*Give kudos to Aregbesola’s ingenious methods
Representatives of various states of Nigeria have converged on and ended their three-day study of the Osun school feeding program with a vow to follow the template set by the state.
They said Osun has set a good template for the implementation of the nationwide school feeding program.
Speakers after speakers commended Governor Rauf Aregbesola for identifying school feeding as one huge opportunity for social welfare and an instrument of economic strength for Nigeria.
The coordinator of the National Home Grown School Feeding programme, Mrs. Abimbola Adesanya, had led a team, which came to understudy Osun school feeding programme (O’ Meal) to Osun.
Adesanya commended Osun for what she described as its ingenious way it has moved the program from what it was originally to an enviable one.
“National Home Grown School Feeding programme is part of Government’s effort to uplift indigent out of poverty in the country.
“Our coming to Osun was basically to have insight into the synergy within the government structure in running the programme, the strength and challenges involved.
“The programme is for the people and it has transformed the state’s education and economic activities,” Adesanmi said.
The representative of Oyo State, Mrs. Folashade Adekunle, giving her commendation on the feeding program said, “We have learnt so many things sir and we going back to our state to implement, we going to see how this thing can fit into our state, we are not saying totally but we will seat down to see how this thing will work in our state. The trip to Osun has helped us, we are greateful for this and we want to say thank you to the National team.”
Mrs Ibiyemi Jegede representing Lagos State, said, “we must commend the workable model, I think I said that during our briefing, a model was actually designed and it is working for Osun state and then it is also sustainable, that is really impressed. I was amazed about the synergy, its impressive.”
The Governor said social investment on the youths, particularly the school children, is necessary in order to eradicate poverty in the society.
He stated that more than half of the population of the country levels in abject poverty, saying therefore government must get the school feeding programme right.
According to him, poverty makes everything difficult for human existence, saying everything should be done to alleviate it in all ramifications.
He charged the Federal Government to sustain it’s fight against corruption because it contributes immensely to the level of poverty in the country.
He averred that if the Federal Government succeeds in introducing and sustaining the Home Grown School Feeding the country’s economy is on the way to total recovery.
He stated that if the feeding programme had been introduced a decade ago by successive governments, the horrendous killing and destruction the country is witnessing today in the North-East would not have arisen.
He stated that O’Meal is an all-inclusive programme, which is impacting on all stakeholders in the state.
“Social investment on children is a necessity. This will halt the wave of poverty in the country.
“Corruption is one of the causes of poverty. This is why there is increase in survival tendencies. We must fight, check or attenuate corruption before its corrosive effect ruins the nation.
“If the Federal Government gets this national feeding programme right, we will be back on the right track,” Aregbesola said.
He noted that with the state feeding over 252, 000 pupils with high content nutrients, the state is developing their physical and mental faculties as well securing their tomorrow and by extension the future of the state and country.
He added that with the agriculture products being sourced locally, the programme also has huge economic impact in the state through empowerment of all stakeholders participating in the O’Meal.
He disclosed that his government continues to run the school feeding programme despite the harsh economic situation because there is will-power and commitment on the part of government and those in charge of the programme.
He continued: “We are able to go this far because of our sheer will power. Our will is cast in iron. We commend the Federal Government for buying into the programme. We will await it’s support.
“If this kind of programme had been embraced a decade ago, the kind of heinous crime the Boko Haram is unleashing on the country wouldn’t have been heard off.”
Why speaking, the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, said the feeding programme has eradicated the out-of-school syndrome in the state and has been increasing school enrollment significantly at the elementary level.
Laoye-Tomori, who is also the Commissioner for Education, said the O’Meal is a multi-sectoral programme involving many stakeholders, which informs the success being recorded.
She said the school feeding programme is a win-win situation for all the people involved.
“The programme is designed on multi-sectoral system, which involved many ministries. The feeding programme has enhanced the economy of the state.
“Not only that. Since the introduction of the programme, enrolment has jumped significantly and out-of-school syndrome has been mitigated,” the Deputy Governor said.