Restoring Public Trust In Ekiti State

November 15, 2012

The common notion about political office holders otherwise called politicians in developing countries is that they are not to be trusted when they make electioneering promises which has more often turned out to be mere sloganeering.

However, in Ekiti State, trust is gradually being restored in governance with the advent of Governor Kayode Fayemi. Ekiti people have realised that he is a lot different from other politicians because he has kept a substantial part of his electioneering campaign promises which he made to them in 2007 as encapsulated in his 8-point agenda. It was the same 8 point agenda he reiterated when he was sworn in as governor on October 16, 2010 by promising to deliver the dividends of democracy and declaring the beginning of a new dawn.

Ekiti people had been traumatised through bad governance by the previous administrations of conservative elements which took the state to ground zero in the last 9 years. Though Fayemi assumed the leadership of Ekiti State with a lot of goodwill from the people who felt their liberator has come, he had a lot of burden on his shoulders to live up to their expectation. He almost incurred their wrath arising from his methodical planning which took him some time before taking off fully. One cannot blame the people because they have suffered and had many unfulfilled promises in the past so they expected an immediate succour from the governor whom they regarded as a magic worker.

Dr. Fayemi took his time, he calculated, he planned and he carefully identified what he wanted to do and how to do it before launching his agenda fully. He inherited a debt of 42 billion naira and many abandoned projects from his predecessor, a paltry 109 million naira Internally Generated Revenue and a meagre 2.5 billion naira monthly allocation from the federation’s account which is the second lowest in the country. But with careful planning, prudent management of resources and an avowed commitment to the welfare of the people, he has been able to deliver, within reasonable limits, dividends of democracy in an unprecedented manner. In two years, Fayemi has turned Ekiti State into a huge construction site such that discerning observers say the job he has done is more than what some governors did in 8 years.

It is not only the work that Fayemi did that fascinates Ekiti people, but the way he has earned their trust in governance. His method is novel and his style is inviting and fascinating. He is the first Governor in the country to embark on a village square meeting for the sole purpose of knowing what each community in his state requested to be incorporated in the budget. He started this in November 2011 when he undertook the tour of all the local governments where every town sent a representative to ask for at least three projects the community would like to be incorporated in the following year’s budget (2012). At each meeting, he promised the towns that, at least one project would be granted for each town in the budget.

This promise has been fulfilled as every town has at least a project either completed or ongoing presently as contained in the 2012 budget. Out of this requests, provision of pipe borne water and boreholes, supply of transformers and repair of schools were common demands across the communities. The Governor immediately embarked on the construction of mini-water works in many towns like Okemesi, Ipole-Iloro, Efon, Ido-Ile and Maryhill in Ado-Ekiti which are to supply water to many towns around their locations. These had been commissioned in October 2012. The final phase of solving the water problem in Ekiti once and for all will be in 2013 when the pipes would have been ready and the Ero, Egbe, Ureje and Itapaji dams would have started functioning optimally.

Eight roads were commissioned while another 28 would soon be ready for commissioning. Streetlight has come up in Ekiti after many years of darkness. Apart from this, the Governor embarked on the renovation of 100 secondary schools within 8 weeks of the long vacation while the remaining 83 shall be fixed in December during the Xmas holiday. As many as 20,000 elderly citizens were paid 5,000 naira monthly as social security. The Ire burnt bricks which has been moribund for the past 21 years has been resuscitated by the government and has been commissioned. The company has the capacity to produce 20 million bricks in a year and will employ about 200 workers.

When the Governor embarked on another round of village square meeting in October 2012 to again request for what each community desire to be in the 2013 budget, he got more gratitude than requests. The social security for the elderly became the most popular of the programmes while the renovation of schools was next.

In all the LGAs visited, elderly women who are beneficiaries of the N5, 000 monthly allowance came in groups to pray for the Governor while many of them danced with him. One elderly woman who was about 80 years old presented the Governor with a gift of Kolanut which she had kept for a long time for the Governor. A touching episode was when the Governor visited Ola-Oluwa Muslim grammar school. The students swarm round the governor and were falling over one another in their bid to touch him in a show of appreciation which nearly led to a stampede inside the newly refurbished hall. Ola-Oluwa today is so beautiful that many call it a mini university campus. The most dramatic was the students of Corpus Christi, Ilawe who were so happy about the renovation of their school that they lined up about 300 meters to their gate, asked the governor to disembark from his vehicle and walked him to their school amidst singing and chanting his praises.

Therefore, when the governor embarked on the village meetings in October, it was sure that he has restored confidence into governance with the way people of the communities gave him a rousing welcome for keeping to his promise of the previous year. They also thanked him for restoring peace to Ekiti after many years of violence, instability and uncertainty. The Governor kept his note of their requests of 2011 which he read what they requested and what he has done out of the request. Some he has fulfilled fully while others are ongoing. So when they made other requests against 2013 budget, they trusted that he will do it again.

One of the journalists who had gone round the state on inspection in three days and to cover the second year anniversary remarked that there is no other state in Nigeria presently with the volume of job going on in Ekiti and they wondered how he managed to do this considering the small earnings of the State.

What surprised the journalists most is the transformation of Ikogosi Warm Spring resort centre within one year. Some of them who visited the resort last year were short of words when they saw the level of transformation of the place. The roads leading to the place from all directions have been tarred. The landscaping has been done, new chalets have been constructed while the existing ones have been renovated. A 1,000 seater amphitheatre is almost completed while the whole place has been redesigned. The swimming pool is brand new with the warm spring water directly piped into the pool and the whole area of the warm and cold spring have been transformed to accommodate small huts for family relaxation. A long stretch of pathway made of strong plank of teak wood has been constructed right from the chalets to the warm spring area. The scenery is so natural and picturesque such that it has made the resort a world class tourist centre.

The Governor has again promised to embark on ‘Operation Renovate all Hospitals’ in year 2013 while the urban renewal currently going on in Ado-Ekiti would be extended to other traditional headquarter  towns of Ikole, Ikere and Ijero in the first phase.

Ekiti people are excited over all the good things that are happening to them in the last two years and they are now convinced that governance could be made simple and result oriented if there is enough sincerity of purpose and an avowed commitment to improve the lives of the people on the part of a leader.

Hakeem Jamiu writes from Ado-Ekiti   

Last modified: November 15, 2012

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