buhari has brought for us, through the social investment programme,” the Governor stated.
He therefore urged Nigerians to keep praying for the President pull through despite current challenges, to successfully implement the social investment programmes.
The Governor further said: “We need to pray for the will to push this through. If we are able to succeed with this social investment programme of the federal government, then we are on course to re-develop our country.”
Aregbesola, who said the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, is an inclusive one that has impacted on all sectors of Osun state, called on other states to implement it and reap the benefits therein.
“As we have seen in Osun, there is no aspect of the state that has not been positively affected by this programme. None,” he said.
He said had such a programme been in place some years back, the boko haram menace would have been averted.
The Governor announced that a strong working relationship between the Osun state government, its Local Governments and commercial banks is the secret behind the success of the School Feeding Programme in the state.
Also speaking, the National Programme Manager for the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Mrs Abimbola Adesanmi said the school feeding programme is hinged on five strong pillar of building institutional capacity, effective design and implementation using local content, defined funding, community ownership, and policy formulation.
The National Programme Manager explained that: “The federal government has seen that through the programme it can increase economic access for the populace,” creating a social safety net for them in the process for the poor and most vulnerable.
She said the programme affords every state in Nigeria an opportunity to develop its own peculiar mechanism of implementing the programme and eighteen states would be rolled out this year.
Enumerating the benefits of the programme, Mrs Adesanmi said the programme allows dependence on local products thereby increasing the country’s agricultural produce, enhances school enrolment and creating more jobs among others.
Some of the delegates aired their views on the training visit to the state of Osun.
A delegate from Borno state, Mr Zakka Shalangwa said “I’m in Osun state to understudy what is happening here with a view to replicating same in my state, We have not heard stories about this laudable programme but have seen with our eyes how successful this programme is in Osun. The programme is working,” he said.
Leader of the team from Ogun state, said “before now, I thought the programme in Osun state is been sponsored by the World Bank because I know that state, just like many others is battling with lack of funds. But when I learned it is been sponsored by the state and Local Governments, I was amazed. The political will is tremendous and it has to be commended,” she stressed.
Earlier, the delegates paid a visit to Anthony Udofia Elementary School, located within the state capital, where they witnessed the feeding of pupils by food vendors, which is a routine in all public schools across the state.