Nigeria: New Oyo Governor Makinde unfolds Plans To Export Maize To Botswana
By Taiwo Adelu
London, 30 May, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The newly sworn-in Executive Governor of Oyo State, Mr. Rotimi Makinde has informed of his administration’s plans to begin exporting maize to Botswana in a bid to generate foreign exchange and develop agriculture in the state.
Makinde said this while delivering his inaugural address after he took the oath of office in the capital city of the state, Ibadan on Wednesday.
He said: “We recognise that one of our areas of comparative advantage is agriculture. I am excited to tell you today, that we have already taken steps to market our potentials. Our farmers will be happy to know that we are in talks with Botswana to export our maize to them. Our African neighbours have in the recent past, imported from Central America, but they are ready to give us a chance. We welcome the delegation from Botswana led by Business Botswana President, Gobusamang Keebine.
According to him, he planned to make lives better for the farmers with good infrastructure.
He said: “We spoke to farmers in settlements at Ipapo, Ilora, Eruwa, Ogbomosho, Iresaadu, Ijaiye, Akufo and Lalupon who complained about inability to access credit facilities, poor rural infrastructure especially feeder roads, difficulty in processing harvests, and lack of storage facilities. We listened to leaders and members of the Joint Farmers Association and agropreneurs talk about the challenges in the agriculture sector and proffer solutions which we will implement. Our administration will make providing infrastructure a priority.”
The new Governor regretted that Oyo State which is the home to a premier university in Nigeria is backward in educational development.
“Our region that housed the first university in Nigeria now has a state with the seventh highest number of out-of-school children. Over 400,000 children in Oyo State are out of school.”
He, however, declared a short term solution, saying education must be free at the secondary school level, as he abolished the N3, 000 school fee imposed on the parents by his predecessor.
“Effective immediately, the school fees of N3, 000 in state-owned secondary schools is hereby abolished. We want enrolments to go up; we want our children off the streets and in the classrooms. We are throwing the school doors wide open. Whoever opens a school door opens an opportunity. We are opening opportunities for a brighter future.
“We also know that education standards in Oyo State are poor. Oyo State recently ranked twenty-sixth in Nigeria in WAEC performance. While we invite the students to come in, we will focus on raising the standard of education in Oyo State. We will work on providing needed infrastructure and man power by increasing Oyo State’s education budget to 10% of our total annual budget, increasing yearly until we match UNESCO’s recommendation of 15-20%. We will be a pacesetter state in education.
“We know that quality education is not possible without quality teachers. Quality emoluments and benefits attract quality teachers. We are not ignorant of the plight of our dear teachers. We know the state of the teacher’s pension scheme. During my campaigns, I promised to donate my entire salary as governor to the Teacher’s Pension Fund. I stand by that promise.
“We will seek practical ways to reposition the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. You are aware that the university is jointly owned by Osun and Oyo State.
“We will reach out to our sister state and share ideas on how to move the institution forward. Our priority is a total takeover,” he said.
“The people living with disability will also begin to feel positive impacts of the government in Oyo State.
“We spoke with people living with disabilities; successive governments have not paid adequate attention to our people who live with disabilities. We talked about the challenges and neglect they face; the lack of access to healthcare, education, work opportunities and stigmatisation. To people living with disabilities in our state, I say, your relief has come. We will establish a Commission for People Living with Disabilities. The mandate of this parastatal will be to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.
“In addition, we will develop an institutional framework for enforcing compliance with our equal opportunity principle. We will also encourage the private sector to hire persons with disabilities by offering them tax incentives.”
On the health challenge, Makinde disclosed that intervention packages are on the way, saying ” We are planning interventions in the sector under two main headings: providing primary health care and making health insurance more accessible to the people of Oyo State.
“Access to good healthcare is non-negotiable. It is the responsibility of government to ensure there are adequate medical and healthcare facilities for all persons. Therefore, in the first two years of our administration, no new healthcare centre will be built. The focus will be to upgrade the existing ones by renovating and equipping them.
“In the same vein, our strategy for implementing the health insurance scheme will involve updating existing interventions and making them more accessible. By November, we would have completed a needs assessment and identified local associations willing to participate in the health insurance scheme and use them to get insurance benefits to the most vulnerable in the state.
“We will also embark on extensive reformation of the Hospital Management Board for more effective service delivery in our hospitals