Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State
Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State
By Ifedayo Sayo
One reoccurring problem that has plagued this nation over the years is the dearth of purposeful leadership that can steer the ship of the nation into the Promised Land. Therefore since the first republic, the nation has been searching for leaders that can really drive development at all levels of government.
In fact many would readily attribute the nation’s underdevelopment to the fact that many leaders that had been foisted on the nation were never prepared for the task they were saddled with and which often resulted in their inability to make any difference in the lives of the citizenry.
Ekiti State, created in October 1996, also is not left out in the search for leaders that can take the state to the Promised Land. For instance, before the coming to power of the present administration, the state has been plagued with the political instability as it has been saddled with eight leaders between 2003 and 2010.
Though, the leaders tried their best in the circumstances they found themselves, they were far away from the aspiration and yearnings of the people. Thus the assumption of power by the Dr Kayode Fayemi administration gave the people the hope of new beginning.
Almost two years and five months into the four-year tenure of the governor, there is no doubt that the people can attest to his performance. While government in its own wisdom will access its performance based on certain indices, the citizens will access the performance of the government based on the impact on their lives.
One unanimous trend in the peoples’ opinion has been that the governor has touched many lives with his welfarist programmes as encapsulated in the Eight-point agenda. Even his harshest critics, particularly the opposition in their criticism would say the governor was merely laying asphalt on major roads in the state forgetting the poor conditions of the road, some of which were almost impassable before the coming to power of the Kayode Fayemi administration.
Chairman of the state branch of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, Prince Tunji Ogunlola said the achievements posted by Governor Fayemi has shut the mouth of the opposition in the state saying the new look of the state capital Ado-Ekiti pointed to the fact that the governor has not just been sitting on the state resources but has demonstrated high sense of integrity and responsibility in managing the affairs of the state.
Ogunlola pointed out that the ambitious road construction in the state not only touches every local government but has turned the state capital into a modern city from the hitherto rural community which could best be described as local government headquarters.
He opined that the road construction which is almost at its peak including the installation of street lights and the ongoing urban renewal programme showed that the state has at last found a committed leader who matches his words with action.
A journalist, Dimeji Daniels while commenting on the achievements of the governor this year said: “Though Kayode Fayemi may not be a schizophrenic blower of his own trumpet like Ayo Fayose, he is definitely a performer and Ekiti people know this.”
He added: “There were governors in Akwa-Ibom before Godswill Akpabio, but Akpabio distinguished himself by converting the state’s resources into beautiful and lasting structures. Lagos State had governors before Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, but these two saw into the future beyond vain entanglements and political‘roforofo’. History has since justified Tinubu and is writing on its un-eraseable slate of nobility and statesmanship the name of Babatunde Fashola. Just like these States, Ekiti had governors before Kayode Fayemi. One or two showed flashes of intelligence, but none can rival Fayemi in purposeful governance rooted in careful considerations and brilliant planning.”
When the present geographical area called Ekiti State was carved out of the then Ondo State, not a few indigenes believed that the state was set on the path of steady development. To many indigenes who celebrated the creation of the state and were ready to celebrate the then military dictator, Gen Sanni Abacha, despite the public outcry against his government, Ekiti in a matter of years would be a model for other states to emulate.
The optimism expressed was informed by the abundant human resources in the state, which any state can rely upon to chart a path of progress. Closely to this is the high level of political awareness which makes it difficult for any leader to fool them as such a leader would readily be shoved aside and given a boot from power.
But almost 16 years after creation, it appears that the optimism expressed is disappearing with complaints from different quarters expressing disappoint with successive rulers over what they termed poor performance.
This was the true situation of things when the present occupier of Oke Bareke (Ekiti state government house), Dr Kayode Fayemi assumed power. His ascension to power was celebrated throughout the state. People rolled out the drums and beer joints were filled to the brim as people saw him as the much needed messiah.
Fayemi had armed himself with an Eight-point agenda with which to turn around the fortunes of the state within a short term only to discover to his chagrin that bottlenecks were already in place to scuttle his vision for the state. Not only was the state swimming in the ocean of mounting debt, but there were challenges also from poor foundation in place which any serious government must destroy and lay solid one for development to take place.
The poor foundation appeared not only in the form of non-existing development policy as to the development of the state but most infrastructural facilities which the people had celebrated in the past were mere window dressing done to hoodwink the people.
Coupled with this is the lack of patience on the part of the people who see the governor as a miracle worker that must turn around the situation of things within a very short time. Also there were those who believed that the governor should open the treasury and be throwing money about in a bid to enslave the people rather than living behind a good legacy.
