EDITORIAL: Fayemi, Two Years On

October 17, 2012

The most piquant thing about two years of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State is not what he has done or what he has not done. It is rather the perception of his mandate as that not stolen; and therefore has earned the right to rule. That is the power of legitimacy in a democracy – that your people have given you the charter to rule: with the proviso that that charter would be withdrawn if you did not rule well.

The mandate, like a sword of Damocles, which nevertheless comes down in a democracy, appears to be driving Ekiti. The result is obvious for all to see.

That Ado-Ekiti, the state capital and other parts of the state are one huge work-in-progress is apparent. In two years, Ekiti, under Fayemi’s charge, has constructed 103 kilometres of roads in 10 different parts of the state. That is remarkable and encouraging. But even more remarkable is that the roads come with standard specifications. They come with adequate drainage, setbacks, pedestrian walkways and even floral beautification.

That could be routine in other areas, but for a largely rural and sleepy state, this urban renewal is a sign of commendable modernisation. With improved road infrastructure, transportation receives a boost and the state economy receives a healthy jab in the arm.

But Fayemi’s focus has not been on road infrastructure alone. Indeed, that is only part of an eight-point agenda, the other seven being sane governance, modernised agriculture, education and human capital development, health care services, promotion of industries, tourism and gender equality and empowerment – empowerment including social security for Ekiti Elders, as a mark of the government’s recognition of their past services to the state.

Sanity in governance has come mainly from the frugality in managing public funds. Even with the state’s modest receipt from the Federation Account and equally modest internally generated revenue (IGR), the Fayemi government has made a laudable attempt at harnessing the state’s resources for maximal results.

This has been most remarkable in the Ekiti Elders’ social security programme where anyone from age 65 and above is given a monthly stipend of N5,000. It is the first of its type in the South West, though the State of Osun has followed in that direction, by putting in place a similar social security scheme.

Frugal management of resources is also apparent in tourism-driven investment in which the Ikogosi Warm Springs, the wonder of nature where there is confluence of warm and cold water, is being upgraded into a resort to attract global tourism traffic. This is another economic empowerment project to create jobs and rev up the state’s economy to drive prosperity.

The Fayemi government’s intervention in education is fundamental: by instituting periodic tests for teachers in the state’s employ, it is insisting on the basics – that teachers who teach our youths and will shape their future for good or for ill must be on top of their game. That is noble and legitimate.

The challenge, however, is that the programme must be served with utmost sensitivity and mass enlightenment. That would not only make the teachers buy into the scheme as part of their own much needed professional improvement, it would augur well for the development of education at the grassroots; and further consolidate Ekiti’s well-known love for education.

In two years, Governor Fayemi has put in place laudable pattern of governance – from an ethical campaign that strives to return Ekiti to its Omoluabi credo, to concrete strides in visible infrastructure. But the end, not the beginning, is the issue. So, the government would do well to be focused and consolidate its achievement, before the inevitable distraction, with the din of re-election.


This article was first published in The Nation on 17 October 2012.

Last modified: October 17, 2012

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