{MAGAZINE} Moving Towards Restoring Healthy Living

 

Since his assumption of office in November 2010, the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration in Osun has been seen to be proactive in the public health sector to ensure that citizens and residents of the state get access to quality health services. However, the enrolment of the state in the Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) is another effort of the government to enroll the entire populace into some financial and risk-pooling health scheme. KINSGLEY OMOYENI writes.

A responsible government must create and maintain the conditions under which members of the community can be healthy, though the maintenance of healthy living and public health is a responsibility of every member of the society.

Society’s efforts have been carried out through a combination of personal health care and public health system. Through the activities of both private and governmental health care providers, organisations, and institutions, the personal health care system provides primarily curative services, such as treating illnesses and injuries, to individuals with relatively little attention to prevention.

These agencies build partnerships and often provide or coordinate direct services to ensure that there is access to adequate healthcare in a community. Public health agencies have particularly played this role in efforts to reduce the spread of diseases, illness, injuries, environmental and other risks. They have also directly taken on the challenges of addressing the health care service needs of the most vulnerable.

Public health agencies meet obligations to their communities in many different ways: by fostering a wide range of policy-guided community initiatives to promote health, improve health conditions through the collection, monitoring, and dissemination of information about health status and disease occurrence; through the direct provision of service in the community and in the home; and through community education.

Another role public health agencies play is to regulate sources of risk and promote health and safety practices, such as licensing restaurants and health facilities, and regulating water and air quality.

Public health tasks are carried out primarily by governmental health and environmental protection agencies at local, state, and national levels.

Frequently, the government agency provides either financial or technical assistance. This is because government functions as a representative of the people and needs to be responsive to them, the ultimate responsibility for public health activities must lie with government agencies.

Non-Governmental Organisations carry out many useful activities. However, only government agencies that derive authority from the community, locality and nation are therefore accountable to members of the public. Public health agencies, even while being cost conscious, are in principle not constrained by profit motives, nor by agenda other than that of the public’s health.

Public health interventions focus on the health needs of the entire population or population groups. Personal healthcare providers have little incentive to consider population-based services, although they may provide individual clinical preventive care. Even with increased attention to the provision of clinical preventive services by healthcare organisations and others, the clinical preventive services provided will often be those with short-range, immediate payoffs.

Moreover, population most at risk for increased morbidity and mortality may be least likely to receive these clinical preventive services because of financial and non-financial barriers. Public health addresses these issues through outreach, health education, transportation and translation services, and culturally sensitive provision of services. These are provided by the public health system.

Since assumption of office in November, 2010, the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration has done everything possible in the public health sector to ensure that citizens and residents of the state have access to quality health services in all the nooks and crannies of the state. No wonder the life expectancy at birth in Osun has increased from 45 to 75 years, according to reports.

The Osun Ambulance scheme, an idea of the present administration has saved countless souls from untimely death, as the state governor procured ambulance vehicles worth millions of naira and equipped them with facilities and personnels and stationed in strategic locations around the state to arrest emergency health challenges.

Health facilities and hospitals across the state are never left unattended to, as they are constantly being upgraded; just recently the state government through the ministry of health took delivery of health equipment for government hospitals across the state, training of medical personnels, while provision of drugs are also being attended to.

The Aregbesola administration has strengthened the state’s health system by carrying out comprehensive changes in policies and regulations, develop strong financing mechanism, changing organisational structures and relationship across the health system and ensure effective use of resources to improve multiple health services.

Supporting the health system can also include any activity that improves services, from upgrading facilities and equipment to distributing mosquito nets. All these are the efforts of the present administration in Osun.

For a government that has put the health of its citizens on the front burner since assumption of office, it was no surprise to learn that the administration is going another step further at ensuring that the people have more access to affordable health services.

Since a single stay in hospital can wipe out your savings and more, not many people can afford to go without some kind of health insurance – even if they’re healthy. Not only will health insurance protect the rich from bankruptcy in the event of a major medical event, it will also give the vulnerable or poor of the poorest in the society peace of mind knowing that they can have access to quality health delivery when the need arises.

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has been there for many years, but the truth is that many people at the state and local governments’ level do not understand how to enjoy the service nor have access to it; hence the NHIS has only been in existence for existing sake.

Many people still view the national health insurance as a contract between you and an insurance scheme company that says that the insurance company will pay a portion of your medical expenses if you get sick or hurt and have to visit a doctor or hospital. They believe that such contracts also specify that the insurance company will pay a portion of your medical expenses such as paying for annual physicals or immunisations all at a burden which you will still have to bear one way or the other.

It was therefore a huge step in the right direction when the government of Osun under Rauf Aregbesola did everything possible to be part of the first sixteen states that will serve as pilots for the state health insurance schemes. At an awareness programme to sensitise the people of the state on their roles and responsibilities under the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS), it was made clear that it is to enable the people, rich or poor to have access to universal health scheme.

The Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS), is an insurance plan seeking to enroll the entire population into some financial and risk-pooling insurance mechanism or set of mechanism with the aim of removing the financial barriers of attaining Universal Health Coverage (UHC) so that needless deaths caused by lack of immediate funds will be avoided.

For a government that has done so much in the state’s health sector, it is worth eulogising such government for going another step further to ensure that the people are completely covered when it comes to issues relating to their health as OHIS will ensure that even the poorest of the poor will have access to quality health services because through the scheme such expenses would have been taken care of through tax and donors from the rich.

With the Osun Health Insurance Scheme, everybody is covered as avoidable deaths will be avoided. With adequate awareness and taking up of responsibilities by all stakeholders, the Aregbesola administration has set a new standard in the discharge of health services to all in Osun, which means, days when simple illnesses claim the lives of the poor as a result of lack of money to visit the hospital or doctor are gone for good.

It should be noted that the provision of quality healthcare delivery is a right of the people and through the scheme, the burden of catastrophic health expenditure will be eliminated and the people of the state are encouraged to take the opportunity and enjoy access to quality healthcare at the appropriate time.

The appointment of a former Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, (NMA), Dr Niyi Ogini as the Executive Secretary to pilot the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (O’HIS) has again reaffirmed the commitment of the government to the scheme.

Dr Ogini while speaking at an awareness programme stressed that public health services should be considered part of the social safety net which is the responsibility of government to provide for the people.

“Governor Rauf Aregbesola wants free health for his people but at the same time he realises that it cannot be totally free, he knows that it cannot be hundred per cent possible, hence the creation of the Osun Health Insurance Scheme.

“It is the desire of the Governor to deliver quality health services to the people of the state on the basis of equity. I want to assure the people of the state that through the O’HIS, the death of children under five will be greatly reduced in Osun.

“The scheme would be operated on equity where those who do not have money can have access to quality health services and we want it to succeed so that Osun will be an example to emulate”, Ogini stressed.

It is hoped that citizens and residents alike in Osun will embrace this good gesture of a government that is determined to restore healthy living as contained in its six points integral action plan.

 

{MAGAZINE} 2018 Measles Vaccination Campaign: Time To Get It Right!

 

Despite the efforts of the government and international agencies to fight the menace of measles, this childhood killer disease still ravages developing countries. There is a good news by the way as the year 2018 marks another year of measles vaccination campaign. To combat this disease, 13 days were selected in March where it is expected that every child between the ages of 9 and 59 months [5 years] would have been vaccinated.

