Politics

Ekiti: Fayemi walks second term talk

 

 

Fayemi’s impactful  governance in Ekiti

 

 

ADEWUMI ADEMIJU reports on some of the steps taken so far by Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, towards implementing his policy agenda in order to achieve impactful governance in the state

 

 

 

Two years ago, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was inaugurated as governor of Ekiti State for a second term after he defeated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the then deputy governor of the state, Prof. Kolapo Olusola in the July 14, 2018 governorship election in the state.

 

 

Fayemi had at the inception of his second tenure disclosed his determination to transform the state by focusing on four cardinal policies – agriculture and rural development, social investment, infrastructure development and entrenched knowledge economy. He stated that his second coming signifies the “end of an era and end of an error in which Ekiti passed through wilderness in the last four years.”

 

He pledged the commitment of his administration towards prompt payment of salaries/emoluments of workers as and when due just as he promised to complete all abandoned projects of his predecessors in a bid to put an end to the ugly trend of project abandonment in the state.

 

He added that his determination to complete the projects would not debar him from completing projects conceived by his administration within available resources.

 

To achieve these objectives, Fayemi has taken steps to touch all the key areas of life in order to make positive impact on the entire state. In the area of infrastructure, the governor in January 2019 flagged off the construction of four major roads linking seven local government areas of the state.

 

He stated that despite paucity of funds, his determination on accessible dividends of democracy for the benefit of people is undaunted.

 

Flagging off the road construction, Fayemi said: “Permit me to reiterate the resolve of this administration to make all parts of the state accessible by good roads as enshrined under the infrastructure and industrial development pillar of the five cardinal points of this administration.

 

“In our quest to restore Ekiti values, government has continued to pursue lofty goals even in the face of daunting challenges. We are not allowing paucity of funds to deter us in the execution of our programmes”

 

The governor added that the road construction will enhance socio-economic development of the people in the affected towns and improve agric business.

 

Warning the contractors handling the project against substandard job, the governor added that with the concurrence of the Federal Government to extend the current construction being undertaken by the Dangote Group from Obajana-Kabba and now from Kabba-Omuo, Ekiti would enjoy a much shorter and safer journey to the Federal Capital Territory and the Northern part of the country.

 

Monarchs in some of the affected communities – the Onire of Ire Ekiti Oba Victor Bobade and Olomuo of Omuo Ekiti Oba Noah Omonigbehin appreciated the governor for spreading development to other parts of the state.

 

The monarchs added that the development would bridge the barrier within the people of the communities due to bad condition of the roads. Also with the aim of boosting the state’s agricultural, tourism and educational endowment, Fayemi on October 19, 2019, laid the foundation of Ekiti agro allied cargo airport.

 

The governor revealed that the project had the support of the Federal government, African Development Bank (AfDB) and Africa Export Import Bank.

 

The ceremony was jointly performed by the governor and the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika. Fayemi who noted that transportation network is a key driver of economic growth, stated the state would witness speedy economic development because of the construction of the airport and the Lagos-Kano rail line, which he said would pass through Ekiti.

 

The governor explained that he had earlier in his first tenure, set up a committee on the airport project for Ekiti headed by Aare Afe Babalola {SAN} which submitted a comprehensive report in favour of the project. “We have since fine-tuned the outcome of Aare Afe Babalola’s committee report and also cracked the main bone of contention of the airport, which was funding for the project.

 

Having conceptualized the airport as part of our integrated development strategy for Ekiti State, our development partners African Development Bank and the African Export/Import Bank saw both the short term and the long term justification for this airport and decided to support it.

 

We received the letter of approval on May 28, 2019, and the process to kick-start the Ekiti Cargo Airport began immediately. Series of meetings were held and all stakeholders agreed that the construction would facilitate the linkage of our state to global trading places.”

 

 

 

The governor added that the project will enable the state to achieve its desire of making Ekiti a destination for medical tourism considering the intimidating facility available at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti.

 

Sirika, who gave the assurance of Federal Government’s support to the project said: “The Federal Government of Nigeria will partner in this project with support especially the cargo side of it because we believe that with the silos that we have here, with the green land, with the vegetation, with the nature, with the natural geographical of Ekiti, it is a good candidate to produce agricultural products for export.”

 

Afe Babalola, on his part, commended Fayemi for taking a decisive step towards realizing the dreams of the founding fathers of the state by turning the sod for an airport, reviving education and creating a knowledge zone.”

