With a deft combination of courage, compassion, and confidence in his vision, Governor Dapo Abiodun is rewriting the existential narrative of Ogun State, governing humanely while steadily changing the people’s fortunes.
In his bid to improve the fortunes of the state, Governor Abiodun understands that growth is impossible and unsustainable if the citizenry is largely impoverished. Hence, his series of economic intervention and empowerment programmes targeted the state’s most impoverished segments.
A sudden excitement seizes on Ogun; it is subdued yet, electric. The chatter pauses for an instant then, erupts with cultured determination, sometimes, in wild abandon. Governor Abiodun is on song. He is the poetised visionary and the crowning progressive, the nurturant leader on whose watch Ogun has regained its greening.
No fewer than 50,000 women in Ogun State have benefitted from the financial empowerment scheme tagged ‘Oko’wo Dapo’, introduced by the incumbent administration to lift women out poverty.
The state governor, Dapo Abiodun, who made this known at the validation exercise of ward facilitators of the scheme, held at the Oba’s Complex, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, on Friday, equally disclosed that over N500m has been saved via contributions by the beneficiaries in three local government areas of the state.
Abiodun charged the ward facilitators to advertise the benefits of the scheme to their fellow women, saying he expected that the number of the participants should have increased to over two hundred thousand across the state.
“In three local government, we have over fifty thousand women participating in this scheme, they have saved over five hundred million naira. The three local government areas are Odeda, Ijebu North East and Yewa North. We just started the one for Ikenne.
“Our ward facilitators should go all out to advertise this programme, educate more women about the benefit of this programme, I am confident that in the next three to four months, we would have had over two hundred thousand women in this programme across the state,” he said.
The governor, while noting that the scheme isn’t different from a cooperative scheme, said that his administration would give loan to each participant four fold of whatever she might have contributed in four weeks.
“This is not different from your various contributions, it is a cooperative scheme. Our ward facilitators will go all out and bring together those women who will be part of the scheme, about twenty or twenty-five women in each group and start contributing.
“You will now start to contribute for four weeks, you will attend weekly meetings, after contributing for four weeks, government will now give you loan that will amount to the four fold of what you contributed.
“So, if you contribute two thousand weekly and you now have eight thousand Naira in the fourth week, our government will give you thirty-two thousand naira loan. If it is five thousand naira you contribute weekly and you now have twenty thousand at the end of the four weeks, our government will now borrow you eighty thousand Naira,” he said.
Abiodun who also disclosed that all ward facilitators would be paid every month, urged them to put in extra effort to ensure the success of the programme, adding that he would personally compensate any of the facilitators who does her duty diligently.
“We will pay our ward women leaders who are our ward facilitators every month. Our government is not a use-and-dump government, our government holds out women in high esteem.
“Our women, I want you to put extra effort into this programme because if this programme is successful, you will benefit more. And any women leader who now does her own task very well, I as your governor will now do something to appreciate that women leader,” he stated.
The, governor, however, told the ward facilitators not to make the programme a party affair, but extend it to others
In her remarks, the deputy governor, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, while acknowledging the governor for supporting the cause of women in the society, said that the programme would continue to help women across the state to be more economically viable.
The wife of the governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, noted that success of women is of utmost importance to the governor, urging them to be more patient as the plan the governor has for them is huge.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Funmi Efuwape, while noting that the present administration in the state is passionate about women, advised women across the state to take the opportunity with both hands and get connected so as to be a beneficiary.
In their respective remarks, Mrs Arigbabuwo Kubura from Ijebu North East Local Government and Sola Adedeji from Sagamu Local Government, who both thanked the present administration for presenting women in the state with an opportunity to contribute and have access to loan, said that the programme has given them more insight into how to do business, prepare their budget and also be accountable.