Five Hundred Days On: The Pilgrim’s Progress

February 29, 2012

When he assumed power after three and half years of legal battle not a few had expected that the Kayode Fayemi administration in Ekiti state to give the state a new lease of life. This is not only because of his international exposure but mainly because of identification with the poverty stricken people who in the last seven and half years had witnessed everything but good governance.

His ascendance into power gave the hope of a new beginning different from the usual practice of business as usual in governance. He came with an 8-point agenda which is not only all embracing but specifically address the problem of poverty which has eaten deep into the fabric of the state. The 8-point agenda is to serve as the road map for the development of the state. The agenda focusses on Good governance, infrastructural development, modernising agriculture education and human capital development, health care service, industrial development tourism and gender equality empowerment.

But his initial take off of his administration was saddled with the problem of managing the huge debt of N40 billion largely a bank loan inherited from the ousted administration. And being a man not known to run away from challenges he started with the clearing of the mess he met on ground which delayed the take off of some of the programmes. He set up of several committees to unravel the level of decay in the state economy.

As part of efforts to clear the mess, he convened two major summit on the education and economic sectors which were attended by stakeholders from within and outside. The outcome of the two summits which decision are being implemented is expected to start bearing fruits with the renew interest in the state by investors and international donor agencies.

He launched the state ethical revolution with the change of the official logo of the state to create identity for the state. This is in addition to the inculcation of values into the people with various programmes aimed at restoring the lost values of an ordinary Ekiti man.

As a man on rescue mission, Fayemi started his governance on populist level with the reduction in the tution fee charged by the Ekiti State University (EKSU) from between N150,000 and N200,000 to about N 50,000 which gave students of the institution a new lease of life and remove huge burden from the shoulders of their parents. However, other service charges including departmental, faculty, medical and other fees were left untouched. The latest announcement of increase in service charges by the University which increased total fees payable in the institution has equally received the attention of the Governor who ordered a reversal of the increase and set up a committee to look into the matter. This attested to his love for education that it must be within the reach of the children of both the rich and the poor.

But beyond his populist outlook, he embarked on series of restructuring including institutions of government for smooth operation and the delivery dividends of democracy. Many bills to support the restructuring of the state for steady progress were sent to the state assembly which has been passed into law. They include Fiscal Responsibility Bill, Ekiti State Contributory Pension Bill, Ekiti State Customary Court of Appeal Bill, Ekiti State Rural Water Supply Sanitation Agency Bill, Ekiti State Change of Official Logo Bill, Ekiti State Restoration of College of Education Bill, Ekiti University bill, Ekiti State Bonds, Notes and Other Securities Issuance Bill, Ekiti State Freedom of Information Bill, Ekiti State Urban and Regional Planning and Development bill and Ekiti State Traffic Management Agency Bill among many others.

Under the good governance agenda, he restructured the ministries, departments and agencies of government into 17 ministries with the rationalisation of other departments and agencies from a total of 72 which were in place at the time he assumed power. He also carried out training and re-training of the workforce to enhance capacity and competence for effective service delivery Workers welfare was accommodated top priority haven known that morale must be boosted to enable them key into his new agenda for the people of the state. Hitherto housing and car loans were restored while all outstanding promotion, some of which dated back to January 2009 were immediately approved. Salaries of workers were enhanced with the implementation of relativity pay and the implementation of new salary schemes for professionals in the state service. The governor has also implemented the new minimum wage for workers earning less than the 18,000 minimum wage while negotiations for those not affected by the minimum wage, workers on Grade Levels 07 – 17 are ongoing.

At the level of the populace, he introduced village meetings which provided a direct contact with the people through which feedback on government policies are known. The village meeting also provides opportunity for the governor to know the area of needs of the people which are later captured into the state budget for implementation.

Beyond this, the governor having overcome the initial challenges which bordered on the huge financial burden went ahead with the implementation of the agenda especially in the area of infrastructural development.

For instance in order to cater for the needs of travellers in the state, 100 Suzuki cars and 40 Nissan buses were given to the various transport unions. Also, the government completed various road projects inherited from the former administration. These include Ayede-Gede-Omu, Erinjiyan-Ilawe , Ijero-Ikoro-Okemesi, New Iyin-NTA-Ilawe Bye Pass and Igede-Ilawe roads. Other roads which work are at advanced stage are Omisanjana-Deeper Life Church Road, Ado-Afao, Ado-Ekiti Township roads, Ijigbo-Isato-Ile Abiye, Ado-Ilawe, Osun-Iloro, Ijesa Isu-Ode, Dualisation of Ado-Iworoko-Ifaki, solar powered traffic control lights at various junctions in Ado-Ekiti, construction of Mechanic Village along Iyin and Ikere roads, construction of auto mart along Ado-Ikere road.

