Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Friday, commissioned one of the Start Them Early Programme (STEP)-Oyo school projects, an agribusiness initiative, at the Methodist High School, Ibadan, and a model school building at the Muslim Grammar School, Odinjo, Ibadan. as part of activities marking his second anniversary in office.
He equally commissioned the upgraded Staff Clinic within the premises of the State Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, and flagged off the breast and cervical cancer screening, while also handing over nine Luxury Buses to the Oyo State Civil/Public Service for ease of transportation for the staff.
According to Makinde, while speaking at the commissioning of the STEP-Oyo project school, which is aimed at encouraging the youths to take interest in agribusiness from an early age, the programme will be extended to more schools in all zones of the state.
Makinde stated that the first project at Fashola was funded by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), noting that the project is currently running in Bishop Phillips Academy, Ibadan, and Methodist High School, Ibadan.
He added that others at Christ High School, Oleyo; Adegun Asake Grammar School, Igangan; Iresa Adu High School, Iresa Adu, and UMC Secondary Grammar School, Igbeti, are in top gear for completion, stating that the programme will be extended to six additional schools across the entire geopolitical zones of the state.
The governor also distributed science equipment and students’ furniture at the Muslim Grammar School, Odinjo, Ibadan.
Speaking during the commissioning of the STEP-Oyo project, the governor said: “When they were going to commission the STEP project at Fashola, the DG of IITA invited me. I went there and when I saw what they did, I thought we cannot limit it to Fashola alone but spread it across Oyo State. So, I was very excited about having the STEP programme in Oyo State.”
He said that the introduction of an initiative like STEP, which intends to catch the next generation of youths in agriculture, is a step in the right direction, adding that the programme sits well with the focus of his administration to explore agriculture and its value chain to expand the state’s economy.
The governor commended the old students of the Methodist High School for picking up the challenge to support the government, explaining that his administration has set up Oyo State for a massive turnaround in agribusiness.
He added that the state is ready to absorb anyone ready to invest in large scale agriculture practices and agribusiness.
In his address, the Deputy Director-General of IITA, Dr, Dashiell Kenton, said that IITA has always had a cordial relationship with the state government, saying that IITA has the best partnership with Oyo State in Africa.
He commended the government in its efforts to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the state, enjoining the state government to judiciously utilise the multi-million Naira STEP project for the resuscitation of its agribusiness.
While speaking during the commissioning of the model school at Muslim School, Odinjo, Governor Makinde said education infrastructure was in a deplorable state before he came into office, stating that his administration has been able to change the narrative by rebuilding more befitting schools and constructed more schools.
He said that his administration remains committed to ensuring that quality education is the standard in Oyo State, adding that in May 2019, the government dedicated over 20 per cent of the Oyo State budget to education.
Earlier, the chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Adeniran, said that the model school building comprises 10 classrooms, principal’s office, library, science laboratory, sick bay, computer room, assembly hall, 16 toilets, 28 sets of teachers’ furniture, 150 pairs of students’ furniture, among other facilities.
He added that the edifice is one of the 60 model schools spread across the thirty-three (33) Local Government Areas in the state.
At the commissioning of the Staff Clinic, Governor Makinde maintained that the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Staff Clinic is part of the ongoing massive remodelling and upgrading of 351 Primary Health Care Centres across the state.
He expressed the commitment of his administration to improving the health sector.
The governor afterwards performed the handing over of nine luxury buses designated for use of civil/public