By Samuel Ogunsona
Barely 24 hours after disbursing N915m to pensioners in the state, Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has disbursed another sum of N325 million to 23 communities in his efforts to drive development in the grassroots.
The 23 communities are the first batch of beneficiaries in 2023 from the Ekiti State Covid-19 Action for Recovery and Economic Stimulus (EK-CARES) program, a collaborative initiative developed and supported by the World Bank.
The primary goal of the initiative is to improve the quality of life for vulnerable households and rural communities in Ekiti State by establishing crucial socio-economic infrastructure.
Governor Oyebanji, during the disbursement on Tuesday at the Lady Jibowu Hall, Government House, Ado-Ekiti, urged residents of the state to always cooperate with their traditional rulers as the government strives to bring development to all parts of the state.
He noted that the scheme was a collaborative palliative measure introduced by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the Federal Government, and Development partners to bring succour to both individuals and communities who faced serious poverty challenges at various levels which were heightened by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to combat hardship inflicted on the people as a result of the pandemic.
While commending Ekiti State Community and Social Development Agency (EKCSDA) for its remarkable achievements in grassroots development, the Governor explained that the agency has done well as one of the eleven disbursement link indicators saddled with the responsibilities of providing basic community-driven services in health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation of poorest communities in selected local government areas through micro infrastructure projects.
Governor Oyebanji added that the programme was anchored on three key result areas of providing basic services and livelihood support to the poor and vulnerable households; increasing food security and safe functioning of food support chain for poor households as well as facilitating recovery and enhancing capabilities of micro and small enterprises in the local communities.
“It is noted that NG-CARES was an emergency response to provide palliative measures to combat individuals and community-based poverty through the provision of some intervention response. In Ekiti State, the EK-CARES programme was designed to support targeted programmes of expedition and intervention at the state level by targeting existing and newly emerging vulnerable and poor households.
“Agricultural value chains and micro and small scale enterprises affected by the economic crises of Covid-19 pandemic. The programme development objective is anchored on a restoration of the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable. Maintaining food security and facilitating recovery of medium and small enterprises. In Ekiti state, we are implementing the programme in the three key result areas as follows, increase social transfer and basic services and livelihood support to the poor and vulnerable households. Secondly, increasing food security and safe functioning of food support chain for poor households and thirdly, facilitating recovery and enhancing capabilities of micro and small enterprises.
“I am proud of the successes that EKCSDA has achieved in the past one year, especially in getting the deliverables ready for the implementation of basic services infrastructure for this project. It is highly commendable to note that the agency anchored the operation on the recommended principle of community-driven development. This has been able to support participatory decision-making, local capacity building, and community control of resources. It gives control over planning, decision, and investment resources for local development projects to community groups.” He stated.
Earlier in his remarks, the General Manager of EKCSDA, Mr Yemi Alatise disclosed that the agency had been able to mobilize and facilitate 82 community Development Programmes that cut across all the 16 local government areas of the state with about 30 of the projects completed.
Alatise used the opportunity to solicit for the timely release of funds to the agency to enable it to attend to more communities whose processes have been completed to help reduce the cost of operations during project implementation.
The Alafon of Ilafon Ekiti, Oba Akin Owoeye commended the Governor for his efforts at ensuring that all facets of the state received needed attention to position the state for development.
Also at the event were the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, Secretary to the State Government, Dr Habibat Adubiaro; members of the State Executive Council; traditional rulers of the benefitting communities and top government officials.