This is the true position of things as the governor went about putting in place different policies targeted at guiding the development of the state as opposed to the uncoordinated development which has not really brought about the much-needed development.
The Eight-point agenda has been the guiding light for the silent transformation of the state. The Eight-point agenda which is all embracing touches on good governance, infrastructural development, modernising agriculture, education and human capital development, health care services, industrial development, tourism and gender equality and empowerment.
One area which the governor has recorded tremendous success is in the implementation of his Social Security Scheme for the indigent elders. At present about 20,000 elders above the age of 65 years is current earning a stipend of N5, 000 monthly.
The scheme, which is the first of its kind in the country, has brought so much succour to the elders in the state who can barely afford a meal per day and has given them a new lease of life. It is usually celebration time whenever the elders file out every month to be paid at different locations close to their homes. They sing and dance to the admiration of people around.
It is in appreciation of this scheme that the Leadership Newspaper, last year, gave the award of the Best Governor of the Year to Dr Fayemi. While presenting the award, an elder statesman, Alhaji Maitama Sule had noted that the governor stood out among his peers because of his vision and sense of purpose in the administration of the state.
He said: “At a time like this, we need leaders not looters, leaders, not rulers. We need leaders with the fear of God; those who will not lie; leaders who will accept what they can accept in private; leaders who are not corrupt; leaders who will not steal; leaders who look in the eyes of the common man with compassion and not eye of the privileged few. May I congratulate you on behalf of the nation because the nation needs leaders like you.”
One area for which the governor is also celebrated is the infrastructural development of the state. Hitherto, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital could ordinarily be passed for a headquarters of local council. But the Urban Renewal Programme embarked upon by the Fayemi administration has changed the face of Ado-Ekiti.
Not only has the hitherto poorly constructed dual carriage way been redesigned with good drainages and a better road median to add aesthetic value to the beautification of the town, streetlights are being installed and test-run to enable residents enjoy night life, which before now was not existing.
The government also awarded contracts for the dualisation of other roads in the state capital. They are Old Garage – Ojumose and Okeyinmi – Atikankan to ease traffic on the major roads in the town. These new roads are now nearing completion.
Besides, the major roads, inner roads in the state capital have received the attention of the governor. They are Mobil – Irona; Ben Folarin – Isato – Oke Ori Omi; Old Governor’s Office – Okesa Round About; Oke Ori Omi – Aremu; Ola Oluwa – Omisanjana; Oke Ila – Idolofin; Stadium – Dallimore; Okeyinmi –st Andrews – Oke Ila; Okesa – Stadium – Oremeji junction; Adebayo – Olora – housing Junction; Basiri – Nova; Ile Abiye- GRA – Onigari; Egbewa – NTA Junction; Adekaitan- Ilawe – Spotless Junction; Mugbagba- Odo Ado. Some of these inner roads have been completed while the rest are at different stages of completion
Beyond the state capital, roads across the six local governments have been touched by the state government. Some of the completed road projects are Ado-Afao; Ado- Ilawe; Awo-Iyin; Efon-Ipole Iloro-Ikogosi; Fajuyi- Teaching Hospital Road; Erijiyan-Ilawe; Itawure-Okemesi; Ewu Bridge; Ijigbo-Isato; Ilawe-Igbaraodo-ibuji; Odo-Owa-Okela; Otun-Osun-Iloro.
Ongoing roads are Ado-Ikere; Aramoko-Ijero-Ido; Ado-Iworoko Dual Carriage Way; Ero Bridge; Ido Ile-Okemesi junction; Igede-Awo-Osi-Ido; Ijan-Ise; Ijero-Ipoti-Ayetoro; Ikere-Igbaraodo; Ikole-Ijesa Isu-Ilumoba; Ilawe-Ikere; Ilemeso-omu; Irele-Ponyan; Itapaji-Iyemero Bridge; Otun-Erimope Bridge; Otun-Ora Boundary; Oye- Aree; Oye-ikun-Otun; Ilukuno-Ipotiamong others.
In the area of Tourism, the Fayemi administration has equally excelled. For instance, the ongoing redevelopment of the Ikogosi Warm Spring and Resort to international standard has been lauded from within and outside the state. The hitherto abandoned tourist centre has been neglected by successive administrations in the state before the assumption of power by the Fayemi administration.
