2013 NEW YEAR BROADCAST BY THE GOVERNOR OF EKITI STATE, DR. KAYODE FAYEMI ON JANUARY 1, 2013
My fellow people of honour, it is my pleasure to wish you a Happy New Year. More importantly, I am delighted to thank God together with you, that by His grace and mercy, we are today counted amongst the living privileged to see the year 2013.
Ekiti kete, you would recollect that the year 2012 was christened ‘the Year of Delivery’. ‘Delivery’ was the mantra that informed the programming and policy thrust of our administration. We devoted much attention to programmes and policies aimed at entrenching sound and free qualitative Health and Education services, maximum support for human capital development, laying solid industrial base to stimulate the economy and creating a friendly environment to attract investors to the State. This administration sought to address in concrete and pragmatic terms all variables required to stimulate economic growth through responsible governance and practical developmental efforts. Our focus was clear and the approach yielded positive dividends. I am happy to say, without being immodest, that our objectives have been substantially achieved.
Though the outgoing year was not without its challenges, we remained focused; though we had cause to differ with some segments of the society on a number of issues, we kept faith; though we had to make painful decisions in the long term interest of the common good, we stayed the course. We stayed true to our virtue of resilience and together we delivered! Everywhere you turn in our state today, you see physical evidence of government’s efforts in our communities. We have been able to touch the lives of the general masses and delivered on the targets we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.
To the glory of God, 2012 was indeed our year of delivery. However, this administration’s humble achievements could not have been possible without the buy-in and support of the good people of Ekiti at home and abroad. That is why in line with our administration’s Agenda 1 – Governance – we continue to pursue inclusion, transparency and accountability through our participatory governance framework. In the course of the preparation of the 2012 budget, we toured the nooks and crannies of our state seeking the input of stakeholders in determining the priority areas. We also carried all and sundry along in the implementation and monitoring of our programmes and policies. Therefore, we are pleased to share the widespread commendation that this administration has received from far and near with the good people of Ekiti. By the grace of God, the victory shall continue to be ours collectively while all the glory goes to God.
The year 2013 is upon us. Consistent with this administration’s character, we have prepared extensively and consulted widely towards building upon our developmental accomplishments in the new year. Just like the 2012 budget, our 2013 budget was developed with input from stakeholders across board. It is my pleasure to announce to you that following the Ekiti State Nigeria House of Assembly’s review of this administration’s budget proposal and subsequent passage, I have officially assented to same making the crucial document operational from day One in the fiscal year 2013.
At this juncture, it is my pleasure to announce to you the theme that shall guide this administration’s activities in the new year. This is also expected to be a source of motivation to Ekiti kete, as we pursue excellence and fulfilment in our individual endeavours. 2013 shall be for us ‘Our Year of Empowerment and Consolidation’. I invite all and sundry to widely publicise this, so that our people at home and abroad would join us in not only believing this is possible, but working hard to ensure every Ekiti man, woman, boy or girl, is empowered to live life to the fullest and fulfil his/her destiny, and that we consolidate on our collective achievements so that Ekiti’s steady progress is immune from reversal now and in the future.
In line with our theme of Empowerment and Consolidation, this administration’s broad focus areas in the year 2013 include:
(i) Empowerment of rural communities through the expansion of community development initiatives;
(ii) Commitment to the completion of all critical on-going capital projects that are central to the 8-Point Agenda;
(iii) Increasing the effectiveness and functionality of the health sector with a view to improving the quality of health care delivery services;
(iv) Improvement in socio-economic infrastructure such as rural/urban roads, rural/urban water supply and rural electrification;
(v) Wealth creation through the provision of a conducive environment for job creation, youth and women empowerment;
(vi) Improvement in the quality and functionality of education;
(vii) Provision of enabling environment for food security and agro-based industries with immense private sector participation;
(viii) Aggressive pursuit of making Ekiti the preferred destination in Nigeria for tourists;
(ix) Maintenance of efficient, effective and well motivated public service for enhanced productivity;
(x) Radical expansion of the internal revenue base through pragmatic and sustainable approach; and
(xi) Sustenance of good governance through budget discipline, transparency and probity in the utilization of public funds.
