Osun Is Leading In School Feeding Programme – O’MEALS Facilitator

The State of Osun has consistently maintained her leading position as a centre of learning to other states in Nigeria and the international community.

The State Programme Facilitator, Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O-MEALS) , Mrs Olubunmi Ayoola made this remark at a training programme organised for health teachers across the twelve centres in the State.

Mrs Ayoola who commended the Governor of the State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for rebranding O-MEALS in the State that has attracted other states and the international communities, said deworming of school pupils has helped in both physical and intellectual development.

She urged the health teachers to take the training serious and as well help them in the administration of deworming drugs to pupils in their various schools and commended the Federal Government for the free drugs donated to all the states who are benefitting from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme scheme.

Also speaking, the representative of Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Tafa Tajudeen charged the participants to see the assignment as a call to duty.

In their different presentations, the resource person, Mrs Taiwo Adeniji and O-meals health Officer, Miss Bimpe Adedeji advised the participants to ensure that pupils have eaten before administering the drugs.

Highlights of the events were practical demonstration of deworming tablets, filing of registers and distribution of materials to each school.

O’MEAL: Stakeholders Charged On Need For Pupils’ Deworming

The future of the pupils in public elementary schools is paramount to the State Government of Osun, hence the commitment of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola towards the school feeding programme in the State.

The State Programme Facilitator of Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme, (O-MEALS), Mrs Olubunmi Ayoola made this remarks while addressing the stakeholders and facilitators at a training programme on deworming school pupils held at the Conference Hall of Ministry of Health, Government Secretariat, Abere.

Mrs Ayoola explained that deworming of pupils is necessary as it will ensure nutritious foods given to pupils are not eaten up by worms. She therefore urged the facilitators to follow the instructions given, as they are expected to impact same to health teachers who would administer the drugs to pupils in their respective schools.

She also appreciated the Federal Government through National Home Grown School Feeding who donated the drugs.

Also speaking, the representative of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Mrs Omoniyi said deworming the pupils will improve their wellbeing as well as enable pupils to be active in the class.

Earlier in his address, the Executive Secretary, State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Kayode Ogunniyi advised the enumerators to be dedicated and follow the instructions as directed.

Highlights of the event were series of lectures and practical demonstration of administering the drugs for deworming.

Mr Aregbesola, The Gardener

By Adebayo Rasheed Mabayoje

Let us take the situation to be a large garden of our world which is put in the trust of ‘Mr X’.

As the clock winds down on his incumbency, some of ‘THEM’ mouth irritations. They make such noises as: “He is not cutting the grasses well”; “We have fantastic mower to keep the lawns”, they critisise.

Amongst them are those who, earlier, had sharper cutlasses and equipment to do the job when  the garden was kept in their care. But they failed; and are shameless about it. Even new ones from within also join them in the gibberish discourse.

During their reign, they cut our grasses wet, thus resulting in an uneven cut. They lack the common knowledge that wet clippings can clog the mower; and that dumping clumps of grass on our lawn will smother the grass and result in brown spots, thereby destroying our garden!

Yes, truely, they are lawn-cutters. They had all the opportunities to buy great cutlasses and mowers. But they couldn’t keep our garden!

They couldn’t come close to being a gardener, aparently because they don’t have the knowledge of how to keep a garden. They were never a gardener. That is why they struggle today for relevance, as they have been forgotten. There is no memory to house a cutter as there is for a gardener.

The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.

The above analogy is a dog-whistle, my crafted-wink meant for the deep. In my native language- Yòrùbá- it is called Ìlù-àgídìgbo, that is ‘the àgídìgbo beat’. For you to make the right dance-steps, you must have the right knowledge to decode the beat.

Now let me break it down for us to take the right  ‘dance-steps’ that would lead us to the appreciation of the foregoing.

Kids in the photos attached to this piece represent the more than 254,000 elementary pupils within grade 1-4 in Osun public elementary schools who enjoy mid-day meals served them daily under the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme. The initiative, which has been adopted by governments; state and federal, have been running since 2012 under Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.

The main gist here is that in another 10 to 15 years, the kids would have become young adults in tertiary schools. And in about two decades from now they would have become quite independent- full adults who would have grown up to personally and properly place the character of the man that was behind the free meals they enjoyed in school during their childhood.

