Ekiti State was carved out of old Ondo State in 1996 by the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha. The state is largely agrarian.
In other words, agriculture is the mainstay of the state economy and it employs 75 per cent of the state working population.
The current population of the state is put at over 2.3 million people.
Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, former governor and immediate past Minister of Mines and Solid Mineral Development will be inaugurated as the sixth elected governor of Ekiti State on October 16, 2018. Others before him included Governor Adeniyi Adebayo, (1999 to 2003), Governor Ayodele Fayose (2003 – 2006), Governor Olusegun Oni (2007 – 2010), Governor Kayode Fayemi (2010 – 2014), Governor Ayodele Fayose (2014- 2018).
The Governor-elect and his teeming supporters have been saying that his inauguration would mark the beginning of the new order in reclaiming Ekiti land and restoring her values, as well as its transformation.
Although many people in the state gave Fayemi pass mark in his first term, especially in the area of social security for the elderly people, a scheme that was insulated from partisan politics.
He was also applauded for the improvement in infrastructure, health services as well as in tourism.
Many are of the opinion that the incoming governor has a rare privilege of correcting the lapses and mistakes he might have made in his first term in office.
However, Fayemi has not minced words by acknowledging that the task to curb the alleged drift to squalor and abject poverty to which Ekiti State has been subjected must be embraced by every man of vision, integrity and good will.
In other words, the governor wants the input of the citizens so as to confront the challenges facing the state.
To the elite, Fayemi has also extended hands of fellowship tasking them “to move away from their comfort zones to rescue Ekiti people, who have been conditioned to live with poverty as a way of life.”
Setting agenda for the incoming government, residents of the state who spoke to The Guardian, are of the view that in addition to improving the infrastructure of the state so as to attract investors, Fayemi government should also pay closer attention to the educational sector.
To them, health is wealth, and this is why the new administration should pay more attention to the sector.
As an agrarian state, many felt that the incoming government should take the sector serious by encouraging the teeming youths population to embrace farming and other agricultural practices.
To these people, agriculture could not only provide job for the unemployed people, it could also increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, if well harnessed.
Some are also of the opinion that the state is blessed with Mineral Resources such as Clay, Kaolin, Columbite, Cassiterite, Foundry Sand, Bauxite, Clarcomite and Charcoalnite Granite.
They opined that given the background of the incoming governor as the immediate past Minister of Mines and Steel Development, he should use his contact to tap into these resources and use it to the advantage of the state.
The consequence of this, they argue is that the state would not need to go cap in hand to Abuja to collect monthly federation allocations.
The people also want Fayemi administration to focus on tourism. They felt that tourism is another sector that will generate revenue for the state.
Notable among its tourist attractions are the Ikogosi tourist centre which is referred to as the haven of tourism in Nigeria.
One of the residents said that two of such tourist centres exist in the world. He said that if properly harnessed, it could make Ekiti as rich as Lagos State.
Although during the first term of Fayemi, he had put in place facilities such as a modest non-chemical pools, standard conference hall, opulent chalets, and a restaurant to cater for the various needs of tourists, but the residents felt that much needed to be done upgrade the centre into a world class.
Other tourist centres in the state that needed government attention include Arinta Waterfall at Ipole-Iloro, Ero Dam at Iyin-Ekiti and Fajuyi Memorial Park at Ado-Ekiti.
Comrade Bisi Omotoso, a pensioner and resident of Ado Ekiti said that he would expect Fayemi to learn from the pitfalls of his first term by avoiding Ekiti from Diaspora, when deciding members of his cabinet.
He said many of the Diaspora people are not familiar with the problems bedeviling the state and its peculiarity.
“This time around, home-based politicians should be included in his cabinet than technocrats.
The home- based politicians understand Ekiti people better. He must make prompt payment of workers salary and pension top priority. He should see to the backlog of unpaid gratuity to the dying pensioners.
“Fayemi should pay more attention to our educational institutions, especially in the secondary schools. We expect a thorough overhaul of teaching personnel. Some teachers have overstayed in their schools.”
