15th May, 2013
By Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo
1,000 days to go! That is all the time that we have left to meet the goals set in September 2000, the Millennium Declaration- we know as MDGs – a global partnership to fight poverty to which Nigeria is among the 193 signatories.
Most people already know that there are eight MDGs aimed at ensuring rapid development and improve the standard of living for everyone on earth, particularly people in developing countries.
However, not so many realise that the MDGs are time-bound goals; with performance measured against 21 targets using data on 60 indicators, to benchmark the success of both developing and developed countries in meeting their commitments. The deadline for most MDGs’ targets is 2015, and performance is usually measured against a benchmark of year 2000.
Therefore, the event, held by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs (OSSAP-MDGs), marking the 1,000 days to the deadline for achieving the goals was meant to let Nigerians know how the country has performed and in particular how far each of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have gone towards meeting these targets.
Before providing more details on the achievements in the State of Osun, mention must first be made of the support the Presidency has provided to all 36 states. No state could have achieved as much without federal grant funding, from OSSAP-MDGs, that matches state funds. States, such as Osun, that receive less from federal allocations in one year than some states receive in one month, have been able to combine FGN MDG grants with state funds to stimulate growth and activity with results that visibly demonstrate progress towards meeting, or even in some cases exceeding, the MDGs. the results speak for themselves: fewer child and maternal deaths, better education infrastructure, improved access to safe water, poverty eradication and wealth creation efforts as well as the expansion of economic activities and opportunities for the citizenry.
For the State Government of Osun, the six-point Integral Action Plan (6-IAPS) of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration weave as seamlessly into MDGs’ targets as the combination of MDG funds and state funds. The Aregbesola administration’s philosophy incorporates the MDGs and 6-IAPS as vectors in socio-economic inclusion, wealth creation and harmoniously sustainable community development.
This we, in Osun state, believe, is essential if the MDGs are to seep into the very fabric of our society. In short, the wealthy may be few but prosperity can be shared by all, as social prosperity multiplies and improves individual prosperity. The reverse may be true but is not always the case.
This feature is not lost on Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who has invested remarkable political capital and personal commitment to scaling-up the support from the Federal Government while deepening the effects of the 6 IAPS.
If Nigeria is to meet the MDG targets in less than 1000 days, states like Osun will continue to play a large role in that achievement. Osun’s journey to meet MDG goals is rooted in the best traditions of the people of the state.
The State of Osun is second of all 36 states with more than 61 percent of its citizens living well above the $1 a day benchmark of MDGs. This is well above MDG’s 50 percent mark and some 157 percent better than the national average of 38.8 percent.
The Aregbesola administration has taken the bull by the horns in its determined effort to improve the lives of the majority of the people of the state. Our innovative programmes such as OYES, O’REAP and others have been commended, copied and studied for replication both in Nigeria and abroad. The World Bank has recognised the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) and the United Nations has commended Osun for its environment improvement programmes among others.
Within its first 100 days in office, the Aregbesola administration established OYES and created 20,000 jobs through it. Twenty thousand youths were engaged and trained in various skills, with both technical and entrepreneurial components. The scheme also gave beneficiaries opportunities to offer various community service programmes and of course they were paid N10,000 monthly stipends. Other state governments are learning from the programme while the Federal Government, some state governments and countries in Africa have even sent their officials to Osun to understudy the implementation of the programme and even the World Bank has publicly acknowledged the success of the programme.
The programme has had multiplier effects from skills acquisition to income earning, tax generating citizens. Thus, OYES graduates are working in schools, agricultural departments, construction companies and ICT companies among others. Over 5,000 youths from various parts of the state have been trained in specialised ICT skills undertaken through the OYES Scheme Technology (OYESTECH).
The Aregbesola administration believes that there is the need to banish hunger and improve the welfare status of the elderly who because of their advanced age can no longer engage in productive work. to feed the aged and provide succour for them which tallies with the first item on the MDG list, the administration introduced a programme called Agba Osun’ or “Osun Elders” in which 1, 600 vulnerable elders are paid N10, 000 monthly each.