When Awolowo was initiating the various legacies that people continue to remember him for today, beneficiaries then were of litle consciousness of the essences, simply becase they were just growing up. The young beneficiaries of then are the quite old people today who in various discourses often invoke Awolowo’s great vision.

The importance of the above is that regardless of the mindset and deleberate negative practices of cynics and hatters of Aregbesola, the over 250,000 happy Osun children who eat egg, chicken, beaf, beans, bread, rice, cocoyam, yam-pourage, vegitable soup, melon soup, banana, orange, tangerine, pawpaw, etc as contents of the weekly menu they are served will remember that somebody came during their time and put nutritious food on their tables.

They will reverberate the true narratives: ‘a particular man ensured that our share of monies entrusted in his care were made available to us in terms of the nutritious food we ate daily as pupils’.

No matter how Aregbesola haters, both from within and without, toil to distort true narratives of Aregbesola’s legacies, history that is being constructed in these 254,000 future parents can never be told falsely. They will tell their children and probably their children’s children about o-meals under Ògbéni Aregbesola.

Throw a cat, bounce a cat, the mew siezes not to echo.

Èyin l’ókù k’ée múra…

Osun Government Commended On Commitment To Social Protection

The State Government of Osun under the visionary leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has for the umpteenth time been commended for its unparalleled commitment to social protection.
The Coordinator, State of Osun Operation Coordinating Unit of the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO), Mr. Olufemi Ifaturoti stated this while delivering his keynote address at the Training on Savings and Group Mobilization (SGM) for Local Government Cash Transfer Facilitators organized by the State Cash Transfer Unit.
Mr. Ifaturoti said Governor Aregbesola’s penchant to banish poverty, banish hunger and banish unemployment in line with the Six-Point-Integral Action Plan of his administration as evident in the numerous social safety net initiatives of the present regime in the state such as O’YES, O’MEAL, AGBA OSUN, etc attracted the World Bank and other reputable development partners.
The State Coordinator of Osun YESSO, who harped on the need to ensure that poverty and all forms of vulnerabilities become a thing of the past for those who are currently afflicted by this unpleasant predicament within the shortest possible time, enjoined the participants and other stakeholders to ensure that the existing and potential beneficiaries of this Social Safety Nets intervention are only those who are in dire need of assistance.
In their separate remarks at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Pharm Omolara Ajayi represented by the Director of Women Affairs in the Ministry, Mrs. Grace Omoloye, the State Director, National Orientation Agency, Dr. Lawrence Martins, the Director of Finance and Administration, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Mrs. Kehinde Odediran and the Head of the State Cash Transfer Unit, Mrs. Adeola Oyebamiji all enjoined the participants to see the training as a call to duty and ensure that Osun comes out tall at the end of the programme.

Osun Education: The Investment And The Gains

Educational system in the State of Osun under the leadership of Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been characterised by several innovations that have received accolades home and abroad. The massive construction of new schools, Osun School Feeding Programmes (OMEAL), introduction of Opon Imo amongst other innovations have not only placed Osun on the world map of educational development, it has prepared ground for a brighter future for the students of public schools in the state.

KAZEEM MOHAMMED in this piece writes on the innovations that have been brought into the education system and the gains therein.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in his book, The Peoples’ Republic, says, “Any system of education which does not help a man to have a healthy and sound body and alert brain, and balanced and disciplined instinctive urges, is both misconceived and dangerous.”

This belief must have been the guiding principle for Governor Rauf Aregbesola in conceiving his six-point Integral Action Plan, where the “Promotion of Functional Education” is encapsulated. The pre-implementation and the implementation stages of the Osun state government policy on education since 2010 have clearly shown the commitment of the administration to ensure a healthy and sound body and alert brain, as well as balanced and disciplined instinct.

The vision of the administration, even before coming to office, was said to be geared towards radically increasing access to basic education, in furtherance to the vision of Awolowo and in line with Millennium Development Goal of achieving Universal Primary Education.

