By Isaac Olusesi
In Nigeria, the latest public-spirited project in State of Osun, the food free-of-charge project, manifesting the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) accountability to the people of the state. The party, answerable to the electorate every inch, depends on the support of the governed to remain in power, with its Governor Gboyega Oyetola responsibly not doing things by his whims and caprices, fancies and fantasies.
Rather, Oyetola’s strategic planning establishes direction for the state Food Support Scheme, flagged off last Thursday, April 1, 2021 in Osogbo, state capital. And whatever operational issues or problems that may be encountered in the project implementation by the project administrators will get sorted out by a set of substitutive, alternative planning procedures, operationally efficient also.
The administrators, that’s the “relevant state functionaries and key stakeholders,” accredited for agile mindset, discipline and commitment, team spirit of project ownership and delivery value, and proactive will activate the project to its vision, objective settings, implementation and evaluation. And the Oyetola, the chief project administrator has the scheme action plan including master document, prioritization, allocation of resources and tact in the head, heart and hand.
Beyond strategy, Oyetola, embracing the principle of responsible government, consistently feels the pulse of the governed, that makes his administration responsible to the registered popular needs of the people of Osun who elected him into power. Of course, yes! A democrat to the core, he knows that in democracy, the supreme power is vested in the people, with the religion, tribal barriers and such ascriptive identities, down played.
Just in line. The Oyetola foodbank, the government post COVID-19 buffer to cushion against the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic, takes exception to any cultural, ethnic characteristics in the distribution of the state free foods. Neither will the project serve any preferential terms, any such symbolic systems as gender, language, culture, political party leaning or any such other commonalities for shared identification to qualify one in the consequences of the COVID-19 pestilence, to benefit from the APC-Oyetola monthly foods, without payment, driving home: “there shouldn’t be discrimination in the mode of the distribution of the food items. Give everyone including the opposition”-the state APC boss, Prince Gboyega Famodun position.
Also, the minority groups of the Hausa/Fulani, South East / South-South, among others are constituted into the Osun Food Support Scheme “committee made up of relevant state functionaries and key stakeholders to make the exercise hitch free and transparent,” Oyetola disclosed.
Counting from last Thursday, the flag-off day, the Osun APC-Oyetola free FoodATM, to run live with the present administration, will on monthly basis dispense free foods across the state’s 30Local Government Areas to the critical 30,000 vulnerable Osun residents. They are observed to have experienced higher risks of poverty and social exclusion in the corollary of the COVID-19 global disease.
“Through the scheme, in the first instance, 30,000 beneficiaries will be reached and provided with 5kg of food bags as a token of support,” Oyetola said, adding that “we are adopting the use of the World Bank- sponsored Social Register to cater for beneficiaries in a manner that is just and equitable across the various nooks and crannies of our state.”
Excuse me, please! The scheme is the Osun government’s long-term response, clearly differentiated from the short-term COVID-19 palliative in the name of the May 2020 CACOVID food palliatives, unfortunately were vandalized on the heels of the #EndSARS breakages.
And the subsequent short-term December 2020 CACOVID 40,332 bags of rice off loaded in the state capital were promptly shared out, distributed to the Osun residents to avoid a repeat of the unholy invasion and looting by the #EndSARS rascals. Osun people are not a dodo, dummy. True, we are not a flightless bird just as we cannot accept any misinformation, mischief on today’s Osun government palliative response, the long-term needed relief, support to the Osun poor, the vulnerable to regain balance.
Armed with the project, the Oyetola picked the long-term battle against the COVID-19 long-term effects on the Osun residents’ trades, subsistence, businesses, resource endowments and sustenance- the people’s means of making a living, encompassing the people’s daily activities and incomes required to the secure the necessities of life. Addressing the people of Osun, the Governor said, “the scheme is in fulfilment of our administration’s avowed determination to provide a buffer for the vulnerable especially those, who on account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, had been thrown off balance economically and emotionally.”
Meaning, Oyetola, sensitive and responsive, had rightly observed that Osun residents in the post COVID-19 had become fatigued, jaded and dull, with associated direct, indirect losses of substantial proportions of their fortunes to provide livelihoods for their households, reflecting in their behavior made assailable to the rich neighbourhoods and cynical about government and governance.
But interestingly, the government has faithfully followed up the vulnerable with “the post COVID-19 economic recovery plan targeted at empowering over 5,000 SME with relevant skills and requisite funding in partnership with the Bank of Industry. Through the Ministry of Youths & Sports, we have also been facilitating loans to businesses in the state and youth entrepreneurship.”
The social, physical and environmental variable bred globally by COVID-19 had exposed the world economy to exogenous shocks, resulting from the world economy exposure to the pandemic and the resilience of the global economy ability induced by such appropriate policies as the state relieving tonic, the Osun Food Support Scheme to recover from the effects of the well known coronavirus. shocks.
At the Osun level, the APC-Oyetola free foods will generate wellbeing for the Osun economy, delivering spiritual, phycological, physical, financial and social wellness that will soonest make the holistic economy of the state work for the Osun residents, not the other way. That’s what the Governor meant when he stated, “the administration’s ultimate goal, apart from feeding the vulnerable in the interim is also to boost local food production and achieve food security in the long run.
To achieve the sustainability of the scheme, the administration in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had commenced the clearing of 10,000 acres of land, part of which would be allocated to youths who are genuinely interested in farming to engage them effectively and productively, saying 30percent of the beneficiaries of the Food Support Scheme are youths, pointing that “the government has begun work on two farm settlements at Ile Ife and Ifon in the state which would be duly equipped with all relevant facilities, including residential facilities to make farming attractive to young people.”
Contextually, Oyetola must be commended. One, his ingenuity, an understanding of the Osun youths in farming as a value for self-help, a step to self-sufficiency of the nation. Two, his resourcefulness to advance the material condition of the Osun youths for creative application to sustainable growth and development. And three, his desire to make Osun youths break decisively with the vicious of dependence and exploitation. Put differently, for Oyetola, Nigerian youths must be made free not merely politically but economically also, to develop the consciousness of being the master of their own destiny.
And at the vulnerable individual level, the Oyetola evolution of monthly free foods, the first of its kind in the political economy of Nigeria, will cause positive relationships; produce significant effects on the quality of individual life, with life expectancy prolonged, elongated; generate psychological relaxation; and improve feelings of purposeful, meaningful life. On the same page here, Olalekan Badmus, the Honourable Commissioner for Special Duties & Regional Integration noted in a related discuss, the state free food “gesture would serve as a good means to stem the negative tides of social vices, family break down, emotional disturbances and destitution that might emanate from lack of food among the vulnerable.”
The strength of the Osun foods, without payment has the penchant, propensity to entrench template for the nation’s federated states to adopt. But I ‘m afraid! Not many Nigerian governors have the requisite gumption for requisite interpretation of the United Nations Convention on “social justice’’ in the full interest of the governed under their watch.
Olusesi is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research & Strategy of All Progressives Congress, State of Osun