In this piece, FRANCIS EZEDIUNO examines this deadly disease and steps the government of the State of Osun has taken to combat it and the 2018 Measles Vaccination Campaign modus operandi.

Measles is one of the six childhood killer diseases after Diphtheria, Tuberculosis, Whooping cough, Polio and Tetanus. The most vulnerable children are those between the ages of 9 months and five years or u-5 (under five) as they are referred to, especially in developing countries.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus. Before the introduction of measles vaccine in 1963 and widespread vaccination, major epidemics occurred approximately every 2–3 years and measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.

The disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Approximately, 89,780 people died from measles in 2016 – mostly children under the age of 5 years.

Measles is caused by a virus in the paramyxo virus family and it is normally contracted through direct contact or air, as it is an air-borne disease. The virus infects the respiratory tract, then spreads throughout the body. Measles is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.

Accelerated immunisation activities have had a major impact on reducing deaths caused by measles infections. During 2000–2016, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 20.4 million deaths. Global measles deaths have reduced by 84% from an estimated 550,100 in 2000 to 89,780 in 2016.

WHAT IS MEASLES?

Measles is an infectious disease causing fever and red rashes on the skin, it mainly affects children but can occur at any age. Measles, also known as Rubeola or morbilli, is a viral infection of the respiratory system.

Measles is a very contagious disease that can spread through contraction with infected mucus and saliva. The coughing or sneezing of an infected person can release the virus into the air. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours. As the infected particles enter the air and settle on surfaces, anyone close by can become infected with the measles virus.

It is a disease that is giving the WHO great concern not only because of its devastating effects but also because of its post-occurrence even after the epidemic and outbreak has been successfully treated.

In Africa and especially developing countries of which Nigeria is included, several efforts have been made by the government to combat this malaise.

After several efforts by the government, its agencies, international health partners, health foundations, concerned non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the world health body have continued to yield positive effects, an effect which successive governments have continually failed to harness.

With several interventions, there have been successes in the area of prevention of epidemics and outbreaks which after all said and done, the case will revert to how it was at onset.

Note that measles vaccination is given to children at the age of 9 months but the campaign comes up bi-annually.

To curtail the destructive tendencies and have the desired effects afterwards, the Federal Ministry of Health through the various state ministries of health has demographically delineated the country into 6 geo-political zones accordingly.

The year 2018 measles campaign which does not stop the usual immunisation of the State of Osun which falls within the South West geographical space was held between Thursday, 1st and Wednesday, 13th of March, 2018.

In doing so, the local governments in the state were divided into two to make the vaccination campaign a success story and therefore have the desired effects which is to totally reduce its prevalence by 2020. Notwithstanding that the country had entered the pre-elimination stage in 2015.

Basic facts about measles according to WHO:

* The child must have generalised fever

* History of fever which is more than 38°C

* Diagnosis is through blood test

* Leading cause of death amongst children which may lead to sterility or blindness

* No particular drugs for treatment. Treatment of other complications.

* Prevention is during immunisation and campaign

* The vaccine is effective in preventing measles and provides lifelong immunity

* One dose is approximately 85% and two doses are approximately 97% effective.

* It has an injectable vaccine given in the upper left arm

MODE OF TRANSMISSION

Measles is transmitted through direct contraction or through secretions of infected persons.

* Measles transmission is found in densely populated areas.

CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

As earlier reported, the campaign kicked off on the 1st and ended on 13th of March, 2018. The exercise was done in two streams.

First stream held from 1st to 6th of March in 15 LGAs across the state. They included Ede North and South, Egbedore, Ejigbo, Ife Central, Ife East and Area Office Modakeke, Ila, Ilesha East and West, Irewole, Isokan, Iwo, Olorunda, Oriade and Osogbo.

Second stream which held from 8th to 13th of March was in another 15 LGAs. They included; Ayedaade, Ayedire, Atakunmosa East and West, Boluwaduro, Boripe, Ife North and South, Ifedayo, Ifelodun, Irepodun, Obokun, Odo-Otin, Ola-Oluwa and Orolu.

Approximately, the total estimated number of children immunised are 927, 019 and a total number of 1,030 teams from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and 206 from the state participated during the campaign.

For the campaign, fixed posts and fixed temporary posts were situated in strategic locations where parents and guardians brought their children and wards, instead of house to house vaccination.

At the end of vaccination for each child, cards were issued to them and their fingers were marked with permanent ink marker to prevent double vaccination. Parents are expected to keep the cards safe because a subsequent survey would be carried out after two weeks to determine if the state was able to reach all the target number of children.

The target for the country is estimated at 100% but at the end of the measles campaign, the following results are expected; local government at 98%, state at 97% and national at 95%.

The government has committed resources to the campaign with the payment of the intervention fund to the tune of N21 million and the state has made itself available for the campaign. It is now left to the people of the state to key into it and make the exercise a success.

Notwithstanding the perceived shortcomings on the part of government regarding the handling of health affairs in the state, one thing is certain, Osun has never lagged behind when it comes to partnering with international health organisations, agencies and non-governmental organisations to bring quality health delivery packages to the doorsteps of the citizenry.

Trumpets need to be sounded because even with the paucity of funds which is a global economic phenomenon, Osun has not defaulted in the area of health; an area which is beset with myriads of challenges like unavailability of standard equipment, funds, workers’ welfare, structures and others.

After it, food, housing and education would follow in that order.

In the annals of governance in this state, posterity would relate that there was a time an administration though, with its shortcomings maintained a clean sheet health-wise in the state.

It is true that history does not forget, even though the human mind might. It will be on record and one day when the record book will be opened, it would worth being placed in the sands of time.

The year 2018 Measles Vaccination Campaign might have been rounded up by now, but there are big lessons that would and should be learnt during the exercise which would be applied judiciously as plans would be under way for another round of measles vaccination campaign in two or three years time.

{MAGAZINE} Osun 2018: 176 Days To Go! How Governorship Election May Shape Up

 

Below, OSUN DEFENDER’s Data Analyst, Damilola Ojenike looks at the state of play and configuration of voting data in recent elections in order to work out the permutations as we approach the political parties’ primaries slated for July.

The accompanying chart shows the 2014 governorship election results by senatorial districts.

Judging from this, it shows that the APC leads comfortably in two out of the three senatorial districts with a good margin. The two districts are the Osun West and Osun Central. The factors responsible for this, according to findings, include the popularity of the party among the teeming populace in the stated districts, their affinity for progressive tenets since the birth of politicking in the South-West region and the popularity of the candidate in the election.

It is also pertinent to mention the religious bias of the electorates, prior to the 2007 governorship election, the then Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and his deputy were both Christians and the clamour for a Muslim ticket was a dominant request before the poll. Another variable which the electorates did not bother about is the senatorial district where the candidate in the election originated from.

The 2014 election was also determined by the antecedents of the incumbent as well as the expectations of the electorates if the same party is given the chance to continue to steer the ship of leadership in the state. Performance in the first term is a yardstick that compelled the electorates to stick out their necks for continuity even in the face of intimidation from the then PDP-led Federal Government.