It was a public knowledge that, the education system was in comatose prior to Aregbesola’s emergence in office, but realizing the sorry state of the system, in February 2011, about three months after assumption of office, Aregbesola’s administration organised an Education Summit to chart a new way forward in the education sector of the state. The summit, chaired by the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka with other experienced stakeholders, identified the solutions to the perennial problems in the Education system in Nigeria and Osun in particular where strategies were developed as the way out. These strategies are the ones being currently implemented by the state government and it has scored the state high.

Other stakeholders, which included, notable world-class educationists like Prof Peter Okebukola, Dr Akin Fapohunda, Dr Isaac Agboola, Prof Sola Adeyeye, Mr Lere Osundina among others agreed on reclassification of schools into elementary, middle and high schoo.ls, from the then existing primary, junior and secondary levels. A comprehensive overhaul of physical and human component of the education system was also recommended.

The elementary is a neighbourhood school for pupils in the 1st to 4th grade from the old primary 1 to 4, the middle school is for the 5th to 9th grade, which is primary 5 to JSS 3, while the high school comprises of students from 10th to 12th grade, which is senior secondary school 1 to 3.

However, while the physical infrastructure component of the reclassification is being carried out systematically with the building of elementary, middle and high schools across the state, the human and social component such as recruitment of teachers, provision of instructional materials, psychological and social support through value re-orientation, revival of ideal virtues such as of hard work, honesty, discipline, determination, revival of Boys and Girls Clubs, calisthenics activities have also caught the attention of the government in line with the recommendation of the summit.

Governor Aregbesola said recently at the commissioning of Government Middle School and Elementary School both in Osogbo that the education revolution was part of his administration’s resolves to build a new man in every child in the state, a decision which he said would help to sustain the future of the state.

Besides, the review of the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme now known as O-MEALS is one of the few surviving school meal programmes in the country. It was formerly known as the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Programme (HGSFP), but has now been restructured and enhanced by the Aregbesola administration.

The programme has not only been successful, records showed that it has helped increase elementary school enrolment by at least of 25 per cent since the commencement of the revised programme in 2012. Findings have however showed that the enrolments were not from new entrants alone, but also from those withdrawn from Private Schools by their parents, who have seen commitment in the government education policy.

A total number of 3,007 food vendors were initially trained and employed by the government to serve nutritious meals for pupils in elementary 1, 2 , 3 and 4. The government also facilitated provision of cooking utensils for each of the caterers at minimal cost, while First Bank PLC at the initial stage granted a loan of ¦ 124.5 million to 123 cooperative groups of food vendors for the purchase of cooking utensils. The government also agreed to pay the interest accrued on the loan facility and food vendors are to repay the loan within 36 months.

However, Osun has become a Mecca of sort for many states in Nigeria who have seen the need to emulate the strategy adopted in the school feeding programme and have come visiting to learn the system. As if that was not enough, the Federal Government has adopted the Osun system in its school feeding programme. This is no doubt a plus for the administration of Aregbesola.

This scheme has gained international endorsement. In November 2012, Partnership for Child Development (PCD) United Kingdom and the Government of the State of Osun signed the Osun Elementary School Feeding Transition Strategy Plan Document to further strengthen the programme. Thereafter, the government of the United Kingdom invited Aregbesola to address the UK’s House of Common, to explain and ‘teach’ how the programme is done in Osun.

However, Another policy of the government that has received local and international accolade is the massive construction of schools across the state, which has provided conducive physical atmosphere to aid teaching and learning. The revamping of the public school infrastructure through the building of new school structures to reflect the recommendations of the Osun Education Summit is seen to be a radical idea to provide the best in terms of infrastructural facilities for the schools.

Available record has shown that the administration of Aregbesola has constructed 96 new public schools, out of which there are 40 elementary, 45 middle and 11 high schools across the nooks and crannies of the state. This is just as several other elementary schools have been renovated across the state.

The state-of-the-art schools which were and others currently being built are of the world standard with all the facilities required in any standard educational institute anywhere in the world. With the quality of the schools, no one would ever believe that such could exist in Nigeria, except you are there.

The same seal with which elementary and middle schools were built was the approach taken to the High Schools. Some of the ones already completed and commissioned were, Osogbo Government High School, Osogbo; Ataoja Government High Schools, Osogbo; Wole Soyinka Government High School, Ejigbo; Ede Baptist High School, Ede amongst several others, while some are still ongoing. Visitation to some of the schools have clearly shown that the government is indeed committed to the development of education, as such structures could not be found anywhere else in Nigeria.

