There is order in nature.
Every event has, in corollary, its natural aftermath. Biblical injunctions throw support behind this claim. Reference made in Genesis 8: 22 to seedtime and harvest; cold and heat; summer and winter; and day and night are clear affirmation of this. That verse of the scriptures has a standing promise attached to it: that these periods shall not cease, as long as the earth remains.
Recent events in the socio-economic and political landscape of the nation caused the above natural order to reverberate. This was as the pains of yesteryears in the State of Osun turned into gains in recent times. Only last week, the State of Osun got named as one of the beneficiaries of a monetary grant, which accrued to some states of the federation on the basis of the performance-based component of the World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability(SFTAS) Programme-for-Results.
On the spur of this feat, the State of Osun, alongside 23 other states, got its share of the 120.6 million dollars (N43, 416, 000, 000), which it co-shared based on its performance index, vis-a-vis other states.
The co-benefitting states are Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobestates.
On the trail of the foregoing, only last Sunday, the National Bureau of Statistics came out with the Nigeria Poverty Index Report for 2019, in which it ranked the State of Osun as the state with the third lowest poverty index in the entire nation.
Looking closely at the two epochal and monumental events captured above the State of Osun is having a shored-up performance, based on sacrifices in gross human capital investment made in the past.
Within the space of the last decade, the state has been through a lot in capacity building, human capital utilization and value-addition in human resource.
Specifically, the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES), harmonised with various other empowerment initiatives for widows, people with needs, and other vulnerable groups in the society are investments that have paid off well ultimately.
As a matter of fact, the Human Development Index Report is done annually to assess the different indicators that contribute to the poverty level of states in the federation. This recent shot at the upper first is not the first for Osun, as in 2016, the state was ranked the second less poverty-ridden state in the country; and took the first position in the 2017 report jointly published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Bureau of Statistics.
In a line-up of sequence, the reports under reference are clear pointers to the giant strides of former Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration, which did valiantly well to reduce the incidence of poverty in the state to 10.9% in 2017 as against 37.5% in 2010.
As it was confirmed by NBS in its 2018 report, the number of employed persons in Osun increased from 1,524,312 in 2010 to 2,365,622 in the Third Quarter of 2017, representing a 55% increase over a period of seven (7 years) which culminated in the progress made so far.
Further affirmation made through the most recent reports is that the state shows a pattern of fiscal sustainability, in spite of its weak federal allocation since 2018, as the state has been committed to the payment of salaries and the sustainability of the social welfare programmes of the last administration (the Aregbesola administration) by Governor AdegboyegaOyetola.
This latest Poverty Index Report has Osun ranked 3rd, to Delta in second place after Lagos, among the states with low poverty rate, and that 40.1 per cent of Nigeria’s total population was poor.
As the State forges ahead in its quest to attain higher prosperity through self-sustainability, we congratulate the people; while we sue for greater cooperation, especially to translate the programmes and strides of the incumbent administration, a government of continuity, into a huge success.
Encouraging Civil Society
In this era of the coronavirus
pandemic, we are clearly liv
ing in unusual times. The response has implications for the health and continuing development of our at-times fragile democracy.
At this time, social solidarity is key. It means that often times for transparency and effectiveness political society must be surbodinate to civil society. The intervention of so many civic groups, business organisations in the distribution of palliatives as well as the dissemination of information highlights the indispensable efficacy of civil society in a democracy.
Across board, in a quiet way, people have demonstrated humanitarian instincts. Street committees have been formed to assist the less fortunate. Examples abound of the positive intervention of civil society groups. The Sheri Care Foundation (SCARF), established a decade ago has done direct micro -targeting of the aged, the physically challenged, widows, children and an assorted of those in need. This innovative use of micro focussing in this directly targets and directs assistance to those often unfairly overlooked.
We commend the individuals and civil societies who have responded so magnificently to the crisis. In the State of Osun, the 21-person committee instituted by the state government has also done a commendable, transparent and effective intervention. Kudos to all!