BY BOLUWAJI OBAHOPO
LOKOJA – The Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday arrived Kogi State on a three day working visit to understudy the activities of Kogi State Youth Employment and Social Support Operation, YESSO and the success story of the Social Intervention Program, SIP of the Federal Government in the Stat with a view to replicate same in their country.
The country were directed to the State by the World Bank who named Kogi as one of the most successful implementers of the FG SIP projects.
The team led by the country Minister for Social Inclusion, Prof. Mughahaba John, said the issues of poverty calls for a collaborative efforts; which necessitated their visit to the state to learn her success story.
Prof. Mughahaba said, “90 percent of the 80 million population of DRC are living in poverty. These 80 million population in DRC would not be safe despite the presence of some few rich persons if the vast majority are not catered for. That is why we are in Nigeria to learn and gather knowledge on the Kogi state success story in the fight against poverty.
“In the short time we are here, the visit has enabled the delegation have an understanding of the participatory, bottom top approach in the fight against poverty, as well as ensuring that the views of those affected is made key in the fight against poverty.”
The Kogi State Government said aside the SIP success story, it has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would enable 5000 youths across the 21 LGAs receives skills acquisition training at the Korea Training Institute (KOICA).
The governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Folashade Ayoade, said his administration places emphasis on poverty reduction as a collective desire towards achieving good governance.
The governor stated that his administration’s emphasis on skills acquisition is to help reduce rural urban migration, adding that towards maximizing the scarce resources of the state in making young people get empowered, his policy thrust has been anchored on international best practice.
“Governor Yahaya Bello gave a matching order to KGYESSO to ensure that all communities in the state are captured in the single register and uploaded in the federal government national single register. 160 communities and 48,727 persons thus far have been captured.”
The governor appealed to well meaning individuals, organization, and other stakeholders to take advantage of the state single register to help the poor and the vulnerable, promised the release of the state counterpart funds, to enable more persons to be captured by the social safety net program of the federal government.
The governor commended President Mohammadu Buhari for his efforts at tackling poverty.
Speaking also at the visit, Hajia Hajara Sani, National Coordinator YESSO, office of the Vice President, described Kogi State YESSO as a celebration of hard work.
She said the state is amongst the fifteen States currently enjoying the World Bank Support, solicited the support of the government in sustainability of the success story.
The Kogi state commissioner for Finance and Economic planning, Idris Asiru, attributed the YESSO success story in the state to the fiscal disciplines of the administration of governor Yahaya Bello.
The Commissioner described the reforms of the present administration as one that has enabled financial discipline, guarantees safe investment, pointed out that through transparency, accountability and an efficiency unit domiciled in the State Ministry of Finance the state has been able to set the pace.
The Special Adviser and Focal Person for Social Investment program in the state, Ibrahim Adoga, said the state government has given attention to pro- poor program because of its ability to check social vices.
Adoga said, “15,000 young graduates are presently benefiting from the federal government N-power program, 7,000 market women and artisans benefiting from the GEEP program, while another 20,000 beneficiaries captured under the conditional cash transfer, and 3000 cooks already been engaged for the home grown feeding program.”
The State Coordinator, YESSO, Dr Noah Alilu, described the Kogi success story as a call for more work, commended the efforts of Gov. Yahaya Bello in ensuring that the objectives of the poverty alleviation program was realized.