It was the second edition of the initiative to fast-track development agenda of Governor Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State. The 2013 Executive-Legislative Parley is a product of the first element of the governor’s Eight-Point Agenda (Governance). Aimed at strengthening governance and enhance a good working relationship between two arms of government, this year’s Executive-Legislative parley was conceived as a follow-up to last year’s edition, which has started yielding fruits germane to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals objective set by the governor’s 8-point agenda to make poverty history in Ekiti State.
The four-day event held at Ikogosi Warm Spring Resorts provided opportunity for stock-taking after the first parley held last year at Iloko-Ijesa to chart a way forward in the government’s development agenda.
Present were Governor Kayode Fayemi, Deputy Governor, Professor Modupe Adelabu; members of the State Executive Council and lawmakers at both National and state assemblies in a quixotic engagement to chart development course for Ekiti State at a newly constructed world class conference and seminar facility that provides comfort for both holiday makers and seminal scholars.
Tucked inside the maze of Ikogosi lusty, luscious and lustrous hills, Ikogosi Resorts provides an ambience of absolute serenity needed for such brainstorming sessions. Completely absent was distracting baying of angry baboons and chirping songs of exuberant birds. Also absent were fears of infestation of water-meadow that could ail the first-time visitors to this site of heavenly wonders. Instead, the loudness of the quietness and harmlessness of Ikogosi Resorts engaged the sublime essence of thoughts of the participants who converged for this historical engagement to make a difference in the life of Ekiti people.
Added to the graceful atmospherics that seized the participants is the freshness of the month of May that provides showers, which cuddle the tender shoots and herbs of Ikogosi forests etched in alluring escarpment.
Declaring the parley open on Thursday May 9, 2013, Governor Fayemi said this year edition became necessary in view of tremendous impacts that accrued from last year edition held at Iloko-Ijesa, noting that gone were the days when moneys were allocated to projects without implementation, even as he stressed that what the people wanted is performance and not promises.
Explaining that he had fulfilled 70 per cent of his promises to the people in the last two and half years, the governor added: “This parley is expected to give us a sense of where we are and where we are heading. We want to know the things we have done, where the gaps are, how to strengthen the bond between the Executive and Legislature and achieve our objective of eradicating poverty and making life abundant.
“This is the time to focus on the people. What we used to hear in the past was that the government had earmarked this and that for water, education and so on. Not anymore. It is only what can be eye-marked that will determine how our people judge us.”
Governor Fayemi is not alone in this crusade determined to create happiness for the people of Ekiti State as former Governor, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, in his keynote address harped on the need to check the cancer of corruption and leakages in government financial system if whatever is planned to enhance development for Ekiti State is to make positive impacts.
He listed Abuja House, Oju-Olobun property and the present Governor’s office originally conceived to be a five-star hotel as some of the projects executed in transparent manner by his administration and which are still generating incomes for the state, even as he praised Fayemi for strengthening this transparency policy by backing it with the Freedom of Information Law and e-payment system that have reduced abuses in government business.
Adebayo, who regretted that Ekiti State has not been fortunate to have good leadership in the last seven years before the advent of the present administration, added that Fayemi had created a benchmark for transparency that has limitless potential to grow Ekiti State.
His words: “I submit that we must be able to construct an appropriate paradigm for the retention and turnover of transformational political leadership in Ekiti so that our dear state can take its pride of place amongst the comity of states in the country,” adding that the parliament must not allow itself to be penetrated by the Executive to avoid the pitfalls of a rubberstamp legislature.
The Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, in his address, said: “The cordial relationship has enabled the Legislature to perform well in the area of law-making and performance of oversight functions. Both arms have ever since built a strong working relationship to enable them act as allies and partners to strengthen democratic governance in the state.
Omirin added: “It is imperative at this period of the state’s democratic development to find a way of consolidating the cordial relations, focusing on new areas of mutual interests and opening up new frontiers of friendship and partnership between the two arms of government for the benefit of Ekiti people.
“Parliament is an intermediary institution between the executive and the electorate. It is also an institution in which the citizens place their hopes in times of need, particular over unpopular government policies. That is why the Assembly must be seen to be independent of the executive to maintain a balance that will address democratic needs of the citizens.”
At an event where both members of the Executive Council and House of Assembly listed their achievements and the challenges facing the attainment of government policy, resource persons from within and outside the state presented papers on various aspects of relations between the two arms of government and their impacts on the economy of the state.A team from international development partners led by the Country Representative of the UNDP, Dr. Waheed Alayande, also reported on their feasibility study on irrigation farming in the state.
Their study on the potential of Ero and Itapaji dams gives a bright hope for prosperous agricultural production that will engage thousands of youths of the Youth Commercial Agricultural Programme (YCAD) in commercial farming for local consumption and export.Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Legislative and Allied Matters, Asiwaju Oladapo Karounwi, stressed the need for interface between the Executive and Legislature, saying the gesture had enabled the government to achieve a lot in projects implementation in the last one year.
