Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun says his administration is feeding no fewer than 30,000 vulnerable residents of the state every month.
The governor disclosed this in Abuja while giving the scorecard of his three years in office at NAN Forum, the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said the feeding programme was being carried out in partnership with the World Bank using the captured data of the beneficiaries.
“We are doing something that is so unique but not that noticeable outside Osun, we call it Osun Food Support Scheme.
“We are feeding 30,000 vulnerable people every month, and this is real, not political.
“We have the World Bank Assisted Social Register where they have captured virtually all vulnerable residents across the state.
“Anytime they want to do intervention, they go into the register which contains names, phone numbers, location, status and everything.
“According to the World Bank, the vulnerable are people who cannot afford just a little means of livelihood, especially those who don’t have dependants to take care of them.
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“We started in April this year and we don’t have a deadline to stop the programme.
“As long as I remain governor by the grace of Almighty God, I wish to sustain it.
“People ask me, why do I do that? You see, I have been able to take care of the civil servants to a very large extent.
“I can take care of some members of the political class, not all of them, but some.
“However, there are people out there who don’t have means of anyone taking care of them.
“It is my opinion that the only way you can make them have a sense of belonging is to consciously take care of them. The programme has been successful, it has been wonderful and I am happy and proud about it.
“In addition to that, I have decided to create another platform to be able to support the aged and the widows.
”This class of people should be taken care of by government, the only way they can know that they have a government is for you to give them something on monthly basis.
“It is not a question of political class alone and the civil servants, it also involves the vulnerable. Osun has gone beyond a civil service state,’’ the governor said.
I don’t believe in breaking up Nigeria
Mr Oyetola also said he believes in the economic restructuring of Nigeria as against the persistent call for a total breakup of the nation.
He opposed those calling for the breakup of the country, describing them as “unserious’’ and advocating that more economic and political powers should be allocated to state governments.
There have been strident calls in Nigeria in recent years for the country to be restructured to address what analysts describe as the glaring lopsidedness, to ensure equity, justice and fair play in the country.
Former colonial power, Britain, amalgamated ethnic nationalities 107 years ago in the West African country, to give birth to Africa’s largest nation but the arrangement appears to have raised many problems endlessly tearing the nation apart.
According to Mr Oyetola, every state in the federation has both human and natural endowments that can be used by each to sustain itself if the country is restructured well.
The governor said that Nigerians had come a long way and should not allow current challenges to tear them apart.
“People give different interpretations to the word ‘restructuring’.
“What I believe in is that for us to live together as a people, every unit of the enclave should have rights and responsibilities clearly defined.
“To me, restructuring does not mean that people should separate. Whoever is thinking along that line is not serious.
“We have come a long way and it is togetherness that can make us get to where we are supposed to be within the space in the world.
“We have all the resources to be great and so what should happen is let’s not emphasise what divides us, rather let’s look at what binds us together.
“Let us look at issues that could create unnecessary problems and get them solved.
“I believe in devolution of power to the states, let the states have more power to do most of the things they have been doing.
He said: “give the states more support and I believe we should look at the issue of revenue allocation. We should allow the states to have more funds to develop some of the things they have.
“Yes, you can look at all these areas but not in terms of separation. I’m not for separation,’’ Mr Oyetola stated.