The Ondo State government on Tuesday kicked off with a food palliative programme (Eto Igbe-Ayo) targeted at 100,000 women resident in the state, even as Governor Olusegun Mimiko mentioned that the programme was blind to political affiliations.
Speaking at the flag off in Ikare, North Senatorial District, where about five thousand women received food items, Mimiko said the Ikare event was the first phase of the programme designed to draw beneficiaries from the 18 local government areas of the state.
The governor expressed concern at the sudden increase in the prices of food stuffs in relation to the dwindling economic situation in the country. According to him, his inauguration promise to share in the joy and sorrow of the people would never be jettisoned at any time.
Stressing the need for the Palliative programme, Mimiko said “when a man is hungry, he is hungry, when a woman is hungry, she is hungry, when a child is hungry, he is hungry,” adding that hunger is no respecter of gender, insisting that government cannot watch its people die.
Mimiko said some of his government’s intervention programmes like the Bus Shuttle, Mother and Child Hospitals and the Mega School were meant to assist the less privileged in the society, adding that with the Eto Igbe-Ayo programme, government found it appropriate to provide food for the vulnerable in the society because “when you target women and children, you have targeted the family.”
According to Mimiko, the programme was politically blind as it had been designed to benefit residents in the state irrespective of political interest, adding that the only condition was that residents must provide their Smart Card (Kaadi Igbe-Ayo) to benefit.
Submitting that the Palliative programme was designed to cushion the effect of the prevailing increase in price of food stuffs, Mimiko said in the last one year, the nation’s income had nosedived drastically because of the fall of the global market of crude oil.
“As you are aware, revenue from oil constitutes about 90 per cent of our national earning, with the fall, the revenue accruing to our state has fallen to about 65 per cent. Just as income is falling, the price of goods and services are increasing.
“The National bureau for statistics recently indicated that inflation rate in the country is 16.5, which it claimed is the highest in 11 years. Bag of rice which used to sell for N8,000 now costs about N 16,000, gallon of kerosine of N80.00 has jumped to N200.00, price of fuel increased from 87 to N145.00 per litre while diesel used to power our industries now cost N200.00 from its usual N150.00,” the governor observed, adding that unfortunately, the quantum of money available to households has dropped.
Positing that there was hunger in the land, the governor submitted that “we as government cannot pretend that this is not the case,” adding that the problem the country was facing calls for redirection and rethinking.
“We need to diversify our economy and re-invest in Agriculture and Solid mineral. We must also re-order our priorities as a government and individuals. We must restructure our polity if we want to get out of the woods.”