Going by the accolades that have been received home and abroad, Osun has entered the world map in the development of education with the massive construction of standard schools across the state.

Just last week, the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Lehmann during a visit to Osun said, he was proud of the achievements made by the Aregbesola administration, saying, the continued support given to education by the state would in no doubt bring a brighter future to the state and as well enhance the capacity of the state economically, socially and politically as education remains the bedrock of development in any society.

Lehmann said, “Educating young people will definitely revive the society and secure a better future for all because it is the only educated mind that advances the potentials of the society for the benefits of all. I have gone round the town. I have seen some of the interventions of this administration in all sectors most especially in education, agriculture and security.

“These are the major sectors on which government and governance are based. I was marveled when I visited some of the state-of-the-arts schools constructed by the Aregbesola led government.

“I have seen the good governance in action in Osun because the state has without any sense of doubt done so much on the need to affect the lives of her people positively as this could be deduced from all I saw”, he said.

It would also be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2016 during the commissioning of the newly constructed Osogbo Government High School, Osogbo said, he was impressed by the Aregbesola investment in education, urging other states to emulate his gesture.

He said that the system adopted by Aregbesola administration was appropriate, cost-effective and must be emulated.

A parent of one of the student of Osogbo Government High School, Mr Kolade Ismail recounted that he was proud to have his children in the school, saying he has observed that the academic performances of his children have really improved.

Just as the government has invested hugely on the infrastructural development, it has also taken further steps through its investment in human capacity to gain competitive advantage with developed countries. Besides the frequent training and retraining of teachers, particularly at the elementary, middle and high schools. One other major project that has been seen to be beneficial to teaching and learning was the introduction of the popular Opon Imo (Computer Tablet of Knowledge).

The Aregbesola administration championed the inspiring innovations through the ground breaking project which is meant to utilise ICT and concisely tackle learning problems. The state, through its Opón Ìmò Technology Enhanced Learning System (OTELS), has developed a learning tool that could revolutionise learning in developing states around the world.

However, Governor Aregbesola at the commissioning of one of the newly-constructed schools in Osogbo had expressed displeasure at the appearance of some pupils in some of the public schools in the state, a situation which he described as worrisome in view of the heavy investments made in education by the state.

The Governor, who implored parents to always see to the welfare of their children said, henceforth, the state as part of its effort to restore discipline would start operation-check- your-dress among the public schools students.

He said the stand order would further strengthen discipline in public schools and as well encourage neatness among the pupils and students.

Osun, UNICEF And Social Protection

By Abiodun Komolafe

Conscious of the State of Osun’s leading roles in the enhancement of livelihoods and a life of dignity among Nigerians, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently led Lagos, Delta, Zamfara and twelve other states to Osun to understudy how its policies and programmes, anchored on the administration’s Six-point Integral Action Plan, had positive impact on the lives of its residents.

To start with, Osun’s hitherto sordid as a result of the ineptitude of its past leaders and elders who preferred failure to bestowing a legacy worthy of remembrance on their words and deeds is no longer news. Also unhelpful was the global oil glut and the protracted currency collapse, which have forced many countries around the world to adopt painstaking measures to fill gaps in their public finances. That Governor Rauf Aregbesola was able to force a hole in a stone, in spite of its hardness, is a feat that must be commended by all.

In Osun, there are varieties of activities on Social Protection that have galvanised and driven the administration more rigorously. Prominent among them is Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme

(OYES), which is a radical, robust, market-development and character-building programme put in place by the government to tackle the annoying scourge of unemployment among our youths. Apolitical in concept and all-embracing in process, the Omoluabi ethos-inclined scheme succeeded in mopping up more than 40,000 youths off our streets for productive engagement.

Next is the Osun School Feeding and Health Programme, O’MEAL. Formerly known as Home Grown School Feeding and Health Programme (HGSFP), OMEAL’s capacity has been strengthened under this administration to accommodate more beneficiaries. And, as at December 2016, the state government has spent more than N10billion to provide over-200 million plates of highly nutritious meals to pupils in its Elementary Schools across the state.

