FEATURES: Ekiti: Fayemi’s Activism On Ground

March 30, 2013

Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria

Two years into office, Governor Kayode Fayemi has in the mind of many moved Ekiti State forward. But success in governance is only one yardstick ahead of the forthcoming gubernatorial election next year.

Given his reputation as a former journalist and subsequently, one of the continent’s leading personalities in the civil society movement, it was not surprising that Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s first achievements in office would include pushing the enactment of laws promoting good governance.

Besides becoming the first governor to sign a domesticated Freedom of Information Bill, FOI, Ekiti State under Fayemi, has also enacted the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Public Private Partnership law. The laws passed within the first two years of Dr. Fayemi’s stewardship were reflective of the governor’s promise at his belated inauguration in November 2010.

“My eight-point agenda would be pursued with vigour and life would be more abundant for our people. Governance shall not only be transparent and accountable but the good of our people would be the template”, the governor had said.

It was in line with that transparency mantra that Dr. Fayemi turned out to be the only governor in his time to publish his assets declaration form at his inauguration. It indeed turned out to be a joke in some newsrooms when it was published that the governor’s assets were less than those of his deputy, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka, herself a former banker.

However, if the governor’s pronunciation had remained in the realm of talk as many suppose it is with many intellectuals and civil society activists, it would not have been totally surprising.

Dr. Fayemi has, however, moved beyond chatter to practically touch the lives of the citizenry in the state.

The Fayemi administration has been especially felt in the area of road constructions given the spate of dualisations and rehabilitation of many roads in the state.

The governor remarkably, took off from where he met his predecessor, Engr. Segun Oni who laid the foundation for a few road projects.

While the governor has completed several road projects with underground culverts and positioned traffic lights for traffic control, as at press time at least 16 major roads were at advanced stages of completion in the state capital, Ado-Ekiti.

However, Governor Fayemi has moved beyond the expectation of many with the ground-breaking infrastructure projects. In one instance, the former Ado-Ekiti prison is being turned into a Civic centre which is expected to also have an art gallery and a modern library.

The administration has also touched the citizenry in other ways besides infrastructure. One of the most remarkable schemes of the Fayemi administration in the area of human capital development is the regular monthly payment of N5,000 to the elderly. The social security scheme has to some degree helped to empower otherwise less endowed elderly citizens.  At least 20,000 elderly indigenes who are 65 years and above are involved in the scheme.

Also in the area of human capital development is the administration’s provision of laptop computers to students of the state’s publicly owned secondary schools. The aim is to build up the computer literacy skills of the younger generation to position them to compete in the knowledge driven international economy. The scheme was flagged off last year with the distribution of 33,000 solar powered computers to students in a project the administration is partnering with Samsung and Microsoft.

”Now that the goal is realized, it is the beginning of the fulfillment of our campaign promise to make Ekiti the ICT capital of Nigeria”, the governor said at the flagging off of the computer distribution scheme in Ikere-Ekiti last year.

The schemes of the administration have been helped by the reinvigoration of the internal revenue generation base. At inception the internally generated revenue was estimated to be about N100 million monthly. Now the administration has reportedly through the blockage of leakages and other devices pushed the generation to more than N600 million with the target of realising at least N1 billion monthly before year end.

Also as part of its revenue generation efforts, the administration is putting its energies towards the revival of its tourist infrastructure. The Ikogosi Water Spring which has been globally acclaimed for its ability to produce cold and hot water is being revived as a tourist attraction with the added appendages of good lodging and conference facilities.

Dr. Fayemi’s efforts nonetheless, his efforts are apparently not universally appreciated and even among some of his kith and kin in the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

The increasing divergence of opinion on the performance of Dr. Fayemi especially among the elite class could be a snare for the governor ahead of the forthcoming 2014 gubernatorial election.

Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, a member of the party in the House of Representatives and remarkably, one of the governor’s ardent supporters in his struggle to realise the gubernatorial mandate has lately expressed misgivings on the administration’s achievements.

While not openly condemning the governor, Bamidele has recently faulted the blanket endorsement given the incumbent by his colleagues in the National Assembly and some stakeholders with the affirmation that more could have been done. While Bamidele could be a trouble from home, the greater trouble could come in the shape of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which is still trying to find its bearing after its exit from power in 2010.

By Emmanuel Aziken

This article was first published in the Vanguard.

Last modified: March 30, 2013

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