Last December, the tourist centre, which is in the first phase of its development received unprecedented crowd of tourists who appreciated the good work done by the government. Though, the warm spring is presently closed to enable the contractor complete its work, the job being done under the phase 1, includes provision of standard, executives suites and VIP villas accommodation facilities, 300-seat multi-purpose conference hall, 60- seat meeting and function rooms, 30- seat meeting room, shopping mall/variety building fitness and businesscentre. There are also standard rooms for students/excursions and campers, reception multi-purpose buildings.
Other facilities are McGee chapel/multi purpose hall, warm water multi-purpose swimming pool, children pool and water features, restaurant/bar, children’s play ground, art and craft centre, warehouse welcome centre, 300-seat open-air amphitheatre, tourism village, laundry for local, Western and international attires, perimeter fencing with safety and security systems, security equipment, administrative buildings for resort managers, 350 car parking facility, external landscape beautification.
It is hoped that at the end of this month, when the first phase of redevelopment would have been completed, the tourist centre would ranked among the best in Africa with the engagement of experienced brand expertise in the management of resorts, hotels, lodges and pristine environment.
Education sector has not been left out by the governor in his bid to transform the state. Not only is the government implementing free education in all primary and public schools, it embarked on the ambitious renovation of public school building across the state. Under the first phase of the programme tagged Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE), 100 public schools benefitted. The second phase of the programme is ongoing.
The success of the programme was lauded by various communities and old students association of the benefitting schools. Among those who lauded the programme is the Old Students Association of Olaoluwa Grammar School, who noted that the programme has transformed the school environment to a beautiful setting. It also constructed 330 classrooms and renovated 436 classrooms in junior secondary and primary schools across the state.
The government also introduced Information Communication Technology (ICT) to students in public secondary schools through the One Laptop Per Student initiative. About 17,512 laptops are to be distributed under the first phase of the programme. The government has distributed 18,000 laptops to teachers in public schools in the state.
On health, the government recorded a lot of successes by being the first to commence the implementation of a new salary scheme for health workers. It approved the payment of CONMESS/CONHESS while it designated 34 primary health centres for the implementation of its free health programme across the state. The governor, recently commissioned N400 million worth of equipment, which was distributed to all the primary health centres to ensure that its free health programme is on course.
To improve tertiary health care delivery through the provision of infrastructure at the Ekiti State Teaching hospital, it completed a new accident and emergency wing, purchase medical equipment and teaching aids for the new accident and emergency wing at a cost of N200 million.
This is in addition to the creation of the state Health Data Bank and the provision of 34 motorcycles to facilitate state-wide collection and collation health data.
The Fayemi administration also created a health mission programme to bring healthcare delivery to the doorstep of all citizens. The mission, which consists of medical personnel moves round the local government and attends to the health needs of the people free. Those whose health challenges could not be attended to immediately are referred to the teaching hospital to be treated at the state government expense.
As at the last count, no fewer than 500,000 patients have been attended to by the health mission. The ailment attended to ranges from malaria to diabetes, hypertension and critical diseases, which medical cost were beyond the reach of average citizens.
Agricultural sector equally received the attention of the governor with the twin purpose of increased food production and employment generation. Apart from assisting over 15,000 farmers with the provision of agro-chemicals and fertilizers, 150 unemployed youths selected from the 16 councils of the state were trained and empowered through the state’s Youth Commercial Agriculture Development programme which focused on the production of rice, cassava, cocoa and oil palm.
The administration established a high cassava flour processing factory in Orin Ekiti with the introduction of mobile processing units across the state through the Dutch Agricultural Development and Training Company with the state government holding 15% equity.
It refurbished the Orin E kiti cassava processing plant and upgraded the plant output from 10 tonnes to 60 tonnes per day under a private public partnership with Vegetfresh Agro-Allied Company. This is in addition to being the first state to embrace the cassava bread initiative of the federal government.
In the area of industrial development, the Fayemi administration established the Fountain Solid Minerals Development Company which commenced mining activities in Itawure, Ijero and Orin-Ekiti. It has also commenced exploration of Kaolin in Isan Ekiti.
Besides, the Fayemi administration transformed the ailing Odua Textiles premises to Odua Skills Acquisition Centre and resuscitates the 50,000 tonne per year Ire Burnt Brick Factory in Ire-Ekiti.
No doubt, the governor in the last two years has made an impact on the lives of the citizenry which accounted for his celebration by the citizens, particularly his party members who have been adopting him as their candidate for the 2014 governorship election in the state.
This article was first published in The Daily Independent