Remarks At The Commissioning Of Home School Feeding Programme In Edo State

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Just as the governor said, I am a son of Edo State. Edo State for me is like a second home. One of the reasons is because I did my Youth Service here in Edo State, I lived in Edo State for over a year, after I finished youth corps, I spent some more time. I really enjoyed myself here in Edo state. Edo state is really a state that is very dear to my heart.


What is more important is the fact that you have a very dynamic governor in the person of Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who is very forward-looking and very dynamic and is ably assisted by my brother, the comrade itself, Comrade Philip Shaibu. You cannot have a better combination to govern a state.


I am very excited to be here today at the official flag-off of the Home Grown School Feeding Program.  This program is one of the Social Investment Programmes of the Federal Government of Nigeria in collaboration with the State Government. There are other components of the Social Investment Programmes like N-Power programme, the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and then the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme.


This the largest social safety net programme in the history of Nigeria. Our Home Grown School Feeding Programme at the moment without counting the new addition, which is Edo State, we feed 9.3million children every single day in 49,937 public primary schools in 26 states and now 27, with Edo State across Nigeria every single year. And this programme employs 95,422 cooks and we are going to add more numbers here in Edo state.


At the moment, there are over 100,000 smallholder farmers that are linked to the programme, who supply locally sourced ingredients every single week.


Now this means almost every week, we kill 594 cows, 138,000 chickens and 6.8 million eggs, 33 metric tons of fish, every single week.


So, for everybody who is involved in the programme, there is a major benefit for the country – major benefit for agriculture, fishermen are bringing in their fish, poultry farmers, farmers for ingredients those selling cows and meat, everybody has a part to play.


Our N-Power job programme has employed 500,000 graduates and 20,000 non-graduates.  This is the biggest job programme in the whole of Africa. There is no programme like this in the whole of Africa


We also have our micro-credit scheme, MarketMoni, Farmer Moni, TraderMoni, which have well over 2million beneficiaries.


At the Next Level, which is what we are talking about now, what we are saying is that we must make this programme even bigger.  We are going to employ even more graduates in the N-Power programme and we are going to expand the N-Power programme so that it becomes also a training programme for those that are already in the programme so that they can acquire greater skill than they have acquired now. Every one of them at the moment will have a program for training but we are going to expand that training programme. Anybody who comes out from the N-Power programme should be able to find themselves jobs anywhere in the world and in Nigeria.


We are also going to expand our micro-credit programme so that the money we give at the moment to traders, to artisans, will be increased. At the moment, we are doing about 2million across the country, but we intend to expand that to 5million them to 10million so that each person who is trading anywhere finds some credit to be able to buy more goods and so more for themselves.


The other thing we want to do is to ensure that young people who want to start businesses have the opportunity to start their businesses by getting some credit. That is why we want to start the Entrepreneur Bank, at the moment the Bank of Industry does all of that. But we are going to have a specialized bank that will focus on providing opportunities for young people and providing services for young people.


Our country is set for the biggest revolution we have ever seen.


Why are we able to do this? Why were we not able to do it ten, fifteen years ago? Largely because we are now fighting corruption. The reason why our country has been held down, the reason our country has not made progress is that those who led this country allowed themselves to steal the resources of the country. Corruption is the major reason why our country has not grown.


The period 2010-2014, our country earned the highest amount of money from oil. Oil was sold for $100-$114 a barrel, $383 billion was what was acquired in that period. But what happened to that money? Why was that money not used for something like Home Grown School Feeding, programmes, like N-Power, which employs 500,000 people, programmes like TraderMoni, FarmerMoni? How was that money not able to build the Mambila Power Project, which we are just doing now, the biggest hydro project in the country. Why was it not used to build the 2nd Niger Bridge?


They commissioned the bridge but did not design it. Have you ever heard that before? That they go and commission something without a design? We are now building the 2nd Niger Bridge, we have laid the foundation of it. The President has devoted resources to it under our Infrastructure Fund and our Sovereign Wealth Fund.


Look at the Itakpe – Warri railway – 35-year project, they refused to do it, we have completed it.  Look at the Lagos-Kano rail, we are commissioning the Lagos-Kano rail in a few days from now. The first phase of that Lagos Kano rail started from Apapa port.


That is what happens when you have a President who is honest. Even Buhari’s enemies know he is an honest man and that he will not allow or he will not steal the money. That is why despite the fact that we are earning sixty percent less than the previous government, we have spent N2.7 trillion on capital, the largest ever in the history of Nigeria. The only reason why you can do more with less is if you don’t steal the money.

And one thing that we must do as Nigerians is that we must hold our leaders to account. We must not allow our leaders to steal our resources and after stealing those resources they say why is the country poor. They ask the question why are we so poor. Why will you not be poor if your money is stolen? The money meant for development was stolen and that is why we are poor.


But that will stop. Our country’s future is great and our country has the capability, all of the intelligent young men and women who are all over this place – our country has the resources and the capacity to make your lives better. To improve your life and to make you competitive in the global economy. That is what Muhammadu Buhari is going to do, that is what the Next Level means.


So, I want every one of you here, especially the young people, that we are committed to ensuring that the resources of this country are preserved for your use and the use of everybody who wants to do honest work in this country to come together. That is what we are going to do in the Next Level.


I want to thank you all very much and thank the Governor for the great thing that has been done; first of all, the Edo Best, which is the first of its kind, complete revolution of primary education and all of these with the curriculum emphasizing digital literacy and is now matching that with Home Grown School Feeding Programme. I think that your Governor deserves another round of applause.


Thank you very much.