By Femi Adepoju
“This is part of planning , Mimiko has taken us back to the Awolowo school of leadership, that leadership is not by permutation but good planning for the welfare of the people” .
That was how Human Right activist, Yinka Odumakin summarized the now popular initiative of the Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, the Residency card ,at the flag off ceremony of its Utilization phase recently.
On his part, former Statistician General of the Federation, Prof. Doyin Akinyosoye recommended the adoption of the Ondo State Residency Card initiative otherwise known as Kaadi Igbeayo to the National Economic Council (NEC) for effective planning purposes in Nigeria.
He said the card which captures the data of each resident, if adopted nationally, will no doubt be useful as a platform for effective planning for the citizens to ensure equitable share of the nation’s wealth consequently enhance overall development in the country.
Perhaps, the usefulness of the multi purpose smart card was better exposed to the audience at the launch by the Resident Electoral Commissioner to the State, Mr Segun Agbaje who represented the Independent National Electoral Commission boss Amina Zakari who promised to recommend the scheme to the electoral body.
According to him, the scheme would be recommended to the Federal Government for adoption by the electoral body since the card would enable the owner vote in any part of the country irrespective of place of resident without the risk of duplication of votes.
He said he was fascinated by the fact that the activities of the owner of the card inputted on it will automatically be detected if presented for verification in any other part of the state other than where the initial activity took place.
He added that if adopted by INEC, voters can vote at any part of the country irrespective of where he or she resides.
Chairman of Globalcom, Mike Adenuga Jnr, said a number of state have tried to adopt the smart card initiative of the Ondo state government but have not succeeded. Represented at the event by Mr Olushola Ajayi, the Globalcom Chairman said “we are part of the project because we are part of the Abiye project which has been used to successfully demonstrate the workability of the Residency card.” He thus implored other states to emulate Ondo and adopt the initiative.
Describing Dr Olusegun Mimiko, as a trail blazer, the Secretary of the Yoruba delegates to the National Confab, Dr. Kunle Olajide, who noted that no state can succeed without proper planning for its people maintained that the Kaadi Igbeayo project is key in that regard and described the introduction of the scheme as history making process.
“This is history making process. It is a clear planning process, you are a trail blazer in the country, you have made Yorubas proud, other states should come and learn from you. I am proud to be part of this” he submitted.
If the disclosure of Dr Mimiko concerning the initiative coming into being is anything to go by, the Smartcard idea came as a result of his deep thought on how to make the difference in governance and give the people value for their mandate.
Speaking at the launch, Mimiko said ” you would recall that at the inception of this Administration in 2009, a 12- point programme tagged ‘A CARING HEART’ was rolled out as a guiding paradigm of our people-oriented administration. This underlying philosophy formed the platform for our mission “to mobilize the people of Ondo State to harness all God-given resources, create and use wealth for the collective fulfilment, individual happiness, and peaceful co-habitation in an environment of transparent and honest leadership’’.
As a means of transmuting this mission into reality therefore, Governor Mimiko said the government announced the introduction of a Residency Card Project tagged ‘Kaadi Igbe-Ayo’ to facilitate the identification of all residents of Ondo State so as to deliver to them directly, the inherent social and welfare programmes contained in the 12 – point programme.
Declaring that the card will be the only prerequisite for all residents of the state to access government facilities, Mimiko listed some of the government facilities to include Abiye Safe Motherhood programme, to the micro-credit and economic empowerment, highly-subsidized agric input and supplies, Free Education and others.
He explained that Kaadi Igbe Ayo will not just be a new lexicon in the vocabulary but an integral part of life in the Sunshine state.
“Kaadi Igbe-Ayo is a state-wide, dynamic, chip-based multipurpose transaction card that contains the Basic Bio Data as well as Socio-economic data of holders and the State welfare package Solutions and Applications.
“It is a smartcard that serves as an interface between the State Government and all residents. It is the instrument of access to all democratic dividends of the present administration”. Mimiko submitted.
He urged the people of the state to ensure prompt payment of their tax in order to help the government in executing and maintains some of the projects and social facilities.
Following the successful take off of the scheme, government has embarked on its full implementation with initial focus on the health sector.
The choice of the sector for the enforcement may not be farfetched considering the discovery that over 70% of beneficiaries of the state’s free healthcare are non-residents.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju during a monitoring exercise to health facilities in the capital city, Akure, as part of the measures to ensure the usage of the smart card warned that any pregnant woman who does not have her Residency card may not have access to free healthcare programme of the state as government was determined to ensure that the multitude that flock the state from other states to enjoy its health services pay for the services.
According to him, the essence of the visit was to ensure that people complied with the directive that everybody in the state should have ‘kaadi Igbeayo’.
Dr. Adeyanju revealed that anybody without the card would pay a token to the coffers of government, noting that over 70% of people that access the health facilities are from other states.
The commissioner, charged individuals to ensure they registered for the card, expressing optimism that this would enable government have accurate data and information.
The health Commissioner later advised those who had earlier registered in some health facilities to get their cards there, even as government informed that Data civic centres are now available in all LGs in the state to make the card available.