By Sunday Oguntuyi, osogbo
Osun State Deputy Governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi, has said the array of social intervention programmes embarked upon by the Federal Government, took roots from similar programmes initiated by the state.
Alabi explained that such social interventions like NPower started first in the state as ‘Osun Youth Empowerement Scheme’ (OYES), for the purpose of engaging the teeming unemployed youths positively for a specific period, and prepare them for future opportunities.
The Deputy Governor made this known on Wednesday when delegation of Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan, paid him a courtesy visit at the government house in Osogbo, the state capital.
Alabi, while commending the team for positively influencing governmental policies through constructive evaluation of social intervention programmes across the country, added that Osun remained a leading light in the move to eradicate poverty amongst citizenry through social intervention programmes.
“I welcome you to Osun, and commend your efforts in evaluating the core impacts of several social interventions in states and that of the federal government, with the aim of reshaping and redirecting governmental policies for the good of all,” he said.
“I am happy to inform you that our state has consistently maintain a status of forerunner for many social intervention programmes of the federal government.
“For instance, our OYES programme, which was originally designed to take the youths from the streets and positively engage them for a period of time was copied by the federal government and tagged ‘Npower’.
“We are also a pioneer in the consideration of the most vulnerable in the society through social safety net coined “Agba Osun” which heralded the Unconditional Cash Transfer programme of the federal government.
“You will agree with me that the School Feeding Programme of the federal government was patterned after our O’meal programme here in Osun, which has greatly helped our state in school enrollment, among many other laudable social intervention programmes.”
He continued: “This school feeding programme is one of our cardinal policies to build formidable human capital amongst our pupils, we can not afford to abandon it, that is why we have been working hard to sustain it.
“Presently, we have over 2000 food vendors in different schools across the state, as we continue to expand the programme to encourage our pupils.
“So, as a pioneer of the federal government’s school feeding programme, we need assistance from the Federal Government to further broaden the programme and sustain it, especially in the payment of food vendors .
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation and the lead researcher, Prof. Olufemi Ogundele, lauded the Osun State government for what he termed an impressive implementation of social intervention programmes in the state.
Ogundele eulogised the leading role the state has played in alleviating poverty and empowering the most vulnerable in the society, noting that array of federal government’s social intervention programmes had been earlier implemented in Osun.
He said,” Our activities are basically to evaluate the frame work put in place to implement the objectives of social interventions in Nigeria .
“The programme, which is being sponsored by the Action Aid of Nigeria, would be carried out in two states in each geo-political zone, in which Ogun and Osun states were chosen amongst the six states in the South West.
“I am happy to tell you that Osun State was picked for this evaluation based on its antecedent as the pioneer of many social intervention programmes in Nigeria, especially on school feeding programme.
Other dignataries present at the event were the Senior Special Assistant to governor Adegboyega Oyetola on Social Intervention Programme, Mr. Lukman Bello, the State Coordinator of NISER, Mrs Oyetayo Adeyemo, among others.