FEATURES: Ekiti 2014: Of Sophists And Despots

June 6, 2014

Fayemi whose integrity has qualified him as the blue chip asset to our state needs another term

Today, Phil Aragbada, a respected journalist and former newspaper editor, gives his perspectives on the Fayemi phenomenon and the impending governorship election in Ekiti. Happy reading.

A “loving fear”, writes Gunder Anders, is not fear of the dangers that lie immediately ahead but for generations yet unborn. This is what underlies the current political landscape in Ekiti; a panoramic view of the interrelated transactions going on between the different entities across the land of honour which would, ultimately determine the future of the state. The future is a sacred trust held by the present generation. Yet, it is not an abstract concept. Rather, it is determined by the consequences of the decisions a people take in their separate but inclusive inter-relations.

This poignantly brings to the fore, the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti which has attracted gladiators at both intra and inter-party levels, thus reflecting the latitude, and, indeed, the beauty of democracy. Democracy, in spite of its attraction and elegance, however, has a major drawback in its systemic sifting process which, if care is not taken, can end up foisting on the people, clowns, spoilers, sophists, urchins, even, an outright criminal.

The consolation is that politics, like religion, in spite of its tolerance of pretenders and the ignoramus, has a moderating fiat: the Judgement Day. In Matt. 13:24-30, Jesus told his disciples the story of the weeds and the wheat and declared, “let the wheat and weeds grow together until harvest, and at harvest time, I will tell the reapers: gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Surely, the harvest day for political contest is Election Day. There is no doubt Ekiti people already know the weeds and the wheat and on 21, June 2014, Dr. Kayode Fayemi will be the anointed wheat of the people which the Bible calls the son of the Kingdom.

Without a doubt, the massive transformation which has manifested in Ekiti since his emergence cannot but palpitate those who have in the past hindered Ekiti development as the natural reaction of evil-minded persons to any form of change, as is currently happening in the state, is to obstruct the path of change. This should be expected as the beneficiaries of the old order and the propagandists of obscene deceit are bound to be scared out of their wits. But man must live with change and those, who throughout history, have wrought changes on their environment despite daunting challenges and excruciating sacrifices have always turned out to be men of destiny.

There is no doubt that Fayemi is a man who has a date with history. His path in life is strewn with multiple achievements that can only be ignored by incurable pessimists and pernicious scoffers who are incapable of being impressed by any form of success arising from brilliance, courage, resilience, integrity and measurable hard work.  Try not convincing these people as they are already trapped in their closet of pathological ignorance.

Governor Fayemi, conscious of the groaning pain of the aged due to poverty, commenced a welfare package for senior citizens who have attained the age of sixty-five years. He also introduced free medical care for this category of Ekiti citizens. Despite paucity of funds, Fayemi, critically aware of the place of education in socio-economic development, ensured the complete renovation of all primary and secondary schools in the state, made education free to secondary school level and supplied students with free laptops to enable them connect, that early in life, with technological modernity. The tertiary institutions in Ekiti State were leveraged in the areas of infrastructure and funding to make them meet global standards. The immediate dividend of government’s investments in education is the ground-breaking 2012/2013 Bar results of Ekiti State university students who shone like a thousand stars at the last Law School exams.

Fayemi’s empathy for the grassroots is palpable. His proximity to the rural dwellers is evinced by his novel State Assisted Community Projects Initiative acronym-ed SACPI in contradistinction to one of his opponent’s ‘Boli and guguru’ –roasted plantain and groundnut eating shenanigans, which has resulted in sundry socio-economic developments all over the state. The beauty of this project lies in the ability of the governor to personally meet community dwellers, feel their pulse and pains and get the state to assist in providing their needs. This evolutionary strategy has resulted in the provision of 1,906 SACPI socio-economic projects in 131 towns and communities, each executed, directly by the beneficiaries.

Relying on verifiable records the Fayemi administration has not restricted its road revolution to state roads alone. Rather, it took upon itself the burden of rehabilitating some federal roads as a way of minimising the transportation problems in the state. About 1000 kilometres of federal, state and local government roads have been constructed / rehabilitated at the last count.

For a state that has long suffered from the pangs of industrial aridity, Fayemi’s revitalisation of ailing companies like the Iree Burnt Bricks and the Road Materials Company (ROMACO) which also provides jobs surely deserves accolades and a guaranteed cheque of continuity. Of course, the impetus injected into the tourism sector through massive investments in various tourist centres, especially the now world-class Ikogosi Tourist Resort has tremendously expanded the economic base of the state. The youth volunteer scheme has also provided a source of livelihood and hope for thousands of young men and women. This is besides the YCAD programme which has witnessed a trained Medical Doctor veer into commercial agriculture as one of thousands of young men and women enlisted in the programme.

The performance of this human Trojan has not gone unnoticed by international bodies as epitomised by the following:

•The Human Development Report (2012) rated Ekiti State as the most conducive environment to live for long and healthy living with a life expectancy average of 55 years (10 years above the national average).

•The state has the lowest infant and maternal mortality rate in Nigeria.

•It has the lowest HIV and AIDS prevalence in the country.

•It has the lowest mother-to-child transmission of HIV and AIDs in the country just as it boasts

•The least out-of-school children (2%) in the country.

As the saying goes, you do not change a winning team; indeed, no sane people will dissolve a winning team. Ekiti can, therefore, not be enticed with juvenile braggadocio, illiterate pomposity, and some funny appeal to phony populism. Fayemi whose integrity has qualified him as the blue chip asset to our state needs another term. A people who once experienced a culture of economic haemorrhage and ‘janjaweed’ rule in the hands of a despot and kleptomaniac will not dare attempt a repeat.

A shining star in the firmament, Fayemi remains a moral tone of his generation. A man of credible pedigree, he would always stand on the side of the truth even at a cost to his political popularity. A typical example was his plea to the teachers a few years ago to pay their 27.5% professional allowance as soon as the state finances improve. This, he has since done, thus bringing to a happy end, the festering acrimony between the state NUT and the government. This has again confirmed him as a promise keeper, thus re-affirming the people’s sobriquet for him: O WI BEE, SE BEE.

Ekiti must stand up and be counted. A vote for the APC is a vote for continuity. A vote for an assured future for our children; even for generations yet unborn. A vote for tranquility. A vote for economic leverage and, a vote for everything that is good for humankind. Come Saturday, 21 June, 2014, the good people of Ekiti must troop out, refuse to be intimidated by the federal police and army lock down and vote Kayode Fayemi overwhelmingly. Enemies of the people must be permanently shamed.

Phil Aragbada, Governor’s Ajasin’s Special Assistant in the ‘70s, is a veteran journalist, newspaper editor and a retired Bank Executive.

This article was first published in The Nation on June 06, 2014.

Last modified: June 6, 2014

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