The Fayemi administration has equally awarded 13 new road projects which have taken off in earnest. They are Igede-Awo-Ido; Ikere-Igbara Odo; Ikogosi-Ipole Iloro-Efon; Ijan-Ise; Ijero-Ipoti-Ayetoro; Dualisation of Old Garage-Ojumose; Dualisation of First Baptist Church-Atikankan; Ilawe-Igbara Odo- Ibuji; Ikole-Iluomooba; Ijigbo baptist College-Ilawe Road; Ojumose-Basiri-Police Headqtr; Fajuyi-State Hospital and Oye-Ikun-Otun road.

Aside road construction, the Fayemi administration has started the implementation of urban renewal programme for the state to give the state capital in particular and other major cities are being given face lift. Already, beautification projects have started on the major roads in the state capital. As part of the programme, the central market is to be reconstructed into modern market. To cater for the interest of the displaced market men and women, about 140 were being constructed at Agric Road and another 100 shops at Ekiti Kete Motor Park.

The government is equally constructing 100 shops at Shasha Market along Ikere road to take care of those who would be displaced at Atikankan area. As part of the urban renewal programme, traffic lights have been installed at major roundabouts in Ado-Ekiti to ensure orderliness on the roads.

If there is an area which the people will in the later years come to appreciate the governor, it is in the area of agricultural development. The governor apart from paying the counterpart fund for many agricultural projects including Nerica Rice, National Programme on Food Security, FADAMA Project, Root and Tuber Expansion Programme, has instituted micro credit facilities for farmers with the distribution of N 35 million to peasant farmers in all the wards of the stat in addition to purchase of tractors for hire to farmers and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 829.2 kilometres of rural roads.

In the sector, the state government distributed 500,000 cocoa seedlings and 500 bags of organic fertiliser free of charge to farmers to pilot water-melon production while the existing farm settlements in Ayede and Orinoco are being rehabilitated. In the education sector, the government paid WAEC registration fees for over 12,860 candidates, approved the building of ultra modern state library, procurement and distribution of 400 motor cycles to deserving teachers in the rural areas, procurement and distribution of science equipment to secondary schools.

In line with the resolutions of the Education Summit, the existing three universities in the stat have been merged into one and backed by law. The new university emerging from the consolidation is the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti.

In the area of Health, the state government approved the payment of CONMESSS and CONHESS for its health workers. Besides, over 145,000 benefitted from its Free Health Mission Programme which takes health care delivery to the door step of the people. The programme initiated by the governor during its electioneering campaign has been well received which informed the quarterly implementation under which the people are treat for diverse ailment free.

The Free Health Programme for the government designed for children, pregnant women, physically challenged and adult above 65 years has received kudos for the people who have continued to benefit from the programme being implemented in all the councils of the state. This is in addition to the regular assistance to needy patients for which over N50million have been expended in the last one year.

The state launched its multiple birth trust fund and maternal health records book by the African Women Development Foundation through which assistance are being render to those who gave birth to twins and triplets in the state. Tourism has also received good attention from the governor with the massive transformation of Ikogosi Warm Spring to tourists destination is worth mentioning. The ongoing work at the warm spring will soon put the state on the World map of tourists attractions and open the state further to international investors.

One programme for which the governor has received commendation within and without the country is the Social Security Scheme through which indigent senior citizens are being catered for with the payment of N5,000 monthly as stipend. The programme initiated by the governor and the first of is kind in the country has made the governor the toast of elders in the state. Another round of enumeration has started in earnest to include 10,000 elders into the programme. The beneficiaries cut across party and religious line.

As the governor clocks 500 days in office today, no one is in doubt that the state is already on the path of steady progress with an assurance of a brighter future. Besides, the implementation of the 8-point agenda has further reinforce the believe in the state that Ekiti is on the part of renewal.

By Ifedayo Sayo – Senior Special Assistant to the Ekiti State Governor.

Last modified: February 29, 2012

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