FROM CLEMENT ADEYI, OSOGBO
Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has expressed disgust at the alarming rate of the current economic recession, lamenting that if proactive measures are not applied by government and the citizenry, the effects would soon degenerate into a civil war scenario.
The governor who stated this in a media chat with Saturday Sun at the weekend, noted that it not only government but Nigerians had a lot of proactive roles to play in mitigating the dehumanising effects of the recession.
While suggesting strategies the citizenry at all levels could adopt in surviving the period, the governor expressed the need for people to cut down on luxuries and make do with whatever is available within the limit of their income.
Aregbesola also stressed the need to patronise local materials, especially agricultural produce, to boost the country’s export profile in order to strengthen the naira against the dollar.
According to him, there is no need for people to insist on eating rice, which has become too expensive even though some people cannot afford it.
He noted that even the people of China, who are the largest producer of rice, have stopped depending largely on rice.
Aregbesola said it was high time people resort to developing more appetite for other staple foods, such as plantains, cassava among others. “Plantain is even healthier and more nutritious than rice. It is edible in different versions. Why must we keep on pursuing rice?” Why can’t we develop plantain and promote it internationally? Aregbesola asked.
The Chinese have realised that the energy required to produce a kilogram of rice is more than the energy that goes into the production of a kilogram of other carbohydrates.
“So, why must we insist on rice as if there are no options?”
The governor also spoke glowingly on the various strategies his administration has adopted to help the people of the state, especially the school children, the youth among others survive the recession.
He enthused that the school children feeding programme was still ongoing.
“Our school children eat eggs twice in a day. They eat chicken, fish and beef. With each meal, they also eat fruits. We don’t import any of them. Women go to our local markets in Osun here and buy them. With this you can be sure that the food sellers no longer suffer as they used to suffer. Indirectly, they are benefitting from government,” he said.
He also explained how his people-oriented social service programmes boost the economy of the state.
“Whatever money we spend on these food items and other commodities goes directly into the local economy,” he added.
He added: “If you move round the state of Osun, you can no longer see the kind of miseries you see in some states due to hardship. Here you hardly see harried and bitter youths in the streets. Not less than 20,000 youths have been engaged for public work such as sanitation, traffic control, medical emergencies among others to keep them busy and useful to themselves and the society and we pay them stipends. This has done a lot of wonders here.
“Besides the youths, we also give N10, 000 lifeline monthly to elderly citizens in the state that are vulnerable and in deplorable conditions that can not help themselves. We engage a professor from Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile-Ife, who was able to discover them. These are people that are only waiting for death even though their time has not come.”