…to set up Bureau of Local Content and Citizenship to Empower Local Contractors
The newly constructed Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers’ chamber was commissioned on Friday just as the state Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji disclosed plans to set up a Bureau of Local Content and Citizenship to ensure that more local contractors and workers are patronized.
Governor Oyebanji praised the State Bureau of Special Projects for taking over the construction of the Traditional Rulers’ Chambers after the contractor that started the project failed to return to site because of government’s rejection of unacceptable variation he presented after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor also said his administration is determined to end capital flight and ensure that Ekiti resources are channeled into the local economy. He explained that the proposed bureau would ensure that very competent Ekiti contractors are patronized, adding that any contractor who is not ready to hire local workers would not he awarded contracts.
Governor Oyebanji who spoke in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, shortly before the new edifice was inaugurated by the Chairman of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Gabriel Ayodele Adejuwon, disclosed that the project cost the state government a total sum of N384 million.
Governor Oyebanji expressed his delight and fulfilment at completing the project started by his immediate predecessor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who, according to him, acceded to demands of the Obas in the state for a befitting facility for their plenary and committee meetings.
Apart from Oyo State which inherited the House of Chiefs from the Western Region, Ekiti becomes the first state in the Southwest to have a befitting Traditional Rulers’ Chamber which has now become a reference point in according importance to the traditional institution.
The Governor who disclosed that the facility can sit 145 royal fathers at a time and it is fitted with quality furniture and electronic devices to make meetings easy at the main chamber said government committed huge resources to the project in appreciation of the stabilizing, advisory and conciliatory roles of the traditional institution.
The building, according to the Governor, has two floors of office accommodation with the ground floor housing the council chairman’s office, conference hall while the second floor houses the office of the Executive Secretary, Director and staff of the Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs.
Stressing on the local content policy of his administration, the Governor said the proposed Bureau of Local Content and Citizenship would be a determined attempt to empower competent Ekiti contractors and prevent capital flight.
He said: “The vision of this government is to ensure that we keep our resources within our state. There shall be no capital flight, job opportunities platform will be reserved for Ekiti people. If you don’t have an Ekiti person that is based in Ekiti here, there must he an Ekiti person outside the state that can do that job.
“Very soon, we are going to put in place a Bureau of Local Content and Citizenship to ensure that contractors in the state adhere to this policy. Any contractor that is not ready to engage Ekiti citizens that are capable on their sites, they are not ready to do jobs here.”
Going down the memory lane on the history of the project, Governor Oyebanji said he attended a meeting of the Obas Council under the chairmanship of the Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju Adugbole when he was serving as the Secretary to the State Government under former Governor Fayemi but the location of the project cold not be determined before the end of Oloye’s tenure.
He disclosed that when the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi, was inaugurated as the Chairman, he made a renewed request and the location was approved by Dr. Fayemi paving the way for the laying of foundation stone on October 15, 2019.
The Governor explained that the contract was awarded with contract execution period of twelve months but COVID-19 stalled the project with the contractor asking for a variation that pushed the initial cost by about 120 per cent which the state government considered outrageous.
“At that time, the project had reached 35 per cent completion but the contractor will not return to site. Government had to terminate the contract and adopted direct labour to complete this project. Consequently, government mobilized the Bureau of Special Projects in December 2022 to resume continuation of the project with a mandate to finish within six months,” the Governor added.
He charged the monarchs to help communicate the policy of the removal of subsidy on the Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol to the populace appealing for their understanding in enduring the initial hardship being experienced.
“Things will surely get better very soon, the President is mindful of the effect on income and salary earners generally and working so hard to ensure that he brings dividends of democracy to all of us as soon as possible. To ameliorate this, a cluster of palliative measures are being planned. We appeal to our people not to despair,” Governor Oyebanji pleaded.
The Chairman of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Adejuwon, expressed his joy on the completion and delivery of the magnificent edifice describing it as a dream come true.
Oba Adejuwon, who is also the Onisan of Isan Ekiti, said monarchs in the state had long desired the project because the old chamber became too small and inconvenient for them following the upgrade and installation of more members of the council.
The Onisan disclosed that the turning of sod for the project was performed in October 2019 under the chairmanship of his immediate predecessor, the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi and was done up to roofing level at the time he (Onisan) took over as chairman.
The Ekiti Obas’ Chairman lauded the former Governor (Fayemi) and the incumbent Governor (Oyebanji) for making the important legacy a reality saying it would remain an eternally remembered project.
“We are glad now that we are on our comfort zone. We appreciate your gesture of taking us out of inconveniences. We pledge out 100 per cent support for your administration,” Oba Adejuwon said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Special Adviser, Special Projects, Arc. Tope Ogunleye, said the project has given another room to testify about the importance of continuity.
He also lauded former Governor Fayemi for listening to the request of the traditional rulers in the state by bequeathing a project that is first of its kind in the Southwest.
Last modified: July 21, 2023