In pursuit of empowering our people to make poverty history in Ekiti, in 2013, this administration shall create a full-fledged ministry that would bring together Community Development, Rural Development, Cooperative Services and Social Mobilization and will be charged with the responsibility of coordinating all anti-poverty strategies henceforth. This Ministry will take full responsibility for interfacing with Towns’ Unions, local cooperatives, rural integration and social mobilization at the grassroots level.
In addition to this, other necessary structural adjustments would be made in order to make us more responsive to your yearnings. Also, this administration shall leverage the feedback we have received concerning our programmes and policies, to further strengthen them to be more relevant in meeting the needs of the people. However, most assuredly, with the sustained support of the honourable people of Ekiti, we would continue the dogged pursuit of the fulfilment of the 8 Point Agenda of this administration.
In 2013, we would continue our regular interactive sessions with Ekiti people in a bid to keep us all abreast of government’s activities. We would continue our Social Security Programme that pays a monthly stipend of N5,000 (Five Thousand Naira) to all registered elderly people in the state who are above the age of 65. We would also increase the catchment of those covered under this programme that currently caters for over 20,000 senior citizens. This administration shall also continue to stimulate economic development by fast-tracking the conclusion of all on-going road projects and initiating new ones in order to make all parts of Ekiti accessible. In the context of infrastructure, this administration shall continue with our Urban Renewal Programme that is rapidly modernising and beautifying our dear state. Though the state’s capital Ado-Ekiti remains the first point of attention, we are extending our focus on township roads’ construction to the old divisional headquarters namely Ikere-Ekiti, Ikole-Ekiti and Ijero-Ekiti. Rural electrification, water supply and community development would also continue to receive a lot of attention in our efforts to ease the burden of life and living for millions of the citizens of the state. A major priority of government in 2013 is the restructuring of the Public Works Corporation with a view to maintaining all the new roads being constructed in the State in a sustainable manner. We shall launch our “Operation Zero Potholes” in the State early in the year with PWC given the mandate and the resources to make potholes history on all our major roads.
There are several initiatives that we have embarked upon in the area of agricultural transformation which will cumulatively revolutionise not only the agricultural sector but also the overall economy of the state, particularly the attraction of Commercial Agricultural players in large scale farming and processing. For instance, DAATCO, AGCO, Ford Concepts, Veggie Fresh and GIL Flour – commercial agriculture operators, have all become active and in the year 2013 more evidence of their involvement will become clear. Concretely, the year will witness the establishment of two rice processing mills and one cassava processing plant in the State in partnership with the Federal Government. 2013 will also see the take-off of the State College of Agriculture. Although, the thrust of our Agriculture policy is the encouragement of commercial operators, this is not to be accomplished at the detriment of our small-holder farming population.
As a state recognised for our pedigree in education, our efforts have been focused on the transformation of the education sector and human capital development. Our target is that by 2014 we will not only maintain the free and compulsory education for students in Ekiti schools from primary up to senior secondary school, we will also ensure that every student in our public secondary schools has a computer on his or her desk, while also creating special initiatives for physically-challenged students and a sports academy for gifted youth. So far, we have surpassed our target milestones having distributed 33,000 units of laptops to students, and 18,000 units to teachers. Equally, we have renovated virtually all our dilapidated school buildings and have distributed sporting equipment worth millions of naira to secondary schools in the State. In 2013, we are forging ahead in meeting our overall target of achieving functionality and relevance.
I like to assure all stakeholders in the sector, particularly our noble teachers that government is sincere in all its intervention moves on improving teacher quality. The place of the teachers is sacred more importantly because of its commanding effect in the lives of the children which invariably means the future of the State. It is therefore too expensive to play politics with the lives of these innocent children. Teaching is a critical profession that is held in high esteem all over the world. This is the same high consideration that this government has for it. There is however a compelling demand on all of us to join hands to build the cracks we all notice in the walls of our education edifice.