One major achievement of the scheme is the eradication of avoidable diseases among the school pupils. For instance, before this administration came to power, it was discovered that eight out of every 10 students had scurvy, but that has disappeared with the advent of OMEAL.  Also, the scheme has never recorded any incidence of contamination or food poisoning since inception. Added to this is the reduction in unemployment through the absorption and empowerment of over 3,000 community caterers.

Followed is the ‘Agba Osun’, the Elderly Persons Welfare Scheme’, which was proactively designed to cater for the needs of the elderly, as well as enhance the socio-economic status of the critically vulnerable senior citizens in the state.

Through Osun Destitute Rehabilitation Programme (O’REHAB), mentally-challenged individuals are identified, rehabilitated and reunited with their families and the society. Under the programme, the already rehabilitated mentally-challenged persons are taken through skills acquisition training in addition to moral and financial support, all geared towards ensuring proper reintegration into the society. O’REHAB also undertakes public enlightenment campaigns on the causes and treatment of mental disorder.

State of Osun’s Free Medical Programme is also worthy of mention. Government’s intervention in this sector is geared towards alleviating the burden of ill-health as well as reducing the indirect costs of diseases and disabilities such as lost years in income, care of family members and lower productivity, to mention but a few.

What of Osun Ambulance Services (O’AMBULANCE)? With one ambulance in each of the then 30 Local Government Areas, plus one Administrative Office, and 19 sophisticated ambulance buses in strategic locations in the state at inception, it is sure that those with the faith of Thomas concerning government’s commitment to reducing accident rates and saving lives in the state will have a rethink.

Here comes Osun Microcredit Agency, an agency established to aid the economic expansion of the state through the provision and disbursement of credit facilities, primarily, to cooperative groups of artisans, traders and medium-scale agro-allied enterprises, amongst others. For instance, more than N3 billion has so far been injected into the state’s economy through its activities, even as very low interest and interest-free loans have been made available, compared with interventions before its establishment. This intervention has also led to better utilisation of borrowed funds among the beneficiaries and an improvement in the capital of the participating Micro-Finance Banks (MFBs).

Also worthy of mention are ‘Walk-to-live’, an embodiment of team work, mental alertness and physical exercise that richly adds value to the health of the citizens; and Osun Calisthenics Programme which has been preparing Osun students for the future through ”a variety of movements often performed rhythmically and usually conducted in concerts with stretches to depict symbols.” It is interesting to note that, apart from the introduction of Calisthenics into Osun schools’ curriculum, other states like Lagos have identified with this laudable initiative.

Lest I forget, one of the important contributions by the state government to the Agriculture sector, which is now famously described as the prospective backbone of Nigeria’s economy, is the establishment of Osun Rural Access and Mobility Project (O’RAMP). It is an agency which sees to the construction of rural access roads in our farm settlements. The overall intention of this initiative is to enhance massive production of food crops in the state.

The O’UNIFORM, a regime of uniform identity for all the students in the state’s public schools, has also done a lot in eradicating discriminations among the students, in addition to maximizing economies of scale on the part of the local suppliers of the uniforms to the buyers. Other advantages abound!

So far, so commendable! But beyond eloquent comments that have accompanied these interventions, where lies the hope for continuity and sustainability, taking into consideration that the lifespan of this administration expires in about five hundred days? Well, one sure way of ensuring that the message doesn’t die with the messenger is by facilitating the Social Protection Bill into law. Others lie in documenting the state’s development plans, constant monitoring by reputable organizations like UNICEF as well as encouraging other states to emulate Osun’s giant strides in Social Protection initiatives. Over and above all, since globalization has made competition very hard; and, with the economy painfully menstruating as a result of the global economic miasma, there’s no better time to proactively respond to vulnerabilities than now.

Kogi to Understudy Osun’s School Feeding Programme

As part of preparations aimed at ensuring smooth take off and success of Kogi State’s proposed feeding programme, the government has said it will send a team to understudy the reputed Osun model.

Special Adviser to the governor on Multilateral, Donor Agencies and Special Project/ Focal Person on Social Investment Programme in the state, Mr Adoga Ibrahim, disclosed this in Lokoja during a meeting with education secretaries.