Karounwi listed establishment of Special Projects Unit, enhancement of project monitoring framework, procurement process reform, realignment of existing MDA work plans to reflect new budget amendments, and development of Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for 2013-2014, among others, as some of the products of last year’s parley, which have greatly helped to break
administrative bottlenecks that hamper quick delivery of service. The measure, he stressed, has enhanced service delivery mechanism that has seen many projects, including classrooms renovation in 180 schools, carried out as planned in good time.
The Head of Service, Mr. Bunmi Famosaya, listed political will to attain goals, prudence in resource management, skilled man-power and availability of legal framework as essential elements that can enhance smooth service delivery in the system where the Executive and legislature perform their duties in appropriate constitutional manner while also listing overwhelmed institutions/personalities and corruption of public service as pitfalls that must be avoided if positive results are to be obtained.
In his paper entitled ‘The Challenge of Programme Delivery In Ekiti State since 2010’, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Kolawole, lamented the drop in revenue receipts from the Federation Account; increasing constitutional roles and responsibilities for the state in the face of dwindling revenue; exclusion of states from some money-making ventures, such as railway; and non-adherence to fiscal regulations in the constitution by the Federal Government in various states versus Federal Government issues in courts, including tolling of roads, among others.
He stressed the need for a new revenue formula in favour of the states while also canvassing divesting the Federal Government’s involvement on issues better handled by that states, such as UBEC, water, agriculture and health.
To cope with the challenge of programme delivery, Kolawole suggested a reduction in the level of waste, prudent financial management, structured programme delivery and structured project monitoring, strong community/stakeholders engagements and enforcement of delivery deadlines.
Senators Tony Adeniyi and Olubunmi Adetunmbi and federal lawmakers Bamidele Faparusi, Bimbo Daramola, Robinson Ajiboye and Ife Arowosoge spoke on the readiness of the federal lawmakers to do their bit to ensure that all projects budgeted for Ekiti State in the federal budget are implemented while Dr Femi Akinola, one of the moderators at the event, warned against distractions in the roles of both the executive and legislature, noting that breaking the limits of constitutional roles has often led to confrontation that hampers a good working relationship between the two arms of government for quick service delivery.
The Clerk of Ekiti House of Assembly, Mr. Tola Esan, urged transparency on the part of the Executive while lawmakers must be loyal to the state and preserve the dignity of the parliament, adding that party system and discipline must be strengthened to maintain party supremacy on all issues.
A communiqué issued at the end of the parley noted that existing co-operative relations between the two arms of government have enabled each arm to perform creditably in its respective sphere, which also helps in joining hands to deliver the dividends of democracy to Ekiti people.
According to the communiqué, it also offers ample opportunities to take a fresh look at this relationship to deepen areas of mutual interest and open up new frontiers of co-operation between the two organs of government while a template is now in place to ensure that the two arms act on a continuous basis as strategic allies and partners in the quest for good governance and democracy.
The parley appraised the 8-Point Agenda of Dr. Kayode Fayemi-led administration, which it noted has led to a huge expansion in the stock of infrastructure in the state and attracted investors from far and wide, regretting, however, that some of the social problems manifesting in Ekiti today, such as rising criminality and social deviance, are by and large problems emanating from, and reflecting Ekiti’s place in pan-Nigerian and wider processes.
While noting the impact of the first edition of the parley in infrastructure development of the state, the statement said the budget should be reviewed to ensure the completion of ongoing capital projects. It was also resolved that the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) that informed the 2013 Budget should be updated and extended to 2016. This, the statement added, should be reflected in the next year’s budget.
According to the communiqué, the MTEF for 2014 and 2015 should cover agriculture, education, health, urban and physical planning, lands, tourism and infrastructure. It was also resolved that government agencies should design a sustainable plan to improve Internally Generated Revenue as the state could no longer rely on allocations from the Federation Account, adding that the plan must include clear measures to capture existing revenue sources, expand the revenue base and block all loopholes and leakages.
Hailing government’s investment in Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort, the parley resolved that a Stakeholders Forum comprising individuals and groups from political and economic boundaries should be convened to help the government restore the core values of integrity, hard work and honesty that define Ekiti people.
The parley also recommended a census of ongoing projects in Ekiti to inform advocacy for a better deal from Abuja while also urging the Executive to support the Legislature to undertake its law-making, appropriation and oversight responsibilities.
In all, the parley amplifies the determination of Governor Kayode Fayemi to develop a template for the growth of Ekiti State where service delivery and performance takes over from the annual ritual of budget proposals that can scarcely be supported by finances. He and Adebayo believe that transparency, performance and one vision shared by both Executive and Legislature are vehicles that can drive this process to take Ekiti State to greater heights of development.
Olujobi is Special Adviser on Media to the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly
Last modified: May 21, 2013