FEATURES: Fayemi: Breaking The Jinx Of Second Term

August 20, 2013

L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Chief Bisi Akande; National Leader, ACN, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; and wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, during a crucial meeting by the ACN National leadership with stakeholders of the party, in Ado-Ekiti.

As the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti state draws nearer, the gladiators are now on the streets trying to outdo themselves in a bid to take over power in the 17-year-old state. No doubt, the election is going to mark a watershed in the history of the state following the acrimony and litigations that followed the 2007 election which the Independent National Electoral Commission {INEC} had declared the Peoples Democratic Party {PDP} candidate, Chief Segun Oni as the winner before the court upturned the victory in favour of the incumbent governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

Already, candidates have begun to spring up in the major parties in the state in a bid to be the next tenant of the Oke Bareke Government House. For the PDP, no fewer than fifteen aspirants have started canvassing for the ticket of the party including a former governor, Mr Ayo Fayose; former spokesman of the Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, Mr Dayo Adeyeye; former deputy governor, Mr Abiodun Aluko; a pharmacist, Mr Bimbo Owolabi and scores. An attempt by the party to present a consensus candidate was met with violence in which some leaders of the party were attacked and wounded.

For the ruling party, the Action Congress of Nigeria {ACN} which has just transformed into All Progressive Congress {APC} it seems the coast is clear for the incumbent governor, Dr Fayemi to fly the party’s flag in the 2014 election. In the last one year, there has been series of endorsement of his candidature starting with the leaders of the party led by the former governor of the state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo. National leaders of the party before the merger led by the national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and the former governor of Lagos state, Senator Bola Tinubu also endorsed the candidature of the governor based on his achievements in office.

Various council branches of the party later did their own adoption to clear the way for him basing the adoption on his sterling performance which are obvious to any visitor coming to the state. Though, the merger of the ACN with ANPP and CPC is expected raise dust about the adoption of the governor, there is no doubt that the other two parties were virtually non-existing in the state before the merger.

Apparently aware of the weakness of the CPC and ANPP in the state, the state chairman of the APC, Chief Jide Awe declared that following the adoption of the governor by almost everybody in the party, the party had no choice but to present Fayemi as its candidate for the 2014 election by October this year when the governor would have clocked three years in office.

The only rumoured challenger to the candidature of the governor in the new party and a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, has not come into the open to declare his interest and if he does, he may be merely swimming against the tide as all and sundry within the party may have made up their minds to present Fayemi as their candidate. If Bamidele is not happy with the development he may have to seek other platforms to fulfill his ambition. But as a loyal party member, it is believed in many circles that Bamidele may toe the line of his leaders
particularly, Tinubu, whom he had served as personal assistant in the past and a member of his cabinet in the government of Lagos state.

Beyond the two parties, APC and PDP, the only aspirant interested in governing the state in 2014 is Mr Bankole Ajayi of the Accord Party.  Ajayi, a lawyer, has been campaigning to be the next governor of the state though, it is yet to be seen how he can dislodge the two popular in view of the present political calculations in the state. No doubt the battle for next year election is going to be between the APC and PDP. While the PDP is yet to sort out its candidate, the APC will present the incumbent governor for the poll.

For Fayemi, it is another opportunity to break the second term jinx which has eluded his predecessors. Fayemi to all independent observers of developments in the state has performed very well. His performance has earned him the praises of leaders in the state who noted the innovations he has brought to the governance of the state.
Managing a state with which earns a monthly allocation of between N2.3billion and N2.6 billion in addition to about N500million which it generates from internal sources is not all that easy. Of this total earnings, about N2.1billion goes into payment of salaries of workers. This is in addition to about N400million grants to higher institutions in the state. Also the government inherited about N40billion debt including money owed to contractors handling projects for the state.

Apparently aware of the limitations of the government finances, the Fayemi administration had to go to the capital market to raise N25 billion to fund capital projects. It is on record that following the confidence of investors in the management of the finances of the state, the money was raised in a record time.
Evidence of the prudent management of the fund got through the capital management abound in the state with virtually all the local governments in the state benefiting from one major project or the other.
There is no gainsaying the fact that election is not a tea party. The governor is going to face a stiff opposition from the PDP which has tasted power and would want to return to Oke Bareke Government House in the 2014 election. But one major hurdle before the PDP will be how it manages the ambition of its scores of aspirants to produce a popular one that can face the incumbent who apparently enjoys the confidence of the people now.

But for Fayemi, he is on the course of making history as the first to break the jinx of securing a second term in office. He has for now cleared the first hurdle which is securing the support of his party members from far and wide. It is a settled matter that he will definitely fly the party’s flag.