The third senatorial district is almost equally shared with the APC winning by a slim majority. It won the base of the APC candidate, while the PDP candidate also won in his homestead.  The marginal difference between the two leading parties is less than 1%, considering that the APC won in 6 out of the 10 local governments in the district. This projection goes well for a definitive competition than the other senatorial districts.

In conclusion, the past is gone, the present is here and the future is just what we can predict with our present work. The past is not a sure determinant for the future but gives an added ground and points in a direction. The APC won the last election and won it well by winning in all the senatorial elections. How else can you win well. 3/3 – excellent. But like I would say, Statistics are like mini-skirts, they do not reveal everything, instead are used for projections and predictions for the future after giving us a hint into what is likely to happen. Moreover the variables are not the same and the quality of candidates that both parties would present and how acceptable such candidates would be for the electorates.

Besides, there is a likely to be a change in the attitude of the electorates towards the parties, as well as their candidates.

 

Ilesha Born Folafoluwa Oginni, Graduates In Law With 5.0 GPA In The UK

Folafoluwa Oginni Mary a native of Ilesha Osun state has emerged as the overall best student of the prestigious University of Hertfordshire United Kingdom with a 5.0 CGPA.

Mary has always been a highly cerebral student. In the year 2013, she was adjudged the best student in WAEC. She proceeded to study Law at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife but was forced to leave OAU in her sophomore year, with a CGPA of 4.53, due to ASUU strike.

2017, Folafoluwa kept the flag flying by graduating best student from the University of Hertfordshire finishing her Law degree without getting a B throughout her stay.

She graduated with a perfect score of 5.0 GP, setting a new record in the university and also becoming the first Nigerian Valedictorian in the University.

We are soo proud of you Fola. Okare.

 

Magazine: Womenfolk Pressing For Progress

 

March 8th of every year is dedicated to women all over the world to mark and appreciate “International Women’s Day”. The day is specially set aside to mark the contributions of women to the world at large and as well advocate for women development and well being all over the world. SOLA JACOBS writes that women should work their talk and work more on their unity and development rather than seeing men as their common enemy.

In recent times, women had always been seen as agitators against their noble role of mothers of the nation who are to be seen but not to be heard, except for non-patriarchal society like Europe. In Asia, Middle East and African countries, women roles seem defined and they are not so much saddled with governance and other intricate things which are wrongly referred to as the exclusive rights of men. However, the trend is changing, within the last 20 years as women seem to be pressing more for issues that will advance their course, thanks to the 2007 Beijing Conference in China, just as Nigerian women will be most grateful to the wife of former Nigeria President, Mrs. Mariam Babangida, the initiator of “Better Life for Rural Women” which served as an eye opener for women across Nigeria.

The push has increased more participation of women in politics and various other professions that have over the years been wrongly regarded as an exclusive rights of men.

Examining this year’s theme: “Women Pressing for Progress” it x-rayed that considerable heights have been reached, but there is still a greater height to mount, meaning that women have to press for the higher height, the peak, as they are the major determinants of their fates, though not without the cooperation of men.

At the celebration this year in Osogbo, the State Capital of Osun, the theme: “Virtuous woman pushing for the greater Development” which was organised by the “Osun Government Officials Wives Association” (OSUNOWA) under the leadership of the Osun Governor’s wife, Mrs. Sherifat Aregbesola, it was emphasised that women should develop and position themselves for leadership responsibilities through hardwork, integrity, creativity, modesty, service and mentoring.

Also at the progamme, various individuals were honoured for their exemplary feats. Notably was Oluwatoyin Bamidele, a 20-year-old beans-cake hawker and 200-Level student of Criminology and Security Studies of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti who was honoured with an award of Excellence and Educational support.

It was revealed at the programme that the awardee was honoured for her courage and commitment, as she sells bean-cake (Akara) around the capital area of Osogbo with her widowed mother in other to also contribute in fending for the family and pay her tuition fees.

Born in Ara, Egbedore Local Government of the State of Osun, she has consistently demonstrated “good virtues of Omoluabi” since age 10 by hawking raw food and now Akara as a source of support for her widowed mother.

The Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola while presenting the award commended the awardees for what he called a demonstration of Omoluabi virtues of hardwork despite her family situation.

Also at the OSUNWA conference, various participants won various gifts items through raffle draws, such as four mini-buses known as Korope, fridge, freezer, plasma television, grinding machine, kitchen utensils, bed side fridge, cooking gas, electric cooker, fans and lots more.

But besides the funfair of the annual international women day, there had been questions about the readiness of the womenfolk in the nation to attain the higher heights, which bordered on their preparedness, experience, expertise, financial commitment, mentoring, transparency and accountability and others.

Critics and analysts have always portend that women are the enemies of themselves, as bickering, envy, jealousy always play fore within and among them when it comes to issues of leadership positioning.

Mrs. Ngozi Nwere, the Coordinator of Community Life Project, a non-governmental organisation disagreed with the assertion that women do antagonised one another but rather posited that men always set women against each other, so as to drive for their selfish domination.

She queried the need for the position of “women leader” in our political parties, if men had come in term with equality of women who participate in politics, saying, why are the various parties in the country not allowing women to take the position of Party Chairmen despite the numerical strength of women and their commitment to party politics.

Buttressing her point, she queried what had become of the rejected “Gender Equality Bill” in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly which was rejected by the male dominated assembly under the guise of religious and dogmatic cultural beliefs.

Mrs. Nwere ascertained that women are pushing for greater heights in their contribution to the national growth and development, but the religious and cultural beliefs are major impediments, coupled with financial inabilities of women, as they largely bear the brunts of economic recession and are mainly most time entangled with family upkeeps, while men invest more in economic and political issues at the detriments of their homes which has in turn have multi-facet consequences on the country’s moral values.

On whether women who are elected and once appointed into various political offices had performed excellently like their male counterparts, or had women been caught in corrupt practices after which the looted property and money recovered, she queried, “What is the ratio of such women to their male counterparts? Only few of those women get involved in the act without the connivance of men, and even with that, it doesn’t amount to the fact that women cannot lead”.

On women development, she argued that women had developed considerably over the years, but there is still room for development in technology realms, enterpreneurship administration and other facets.

She made case for girl child education and the need to stop early child marriage, rape and subjection of women, through female genital mutilation and other unwholesome traditional practices of widowhood rites, as well as right to own land by females in Nigeria.

Also speaking on the theme: ‘Women Pressing for Progress’, Alhaja Kudirat Oladunmoye, a female politician and retired educationist was of the opinion that the non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations and women need do more to make case for women in the country, challenging that “some of our laws and penal codes need to be reviewed while some aspect should be expunged to meet the realities of the present Nigeria, especially, Section 55, Sub-section 5 of the penal code which allows men to correct their wives through whipping, as such act translates to violence against such woman, even if bodily injury occurs”.

She added that laws that set women at disadvantage at home, worship places and society at whole must be reviewed, noting that women are not claiming equality with men as ordained by God, but they may be allowed to enjoy human rights as God’s creation.

She enjoined women to strive to contribute positively by mentoring their children and grooming them for leadership position, as well as encouraging them to embrace positive values of modesty, hardwork, integrity, service, giving and the fear of God.

