Following persistent pressure, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has finally set aside political differences to embrace the federal government’s home grown school feeding programme.
Fayose made this known in Ado Ekiti, while declaring open a two-day stakeholders’ workshop for the take-off of the programme.
The governor’s volte face might be connected with incessant knocks, on his government by the Special Adviser to the President on Political matters, Babafemi Ojudu over Fayose’s earlier refusal to embrace the programme for the state since it was an initiative of the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Federal Government
Ojudu had in recent times, held series of meetings with stakeholders in the state on the need to persuade the governor to eschew unnecessary confrontation with the federal government and key into its programmes that would assuage the harrowing economic situation of the people.
The presidential aide accused Fayose of consciously obstructing citizens of the state from benefiting from programmes of the Federal Government which include the School Feeding Initiative, the Rice Out growers Initiative, Cocoa Renewal etc
At the stakeholders workshop, Fayose said he decided to support the programme because it was in tandem with the state’s stomach infrastructure policy.
The governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, however, said the state now decided to key into the programme following a feedback from government’s agencies commissioned to study the programme that reported back that the programme would be of immense benefit to the people of the state.
He said: “The study revealed the potentials of the programme to improve the nutrition status of the pupils, increase schools’ enrolment and attendance, energise the local economy and empower certain segments of the population. Above all, we also noted that it is in tandem with our stomach infrastructure policy.
“We have decided to set political differences aside and partner with the federal government for the benefits of our pupils. Our participation will be a boost to our efforts to restore the glory of education in our dear state.”
The governor has however called on all stakeholders to ensure diligent implementation of the programme, while promising that the state would give all the needed support to actualise “our collective goal of feeding the pupils.”
The Team leader of the programme from the Office of the President on National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Mrs. Abimbola Adesanmi, said the programme had been introduced in 21 states adding that the programme would improve the health and nutrition of children as well as improve the local production of agricultural products in the state.
“It is the plan of the federal government that all states key into the programme for the benefit of all our children in public primary schools.”
Attendees of the workshop include officials from NGOs, Community Based Organisarions, Farmers’ Congress and representatives of Ministry of Agriculture among others.