On Tuesday, 4th of November, 2014 at the Office of the Governor of Ogun State, the Executive Director of KIND, Mrs. Amy Oyekunle and the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, H.E. Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, signed the Japanese Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) for the construction of a Block of 6 Classrooms with 4 Toilets, Provision of 138 sets of desks and chairs for the students, and 7 tables and 8 chairs for the teachers.
The project which would be undertaken at Imoro Community Nursery/Primary School in Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State, was a GGP grant which KIND applied for in February and out of 200 proposals across Nigeria, KINDs proposal was selected in July. In the words of the Executive Director of KIND, “we are extremely excited about the prospect of working with the embassy of Japan and the opportunity of further strengthening our existing relationship with the Ogun State government, Office of the Special Adviser on MDGs, Sagamu LG and other bodies involved.”
This event had in attendance the Governor of Ogun State, H.E. Senator Ibikunle Amosun, ably represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunde, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, The Commissioner of Education of Ogun State, Barr. Segun Odubela, The Special Adviser to the Governor of Ogun State on MDG, Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, The Executive Director of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Mrs. Amy Oyekunle, The Vice Chairman of Sagamu LG, amongst others.
SPEECH OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF KIND AT THE CONTRACT SIGNING EVENT
“Good Afternoon, Your Excellency, The Governor of Ogun State Senator Ibikunle Amosun, H.E. Ambassador Ryuichi Shoji, the Ambassador of Japan and representatives from the Japanese embassy, gentlemen of the Press, permit me to stand on existing protocol.
On behalf of the board and staff of KIND, I welcome and thank you for making time to attend this contract signing ceremony between the Embassy of Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP) and the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) for the construction of a 6 – Block Classroom/toilets for the Imoro-Ogijo Community Nursery and Primary School located in Sagamu LG in Ogun State.
KIND applied for the GGP grant in late February and out of 200 proposals across Nigeria, our proposal for the construction of 6 blocks of classroom in Imoro Community Nursery/Primary School in Sagamu LGA of Ogun State was selected in July. We are extremely excited about the prospect of working with the embassy of Japan and the opportunity to further strengthening our relationship with the Ogun State government, Office of the Special Adviser on MDG’s, Sagamu LG and other bodies involved.
We have had a long and fruitful relationship with Ogun State as a whole and Sagamu in particular. In 2012, Sagamu was one of the 8 local government areas selected to work with on the “Bridging the gap between government and citizens empowerment through engagement” a project funded by the social development civil society fund of the World Bank and Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA). Through this project, KIND trained local government personnel on community engagement and social accountability and facilitated platforms of engagement for community members and local government.
KIND also worked extensively with youths of Ogun State on Youth Entrepreneurship and Leadership programme called YouthTrade – an initiative to complement the efforts of government to address youth unemployment and create sustainable jobs. Our work has allowed us to become intimately conversant on the needs of the community thus prompting our submission of a proposal for grants assistance for grassroots human security project (GGP) to the Embassy of Japan.
We are convinced that this, like our other projects will strengthen individuals, organizations, communities and eventually our thriving democracy.
We thank the Embassy of Japan and the Ogun State Governor for this opportunity.”
SPEECH OF H.E. MR. RYUICHI SHOJI, AMBASSADOR OF JAPAN TO NIGERIA AT THE CONTRACT SIGNING EVENT
“Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Founder of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy and Special Adviser on MDGs to the Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Amy Oyekunle, Executive Director of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Representatives of the Ogun State Government, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I am most grateful to all of you for attending today’s signing ceremony. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to His Excellency Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Executive Governor of the State, for being here with us to witness this auspicious occasion.
Today, we are having the signing ceremony for “The Project for the Construction of Local Government Education Authority Imoro Community Nursery/Primary School in Sagamu Local Government Area in Ogun State”. The project is designed in response to the request from Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, which was founded by Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Special Adviser to the Ogun State Governor. At the Imoro Community Nursery/Primary School, pupils are studying in congested classrooms with many in classrooms which are still under construction. Through the project, 1 block of 6 classrooms and 4 toilets, 138 sets of chairs and tables for the pupils, 7 tables and 8 chairs for teachers will be provided.
Ladies and Gentlemen, each time I visit Ogun State I feel the state moving forward. The dynamism which is transforming Nigeria is tangible here. Given the current economic situation in Nigeria, we believe that growth led by the private sector should be given the driving seat in Nigeria’s economic development. Mindful of this, the Federal Government, States and Japan as development partner, are collaborating their efforts to improve the hard and soft infrastructure and create a better environment for the business sector.
With regards to creating a business friendly environment, Ogun State is a case in point, as attested to by the recent ‘Doing Business in Nigeria’ report, prepared by the World Bank. Yes, growth is important, but growth should be inclusive. Everybody is to be made to participate in and benefit from growth. That’s why we need to make extra efforts to provide decent opportunities for children, boys and girls, to be able to fully explore their potentials.
I happily take note that the Ogun State Government has been serious in providing better education for children. One of the notable policies set by Ogun State, as I understand, is “Affordable Qualitative Education” which includes promoting free education, improving the quality of teachers, renovating dilapidated classrooms and constructing new classrooms blocks. The policy is in line with a legacy of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who struggled to receive education in his childhood due to financial problems. Chief Awolow’s legacy coincides with the belief we Japanese hold. Whe Japan opened up its doors to the Western world, one of the first things it did was to ensure that every boy and girl was going to school. These efforts should be sustained and accelerated in Nigeria. I believe that the project we are going to sign will be a modest but important contribution to support what the Ogun State Government is doing in this regards.
I am convinced that the project will put a big smile on the faces of boys and girls, who in the future will certainly be important contributors to the nation building.”