A social critic, Alhaji Murtala Orabiyi in his own response said, it is high time for Nigerian women to work their talk, as no one fettered them from reaching the higher heights, but they should consciously liberate themselves from self censor and garner financial strength and political skills to assume leadership position, which takes perseverance, submission and tenacity and experience.

He was of the opinion that Nigerian women have not reached their greatest height in politics in comparison with countries in Africa, such as Burundi, Tanzania and Liberia, but they are almost there and with lots of sensitisation, lobbying and advocacy, women in Nigeria with lots of potential will soon lead the some country, but with the cooperation of all and sundry.

{MAGAZINE} Health: Domesticating Health Insurance In Osun

Restore Healthy Living is one of the six-point integral action plan of the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola in the State of Osun, and in line with this, the state government has made arrangements to domesticate the Health Insurance Scheme with a view to making healthcare system readily available for all. FRANCIS EZEDIUNO writes on the efforts made so far by the state government in this regard.

Nobody saves money for health issues, but when it does come knocking, scarce resources are made available to get the best treatment one can afford. However, in a case where money is not available and the best health care is absent, what does one do?

The question of health should be of utmost concern to every human being, because the human body is like a machine which needs adequate maintenance. If left without regular maintenance, there is tendency for the supporting mechanism to start showing signs of wearing off, so also, is the human body. There is need for constant medical check up because as the body ages, there is the need for total revamp in terms of medications to boost healthiness and vitality.

African governments have been known to have the populace-welfare agenda and therefore people have on several occasions enjoyed free education and health policy, but emphasis being more on health. Subsequent governments therefore, because of some financial constraints took steps to restrict the free medical treatments for mother and child; particularly pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and children under the age of 0-5 years.

This policy had worked for some times until recently when reality dawn on governments at various levels such that it has made free health care services and provision became nearly impossible.

What now is the way out? True to fact, government’s aim is to provide free basic medical services for its citizens.

Wisely, the federal government provided a soft landing by way of enacting a health insurance policy. Free health is not the norm again and health insurance is the way out.

Initially, the free health scheme had worked successfully for previous administration in the state of Osun, a major reason why the present administration deemed it necessary to make it a part of its six-point integral action plan of ‘Restoring Healthy Living’.

Originally, the implementation of the free healthcare system in Osun went smoothly, as various health based programmes were rolled out one after the other, in accordance with the stated aim and objectives of government plans. The major beneficiaries of the free health programme in the state were the aged, children under the age of 5, women and the vulnerable.

Unfortunately, due to no fault of government, the free health programme became undesirable which necessitated the steps being taken by the state government towards localising the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The NHIS was established by the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004 and it has enjoyed some level of successes, but the lack of enlightenment amongst the citizenry has kept the programme at the far corner from the people it’s meant to cater for.

Already, the NHIS has been viewed as an elitist programme due to inadequate enlightenment on the part of government but surely, the way out of the myriad health challenges besetting the nation is to domesticate the national health insurance policy, bring it to the state level, so that even the poor of the poorest could afford health at a relatively low cost.

The aim of domesticating the health insurance policy in the state is to act as an alternative to the free health programme embarked upon by the state government which for the economic situation ravaging the country, could not be sustained.

There is also a political will to it as a popular saying goes; “where there is a will, there is a way”.

The Rauf Aregbesola administration wants to leave behind a lasting legacy that would be a reference point for future administration in the state, the Southwest geopolitical region and indeed the whole of Nigeria.

The health insurance policy works in this way; the rich will pay and the poor will also pay; medical attention would be based on the principle of equity, where at a certain pocket-friendly amount, sound healthcare will be made available to all and sundry either in a public or private health facility. Accessing health care either at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels would be made affordable.

Taking a look at the society, illiteracy and ignorance have been an hitching factor and when health challenges come knocking, the poor and vulnerable prefer to resort to either self medication, local health initiatives and by the time the health status worsens, it would have been too late to render any adequate medical intervention. By then, death will be inevitable.

Many Nigerians may see the idea of contributing a certain amount of money for health insurance as a waste of money due to the fact that some may stay for months without having any health issues.

Alas, when it finally comes knocking and a comparative analysis is made, the actual amount paid for the health insurance scheme would be little compared to the total cost of securing good medical intervention.

The services may be attributed to the poor, but what of the rich who may think that in the event of such, they would simply seek medical care from the medically advanced countries with good health care track records.

What is National Health Insurance? According to UNICEF: “it is a government managed insurance plan, seeking to enrol the entire population into some financial and risk pooling insurance mechanism or set of mechanisms with the aim of removing the financial barriers to attaining Universal Health Care (UHC)”.

A visit to medical institutions in the state will reveal a parlous state of affairs.

How can one fathom a situation where in a public health facility, the rich have money and they cannot access health care, except they visit a private facility; and the poor who do not have the financial wherewithal hence patronising these public health facilities but do not have money to get essential drugs they need. Added to this is also that they do not have the money to procure expensive treatments from private facilities and they end up dying a needless death.

These and other problems are why the health insurance scheme needs to be implemented nationwide and domesticated in the State of Osun.

The number of needless deaths amongst the state’s poor and vulnerable population is increasing and it is not because some of them are ignorant of the need for adequate medical care, but it is due in part to the fact that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”, meaning the financial resources is lacking to get drugs and health care and when death comes, they ignorantly accept it as the will of God.

The earlier the health insurance policy is domesticated the better.

In the recent past, the state government has strengthened other organs of the Ministry of Health by constituting the State of Osun Hospital Management Board, creating the State of Osun Primary Health Care Development Board and with the recent move by the state government to bring UHC nearer home. The creation of the Osun State Health Insurance Scheme (OSHIS) and its mother agency became inevitable with the appointment of a competent hand as the Executive Secretary in the person of Dr. Niyi Oginni who has been saddled with the responsibility of running the affairs of the new agency.

With the track records of the new Executive Secretary, one would hope and pray that the crises befalling the NHIS would not be the case of OSHIS.

The government of the day has not hidden its desire to send a Bill to domesticate the health insurance scheme in the state.

Already, the agency to supervise the scheme had been created and staffed, hence, what is next is the Bill which would be sent from the Executive to the legislature.

Last week, a consultative forum was held in Osogbo where experts from the NHIS, state Ministries of Health, Finance, Justice and other partner agencies brainstormed for two-days before arriving at a draft Bill which had been forwarded to the State Executive Council for approval.

As the Executive Bill is yet to be sent to the Osun State House of Assembly, a media enlightenment session was held recently where journalists were educated and sensitised on the advantages and the need to embrace the health insurance scheme whether at the national level or when the state starts its implementation.

Dr Ogini while speaking at an awareness programme stressed that public health services should be considered part of the social safety net which is the responsibility of government to provide for all people.

“Governor Rauf Aregbesola wants free health care services for his people but at the same time he realises that it cannot be totally free, he knows that it cannot be hundred per cent possible, hence the creation of the Osun Health Insurance Scheme becoming a necessity.

“It is the desire of the Governor to deliver quality health services to the people of the state on a basis of equity, I want to assure the people of the state that through the O’HIS, the death of children under five will be greatly reduced in Osun.