Another civil servant, Mr. Dayo Famisa, said Fayemi administration should encourage people to go into agriculture.
He said that as parts of incentives to encourage people to go into farming, loans should be given to farmers.
He urged the incoming government to make payment of workers salary as at when due a top priority.
Famisa said training and retraining of the work force is very essential so that they could perform optimally.
As for Mr. Alabi Taofeek, a staff of the Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti and tourist expert, Ekiti State is endowed with abundant mineral deposits of value such Clay, Kaolin, Columbite, Cassiterite, Foundry Sand, Bauxite, Clarcomite and Charcoalnite Granite.
“Tourism is another sector that can become a veritable source of income for the state.
Notable among the state tourist attractions are the Ikogosi tourist centre which are referred to as the haven of tourism in Nigeria. There are two of such in the world.
I am aware that under Fayemi administration in the first term, facilities such as a modest non-chemical pools, standard Conference hall, opulent chalets, and a restaurant were parts of the facilities provided to cater for the various needs of tourists.
“The incoming government can also develop other tourist potentials such as Arinta Waterfall at Ipole-Iloro, Ero Dam at Iyin-Ekiti, Fajuyi Memorial Park at Ado-Ekiti just to mention a few. “
A politician, Mr. Taiwo Ajibade, urged the incoming government to make development of tourism potential a priority, saying the sector can take the state economy to higher pedestal.
Ajibola, particularly regretted the poor attentions the out-going Ekiti State Government paid to the sector, adding that tourist attractions in Ekiti West Local Government alone can pay the salary of workers, if properly harnessed and stop over dependence on the federal allocation for sustenance.
He said the cultural endowment of the people could also be combined with tourism potential to take the state to the global scene and make cultural heritage, the hub of Arts and Culture in Africa, particularly the ones that has to do with traditions and culture in Aramoko town.
He lamented that the country was losing multi-billion dollar yearly due to the lip service being paid to the development of arts and culture as well as hospitality businesses.
“We can’t gainsay the fact that Ekiti is losing for not paying attention to tourism business. Tourism if well handled will take not only Ekiti but Nigeria to where oil has not taken them to.
“Many countries like Gambia, Tanzania and Kenya are making big money from tourism. In Ekiti alone, activities of tourism along Ikogosi, Ipole Iloro and across Ekiti West alone can pay salaries of workers in Ekiti.
“Let us just assume a situation whereby the federal government sites a globally accepted film village around this place. It will bring many film makers to Ekiti and our economy will go up.”
A public servant, Mr. Idowu Ariwodola, urged the incoming government to live up to the expectations of the electorate.
“Fayemi has always been a consistent advocate of academic excellence, cultures and social welfare, so I expect him to improve the standard of education, human capital and the socio-economic wellbeing of the people.
“He should immediately remove the tax and levies imposed on pupils of primary and secondary schools in Ekiti State by the outgoing administration and encourage free education up to certain level.”
Mr. Raphael Adeyanju, a community leader in Oke Imesi Ekiti, said the incoming governor was not new to Ekiti because he was there before. He also noted that in his first term in office, he did well in the area of infrastructure.
Adeyanju said the major reason the governor could not win in 2014 was because of his perceived alienation from the grassroots people.
“Fayemi should do everything possible to bridge the gap. He should also endear himself to the civil servants by paying the backlog of salaries.
“Youths unemployment is a threat that he must tackle headlong by creating jobs in the formal and informal sectors.
The state has arable land that could be cultivated. Thank God that the governor can benefit from the regional integration from Lagos to develop its agriculture.
“During his first term, he developed interest in tourism, he should try and revive the sector.
Being an agrarian state, Ekiti is ripe for cottage industries, using agricultural products. I expect the incoming government to improve on the Internally Generated Revenue as a step towards self-reliance. “
As for Mr. Ayo Ogunleye, a retiree in the state civil service, said: “Fayemi must have learnt from his first term. He should be able to use his wealth of experience to better the lots of Ekiti people.
