Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has distributed cheques totalling N5.2 million to two hundred women in oil palm business in Ife South Local Government, through the state’s Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP).
Aregbesola who was represented by the Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperative, Industries and Empowerment, Mr. Ismaila Jayeoba-Alagbada, gave the cheques to twenty cooperative groups at the Civic Centre, Ifetedo in Ife South Local Government.
The governor, who reiterated the commitment of his administration to fulfilling the six Integral Action Plan of his administration, said his administration remembers those in rural areas and will continue to empower them through soft loans to improve their economy. He stressed that this is to allow women to freely cater for their needs themselves and their children from the profits made from their oil palm business.
The governor therefore advised them to utilise the money for the business it is meant for. He also reminded the women of the need for them to partake in the political process as part of means of enhancing their power to choose those who govern them, just as he advised them to collect their permanent voters’ cards.
Earlier in his goodwill message, the State of Osun House of Assembly member representing Ife South, Hon Folorunsho Bamisayemi, thanked the governor for fulfilling his electioneering campaign to the people of the state. He therefore urged the beneficiaries to utilise the opportunity wisely.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Tourism and Culture, Mr. Sikiru Adetona Ayedun, recounted that the last administration in the state was biased in distributing such benefits. He then thanked Aregbesola for not bringing sentiment in distribution of dividend of democracy in the state. He therefore advised the people to massively reciprocate the gesture in the next election in the state.
Earlier, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP), Mr. Dele Ogundipe, in his welcome address said for the first time, government is assisting 200 women in twenty Cooperative Societies with ten members in each group. He said this is a pilot programme for women in palm-oil processing commencing from Ife South Local Government of the state.
Ogundipe stressed further that the empowerment is targeted at the weakest and most exploited link in the palm-oil production value chain.
He explained that QIIP has organised pre-disbursement capacity development sensitisation for women to develop their capacity in record keeping, cooperative formation and strengthening, production process equipment and profit improvement techniques. He said they had also been brought to the former banking mainstream as they have all opened savings accounts with Bank of Agriculture (BoA) in Ifetedo.
He therefore thanked BoA for partnering state in empowering women at rural areas. He also promised that all women who have not benefited from this opportunity would have theirs in the second phase of the programme.
In his vote of thanks, National President of Ifetedo Progressive Union, Prince Bisi Adesigbin, thanked the government for the good gesture and advised the beneficiaries to make good use of the loan on their palm-oil business.
In their separate reactions, the beneficiaries who were visibly happy with Aregbesola’s gesture, sang praises to God for giving the state such a caring and hardworking governor who remembered women at grassroots level.
The President Oke-Ere Palm-oil Cooperative Society, Mrs. Idowu Olufemi, and that of Oredegbe Palm-oil Cooperative, Mrs. Esther Oluwasegun, who spoke on behalf of others, thanked the governor for given them such rare benefits and promised to make good use of the money on their palm-oil business.
Highlight of the programme was the presentation of cheques and visitation to the oil palm processing centre at Yekemi village among others.
Present at the event were SSA to the governor, Hon Remi Kolajo; Executive Secretary Ife South Local Government, Hon Timothy Fayemi; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Odediran Sunday; Directors in the Ministry, representatives of Bank of Agriculture, APC leader in Ife South Local Government, Elder Ologbenla, APC women leader and hundreds of women in Ife South Local Government.