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Sanwo-Olu’s game changing Ounje Eko

By Remi Adelowo

In Lagos, Nigeria’s undisputed Centre of Excellence, good governance and the welfare of the people have, over the years, become a trademark of successive administrations. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is taking the high standard of public administration several notches up the ladder, thanks to his legion of policies, programmes and life impacting projects he has delivered since he took over the reins of the state in 2019.

The focus here is the novel Ounje Eko initiative, arguably the first-of-its-kind in the country. It is a food programme specially designed to mitigate the hardship being faced in the land, a development occasioned by the economic reforms embarked upon by the Federal Government, forcing prices of goods and services, particularly food items to hit the rooftop.  

As a caring and welfarist administration, the Lagos State government put together specialised markets across the state to sell food items at highly subsidised rates. The markets are expected to run for five Sundays consecutively. Located in the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, the interventionist measure is already achieving its desired objective of providing succour to Lagosians groaning under the exploitative tendencies of traders at the conventional markets.

Expectedly, Lagos residents have embraced the initiative with open arms. For two consecutive Sundays, they have thronged the markets, making purchases of staple food items, including rice, eggs and beans, to mention but a few.

At the kick-off of the programme, initial hiccups were recorded at some of the markets. At the Diary Secondary School in Agege, the market did not open at the scheduled 11 am kick-off time. Same scenario played out at the Ojokoro Junior Secondary School, one of the food markets in Ifako/Ijaye local government area.

It was, however, a smooth exercise at the Ojodu Grammar School, one of the Ounje Eko markets in Ikeja LGA. State government officials, including the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, were availableto conduct an on-the-spot assessment.

The teething challenges in the maiden edition of the initiative was an eye-opener of sorts for the state government to correct the anomalies of the first edition. Thanks to massive enlightenment by the state government, the initiative has become the talk-of-the-town among Lagosians, desirous of taking its full advantage.

Many residents attest to the ingenuity of the programme and showered encomiums on Governor Sanwo-Olu. For Mrs. Modupe Oginni, a resident at the Abule Egba area, her shopping experience at the Ojokoro High School, though stressful because of the long queue, was worth her while. “I got to Ojokoro High School at 11 am and got attended to at about 1pm. That wasn’t easy for me, but I managed to buy what I needed. I would urge the state government to organise it like the conventional markets that we are used to, where you just walk in, walk up to any stall and buy what you need rather than queueing for long hours. But in all, I commend the governor for putting this together”, she narrated.

On her part, Mr. Taiwo Ojuade, who accompanied his wife to the Dairy Secondary School in Agege, he appealed to the state government to extend the timeline of the initiative beyond the planned six weeks. Doing this, according to him, would further push down the prices of food items, as it is already been reported across the state and the country.

The weeks ahead in the Ounje Eko initiative surely promise to be more fulfilling for the residents of the state.

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