“The scheme would be operated on equity where those who do not have money can have access to quality health services and we want it to succeed so that Osun will be an example to emulate”, Ogini stressed.

Another question which will be left to answer will be whether the scheme should be made optional or compulsory.

The writers opinion on this is that it should be made compulsory because it is a part of the core component of this administration’s policy thrust.

{MAGAZINE} Herdsmen Attacks: Issues And Prospects

 

Nigeria is being confronted with the security threat of the Fulani herdsmen attack on farmers, farmlands and rural dwellers, but in the State of Osun, the government have been so proactive to prevent such attacks, as against the situation in some other neighbouring states. SOLA JACOB writes on the measures put in place by the state government.

Virtually all the states in Nigeria are counting human and infrastructural loss due to the menace of the Fulani herdsmen, which has been threatening the fabric of the existence of the country. The continuous siege of these marauders who masquerade as herdsmen had almost pitched the nation along political and ethnic lines.

The State of Osun also had its fair share on the recent menace that plagued the nation, but the proactive stance of the state government has saved the situation and averted loss of lives in the state.

According to the Commissioner for Special Duties in the state, Honourable Mudashir Toogun, it could be estimated that Osun has over 3 million cattle herds in the state but the state had not conducted census to know the actual number of Fulani herdsmen in the state.

He continued that the state had taken proactive stances since June, 2014 with the establishment of committee of Fulani/Farmers, which is the composition of representative of Ministry of Agriculture, Chairman of Fulani Community, the Bororo representative, Chairman of Agricultural Farmers Association of Nigeria, Representative of Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Traditional Institution and Women in Farming.

The committee had visited Fulani settlements across the state. The settlements are largely concentrated at Osun West Senatorial District because of the climate and Savannah nature of the area which is suitable for cattle rearing.

In the process of the visit, the committee held series of meeting with Fulani Communities which bothers on the peaceful coexistence with their host communities, as well sensitise them on the cultural values and beliefs of others.

The committee as well took time to know their need and what could enhance their peaceful living in their land of sojourn, which could make them contribute to the development and growth of the state at large.

Toogun said that three major demands were made by the Fulani’s across the state  among which is Hajj slots, request for potable water for their consumption and their cattle as well as qualitative education for their wards.

It is interesting to note that Fulani women desired quality and qualitative education as reflected in their requests, and in collaboration with the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), nomadic schools in the state were rehabilitated and about eleven boreholes were sunk in different communities occupied by Fulanis.

This attracted the respect of the Fulani herdsmen in the state for farmers in their host communities and foster peaceful coexistence because of the foresight and proactive stance of the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

However, the recent experience in the state was the migration of some armed bandits who are referred to as Bororo. According to a security report, they usually come in through Osun border from the neighbour Kogi and Kwara states.

In the last one week in the state, reports of their atrocities had been reported in Ila, as a large farm settlement was destroyed by these marauders, while information has it that presently, some parts of Ijesaland are under their siege, especially Esa Odo, Esa-Oke, Ilesa and Ila.

At times, the real Fulani people in the state do not understand their language and they are not peaceful but rather militant in their dealings.

The chairman of Miyetti Allah Fulani Association in the State of Osun, Alhaji Sulaiman Oloruntoyin, who is the head of Fulani community in the state, in a chart with Osun defender, said “they are violent in nature and in appearance, usually armed with dangerous weapon like AK47 and other sophisticated weapons, they usually move at night, they rustle our cattle”.

Oloruntoyin has since been appointed as the Special Assistant to the Governor on peaceful coexistence of Fulani Bororo Farmers in the state.

To corroborate the claims, Toogun, who is the chairman of the Peaceful Co-existence of Fulani and Farmers in the state said that with dismay, the state noticed strange movement of armed bandits who also rustled cattle of Fulanis who are law abiding in the state, saying, they are nocturnal and very destructive.

Toogun said, to combat their activities, the state has launched a surveillance team in the trouble prone points in the state, saying, “they alerted us and we have sent some of these marauders amongst the herdsmen out of the state in collaboration with other Fulani stakeholders in the state.

“The keywords are vigilance and cooperation of all and sundry which gave us feats achieved in sustenance of peaceful atmosphere we have in the state”, the Commissioner stressed.

Despite the moves of the state government to promote and sustain peaceful co-existence among various ethnic groups in the state, it does not mean that there are no minor skirmishes among the Fulanis and their hosting communities, but the committee on peaceful co-existence between the Fulani/Farmers in the state had settled almost 6,000 cases which bothers on grazing on peoples’ farms and both parties  at the end of the cases always abide by the decision of the committee which premises on fairness and quality.

Even some litigations had been withdrawn by parties and resolved amicably through the committee. This shows the level of the credibility and acceptance of the committee’s verdicts by the litigants.

Marriage had always been a bonding force as well, as the Fulani’s had got married to Yoruba’s in their hosting communities, hence, the mutual relationship and respect for other peoples’ culture had come to play.

Oloruntoyin has revealed that most Fulani residents in the state are citizens by birth, saying he is the third generation of his great grandfather in Yorubaland.

“We build modern houses here, our children are in universities and we have inter-marriage. There is need for the populace to know that the issue of senseless killing across the states of the nation affects us as well. The marauders who masquerade as herdsmen rustle our cattle, just that we are lucky not to lose any lives to them in Osun. So, it is only our collective effort that will make us to conquer them. But if we continue to apportion blames along ethnic and religious lines, we are not doing ourselves any favour with that.

“To curtail the menace of these marauders, it must be the collaboration of the villagers, traditional rulers, Fulani communities, the security agents and the general publics”, he said.

According to him, the Fulani residents in the state have discovered that some farmers do invite other herders from other states to their farms to help use cattle to graze their land after harvesting, saying, this portends danger, as most of these invitees sometimes come to graze such farmers during the planting season which always result into losses for the farmers.

“Fulani residents in their host communities are known by the people and traditional rulers in such communities, any strange herders seen should be thoroughly interrogated and the villagers should quickly alert the committees.

Oloruntoyin then advised that more sensitisation and education should be carried to the rural communities, especially border villages on the need to be vigilante and report presence of strange herders to the appropriate authority.

 

MAGAZINE: When Southwest Youths Assembled For Development Plan


Youths, as widely opined, are the leaders of tomorrow. However, a dangerous trend is surfacing whereby the youths are being neglected, only to be remembered during election periods, and are promised heaven and earth and once political power is obtained whether legally or otherwise, they are abandoned again.

This has always been the trend until recently, when the governments of the Southwest region through the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission came together to act in order to save the future from conspicuous impending danger.

A two-day regional youth summit was held for the first time and hosted by the government of the State of Osun as a bold step to address this issue. FRANCIS EZEDIUNO was part of the summit and writes.

The Western part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has always been known to be the most progressive region and no other region could be said to have disputed this fact. It has always been a region of firsts. Any student of Nigerian history would be well acquainted with this.

Right from the first university in the country, University College, Ibadan now known as the University of Ibadan (UI); the first storey building in Nigeria located in Badagry; the first secondary school in Nigeria, CMS Grammar School, Bariga; the first skyscraper in Africa, Cocoa House; the first stadium in Africa, the Liberty Stadium, now known as the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan; the first television station in Africa, Western Nigerian Television Service now known as Nigerian Television Authority, Ibadan.