 

Babalola added his university was already aligning with the developmental stride of the Fayemi administration by embarking on an industrial park where no fewer than 124 industries will operate and thus bring more jobs for Ekiti people.

 

Earlier, Fayemi had ordered resumption of work on the 41-yearold abandoned 7.25km New Ado- Iyin road. The road was said to have been originally awarded in 1978 by the then military government but was abandoned.

 

He said the decision to begin work on the road became imperative due to the unsafe nature of the existing Ado- Iyin-Igede-Aramoko road, which has winding and undulating alignment. The governor said the construction of the dual carriage way will have multiplier effects on commuters who use the road for longer journey. The governor said: ”As a government we understand and appreciate the importance of good road network to our economic development.

 

Good road network will not only ease the stress of commuters but will also enhance the marketability of our farm produce which is the mainstay of most of our people. The need for us to constantly rehabilitate old roads and open up new ones cannot be overemphasized,” The governor who also declared open governance, transparency, accountability and citizen”s engagement as his priority, inaugurated a steering committee on Open Government partnership (OGP) in the state.

 

The OGP is an international multi-stakeholders initiative aimed at promoting open governance, citizen’s empowerment, anticorruption war and harnessing new technology to strengthen governance in member states. Fayemi, at the inauguration of the committee, said the OGP initiative tallies with his restoration agenda as specified in the five pillars of his administration.

 

He explained that members of the committee were selected from civil society organizations, professional bodies, youth groups, public service and other interest groups. Lamenting over challenges facing senior citizens in the state as a result of backlog of arrears of pension/gratuity, Fayemi expressed his government’s commitment to make the retirees happy despite paucity of funds.

 

To this end, he distributed cheques worth several millions of naira as gratuities to 52 pensioners as part of efforts to offset gratuities of the retirees. The governor said the desire to ensure all retirees are paid their dues prompted the move by his administration to increase the fund earmarked for the payment from N10 million to N100 million so as to accommodate more beneficiaries.

 

He added that his administration will not fall back on the promises made to Ekiti people, assuring that the offset would be a continuous exercise. To tackle youth unrest and combat crime in the society, Governor Fayemi also inaugurated a youth development committee to bring about youth development and empowerment.

 

The governor stated that his administration is deeply focused on how to tackle the challenges of unemployment and poverty bedeviling youths in the state. “As a government, we believe that they are the future of any nation, hence the need to give them adequate attention under our administration. If youths are empowered, crime rate in the society will drastically reduce.

 

An idle hand is the devil’s workshop, so they say. “As a responsive and responsible government, we deliberately ensure that the youth is equitably represented in this administration by engaging many political office holders who are below the age of 45 years and placing them in key positions.

The step is to promote youth development through activities and experiences that will help them develop socially, ethically, emotionally, physically and with cognitive competencies.”

 

Similarly, in order to prove that his administration is a gender-sensitive government, Fayemi in July 2019 inaugurated the Gender Based Violence Management (GBVM) and State Child Right Implementation Committee (SCRIC). Members of the GBVM committee are the wife of the governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, who serves as the chairperson.

 

The governor stated that the responsibility of the committee is “to enforce laws and fight against the menace of domestic violence in the state.”

 

At the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country late last year, which eventually in March, this year 2020 attracted total lockdown across Nigeria, Governor Fayemi made concerted efforts in line with the universal approach to combat the spread of the deadly disease, ensured strict compliance to the preventive measures as stipulated by the Federal Government.

 

The governor on March 29 imposed an initial 14-day dusk to dawn curfew in the state and knowing fully well the hardship, compliance to the guidelines would bring on the people, Fayemi on April 6, flagged off distribution of the first phase of palliatives for the benefit of 20,000 vulnerable citizens in the state.

 

 

At the flag off in Ado Ekiti, he said: “As part of the measures to protect our people, we shut down the state on March 29 for the initial 14 days with people restricted to their homes …….we are particularly sorry for the hardship this lockdown and restriction has brought to our people, especially the poor ones.’

 

In the same vein, Fayemi on June 1, inaugurated a Covid-19 mobile molecular laboratory to enable testing of 12,000 person monthly. The laboratory was installed at the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) in Ado Ekiti in conjunction with 54 Gene, a company set up to provide genomic data for Africa.