The success of the “Agba Osun” cash transfer program has resulted in the Aregbesola administration scaling-up this programme by doubling the intended beneficiaries for 2013.
Hence, the Osun government will be reaching via the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme over 2,250 extreme poor households headed by women. These household heads will be trained and given monthly stipends and at the end of a 12-month period be empowered with equipment/machines to enhance the productive training they have received. To ascertain the integrity of this system, e-payment system has been adopted to track and ensure that the welfare payment reach the intended beneficiaries.
The Aregbesola administration spread its empowerment and job creation programme across all the sectors of the state economy. Thus, the establishment of the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (OREAP) has led to the empowerment of over 600 youths. These youths were trained in various forms of agriculture practices through the OREAP and were empowered thereafter.
Via the MDGs, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Youth Development carried out a partnership programme with Osun in training youth in the state in specialised areas in agriculture and thereafter empowered them to start off their own business. However, the state government of Osun took this further by putting together a sponsorship programme for these youths to be included in the first of another 50 OREAP graduates currently being sponsored to Germany by the state government to acquire advanced farming skills which are aimed at increasing and boosting agricultural production and distribution.
Provision of basic universal primary education is second on the MDGs list and the Aregbesola administration has made tremendous improvement on the primary education in the state. To steadily ensure the attainment of MDGs, over 50 model school structures are currently being built to replace
the ramshackle and dilapidated structures inherited by this administration. This, according to Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is to “set in motion, an irreversible system that would make education delivery effective”.
The result has been increased enrolment in public schools as parents’ confidence in public schools continues to increase by the day. It is on record that within the first four weeks of these ground-breaking programmes by the Ogbeni administration, public school enrolment increased by 38,000! Plan is also underway to empower another 6,000 youths in the state by engaging them as teachers in public schools in the state.
In enhancing the nutrition of the young primary school pupils, the Aregbesola administration has introduced a free lunch programme for pupils in elementary schools in which over 180, 000 pupils are being fed daily; this particular programme has empowered 3, 000 caterer in the state, concurrently delivering goals one and two of the MDGs.
Further to the above, the budgetary provision of funding for secondary school education has increased from N117 million annually to N427 million; free school uniform programme
introduced by the administration has kitted pupils in both public primary and secondary schools and empowered over 3000 tailors. To ensure quality assurance in the delivery of education, the government is currently carrying out an unprecedented distribution of over 150, 000 e-learning (ipad-like) tablets for senior secondary school pupils to enhance learning achievements amongst its pupils.
For the MDGs targets in the health sector, the result had been tremendous: the State of Osun takes the lead in the reduction of infant mortality with 34 out of every 1,000 live births which is way lower than the southwest average of 69 out of every 1,000 and the national average of 75 out of every 1,000 live births. In the under 5 mortality category, Osun achieved 56.6 out of every 1,000 live births; while the national average has 157 out of every 1,000 live births. For immunization, Osun has attained 84 percent coverage.
The impact of some of the aforementioned plans of the government cannot be overemphasised.
For 2013, the Osun MDGs project plans are meant to do the following and more this year: increase access to health facilities by 20 percent; ensure a 10 percent reduction in under 5 mortality from 56.6 out of every 1, 000 live births to 50 out of every 1, 000; ensure another 10 percent reduction in infant mortality from 34 out of every 1, 000 live births to 30 out of every 1,000; reduce maternal mortality rate from 165 out of every 1,000 to 148.5 which is another 10 percent reduction; bring about five percent increase in birth attendant from 89.2 percent to 93.7 percent; ensure five percent increase in
children vaccinated against measles from 84.4 percent to 88.6 percent; as well as ensure reduction in the rate of
core poor people by 2,500 households.