He said the committee put in place for the implementation of the federal government’s ‘one meal per day’ school feeding programme for all public primary schools in the state has been working hard to ensure its success.

He said the state government was supporting the school feeding programme to cover all categories of pupils in public primary schools in the State.

School Feeding Program Going on Well- FG

The Buhari presidency today gave an update on the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme and slammed critics, who claimed the programme is dogged by funding problems.

On the contrary, the government said, there are no payment issues or any kind of food rationing taking place in states where the programme has kicked off.

Laolu Akande, senior special assistant on media in the presidency said actual feeding of pupils is expected to commence this week in Ogun and Oyo States, while Ebonyi State will soon follow suit.

“While the Federal Government has paid all approved cooks based on the number of pupils allocated to each cook, it is the State that provides the number of pupils to be fed. And where those figures change, the next batch of FG payment would reflect it.

“Specifically, where the number of pupils increase, the State will communicate the increase and approve the review. The numbers of the new pupils are then physically verified, before a commensurate number of cooks are engaged, trained and then paid.

“The FG has also adopted a system where it pays the cooks a 10-day advance payment for feeding. The programme is designed to ensure that no cook feeds more than 150 pupils a day, but in some cases, the numbers are as low as 35 children per cook.

“The meal which must be sufficient and nutritious is costed around locally sourced items and approved by the State under the N70 per child provision by the Federal Government. Food quality is monitored at the school level through the head teachers, the Parent Teachers Association, PTA, and the State monitoring teams”.

According to Akande, 11 States have so far indicated their readiness to commence the school feeding programme having met FG’s criteria.

He said the Buhari administration has demonstrated its commitment to alleviate poverty and empower youths, with the progress so far recorded with the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the N-Power Teach for unemployed graduates, the Conditional Cash Transfer for the poorest, and the GEEP.

School Feeding: Niger Govt Lauds Aregbesola over Employment of Over 4000 Workers

Niger state government on Wednesday showered praises on the Rauf Aregbesola led administration in Osun especially the success recorded by the governments school feeding policy saying the scheme had created over four thousand jobs in the state

Niger state Commissioner for education, Hajia Fatima Madugu, made the commendation at the opening of a two-day stakeholder meeting and step down training on Home grown school feeding programme.

Hajia Madugu who said “Osun state has become the best in the implementation of the school feeding policy ” explained that the objective of the Niger state government is ” to become the second best in the implementation of the school feeding system.

The Commissioner observed that the Home Grown School feeding system was the most complicated of all the social intervention schemes introduced by the federal government but said it would achieve the retention of pupils in schools in addition to creating jobs.

The focal person of the programme in the state Mrs Afiniki Dauda in her speech assured that the feeding policy would kick off in the state in the next six weeks.

In a communique at the end of the technical session the state government was advised to put in place the legal framework work that would ensure the sustenance of the programme.

The communiqué also wanted the Niger state universal Basic Education Board to come up with data of school pupils while also seeking for logistic support for the smooth running of the scheme.

City Mirror

As the Centre Goes Osun Way

The Roman Emperor Pliny is often quoted to have observed that “out of Africa, there is always something new”. We can take liberties with this position and say that out of the Osun State in Nigeria’s south west we have seen a host of policy thrusts and initiatives now being adopted at the centre.

Recent examples include the launch nationwide of the conditional cash transfer which is aimed at tackling long term structural poverty. We also have the free schools feeding program through which the state government has provided nutritious school meals to thousands of its students. In the case of the school meals program there is a clear economic synergy. The program is interwoven to increase food production and thereby elevate living standards in the rural economy. These programs represent a fundamental social advance. They are also one of the few evidence available of the provision of “ a dividend of democracy”. For a change, to paraphrase a lyric from the sixties rock band The Christians, there is now the making of a harvest for the people. And about time too!

Much of the policy thrusts came out of the seven point’s agenda, the manifesto upon which the present governor of the state Rauf Aregbesola was elected. However, in the implementation of the agenda, the fingerprints of a coordinating agency of the state government – The Bureau of Social Services (BOSS) which the Aregbesola government specifically set up as a special purpose vehicle can be detected in these path breaking social intervention thrusts.