Before that, the first graduate, first medical doctor, first lawyer were all proud Yoruba citizens.

In the area of tradition, culture, politics, education and commerce, the West has always showed a progressive tendency to outshine and outclass the other regions. Outside the country, Nigeria has always been described as made up of the Western Region and others.

Politically, the ruling government of the First Republic noted this quality and therefore embarked on an exercise to divide the West into two and geopolitically extricated the Midwest from the region but notwithstanding, the Yoruba nation proudly stood and trudged on.

It is an open secret that of all the leaders that have been produced in Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo stand out as a good leader and that is why university of Ife was renamed as Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and so many other development strides that even today more than 60 years after their initiation, after 53 years of the abrupt end of the First Republic and 31 years after Awolowo’s demise, his works and some of his policies have not aged and are still very visible all around.

Surprisingly, no other equable leader has risen from this same region or any other geopolitical region to smash the enviable records of the man popularly referred to as Awo The Great!

It was also in this same Western Nigeria that in the regional House of Assembly in 1953, Chief Anthony Enahoro moved a motion for the independence of the country by 1956 which was promptly misunderstood by delegates from the Northern region.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo planned not for the present but for the future. He had a picture of what he wanted even after he had transited to the great beyond. The achievements of the late sage and his team have umpteenth time been used as a template to measure successes decades after his exit.

It was in the light of this, that the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti; the six states in the Southwest geopolitical zone which by incident of history are all Yorubas came together to bring back the glory which the Yoruba nation is known for. The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission was birthed by the governments of the Southwest States of Nigeria as the institutional and programme management body to midwife their Regional Integration Agenda.

It is therefore the dedicated coordinating agency, fully empowered by the governments to ensure the delivery of the composite development aspirations of the Region, as expressed in what has been generally adopted and known as the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN).

The DAWN Commission is the dedicated technocratic institution for the sustainable development of the Southwest Region. The Southwest, with this commission does not have the intention to secede from Nigeria, rather, they are seeking to come together as a body to fight for a single course, the unification of ideas, opinions, dreams, and to forge a common front so as to seek a common future for the region.

The DAWN Commission and the six governors of the Southwest states are now trying to revive this and bring back the lost glory that the region was once known for. The governors then resolved on the best solution to the many problems that has been bedeviling the developments of their region and have decided to work together irrespective of political differences in order to realise this sole aim and other objectives.

The road to achieving this had not been easy but with the desire of the governors, led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun, who has been openly canvassing for regional integration. He has through his programmes and policies been championing this course such that he created the Ministry of Regional Integration.

From his first term in office, Aregbesola has been known as an open crusader for regionalism and going back in time to embrace the ideals of the glory days of the old West, with a view to applying it where possible in the 21st century Southwestern, Nigeria.

With this in mind, he has overseen the establishment of a Commercial Hub at Dagbolu, near Osogbo where goods from Osun and other neighbouring states will be freighted through rail line to Lagos and goods from Lagos will pass through same route to Osun and other states.

This lofty project has since kicked off with an appreciable amount of successes recorded. It will also be a great injustice not to mention, the free train services provided by Aregbesola’s administration since inception through which holiday makers would journey for free to and fro Osogbo.

These two projects are enough to bring about regional integration, albeit on a small scale.
Since success has been achieved and DAWN Commission was now a reality, the Southwest needed to forge a development plan in line with the aim of the commission, hence there is the need to carry youths along in the same course, having realised that youths are abundant and efficient sources of untapped energy and through their involvement in the whole agenda, it would help in unleashing the desired result.

The governors decided to harness the power of the youths and decided to hold a youth summit with the sole aim of mapping out a 25-year development plan for the region by fully making use of the youths.
Just like the sage planned for the future, the six Southwestern governors have a target of 2040.

The Regional Youth Summit with its theme: ‘WEST 2040: PRODUCTIVITY, PROSPERITY AND PEACE’ is a strategic 25-year Western Nigeria master plan where decisions were reached on how to make the region less dependent on fossil fuel (petrol and diesel). This is because technology has advanced, that in some developed countries, very soon vehicles will not powered by petrol and diesel anymore, but with electricity and solar energy.

At the summit, youths were made to understand that technology is the way out and it is better for them to embrace it now than to be a liability in the future.

Part of the master plan is for the region to be a hub for tourism and agricultural competitiveness where its vast agricultural resources would be harnessed to feed its rapidly increasing population.

In the area of tourism, since all the six states have various tourist attractions, the master plan aims at developing these potentials which will be another source of revenue generation for the government and income for its people.

Since majority of the best educational institution are located within the region, part of the masterplan is to capitalise on the successes which will in turn facilitate the production of an educated workforce.

The issue of technological development is also part of the plan which the summit aimed to draft and it was concluded that the South west should be a region of technologically developed urban centres, where tradition, culture and modernity would achieve a peaceful blend. That is, a peaceful and secure region with a globally competitive Yoruba language and culture.

Imperatively, far reaching decisions were arrived at which it is expected that with faithful implementation, in the next 25 years, the Southwest region would have reached an advanced stage of development.

These decisions are expected to be studied by the state governments in the region in synergy with the DAWN Commission, and with the high hope of having it on ground and fully running within the space of 25 years.

The first is in the area of governance and politics. The entire Yoruba youths insist on restructuring of the current warped federal arrangement that stifles the growth of the region. The youths agreed that the golden era of the region was during regional government of the old West and there is the need to revert to a system of federalism based on regionalism.

It was also agreed that the youths of the Western Nigeria affirm their belief in one united Nigeria based on fairness, equity and strict adherence to the doctrine of federalism, separation of powers and rule of law. And that there is the need to enshrine in the Federal constitution, a role for plebiscites or referendums on certain issues of public importance.

It was part of the resolution that the youths in the region should be encouraged to participate in political governance at both the legislative and executive levels. The ‘Not Too Young To Run’ proposal should be properly institutionalised at both federal and state elections.

On education, it was agreed that the ultimate goal of education should essentially be to produce the quintessential Omoluabi, both in content and character. The education should bring enlightenment to the human mind; prepare people for the world of work; provide the platform for leadership recruitment and provide the means for character building, especially the development of the ‘Total Man’.

Meaning that in the next 25 years, the region should make it a point of duty to take back its position as the pacesetter in education. It is on record that the western region has always been known for achieving firsts in education and this could be seen in the bold steps the various governments are taking to improve on this legacy, particularly in Osun.

Besides, over the years, many of the entrepreneurial geniuses that the west has produced have gone through this process and before they quit the stage, they ended up establishing and creating big local enterprises. This culture is fading off and many schools of thought have attributed it to two things: changing the face of formal education and advancing in the area of technology.

From the summit, however, it was arrived at that to tackle poor entrepreneurial skills and financial illiteracy, the region should support and enable policies in Business development and entrepreneurial skill development; while financial literacy training should be deployed in states of the region.

