Opinion

JKF: Bowing out in a blaze of glory

Please permit me to quote from the book, “Swimming Against the tide: The Kayode Fayemi Administration in Ekiti State- 2010-2014”

“It is often conceived that scholarship, activism and politics belong to separate realms and that the three spheres are occupied by people of different candour and temperament. The puzzle is further reinforced by the reality that only few have ever traversed the three spheres in history.

In the first instance, most widely recognised scholars are seldom politicians; and most big time politicians are not necessarily scholars. Similarly, most activists are seldom successful politicians; and the majority of popular politicians are rarely activists. Little wonder, it is rare to have a convergence of the three distinctive special characters in one person.

This is where the personality of Kayode Fayemi comes in. He is a scholar in governance, peace, conflict and security studies; a major player in civil society activism in the country and a state governor and former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He therefore belongs in the league of occupiers of the three realms of scholarship, activism and politics. And in the three spheres, he is an active participant and key player.” ( Olaniyan & Rotimi, 2020)

 

Dear Dr. Fayemi,

When you assumed office in 2010 after a horrendous 42 months of legal battle, you met a dilapidated state in terms of infrastructure but you went to work immediately. Despite the paucity of funds, you implemented your eight-point agenda religiously by touching all the 132 communities such that they all had a project. You constructed many roads totaling 952kms including five km per LGA projects.

You brought Free Education. You brought free healthcare. You Transformed Ekiti State University, (EKSUTH) and then College of Education now BOUSETI, School of Nursing and College of Health Technology, Ijero. You renovated Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES)

You brought Ilera Laafin. You brought Free Health Mission, You bought Brand new cars for all traditional rulers, You provided funds to assist communities in renovation of palaces and construction civic centres. You brought Owo arugbo You brought Conditional Cash Transfer

You Established the Ekiti State Traffic Management Agency EKSTMA ( Da green). You renovated all schools.

You renovated all of hospitals. You established the Youth in Commercial Agriculture Development. You established the Funmi Aduni Olayinka Cancer Research and Wellness Centre

You renovated Ikogosi Warm Springs. You resuscitated Ire burnt bricks. You resuscitated the Road Materials and Aggregate Company (ROMACO). You built Ekitiparapo Pavillon

You built the New government House at Oke Ayoba

You introduced The Oodua/ Ekiti Enterprise and Skill Acquisition Development Programme

You improved water supply by building mini dams and rehabilitating major dams

Despite the above, you lost election in 2014 in controversial circumstances but you became a Minister of the Federal Republic in 2015 after you conducted a transparent and acceptable presidential Primaries that produced President Muhammadu Buhari. As Minister, you turned around the fortunes of the Mining sector which grew quarter on quarter under your watch.

 

You came back in 2018 and met yet another era of decayed infrastructure. You put your goodwill in use and got International donors to support. You brought many of them back including banks that left the State during the years of the locust. In fact you have added a

new bank that has not operated in Ekiti before now.

You completed abandoned projects like Oja Oba market complex, Civic Centre and you resuscitated state assets like Ikogosi warm springs, Gossy water and Oba Adejugbe general hospital.

You restored electricity to Ikogosi, Ipole Iloro and Erijiyan, communities that have been in darkness for over three years before you assumed duty in 2018; built an International Cargo Airport about to be commissioned and constructed 136km of roads; rehabilitated hospitals; renovated schools; built four models secondary schools and three smart model colleges in each senatorial district

You established the Polytechnic Isan; established the knowledge zone; resuscitated Ikun Dairy Farm; built a resort and relaxation centre for our elders and also a referral centre for victims of abuse and built a transit centre of succour for victims of domestic violence

You reformed the civil state service and despite dwindling resources and bad state of the state finances coupled with the scary COVID-19 pandemic, you have not owed workers’ salaries in four years even when some oil producing states owe.

You brought government closer to the grassroots by creating LCDAs during your tenures and you have conducted election twice in the LGAs and LCDAS so that government at the grassroots would be run democratically.

The House of Assembly collaborated well in passing many executive bills that have protected our women and girl child and improved lives of Ekiti people. We thank your wife Erelu Fayemi in pushing for many of these bills. We love her and history will be kind to her. The House of Assembly today is the most peaceful in the history of the state, thanks to your leadership style. No doubt, even your adversaries will agree that you have left Ekiti better than you met it prior 2010 and 2018.

For those who don’t know where you are coming from a brief explanation of your person is necessary. You are such a wonderful human being; an enigma, widely travelled, quick witted, large hearted with a forgiving spirit, devoid of self-conceitedness, kind, patient with a suave calmness of a combat soldier.

You have the faculty of understanding human beings at first sight, yet you don’t take anybody for granted. You’re always in your best elements in a period crisis. Even when you’re not sure of outcomes, you never betrayed any emotions. No human being is perfect and like all mortals, you have your own weaknesses and you are not infallible yet, you’re one of those rare human beings who would never willingly do wrong. You’re an Omoluabi per excellence with a clear understanding of what honour is. In fact, associating with you is enough Education.

You are specially and wonderfully made such that anywhere you go, that aura of anointing and nobility always radiate around you as witnessed in your emergence as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors forum and recently President of all Governors in Africa.

You’re the first Ekiti Governor to become a Minister of the Federal Republic after serving out his tenure; first Ekiti Governor to serve two full terms; first Ekiti Governor to hand over to a successor from the same party; first Ekiti Governor to become Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and first Nigerian Governor to become President of all Governors in Africa.

As you bow out in few days’ time, I seek protection for you through the book of Isiah 41: 10:

“Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

I am aware you have many national and international assignments beckoning please don’t forget Ekiti and don’t leave your successor, Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji whom you have groomed to take over the mantle. We pray he succeeds and surpasses your achievements.

As you go in a blaze of glory, we are proud of you and we love you. You have no doubt finished well. You have restored our values and reclaimed our land. We are now proud of our Ekiti heritage of honor, hard work and honesty.

Goodbye, a leader of men. Goodbye, our mentor. Goodbye, a manager of men and resources

Goodbye, a fisher of talents. Goodbye, a builder of men. Good bye, JKF, Oni Uyi, Oni Eye. Long live Ekiti State. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria

 

Being the text of tribute to Governor Kayode Fayemi by Ekiti State Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Hakeem Jamiu on the occasion of Fayemi’s valedictory service at the Ekiti State House of Assembly recently.

 

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