Being remarks by His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, at the Commissioning of Methodist High School, STEP (Start Them Early Programme) on Friday, May 28, 2021
I remember the first time I heard about STEP. I was excited about having such a programme in Oyo State. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) funded the first project at Fasola Grammar School, Fashola. When we went there and saw things for ourselves, I needed no further convincing that this is something we need in our schools.
And so, we decided to install STEP in other schools in all zones of Oyo State. Today, STEP is running in Bishop Phillips Academy, Ibadan and Methodist High School, Ibadan. While things are in top gear at Christ High School, Oleyo, Adegun Asake Grammar School, Igangan, Iresaadu High School, Iresaadu and UMCA Secondary Grammar School, Igbeti.
So, I am delighted to be here today at Methodist High School to formally commission the Start Them Early Programme in this school. It is exciting what these kids can accomplish once you give them an opportunity. This is why in Oyo State, we remain committed to providing access to education.
One of the things this project has taught us is the importance of synergy at all levels. This project is alive today because we chose to work with the IITA, a development agency, on this project. And I must pause to give a hat tip to Dr Saginga Nteranya, the Director-General of the IITA, for choosing Oyo State to launch this project in Nigeria. Thank you.
Aside from the good work that comes out of working with Development Partners, I must mention the good results of inter-agency partnerships. STEP is an Agribusiness project, but it runs in a school that is domiciled in the Ministry of Education. If this project is to continue, it would require further partnerships. For me, this is the future. Government agencies cannot continue to run in silos. We must choose an integrated approach to governance, which is exactly what we are doing in Oyo State.
So, with STEP, we are creating a new generation of agropreneurs. One of the big issues affecting agriculture in Nigeria is that our farmers are getting old. If we do not address the issue of getting younger people into agriculture, we will run into food security challenges in the nearest future. So this is our way of addressing this challenge. When you listen to these young ones speak passionately about the things they are learning about agribusiness and how it affects their thinking, we know that extending this programme to more schools was the right decision.
Let me also use this opportunity to say that we will be extending this programme to six more schools in Oyo State in the coming year.
On this note, I hereby pronounce, the Methodist High School Start Them Early Programme commissioned to the Glory of God and the for benefit of the good people of Oyo State.
~ Governor Seyi Makinde, May 28, 2021