Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, kickstarted the distribution of relief materials to 90,000 households identified as the poorest of the poor, to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor kicked off the distribution of the palliatives in Igboora, Ibarapa North Local Government Area and commended the people of Ibarapa Zone for their consistency in supporting him since he started his political journey in 2007.
He maintained that the state government decided to distribute palliatives to assist people “whose means of income have been badly affected” by the partial shutdown of activities in the state.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that apart from the distribution of palliatives to 90,000 households, the government would embark on the distribution of another set of palliatives to 30,000 vulnerable persons in the society.
The governor, who also visited the Primary Health Care Centres in Idere and Igboora, which have been marked for improvement and renovation as isolation centres, explained that though the state government decided against total lockdown of the state, it embarked on intense sensitisation to ensure that the people follow safety precautions.
He said: “Let me use this opportunity to appreciate you all. I have not had the time to thank you since we got into office and that is why I am using this opportunity to do so today. I can assure you that this government will not disappoint you.
“I am actually here for a reason and I believe all of us are also aware of the coronavirus pandemic. Though I also tested positive for the virus, I was able to defeat it and come out stronger.
“When other states were embarking on lockdown, I was averse to that decision and made sure that Oyo State was not locked down like others. So, what we did was a partial lockdown and we warned our people to follow safety precautions we have provided because it is a very contagious one.
“However, the means of livelihood of some of our people have been partially affected. There are people within us who earn what will feed them in the evening period but we said this should come to an end because of the curfew. Many businesses have also been affected.
“So, because of the people whose means of income have been badly affected, we decided to come and distribute these palliatives package to you. I was supposed to stay back in Ibadan, take the pictures of these packages and show it to the whole world but we are not running eye-service or the cosmetic government. What we are concerned about is to make dividends of this government get to the doorsteps of everyone.
“That was why we decentralised the distribution of the palliatives. All the packages that we have brought here are mainly for the people of Ibarapa land. The ones that are being distributed right now will be for the poorest of the poor that are among us.”
The governor explained that the distribution of palliatives would be done without bias for partisanship, noting that the palliatives would be shared to everyone that is vulnerable and hungry in different localities in the state.
He said: “What we did was to, throughout Oyo State, identify over 90,000 poorest of the poor households. We sent some people out for that assignment. So, the first phase of the palliatives we are giving out is for 90,000 households. By next week, we will distribute another palliative to the 30,000 vulnerable within us. We have the contact details of those we are targeting. We will call and give it to them. We will even call them again to confirm if they have received it or not.
“I personally put calls through to people, and some of them told me they are farmers, tailors, petty traders. The farmers that spoke to me said they already had food but the government should assist them by providing seedlings, pesticides to grow their farming business. So, because of this, we are going to give special palliatives to our farmers.
“Those who are going to share the palliatives told me that the first batch will be distributed in three days. So, I want to appeal to the elders here that the distribution should be well supervised. Help us ensure that the people that will be given must be from your locality. In any case, I am sure that with the work that the committee in charge has done so far, there is no external person that can come for this palliative.”
Speaking on behalf of caretaker chairmen of the local governments and Local Council Development Areas in Ibarapa zone, Hon. Sarafadeen Olaoniye, appreciated Governor Makinde for prioritising the welfare of all residents of the state.
He added efforts of previous administrations in the state could not measure up to the standard created by the present administration, assuring that the relief packages would get to the people they are meant for.