Fayemi: One year in the saddle in Ekiti

Dr Kayode Fayemi, this week, marks one year in office on his second coming as the governor of Ekiti State. ‘YOMI AYELESO writes on the efforts made so far in repositioning the state for greatness in the last 12 months and the projections of the administration for the next 36 months.

 

Right from the day he declared his ambition, through the processes that led to his emergence as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives (APC) and his eventually declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi labeled his second coming as “Reclaiming our land, Restoring our values”.

Fayemi, who lost his re-election bid to Mr Ayodele Fayose in 2014, bounced back, four years later, to defeat Fayose’s annointed candidate, Professor Kolapo Olusola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the July 14, 2018 governorship poll. He polled 197,457 votes, while Olusola garnered 178,121 votes.

Delivering his inaugural address on October 16,2018 at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion after being sworn in, Fayemi revealed that his second coming would be for righting the wrongs of the previous administration, which he described as an error on the state. He encouraged people of the state never to allow the baton of leadership fell on individuals who have no knowledge about governance.

He disclosed that his administration would place more priority on workers’ welfare, provision of enabling environment for investment to thrive, empowerment of youths for self reliance and the provision of adequate security, among others.

Specifically, the governor noted that he would categorised his plans and vision for the state on four areas namely, social investments; knowledge economy; infrastructure and industrial development; and agriculture and rural development. Through these four pillars, he assured of fulfilling his promises to the people.

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He had further said; “My vision for our great state is that this is a place where people can thrive and live their lives in dignity; a place where workers do not labour in vain. A place where our young people do not roam the streets looking for jobs that are not there; a place where people are not so hungry they resort to pilfering food to survive; a place where the cycle of generational poverty can be broken and in which our elderly can reap the fruits of their labours over their children; a place where people are safe, healthy and prosperous.

“Never again should we give up free and qualitative education for herculean fees and taxes levied on our school children. Never again should we give up free healthcare and functional hospitals for a total neglect of the health sector. Never again should we give up integrated infrastructure development for bridges that lead nowhere. Never again should we give up a burgeoning tourism sector and a revitalised Ikogosi for decrepit structures now overrun by reptiles. Never again should we give up the peace and unity of our state for increased crime rates and general insecurity.

“Never again should we give up transparent and accountable governance, with the requisite checks and balances of independent judicial and legislative arms of government, for draconian one-man shows. Never again should we give up our reputation as a honourable and knowledgeable people, to be known as apostles of stomach infrastructure. Never again shall we sacrifice prompt payment of salaries for indulgence in pursuance of projects of minimal benefit to the people.”

Few weeks at the helm of affairs , the governor through Executive orders, scrapped the payment of levies by pupils in primary and secondary schools across the 16 local government areas of the state, declaring free education in both categories of learning. The decision is now boosting school enrolment and reducing number of out-of-school children.

Aside the scrapping of the N500 and N1,000 levies introduced by the Fayose-led administration in 2015, teachers are now being employed for primary and secondary schools in a bid to meet up with the short falls and ensure that students are exposed to the best education in a more conducive environment.

In a state regarded as one of the civil service states in the country, workers across board were subjected to hardship over the inability of the previous administration to pay their salaries and other emoluments as and when due. Dr Fayemi’s administration has been able to navigate through in the face of paucity of fund to pay salaries and other emoluments up to date, with a promise to offset the arrears inherited by his administration.

This changed the face of the State completely. Most parents, who had hitherto been in economic quagmire, could now afford to feed and clothe their children as well as meet other basic needs. Economic activities which had gone moribund, bounced back to life.

The governor in January also flagged off the construction of the 7.25 km Ado-Iyin road which was originally awarded in 1978 by the then military government but later abandoned.

The construction of the new road was applauded by many residents of the state considering the unsafe nature of the existing Ado-Iyin-Igede-Aramoko road which has winding and undulating alignments.To be completed in the first quarter of next year, the new road will not only address the problem of alignments and reduce carnage on the old road but also have multiplier effects on commuters who use the road for longer journey.

Work has also reached an advanced stage at state Civic Centre that was abandoned since 2014 when Fayemi left office during his term as governor. The CC when completed will provide numerous job opportunities for residents of the state with entertainment and hospitality facilities.It will house a modern library, a shopping mall and a cinema.

Before the inception of this administration, investors, Development partners and donor agencies all left the state due to unfavorable government policies thereby putting the economic activities of the state in shambles.

To correct these anomalies and ensure the state becomes an attractive destination for investment, the administration created the Ekiti State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (EKDIPA), with its enabling Law, in 2019. This agency is expected to coordinate investment promotion activities within the state, and house the one-stop-shop for anyone looking to invest in Ekiti.

Considering his current position as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and his drive to attract more developmental projects to the state , Dr Fayemi has often time traveled to other states and outside the country in the last twelve months.

However, the travelings according to the Governor have started yielding positive results as development patners and other organizations are now willing to offer financial and technical supports to Ekiti state.

Fayemi who spoke in Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti South Senatorial District during a town hall meeting with representatives of all the six local government in the district ahead of the preparation for the 2020 appropriation bill, disclosed that World Bank had released huge amount of money for developmental projects in the state.

“I have not been staying in the state these days. I have been looking for money to finance people-oriented projects because i don’t have the funds.I am happy God has been answering our prayers. World Bank had just released humongous funds to finance constructions rural roads, modern markets and other projects through the RAAMP project.In addition, the Federal Government has given me money to address the areas affected by flood across the state,” he said in Yoruba.

Besides, the government has also secured $100 million fund for four critical projects of the administration, which includes; Ekiti Knowledge Zone, Special Agriculture Processing Zone, Ado-Akure road and the Ekiti Airport projects. No doubt, these projects when completed will ultimately positioned the state as the hub of service and knowledge industry in the country. It will also enhance access and connectivity for business and recreational travellers.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, a public Affairs analyst in the state, Mr. Kolawole Akinlabi noted that the developmental interventions of the administration in the last one year have been encouraging, advising the government to remain focus in the overall interest of the residents.

Akinlabi while noting that payment of workers’ salaries should be prioritized, he said attention should also be given to provision of basic amenities across the sixteen local government areas of the state.

On what the people should expect from the government in the next three years, the Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Value Orientation, Chief Muyiwa Olumilua, revealed that the administration would place more priority on human capital development, enhance security and improvement of infrastructures.

He said: “Our people still remain our greatest asset, and we will continue to invest heavily in education and healthcare, to ensure that we have a skilled and healthy workforce. Human capital is one of the most important requirements to attract investments, and our goal is to improve both education and healthcare outcomes, by ensuring that our people get the requisite quality contemporary education, which will qualify them to take up the jobs that will be created by new investments in the State.

“Security of lives and property will no doubt complement the former mentioned, and we will also make a concerted, deliberate effort, to build the culture and values Ekiti people have been historically known for.

“We will continue to improve on our stock of infrastructure, to support businesses, and focus on improving public utilities, especially in the areas of water and power. Our plan is underpinned by an improvement in governance, especially in the areas of public finances, the Judiciary, law enforcement and rule of law, and institutional capacity building for the States civil service.”

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