By JOHN AKINMOLA
Beneficiaries of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) of the Federal Government in Ondo State are of the opinion that the programme has achieved tremendous success in the State recently. The programme, which encompasses Graduate Empowerment, often called NPOWER, Home Grown School Feeding Program (HGSFP), TRADERMONI, GEEP and the recently introduced ‘Market Money’ is said to have boosted economic activities in the State. Most of the interviewed beneficiaries were unanimous on the fact that the programme has got a good number of youths – including graduates – who were hitherto wandering on the streets, engaged in gainful activities such as teaching and agro allied businesses, just as it has empowered some market women and food vendors across the State.
Speaking to our Correspondent, a School Head Mistress, Mrs Ilesanmi R.A of Baptist Day Primary School, Ode – Irele said she would give credit to the handlers of the programme in the State. ”The Ondo State Focal Person, Mrs Olubunmi Ademosun has ensured the efficacy of the programme by putting in several efforts towards the deployment and redeployment of NPOWER beneficiaries, supervising and monitoring them in the course of their duties and sanctioning errant beneficiaries, all of which have culminated in the success recorded in the state so far. I would say she is the major reason for the success of the scheme in the State”, the Head teacher concluded.
Similarly, Mr Akinosin M.O, Head Teacher, St Andrew Anglican Primary School, Ode – Irele commended the Home Grown School feeding initiative. He further revealed that the programme has remarkably strengthened the population of pupils in the school. ”Pupils now prefer public primary schools to their private counterparts and they hardly absent themselves from school. All these, by my personal observation, are down to the School Feeding Scheme”, he stated.
A beneficiary, Mrs Adedayo Olatubosun Elizabeth, the food vendor attached to Temitope Community Primary School, Idi Mango, Ore said her assignment is to prepare food for 137 pupils of the school and that she has been doing that happily as ”I’m now a happy mother of many happy children. When the children see me entering the school, they welcome me like their own mother and we have been enjoying those moments together”. She said, smiling. She thanked President Buhari and Mrs Ademosun for offering her such a role. On their parts, Agesin Ebunoluwa Helen, an N-HEALTH beneficiary at the Basic Health Centre, Okua Isua, Akoko and Awoniyi Michael, an N-AGRO beneficiary at Igbo Oja, Ondo emphasized that their lives have not remained the same ever since they have been engaged in the scheme. They both appreciated Mr President for this opportunity and prayed God grant him the grace to engage them and their likes in higher and better capacities.
Aminu Yahyah Jamiu, an N-TEACH beneficiary posted to Ikare Grammar School, Ikare, visited by our correspondent, pointed to the vacuum occupied by NPOWER teachers in the school and mutatis mutandis (by all necessary implications) most schools in the state. In his words; ”It is no longer news that there is shortage of teachers in most schools in the State (here inclusive). However, the Federal Government’s intervention in the form of NPOWER is a timely rescue. So, we are here bridging the gap happily and hoping for the next level”, he said jokingly.
In another interview with one of the women engaged in the Home Grown School Feeding in Idanre, Mrs Akinkunmi Olufunke, a widow and mother of three said her engagement in the programme has rekindled a hope of survival of her family. According to her, life had been unimaginably difficult for her three kids and her before being engaged as a food vendor in the programme. She used the opportunity to air her gratitude to President Buhari and Mrs Ademosun for turning her life around. Mrs Olanipekun Margret Bukonla, the food vendor attached to Iloro Community Primary School, Akure said her engagement in the scheme has changed a lot of things in her family.
In a phone call interview with the State Focal Person and Coordinator of the NSIP in the State, Mrs Olubunmi Ademosun, she promised her team will not relent in their effort towards touching and making life better through the National Social Investment Programme.