It was also resolved that legal and regulatory frameworks should be put in place to harmonise and simplify the regime of taxes and levies, while the state governments should also make public their services, procedures, cost and redress mechanism to encourage payment of taxes, so as to lessen reliance on the federal allocation. The creative economy and informal economy (film, music, fashion, food, photography and so on) were also recommended for properly restructuring to stimulate creativity and economic growth as they translate, promote and preserve our indigenous modicums of ethical values and traditions.

On agriculture, it was observed that prior to the coming of the white men, the economy of the Southern Nigeria thrived on by agriculture and commerce. Commerce in the sense that, the produce from farms whether food or cash crops were exchanged or battered for some form of legal tender or something else.

A call however came from the summit to embrace the old order and go back to our long abandoned farmlands. This was because the crude oil which Nigeria still look up to as a major source of revenue is slowly being degraded devaluated and getting rather irrelevant in the face of other biodiesels and technological advancement.

Most heavy equipments and even automobiles are technologically driven and alternatives sources of energy are being sought for, discovered, tested and in some cases adopted. It was recommended that enablers should be put in place so that agriculture can be optimised for youths participation.

On security, it was agreed that no society can succeed in an atmosphere of chaos and disarray, hence there was a recommendation that a mechanism for peaceful coexistence must be put in place. To achieve this, youths have offered to pursue and sustain joint actions against security threats to guarantee the safety of lives, property and prosperity of the people of the region.

5 Muslim Inventions That Changed the World

 

As the world develops day-in-day out, there are several inventions which will continue to change the world and define how things are done, applied and used to achieve results. These inventions have and still relevant and used up till today. The most interesting thing is that some of these inventions are from Muslims.

 

Here are the five Muslim inventions that has changed the world

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  • Coffee – Was Invented in Yemen in the 1400s, from there, it spread to the rest of the Ottoman Empire. Although, Catholic authorities denounced it as the “Muslim Drink”, Coffee became part of the European Culture.
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    1. Algebra – The Muslim Scientist and Mathematician Al-Khawarizmi is called “The Father of Algebra.” His books were translated into Latin in the 11th and 12th centuries.

     

    1. Degree-Granting Universities – In 859, a Muslim lady founded the first formal school. Fatuima al-Fihri established in Morocco al-Karaouine school where students earned a certificate called Ijaza afer completing a certain program. In the 1000s, degree-granting institutes quickly spread in the Muslim world.
      1. Military Marching Bands – The tradition started with the Ottoman Mehter bands of the 1300s. it helped make the Ottoman army one of the most powerful in the world. The purpose was to frighten enemies and encourage allies through loud music.

       

      1. Cameras – In the 11th century, Muslim scientist Ibn al-Haytham, developed the field of optics. He described how the first cameras work. His discoveries regarding how to project and capture images led to the modern development of cameras.

       

       

    What We’re Doing To End Extreme Poverty Among Women, Youths – Maryam Uwais

    Hajiya Maryam Uwais is the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Office of the Vice President. In this interview, she provided an update on the national social investment programs, among other activities of her office. Excerpts:

     

    You have been coordinating the social investment programs of the Buhari administration in the last two years now. What exactly are you doing?

    There are over 26 different programs that we discovered. We did a lot of research and found that some of them were quite effective but there were challenges. The beneficiaries were not really the poorest. A lot of them were selected in a manner that was not transparent. There was no defined method of ensuring that they were actually the poorest of the poor.

    The other intervention had people from federal working at state level and that created a lot of tension. The federal officer would assert himself that the money was coming from the federal and that negatively impacted on monitoring and accountability. The state now refused to cooperate because whenever they demanded for information relating to what was happening from the federal, the federal would assert itself and say “I am in charge”. Thus, a conscious decision was taken to actually encourage the state to take ownership of these programs. We had to design a strategy for getting to the poorest of the poor.

    Our trained officials now go to those households that have been identified and ask them questions like “how many people are in this household?  How many children? How many go to school?” You put it all down in a device that has a proximity testing formula that ranks everybody that you put on that device, from the poor down to the least poor. It is only those below a dollar a day that we actually pay.

    Beyond that information, we ask the community “what is the nature of the access road here?” “How far is the nearest primary and secondary school?” “How far is the nearest primary healthcare center?” “How far is the nearest payment service provider?” All these matter when you want to graduate a community from poverty. There is a community where there is no primary school within 3 km. We showed government all these findings and said that for us to help these communities, we have to build primary schools nearer to them so that they can feel secure about their children walking to school. That is the kind of data we are collating in each state.

    Now because it is a process, some states have been faster than others. Some states tell us “we already know who our poor people are” and they send us away. We tell them that we have to do it ourselves. We really need to get to the poorest people. There are many statistics, almost 80 million or thereabout are poor in this country. So you can give me poor people, but that doesn’t mean that they are the poorest. The National Social Register is where we pick people that are under a dollar a day in various communities. Reality is that a lot of these communities are very far from where you can get an ATM, or any bank. Some of them are so poor, that having a phone is a luxury.

    What we did now is to work with the mobile money operators who have agents in the field. We pay them and they sign an indemnity with us. They go to those communities and pay them. We have communities as facilitators because we have people we work with that are elected by the communities. The person that receives the money signs off. Anybody that did not turn up, by the next payment, you would refund us the money. We would look and reconcile all the documentation. We were using the banks before but our banks are not interested in handling poor people. They want high network individuals that would pay thousands and millions of dollars. For our poor people, we have to handle them.

    We are training the caregivers in basic financial skills and we see very interesting stories coming up. They are doing things like charcoal business, shea butter, weaving, and the rest. We pay them N10,000 every two months.

    But your office is popularly known with N-Power instead of other activities? 

    This is because N-Power has youths, they have social media, they are graduates that can speak English and can engage within the media. My passion is also with cash transfer because they are poor people and are as important. And journalists don’t go to interview them. I advise that you go to these people and amplify their stories. I tell you they have beautiful stories to tell.

    Talking about school feeding, it was designed to boast pupil enrollment into schools. You know we have about 11 million out-of- school children. It was designed also to boast their nutrition. Then go empower our women in the rural communities; as well as boast production for our small holder farmers.

    On this, we signed an MOU with the states. We had a stakeholder meeting with the states where they called the Ministry of Agriculture, Women Affairs, Finance, Education, Health to talk about what we intend to do where they designed a menu affordable in each state. We rely on the state to have an open process of selection. We hope they invite the school-based management committee, to invite the PTAs, sit down and do something that the community would feel is helpful. After they select the women, we go and train them on hygiene, allergy and sanitation.  We need the chairpersons if SUBEBs in the states because they know where the schools are located, the number of children to be fed, and so on. We are targeting Primary 1-3 because unfortunately the federal government doesn’t have enough money to cover Primary 4-6. They give us the numbers. We then asked the states to assign to each woman, not more than 150 children and not less than 70 children, because we want quality.  We did that because we want to track who is feeding who and where. So, when the cooks were selected, we also opened account for them because we want to pay them with their BVN. We identified cooperatives in the states where these women will be getting some ingredients such as eggs in bulk and in subsidized price.

    There have been challenges. We have had situations where the state officials want to have a piece of the action. They have tried to divert monies and have spoken to the banks that they would do the supply. We have actually gone to SSS and EFCC to try to trace where those monies went because these women are not literate.