 

The fully equipped Covid-19 laboratory has vital testing instrument and biosafety materials including an autoclave, biosafety cabinet, centrifuge, heating blocks, vortexes, pipettes and a PCR machine. Fayemi at the inauguration stated that “with the installation of the lab, the state now has testing capacity of up to 400 daily and will be done across all 16 local government areas to facilitate early detection of the coronavirus ensuring timely and adequate treatment of victims.”

 

He added that the Covid-19 mobile lab would remain in the state even after the pandemic and would be utilized as a functional molecular laboratory, which could be useful for medical researchers and clinicians within the state in the event of any future outbreak. Fayemi also proved that securing people’s lives and properties is significant to his administration just as his counterparts in the South-West and in order to curtail incessant security challenges bedeviling the people, menace of banditry, kidnapping armed robbery, governors in the South-West zones put heads together to establish a security outfit codenamed Amotekun for protection of peoples’ lives and property in the region.

 

To actualize the outfit in Ekiti state, Fayemi on March 17, in accordance to constitutional procedures, signed into law, the bill for the establishment of Ekiti State Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps. He used the opportunity to sound a serious warning to criminally minded persons to stay away from the state and the entire South-West region.

 

The governor, however, stressed that Amotekun is not an alternative to existing security agencies but to serve as a complimentary agency that would sustain the existing security architecture in the South-West region of the country.

 

He also approved the promulgation of the Anti-Land Grabbing Law with the aim of ensuring peaceful co-existence among the residents. The law, termed: The Property Protection (Anti land Grabbing) Law 2019, was enacted to curb the activities of land grabbers and individuals, who engage in fraudulent sale, resale and forcible occupation of land.

 

 

In the education sector, the state Commissioner for Information, Barr. Akin Omole, who spoke at a press conference on October to herald the activities slated in marking the second year of Fayemi”s administration, stated that the state government has taken strategic steps in an attempt to boost educational development in the state.

 

Part of the steps, according to the commissioner, was the establishment of four model schools in Ado Ekiti metropolis to decongest the public secondary schools. He added that despite paucity of fund, a University of Education, Science and Technology was recently established through the upgrade of the College of Education in Ikere Ekiti to improve learning and to expose people to modern training in education.

 

Omole said: “The University of Education was an agitation by Ikere communities that the college should be upgraded to a university status and Governor Fayemi as a listening governor acceded to the demand. If you check the trend, our people are no longer interested in the NCE programme.

 

The management of the college complained recently that admission for NCE programme was declining annually. The University of Nsukka has a degree programme in the college and there was opinion that there might not be what we called College of Education in five years’ time and that was why we granted that request. Even what we give as subvention to the college monthly has not been easy for the government to dispense. We have mapped out the scope and it will be limited to science, education and technology courses alone”.

 

On the establishment of four model schools, the commissioner said: “After a careful study, we saw that the number of pupils per teacher was higher and we knew that we had to decongest some of these schools for efficiency. If you check very well, the schools were located at the outskirts, so that pupils in those areas can walk a few metres and get to their schools”.

 

At another fora with the theme: “Steady strides, impacting lives, building legacies” held at Conference Hall of the Governor’s office, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, also gave the assurance that the airport project, Oja Oba Market, Civic Centre, Traditional Council Chambers, judiciary complex and other road infrastructure projects of the Fayemi-led administration would be completed before the end of 2021.

 

Oyebanji added that the $20 million approved for the state by the World Bank would be expended in critical sectors of the economy like agriculture, small and medium scale enterprises and social investment in order to create wealth for the populace.

 

“Since we came on board, Ekiti is no longer a laughing stock in the comity of states. We have been able to establish a system in Ekiti on how a 21st century governance should be. We are not beggarly, what we do is to work hard and make a better life and that culture has been restored. Though, the COVID-19 slowed down commissioning of some of the projects that were billed for commissioning this year, we have not abandoned them, they will be taken care of next year,” he said.

 

The SSG said the state’s anti-land grabbing law promulgated to stop land grabbers from prowling across the state will be committedly implemented to protect the land owners, He added that consultations have been done by the Ministry of Justice to sensitize all stakeholders about all that were contained in the Law. On the protest staged by pensioners that the government was planning to deduct 25 per cent of the gratuities, Oyebanji described that as untrue.

 

He said the state was owing N16 billion gratuity arrears when Fayemi came on board, disclosing that there was an internal arrangement by stakeholders, including pensioners with a financial institution to defray the debt with pensioners parting with 15 per cent discount.

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