The eponymous BOSS is in itself coordinated by a Director- General, Femi Ifaturoti, a lawyer who is propelled by an philosophical belief in social intervention policies as a decisive element in the execution of the social contract which binds government with the people.

Under his beady eye, the agency has developed the framework to carry out its overarching responsibility to supervise, monitor, evaluate and report the performance of all the heads of Ministries,Departments and Agencies (MDA’S). A key mechanism used by the coordinating bureau has been the design and implementation of a framework for public value assurance.

The task requires paying meticulous attention to details. They have set the parameters for determining good governance which includes embracing democratic principles, developing apparatus and implementation, and finally ensuring that all the components stay on course to guarantee public service delivery which can only be measured by its impact on the off- takers which is defined as the citizens.

The quasi- independent agency of government is not just involved in project monitoring, but also measures the social impact of the activities of government. Its evaluation unit for example, can apply its performance measurement templates as evaluation parameters.

In the process they have developed the framework for the federal government to use as a prototype for its social intervention programmes.

A good example here is the federal government’s conditional cash transfer which is aimed at tackling long term poverty and is just taking off. The BOSS model pioneered in the state of OSUN has a prototype which drives the beneficiary. This is achieved by the design of a targeting mechanism in conjunction with the custody of a Beneficiary register for all the social safety net programs in the state.With the country belatedly developing social safety net programs, the data base is crucial for effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. The work of BOSS in OSUN state has provided for the federal government a veritable framework.

As the federal government commences the disbursements of N5000 stipends to poor and vulnerable households in nine states the BOSS model has been pressed into play. The pioneering work done in the state of OSUN is now the operating model. Of note is the development of the community- based targeting (CBT) mechanism.

The CBT exploits the personal knowledge that community members have of each other, so that the community itself takes responsibility for identifying vulnerable household’s and individuals. The CBT approach is a combination of three major actions (a) geographic targeting (b) community sensitisation (c) data collection and validation (proxy means and testing) exercise and entry into the database.

The same data driven methodology propels other initiatives such as the much admired school meals program.Apart from the federal government, Kaduna state is also using this mechanism as a social intervention programme.

The BOSS himself(the pun is intended) Femi Ifaturoti through this agency has demonstrated, not least to donors such as the World Bank that a social intervention agency can effective in delivering on its mated objectives, but that it can also be transparent. It is a testimony to the ongoing debate in economic circles about government as social entrepreneur and innovator.

From this perspective, Femi Ifaturoti is adamant that government can be both innovator and social entrepreneur, “Governance after all, is about the welfare of the generality of the public. We are acquiring appropriate world class software to complement our process flow which has been designed as a hybrid, borrowing from the western, oriental and African democracies to evolve our own unique forms”.

As the country initiates more social programs BOSS will continue to be pivoted having initiated and pioneered so many schemes. It deserves a credit in the evolution of Nigeria’s social safety nets.

Osun Gets N80m School Feeding Grant

The Federal Government of Nigeria has releases N80m to the coffer of the state this week, as part of the grants for Federal Government’s school feeding programme.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande had disclosed in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Monday, stating that five states of Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Ebonyi, and Enugu, would be benefiting states in the second phase of the scheme.

According to him, Anambra state flagged off the feeding programme earlier in 2016, bringing the implementing states of the scheme to six.

Akande disclosed that payment for the Conditional Cash Transfer programme has commenced in all the nine pilot states including Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders in the educational sector have expressed mixed feelings over the grant.

A retired Principal in one of the Public School in the state, Mr Sunday Anjorin, lauded the federal government’s initiative, as he commended Gov. Rauf Aregbesola for setting the pace for school feeding initiative.

Anjorin added that although, the federal government intervention is commendable, there is still more to be done in order to meet up with the huge financial responsibility Osun government incurred in the course of feeding the pupils at the elementary schools.

He observed that the scheme has enhanced the rate of enrollment in schools, urging the federal government to spread the gesture to all the states of the federation.

However, a member of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr Bamidele Idowu has advised the state government to be more transparent and accountable in the finance of the school feeding scheme, saying the figures claimed by O’Meal, the agency in charge of the school feeding system in Osun is “ambiguous.”

Idowu also charged the agency to use the federal government’s grant judiciously for the benefit of the pupils.

Daily Post