    N-Power was designed as a Federal Government program to address unemployment of our youth, graduates and non-graduates, to support our artisans and also address the gap in our communities.

    We found out that in some states we can have up to 300-400 children with no permanent teacher only if there is a youth corper there but there may be a head teacher. We needed to address that gap so we decided to employ teaching assistants. They can’t be teachers because they haven’t gone through the normal process.

    We sat down with the Ministry of Agriculture who sat down with the private sectors in agric to draw up what their needs are. Our youths are not being groomed to be employed by government. It is about them setting up their own business. So if for two years, you are on a program, you will know where your interest lies. Is it in planting, harvesting, or packaging or export? You have been working there for two years so you know where the challenges are.

    In the health sector, we sat down with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), and asked them to train them on the modules.

    We also have motivational talks on taking charge of your own life, entrepreneurial skills, how to start up your own business, all of it is in that device. Each one of them gets that device.

    We then decided to give everybody an open level playing field. When you apply on the portal, you would put in your BVN, your date of birth, your first, second and third name, and your phone Number.

    At the end of the exercise, we had applications from over 774 Local governments. Many states didn’t actually believe even though I had briefed the governors on this matter. Very few of them designated business centers for youths to apply for the exercise. We had to use the information we had to do the selection. We decided to take 40 percent of each state application. Those states that were less than 1,000, we added a certain percentage.

    On the issue of Abadan (in Borno State), it was first brought to my notice by Senator Kyari, who is in charge of that constituency. I was alarmed when I saw the names. When you open the portal and click on the local government, the first drop down was Abadan Local Government. My presumption then was that a lot of the people just put it in without realizing that they made a mistake. We later removed all of those people after a meeting. We then asked for the people of Abadan and found that only six people who actually lived in Abadan had applied. We now filled up the numbers with those that lived around Abadan so that they would be able to go and teach in the schools there.

    When they applied, we then conducted tests for those that were in huge numbers. Those that were selected were about 200,000. We sent them texts informing them that they had been selected. We wanted to ensure that their qualifications were authentic and that they could be deployed to the nearest place that they lived. The state now sent back the deployment lists to us.

    You recall that there were protests. Some of those protests were in states that were cosmopolitan. We discovered that states had replaced names, put their own indigenes and had dropped those that had actually received texts from us. For those of you who we sent texts to, we would set up a new verification exercise. I told the state leadership that if they wanted to do an employment intervention for their states, they should use their own money. This is a Federal Government programme. Thus we can’t say that because somebody doesn’t come from your state, he can’t work in your state. This is how we were able to address and start paying backlogs of people who had not been paid because they had been changed by their states. These are just the practical issues behind the N-Power.

    The N-Agro is the most commercially viable. We hope to increase the number of the N-Agro this year. We also have the N-Zed, we’ve entered agreement with the automotive council and we’re selecting 20,000 graduates. We did an audit around the country and that was a long process. We would be paying those N10,000 for training in three months and they would now be interns in government or private owned institutions.

    We’ve done the audit of all of that and we’ve done the deployment already. We are targeting a primary and secondary school in each senatorial district around the country but we don’t have the funds yet. We have agreed with the CISCO Academy to train them further. We would be putting in computers for the children to be taught programming, coding, animation, graphics and anything to do with ICT. We encourage them to begin to look at those topics while they’re young. For any government school that has more than 20 computers, we would send these trained ICT personnel to them.

    You have activities involved so much logistics. How much is your budget?

    The first year, we got N500 billion and we were only paid N80 billion. For the 2017 budget, we were given N400 billion and so far we got N55billion. This is why we strive very hard to cut our costs.

    Finally, how long would it take you to achieve what you have designed? 

    If a state is not ready to give us people that would work with us, we can’t work. If they are not giving us information, we can’t do anything. We have targets and these targets are subject to so many other things. We need the money, unless we have money to accommodate those issues, we can’t accomplish anything.

     

    Culled From The Daily Trust Newspapers

    Wow!!! Meet First Black Person To Obtain Ph.D In Biomedical Engineering

    A Nigerian, Adeola Olubamiji is the first black person to obtain a PhD in the field of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

    But she had very humble beginnings. From selling pepper on the streets of Ibadan, Nigeria to now being a distinguished PhD holder, Adeola has not had it easy. Here’s a snippet of her story:

    “As the fifth child of five, I always had to wait for my turn. I was the last, a girl child and raised by a mother who is a farmer and a father who has little.

    “I hawked pepper on the streets of Ibadan as early as age 10 to help my mum. Went to public primary and secondary schools in Ibadan. Attended OOU and studied Physics.

    “Because I had a 2.1, it opened the door for me to proceed to Finland for a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering. During this Master’s degree, I worked part-time as a cleaner and did this after my Master’s as well.

    Adeola Olubamiji is the first black person to obtain a PhD in the field of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. But she had very humble beginnings. From selling pepper on the streets of Ibadan, Nigeria to now being a distinguished PhD holder, Adeola has not had it easy. Here’s a snippet of her story: . “As the fifth child of five, I always had to wait for my turn. I was the last, a girl child and raised by a mother who is a farmer and a father who has little. . “I hawked pepper on the streets of Ibadan as early as age 10 to help my mum. Went to public primary and secondary schools in Ibadan. Attended OOU and studied Physics. . “Because I had a 2.1, it opened the door for me to proceed to Finland for a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering. During this Master’s degree, I worked part-time as a cleaner and did this after my Master’s as well. . “Out of determination, I applied to over 100 schools for my PhD and finally got a full three-year scholarship (later extended to four years) at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. . “While in that PhD programme, I worked part-time as a makeup artist, teaching assistant, braided hair and fixed weaves to make extra money. . “Today, I walked the stage as the first black person to bag a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada! . “I walked this stage for you Mama Africa and for my Motherland Nigeria! I walked the stage for all of you Black women disrespected and looked down on! . “I walked for all of you Africans in Finland wondering what is next for you!! . “Be bold, be innovative, be different, be you, be everything you want to be; but remember to put God first! . “Let no man, upbringing, money, circumstance, colourism, past mistakes, institution, company, partner, background, let nothing tell you ‘you can’t do it.’ . “Go smart! Go hard!! Go for Gold!!! Go with God!!! Just Get Going!!!!! . #JMSStories #JoMaxwellShow #JMS

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    “Out of determination, I applied to over 100 schools for my PhD and finally got a full three-year scholarship (later extended to four years) at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

    “While in that PhD programme, I worked part-time as a makeup artist, teaching assistant, braided hair and fixed weaves to make extra money.

    “Today, I walked the stage as the first black person to bag a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada!

    “I walked this stage for you Mama Africa and for my Motherland Nigeria! I walked the stage for all of you Black women disrespected and looked down on!
    .
    “I walked for all of you Africans in Finland wondering what is next for you!!
    .
    “Be bold, be innovative, be different, be you, be everything you want to be; but remember to put God first!
    .
    “Let no man, upbringing, money, circumstance, colourism, past mistakes, institution, company, partner, background, let nothing tell you ‘you can’t do it.’

    “Go smart! Go hard!! Go for Gold!!! Go with God!!! Just Get Going!!!!!
    .

    Source: Instagram