It is no longer news that the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was recently named the Leadership newspapers Governor of the year 2011 at an elaborate ceremony in Abuja where Ekiti people comprising of government officials, (elected and appointed) and market women thronged the Sheraton hotel venue of the ceremony in solidarity with their Governor. Other awardees were General T.Y Danjuma who bagged Man of the year, businessman Aliko Dangote as Business person of the year, Condoleeza Rice, the former US Secretary of State as author of the year; Ann Marie Imafidon the young academic wizard who bagged an Oxford University Masters Degree the age of 12 as the young person of the year. There are other awardees in other categories but the award of the Governor of the year conferred on Dr. Fayemi was the most discussed and the cynosure of all eyes.
Dr. Fayemi is always wary of awards because of the indecent and spurious nature of most awards that are equally conferred on unworthy fellows in the country. In fact, he has rejected many but for him to accept the Leadership award; there must have been a cogent reason. This was revealed in his acceptance speech when he said he accepted the award because the process of selection was transparent, predictable and independently verifiable. The award is credible because nobody was asked to pay any money. Predictably, the winner of the award last year was Governor Adams Oshiomhole who proved that he deserved the award going by how he has transformed Edo State and later secured a landslide victory for second term in office.
The award was announced in 2011 when Governor Fayemi was one year in office but was celebrated on Tuesday, September 18, 2012. If his performance has dwindled he would have been stripped of the award but he has done much more than when he was named a year ago and this has confirmed that he is the right choice for the award. For the avoidance of doubt, Leadership Newspapers is one of the most credible in the country. Governor Fayemi was given the award because of what he has been able to do in just two years in office. He is the first Governor in Nigeria to sign into law, the Freedom of Information bill, the bill against gender based violence and the social security bill where 20,000 Ekiti elderly citizens receive N5, 000 naira monthly. Despite the meagre resources of Ekiti State (Ekiti earns 2.5 billion from the federation accounts out of which it pays 1.5 billion as salary), and the debt of 40 billion inherited from the Oni’s administration, Governor Fayemi is currently embarking on a massive transformation of the State capital through road construction where about 15 completed roads would be commissioned this October while construction of 5 kilometres each is presently going on in all the 16 local government areas of the state. There is urban renewal, and provision of pipe-borne water, streetlights, traffic lights and the general beautification of the city.
The Fayemi administration provides free and compulsory education at the primary and secondary levels while it reduced fees payable in higher institutions. It consolidated the amorphous higher institutions it inherited for purposes of better funding and overall management. They are now well poised to partner with the state government in its development efforts. Governor Fayemi has also done a lot to improve the study environment by renovating all schools in Ekiti State in two phases with the first phase concluded in just 8 weeks under operation renovate all schools (ORASE). The renovation works include reconstruction of dilapidated classroom blocks, school halls, laboratories, chapels, painting of classroom blocks and school fence, PVC ceilings, new windows and new furniture. 33,000 laptops have been distributed to students, teachers and the physically challenged in Ekiti State schools. This is an unprecedented achievement. The Governor recently signed an agreement with Samsung in South Korea to establish an engineering academy in Ekiti State which is going to be first of its kind in West Africa. The academy will impact on the faculty of engineering in the State University and will provide after sales services of computers and training of electronic engineers. Samsung will also assemble its products in Ekiti. The deal is payback for Ekiti by Samsung which got the contract to supply the 100,000 laptops for each student in Ekiti.
Health care delivery in Ekiti is one of the best in the country as more than 1, 500,000 Ekiti people have benefitted from the free health mission and programme of the government. Little wonder that the latest MDG Report (2012) circulated by the Federal Ministry of Health scored Ekiti high in healthcare delivery. According to the report, Ekiti has the second lowest infant mortality rate in the country. The Minister of Health recently commended Ekiti State for doing what no other state is doing on health care in the country. Ekiti is the only state that is doing free health 100 per cent to its pregnant women and covering 45 per cent of the state’s population under her free health programme.
Many industries are being revived while the tourism potentials of Ekiti State are being presented to the world with the complete transformation of the Ikogosi warm spring resort and the development of the tourism corridor of that area. The Warm Spring has been completely re-engineered with a new swimming pool and a befitting landscaping, while modern chalets have been built for the use of tourists. An amphitheater is currently under construction at the resort and has reached 85 per cent completion. Ire burnt bricks which has been abandoned in the last 21 years is about to begin operation as installation of N400 million naira worth of equipment is ongoing. The ROMACO quarry company in Igbemo Ekiti and the Ikun Diary farm in Ikun Ekiti would soon begin operation.
Fayemi has paid more than lip service to making Agriculture the bedrock of industrialisation and a large employer of labour. Under the Youth Commercial Agriculture Development Programme (YCAD), 7,500 pilot commercial farmers have been shortlisted, while 1,000 hectares of land have been cleared for the purpose in phase 1 of the project. The project is designed to result in a minimum of 20,000 youth commercial farmers by 2014. Farmers have been empowered via the provision by government, of agricultural soft loans, farm implements and herbicides, while millions of naira has been expended on equipment to assist rice farmers to increase their yield.
The overseas trips of the Governor have paid off as many development partners and donor agencies such as the UNDP and DFID have become active in Ekiti State. The Ekiti State Community and Social Development Agency jointly funded by the state and the World Bank has executed 108 projects spread across the 16 local governments. The projects include rural roads; basic health centres; rural electrification; boreholes, construction of storage tanks, box culverts and drainages; civic centers and markets. The government paid N100 Million counterpart fund in 2011.
In addition to all of these, Governor Fayemi is the major force behind the Regional Integration agenda of Southwest States. Without a doubt, Governor Fayemi has impacted positively on large areas of the state and by the time on-going projects are concluded, the governor would have more than firmly planted his feet on the sands of time. The words of the elder statesman and orator, Alhaji Maitama Sule who presented the award to him capture the enigmatic personality of the Governor,’ “At a time like this, we need leaders not looters, leaders, not rulers.
By Hakeem Jamiu
•Jamiu wrote in from Ado-Ekiti
This article was first published in The Daily Independent on 2 October, 2012.
Last modified: October 3, 2012