Beyond the issue of securing the party’s ticket is how he would get the Ekiti people behind him in the 2014 election. This is becoming clearer by the day that all what the people want is someone who will solve the myriad of problems that have plagued the state like any other state in the federation.
Particularly they want a governor who will put food on their table daily by reducing unemployment, improve on the infrastructures in the state and put the state on the path of steady progress through industrialization. The performance of the governor in the last three years in meeting the expectations will have direct bearing on his election.

To an average Ekiti, Fayemi’s performance in the area of infrastructural development is very high. For the first time since creation, they are witnessing true development.  For instance, the road development of the administration which cut across the 16 council areas has given the state one of the best network of roads in the country. Moving from one council to the other has been made easy through the durable roads put in place. It is on record that he rolled out 33 road contracts covering a total of 429.0611km some of which have been completed.

He had declared on assumption of office that “by 2014, all parts of Ekiti will be accessible by major roads. In addition to the good network of roads in the state, the governor through the Urban Renewal Programme gave the state capital, Ado-Ekiti a facelift. The beautifully arranged streetlights have added to the aesthetic look of the state capital.

Ado-Ekiti at night could be compared to any beautiful city in the country while the streetlights have given the town a hitherto non-existing night life. Before the erection of the street lights, the town usually goes to sleep by 8pm but in the last one year, visitors to the state at night are no longer stranded in their bid to get to any part of the town as there are commercial vehicles who worked till early the following morning.

Added to the beauty of the town under the programme is pavement being constructed for people to trek and the rehabilitated roads which have earned the governor the praises of the people. Taiwo Olalekan said the governor is best thing to have happened to the state in the recent times. Taiwo a commercial driver said no one can say “this governor has not done well to the people of the state”.

To address the issue of poverty, the governor introduced the State Volunteers corps through about 5,000 unemployed youths were taken from the streets and given a temporary appointment to keep body and soul together. These youths who were deployed to various assignment in the state earn a monthly stipend of N10, 000. The government set up the volunteer corps to engage them before they get good jobs which they all yearn for.
It is on note that the volunteer corps which earned the government the praises of the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has since been adopted by the federal government through its SURE-P programme. Thousands of youths across the country are now employed by the federal government and paid N10,000 stipend monthly.

Apart from this, the government set up skill acquisition centres across the state for unemployed youths to learn one trade or the other.
After their graduations from these centres, the youths are assisted to set up their private businesses to free them from poverty. This is in addition to the Young Entrepreneurs Scheme through which graduates were trained in business and assisted to set up their private businesses. This programme has gulped tens of millions of naira in the last one year.
The government has employed hundreds of youths through its agencies which include Ekiti State Traffic Management Agency, Fire Service
among others. It has also combated the twin problem of unemployment and food insufficiency through the Youth/ Commercial Agriculture Development Programme. This programme apart from engaging the youth in commercial farming is also targeted at increasing food production. The programme which has since taking off with many youths participating is targeted at giving employment to about 20,000 youths in the state.

As part of its measures to eradicate poverty, the state began an innovative Social Scheme for the Elderly which has since been copied by many state governments across the country. Under the programme indigent senior citizens are paid a monthly stipend of N5,000 to rescue them from poverty.

The Fayemi administration had carried out a survey of senior citizens above 65 years old in the state and after sorting out those on pension, it came up with about 10,000 indigent elders who are now on its payroll through the state. It is an atmosphere to behold when the elders gather at their payment centres singing the praises of the governor for rescuing them from the pangs of poverty.

The governor has lived up to his words that he would make the state a tourist’s destination. The abandoned Ikogosi Warms Spring has been given a facelift with modern facilities provided. The warm spring which is the only one in the world has been receiving tourists from far and near since it was opened in March this year.

In the area of education, the facelift given all public school buildings in the state has given a new lease of life to the education sector in the state. The project completed in a record time of three months has given students a befitting condition for learning. Aside from the rehabilitation of the buildings, the government provided facilities for all the 183 public schools rehabilitated. Free laptop computers were given to students.

The health sector equally received the needed attention with the ongoing rehabilitation of hospital buildings including the provision of facilities across the state. Also the Oba Adejugbe Hospital for the take off of  “Abiro programme” is nearer completion. The government is equally implementing its free health programme for all children, pregnant women and elders in all the 32 primary health facilities across the state.

Commenting on the achievements of the governor, a political leader, Mr Taiwo Olawuyi said the state can now boast of a leader which is not only connected with the people but has what it takes to take the state to greater height. He said the people love what the governor is doing adding that they are ready to demonstrate their support by voting for him in the next election.

Given the performance of the governor in the last two and half years, the 2014 governorship election in the state is going to be interesting. The success of the governor in the election no doubt will be determined by the people perception of the governor performance.


By Ifedayo Sayo

Last modified: August 20, 2013

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