Thus, in the area of health related MDGs Goals 4, 5 and 6, the Aregbesola administration has not failed to deliver. There have been training and retraining of health personnel as they are regularly sponsored to local and international training programmes. Apart from this, over N300 million worth of drugs have been distributed to state hospitals and primary health centres; the state government carried out six medical and health missions, aimed at bringing health care delivery and service closer to the people free of charge; over 400 youths have been empowered as paramedics to join the state ambulance service authority
tagged O’Ambulance; 75 new primary health care centres have been built and equipped across the state among
others. over N1billion is currently being spent to renovate and equip state hospitals which include comprehensive healthcare centres and general hospitals.
What Osun Has Achieved In Goal 7
For Goal 7 of the MDGs, the Aregbesola administration has taken pragmatic steps towards improving the entire landscape of Osun. Just last week, the state government launched the
O’ Clean Plus’ scheme with the commissioning of refuse disposing vehicles aimed at improving environmental sanitation in the state which marked the introduction of
public private partnership in waste management. Apart from this, 123 kilometre of waterways have been dredged which has resulted in Osun being free of flood and today, Osun has
not been mentioned in the category of states to be affected by flood, a clear departure from the deadly flood that has ravaged the state in the immediate past. With special attention devoted to environmental sanitation, cases of
Malaria has been reduced by over 50 percent in the state and this is a fact verifiable from public hospitals in the
Also, a one kilometer radius urban renewal programme is being run for nine major towns in the state while massive beatification projects are going on in various strategic locations throughout the state. In addition, a 185 kilometre highway beatification is going on starting from Osun-Oyo
boundary, Asejire; to Osun-Ondo boundary, Owena.
In the area of water provision, the state has done very well with drilling of boreholes in various communities spread across the 30 local governments and one area office of the
state. Most importantly the Ede waterworks has been rehabilitated to increase production from 17 per cent to 30 percent while plans are on to ensure that the Ede waterworks
assume 100 percent capacity at the end of this year.
How We Are Achieving Goal 8
For the 8th goal in the area of development of global partnership, the state of osun has forayed successfully on this path, the OYES programme has engendered recommendations
and partnerships from the World Bank. The same bank is supporting the rural access mobility project, where over
500km rural roads will be constructed.
Through this partnership, a 74 kilometre super highway is being constructed to link Osun to Lagos State; another 47 kilometre highway is being reconstructed to link Osun with
Kwara State; 61 township roads covering 128kilometre are being upgraded while 20 intercity roads covering over 294 kilometre are also being upgraded.
Apart from this, the state government is working with UNICEF to provide farm inputs to 1, 830 rural farmers in 61 local communities. Recently, for one week in the month of February, Ogbeni Aregbesola was on a working visit to the United States of America where he spoke severally at different fora on the development and achievements of his
administration and the conducive atmosphere therein for investors to come in. The governor visited the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he met with academics and potential investors on the desirability of investing in Osun. He met with Africans in Diaspora and visited places such as Boston, Pittsburgh and Washington DC as well as universities such as: Harvard, Pittsburgh and Howard. All through, the fulcrum of his discussions and lecture was on the emerging markets in Osun state.
There is much more to come from the peoples’ governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and for us in the MDG Office of the state of Osun, attaining the MDG goals is well within the
reach of the Ogbeni administration. Indeed for the people of Osun state, light is beginning to shine as the state emerges from the dark tunnel after years of clueless administration
the state experienced at the hands of the previous administration..
Quiet substantial and sustainable achievement are standard for this administration. With conviction that prosperity for all can be achieved even with meagre resources, firm belief
that with the help of Almighty God, and unshakeable faith in our vision, the people of Osun shall prevail over
poverty, to deepen and broaden the base of wealth creation and socio-economic wellbeing for all – a state whose primary riches are its people and their wellbeing.
Surely, it is a steady and assured step towards achieving the MDGs with less than 1,000 days to go. Getting there is
only part of the journey; moving beyond and striving to achieve full education and literacy, zero infant and
maternal mortality, 100 percent of population living on more than $1/day is the aim of this administration!
•Binuyo is the Senior Special Assistant on MDGs to Osun Governor.