The government in the New Year will prioritise the training needs of the teachers to enable them improve on their service delivery and ensure that the Quality Assurance Agency which was signed into law in 2012 begins operations.
Equally, government will intensify current efforts at quality improvement in the State tertiary institutions – particularly Ekiti State University (EKSU), College of Education, Ikere and College of Health Technology, Ijero-Ekiti.
HEALTH CARE SERVICES
We believe that ‘health is wealth’, we have provided free medical services for children, pregnant women, senior citizens and the physically-challenged in Ekiti State, Nigeria in the last two years. We have also increased the immunisation coverage in the state, strengthened the State Ambulance Service, thereby expanding medical assistance to needy patients across the state, and bolstering the State’s capacity for effective healthcare delivery. We have expended resources on the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) and no fewer than 400,000 Ekiti citizens have benefited from the Free Health Missions that cover all ages. In 2013, we would continue with these programmes and ensure wider coverage. We would also embark on a series of enlightenment campaigns to encourage our people to adopt healthier lifestyles and know how to detect life-threatening diseases early for swift medical intervention. To this end, in 2013, we would be renovating public primary health facilities in the state making them equipped and conducive not only for treatment but to cover the broad spectrum of primary health services including counselling, health education e.t.c. We have also concluded plan for the comprehensive renovation of all the 20 Specialist and General Hospitals as well as 35 Basic Health Centres across the State in 2013. Two new General Hospitals will be built in Ilawe and Iye, while the Oba Adejugbe General Hospital Complex hitherto abandoned will be completed by the first half of 2013. In 2013, with our focus on preventive medicine-inclined programmes and policies, we would further impact on the health-related human development indices in Ekiti which in many cases is currently far above the national average by introducing the Community Health Insurance Scheme in the State to ensure sustainability of our Free Health Programme to the vulnerable segments of our population. We would however not neglect our secondary and tertiary health facilities but would reinforce their capacity to provide competitive health care services.
Our efforts to jumpstart industrial development in Ekiti State, Nigeria has led to the creation of technology and industrial parks for small and medium-scale enterprises, the establishment of micro-credit facilities and the development of agro-allied and solid mineral sectors of the local economy. The signal achievements of the administration in this area include the establishment of the Fountain Holdings Limited, a special purpose investment holding company which manages the investment portfolio of the State and represents the Government in Public-Private Partnerships as well as the Ekiti State Enterprise Development Agency (EEDA) which is charged with encouraging, promoting and coordinating investment activities in the State and thus stimulating economic growth in the State. These two, the new company and the new agency, have started yielding magnificent results in the efforts toward the industrialisation of Ekiti State, Nigeria. Concretely, two moribund industrial facilities, Ire Burnt Bricks Factory (non-functional in the last 21 years) and Odua Enterprise Centre (formerly Odua Textiles – equally comatose in the last 23 years), have come back to life. These developments will expand the State’s resources, provide numerous job opportunities for the citizens of the State and encourage the acquisition of new skills by workers and ultimately enlarge the middle class in the State. In 2013, the impact of these steps would be felt more tangibly by all and sundry.
All the above are complemented by the massive investment that our administration is also making in tourism. This administration’s goal is to make Ekiti State, Nigeria the most attractive destination for relaxation and holidays in Nigeria, if not in Africa. In the light of this, we are developing what we call a tourism corridor in the State. This includes Efon, Okemesi, Ikogosi, and Ipole-Iloro. For example, the Ikogosi cold and warm spring tourist centre is undergoing an unprecedented turn-around, including the redesigning of the whole landscape with the construction of villa chalets and an amphitheatre. The first phase of this new-look Ikogosi tourist centre which will attract both national and international tourists has been commissioned during the second anniversary celebrations. The test-run of some segments of the resort which was made open to the general public during the Christmas festivities has convinced gainsayers that this government means business!, and yes, the tourism corridor especially Ikogosi Resorts would be open for business in the first quarter of 2013. This development signals a win-win situation for all stakeholders especially the many small businesses that would leverage the increased traffic of tourists with considerable disposable income.
