BY RAYMOND BENSON (UMUAHIA)

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has committed the sum of N147M counterpart fund to the Edo Livilihood Improvement Family Enterprises, Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, a Project sponsored by International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD.

The fund which is a major requirement by IFAD for the continued job creation and sustainable food security through agribusiness for youth and rural women in the state, is to cover the period of three years, spanning from 2022 – 2024.

This major development was revealed in Port Harcourt at the harmonization session of six IFAD-sponsored states report harmonization session, in preparation for fourth Joint IFAD, Federal Government and States’ Supervision Mission billed to commence next month.

Addressing the staff at the session, the National Project Coordinator, Engr, Dr Sanni Abiodun, enjoined the state participants to eschew divisive intentions, rather, to build a synergy of teamwork for collective success of the Project, noting that the failure of any state is the collective failure of all.

Dr Abiodun commended the staff for exhibiting the right attitude during the sessions and advised the State Project Coordinators to include the staff, whom he termed, as the Project’s foot soldiers, in their various welfare packages.

Speaking to journalists at the session, the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Ain Gbinigie, Ph.D, thanked the Edo State government for the demonstration of absolute commitment to the payment of counterpart fund, a key alley to empowering rural youth and women in agribusiness enterprises – a sure route to job creation and sustainable food security in Niger Delta region.

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Dr Gbinigie who tagged the governor’s gesture as “unprecedented” called on other state governors to emulate the example of Edo State government in responding to the payment of counterpart fund which is one of the major sources of alleviating poverty in the rural areas.

“I must confess, “Edo State has demonstrated that commitment a couple of weeks ago when they paid three additional years to one year they paid earlier. So, this is unprecedented. Apart from this state, no other governor has even paid two years since the last five years,, even the Cross River government has not even paid a dime”, he revealed.

Dr Gbinigie appealed to other state governors to see the payment as a priority in state budgets.

He equally commended the States’ Monitoring and Evaluation Officers and Knowledge Management and Communication Officers for their remarkable improvement, not only on the articulation of individual state reports, but also on the provision of pieces of evidence to justify all the activities in the field, for the past five years.

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“I’m impressed by the submission of the states because, there is great improvement. They’re based on outcome results and impacts. What they used to submit before, compared to what they’ve submitted now; it shows that they’ve gotten a better grasp of it”, he said.

Commenting on the counterpart fund, the Edo LIFE-ND Project State Coordinator, Mr John Omoruyi, thanked his State Governor, Mr. Obaseki , for practically putting food on the table of Edo people, especially in this economic hard times, revealing that Edo LIFE-ND has exceeded the set target for job creation in the selected communities of the state.

“Because of the job situation now, the Project needs to be sustained, and the governor has done it. I thank him for giving hope to hopeless”, he concluded”

The Bayelsa State Knowledge Management and Communication Officer, Mr Diweri Akah, who commended the achievements of the session lauded the ability of the M&E Coordinator, Dr. Gbinigie in creating a seamless condition for the remarkable successes during various sessions.

One of the highpoints of the session was the presentation of gift by the M&E Officers to Dr Gbinigie, to mark his fatherly role in the Project – a presentation that coincided with the Fathers’ Day celebration.

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