“He should re-enact such laudable programme like social security scheme, improvement in infrastructure and focus on the educational sector which is considered as the bedrock of other development.
“He should pay more attention to the tourism and health sector. People of Ekiti in Diaspora and foreign investors will like to invest in the state if the infrastructural facilities are developed.
As former Minister, he should use his position to tap into various minerals hidden in the state for the benefit of the state. “
Ogunleye, however, advised the incoming governor not to be a sole administrator, urging him to run an inclusive government by making use of the human capital that is abound in the state.
Similarly, President of Muslim Women for Empowerment and Support (AMWES) in Ekiti State, Mrs. Ahmed Yusuff Fausat described Governor-Elect as a father to all women and children, and in particular the aged.
According to her, the welfare of the people of Ekiti state is key to the incoming government and so also the prompt payment of workers salaries and allowances, gratuity and pension of retired men and women.
She said creating job opportunities for youth, women and People With Disability (PWD) will go along way in alleviating poverty and stimulating wealth creation.
On education, she said: “His government should put in place a comprehensive framework to monitor the educational system, ensure free and qualitative primary and secondary school education, and recruit qualified teachers.
Also all our special schools including School for the blind at Ikere Ekiti and School for the handicapped at Ido Ekiti should be catered for.
On health, Fausat stressed that the government should improve health facilities in all local council areas with free quality health care services.
“Fayemi’s government should also subsidies agricultural farm inputs for farmers to at least 30 per cent and distribution of such should be allocated to women, free loan and extension support.
“We demand for full autonomy for council areas so as to bring governance closer to people at the grassroots.
She wants the incoming government to include more women in all decision-making and inclusive governance.
But in the government of Fayemi we want at least 40 per cent women participation. Though he did it during his first term, but we want more.
Also for our children, we want the government to put in place policies and programmes to prevent the abuse of children in the state.
“On security, we want the government to intensify its effort to have a state that is secured internally and at our boundaries.
The state’s IGR is key to the budget of the state, all industries/companies should make taxes a duty by paying regularly to the government, payment by market people at daily routine, all moribund government industry be put in place, this can also increase the IGR.
The Forest guards also be made to generate fund from the forest. Lastly. Government should create a standard guiding policy that monitors and ensure inclusion of voices of citizens in the budgetary process and other decision making of the state.”
Abimbola Aladejare is the Executive Director, the New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD) in Ekiti State.
She advocates building a child friendly, correctional centre for children.
“The Fayemi administration should also improve funding of social institution especially the children homes and household strengthening to improve the livelihood of vulnerable children, upgrade the women development centres in Igede, Osin and Ipoti for maximum skill acquisition for women.”
Aladejare added that there should be provision of adequate security for social intervention centre in Ekiti and establishment of adolescent friendly centres where adolescents can access unbiased reproductive health and life building services.
A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr. Yemi Akinbode hasurged the incoming governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to take the issue of paying outstanding salaries of civil servants in the state as a top priority.
Akinbode, who is also an indigene of the state in a telephone interview with The Guardian yesterday, said Fayemi can only prove a difference if he settles outstanding workers salaries and motivate into action, especially in the execution of government programmes in the state.
According to him, “The last administration demoralised the people of Ekiti, particularly civil servants and the incoming governor would need to build or execute his programmes through the workers which it can only achieve successfully by motivating them through prompt payment of salaries.”
Akinbode also said the incoming governor must rebuild the confidence of Ekiti people, bearing in mind that in the last four years no single foreign investment was attracted to the state.
According to him, “Fayemi must ensure the stability of the economy, which has been bastardised by the outgoing administration.
He should look for ways to improve the economy of economy, especially by encouraging local and foreign investors to come in.
In addition, Fayemi should also embark on reconciliation of stakeholders in the state irrespective of their political affiliations
“I wouldn’t the governor to adopt winner takes all approach. While party politics is important, the interest of Ekiti people is more paramount.”
By Ayodele Afolabi, Seye Olumide (Ado Ekiti) and Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
This article was first published in the Guardian
Last modified: October 16, 2018