Our administration would continue to champion the cause of gender equity and empowerment of women by providing access to social, economic and political opportunities that would make them enjoy full rights and privileges as citizens of the state and the country. Being the first state to sign into law the Gender-Based Violence (Prohibition) Bill and also the first state to domesticate the National Gender Policy, we have created the level playing ground with appropriate programmes, policies and legislations. In 2013, we shall continue to assist women and children, including educating women on reproductive health, providing financial assistance to boost the economic activities of women at the grassroots, supporting couples with multiple births, helping women in skill acquisition and leadership training e.t.c. We shall consolidate on these and do even more to cater adequately not only our female folks but also all vulnerable segments of the society.
Our administration recognises all segments of our society as stakeholders in transforming Ekiti. We particularly place high priority on the welfare of our labour force and shall continue to support our workers in all ramifications to contribute maximally to the growth and development of our dear State. This is the reason behind the full implementation of the new minimum wage of N19,300.00 in Ekiti State, Nigeria even though the national minimum wage is N18,000.00. We shall continue this in 2013 and also continue to support any scheme that would improve the welfare of the entire workforce including car loans and other types of facilities.
It is also important for me to assure you all that the State Government would continue to provide the enabling environment for all citizens and residents to pursue their legitimate businesses in an atmosphere of congenial peace. It is a common knowledge for all of us that society thrives more and attracts higher economic growth when there is peace. The government would ensure that the prevailing peaceful co-existence of the residents are sustained throughout the State. Consequently, the State Peace Corps will become operational in the New Year to complement the efforts of the regular law enforcement agencies to bring criminal activities to a significantly low level.
Fellow compatriots, I am genuinely worried by the inadequacy of decent houses for our people. Many have continually found it difficult to own their houses even among the public servants in spite of the fact that they have access to loan in Ekiti State. Some shylock landlords and dubious property developers have cashed in on this situation resulting in unwholesome practices. The government has therefore concluded plans to set up a programme to be known as Homes Agenda with the sole aim of providing 5,000 new houses across the State. The programme will coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders in the sector, including engagement of the private sector through PPP arrangements. It will also include completion of the State’s urban and regional master plan for best effects. This is a demonstration of the commitment of this administration to the provision of affordable housing for all.
Ekiti kete, you would agree with me that the year 2013 is indeed going to be a year of empowerment and consolidation. That is not to say we would not encounter incidental challenges, I am however confident that by the grace of God and the unity of purpose of us all, we shall overcome. I count on the understanding and support of you all to achieve our set targets for the common good. I also expect your constructive criticism and feedback through appropriate channels; we would continue to strive to surpass our very high standards of responsive governance as we encourage you to continue to hold us accountable.
As in the words of our anthem, ‘awa Ekiti, ati parapo’; we would continue to be united and pursue a common purpose. As people joined together by divine providence to call the land of honour home, our generation has celebrated our common heritage by following in the footsteps of our ancestors; strengthening the bond of unity amongst us, making us one of the most culturally homogenous people in the world today. For this reason, it is incumbent on us at major milestones in time, to robustly engage ourselves in forging a common vision and mission, to put us in good stead to overcome the challenges ahead and maximally exploit the opportunities before us. This point in time, as we embrace the year 2013 offers such opportunity.
My fellow honourable people of Ekiti State, Nigeria, I welcome you to the Year 2013, Our Year of Empowerment and Consolidation. Ekiti a gbe wa o.
Thank you for listening.
May God bless and keep you.
May God bless and prosper Ekiti State, Nigeria.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dr. Kayode FAYEMI
Tuesday January 1, 2013
Last modified: January 1, 2013