FEATURES: Fayemi: I Have Never Been Enlisted In A Worthier Cause

October 13, 2013

L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; husband of late former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Arch. Lanre Olayinka; and his daughter, Yeside, during the flag-off of Funmi Adunni Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre, built in memory of the late former Deputy Governor, in Ado-Ekiti.

When he  says  his government  will do so and so  for a community, that community can literally go to sleep in complete  trust that  he will not fail them.

I seek the indulgence  of  readers, following upon my last week article, to  briefly touch on the matter  of the National Conference and  ask a few questions  from those  who still  see  the conference as  the  ‘deus ex machina’  to Nigeria’s multitude of problems. Let me first and foremost; concede that of a truth, President Jonathan, for the love of country, had a change of mind. Are we to ‘ipso facto’,  assume that Mr David Mark, the Senate President was, by some telepathy or an angelic visitation, suddenly divinely  instructed to equally change his own mind or has the Nigerian sovereignty, to which he had hung his opposition like forever,  unknown to us lesser Nigerians,  suddenly taken leave of his National Assembly?

This could still jolly well be a happy coincidence. But what then are we to   make of the Pauline conversion of Chairman Tukur, the relentlessly sabre-rattling boss of the ruling party who, only some days before the Independence Day Presidential declaration, wanted  Baraje and company  behind bars, to  suddenly  go soft,  go  on bended knees,  begging the same Baraje to bury the hatchet and join him  in presenting  a united front at the conference?   Are we to assume that all these three persons, and more, are united by love of country?  Can’t Nigerians see this Greek gift and well calibrated diversion, thrown like meat to the dog for the simple aim of keeping it busy on a useless piece of bone?

Let me equally hazard a guess: in some very coy ways, Nigerians will soon come to see very senior academics, well known for their brilliance, recruited to interrogate the scheme as we saw in the IBB SAP debates. It is a beaten path of unscrupulous politicians cleverly leveraging on these individuals’ integrity.  After all, a night or two at the NICON NOGA will not be a bad idea. Fortunately, there is nothing we cynics can do as it has become a ‘fait accompli. But I will be mightily surprised if the cynics do not laugh last.

As we wind down to the 3rd anniversary of the inauguration of the  Fayemi administration in Ekiti state, it is apposite for me to take a critical look at a man, and a period, in my home state, which have been  truly phenomenal. I am currently writing a book; not an autobiography, nor one to give earth-shaking behind-the-news  stories  of  epochal political decisions,  having really never been a  politician  in the Nigerian sense;  but one in which I have solemnly declared that, and I quote: ‘ I have never been enlisted in a worthier cause than that of Dr Kayode Fayemi’.

And that is neither talking glibly nor intended to patronise.  I have been privileged to be part of building a University from scratch just as I have worked very closely for upwards of three years  with eminent Yoruba citizens, among them the likes of  Lt. General  Alani Akinrinade, Dr Amos Akingba, Professors  Bolaji Akinyemi, Jide Osuntokun, Wale Omole,  Rear Admiral Akin Aduwo, Taiwo Alimi,  Mrs Tola Adenle, Mrs Dupe Ajayi- Gbadebo and Dr Dele Sobowale, to mention but a few, in mid-wifing  a Pan-Yoruba  Socio-Cultural organisation,  but seeing how Fayemi has fundamentally impacted  on Ekiti, my primary community;  his focus, determination , commitment and self denial, I have nothing but thanks to God that I am found lining behind a man of such  integrity  in his unstinting service to Motherland.

A man  to  whom, in his back,   Ekiti people have  recently  added  another  appellation  to his ‘ILUFEMILOYE 1’ , as they now call him O WI BE SE BE – ( certainly not deifying him), but  saying that this is a man who, when he  says  his government  will do so and so  for a community, that community can literally go to sleep in complete  trust that  he will not fail them. Such has been his believability that every city, town, village, hamlet and every human settlement in the state has, at least,  one project, completed or on-going. This is, of course, not surprising since his government’s annual budget is structured bottom up as  he and his  team  visit all nooks and cranny of the state to identify the peoples’ needs which then form the locus of the year’s budget. Whatever could not be accommodated that year is an automatic item in the next budget.

This article is therefore not solely about enumerating brick and mortar, important though they are as it will also dwell on the Fayemi persona. He has remained truthful, not only to the state but, fundamentally, to himself. He has therefore spared nothing towards achieving his promise of making poverty history in the state – a pivotal part of his 8-Point Agenda. This obviously is not a 100 metre dash but rather, a long distance, multi-faceted project which he has followed with every sinew of his being. I once described him as a product of his upbringing and this has helped him greatly. Not one to carry position on his head, his calmness and simplicity – You need to have seen his equanimity fighting those men playing  god for his mandate – have all  made him extremely  easy to work with. Not for him the airs and garrulity so common with public office holders  in our country. Everything he does attests to these and as all, except the thoroughly politically jaundiced would see, he has become a man  after everybody’s heart:  serving as the pivot  of not only his Regional Governors’ Forum but a distinct leader of both the Progressive Governors Forum  and  the much-feared Nigerian Governors Forum, just as he is  a leading light of the All Progressives Congress Party, where those who should know, attest to his sterling contributions. One thing that particularly gratifies me is that when in those uncertain days I, at great risk,  elected to line behind him, people in power were eagerly seeking my support.

At his inauguration on October 16, 2010, Dr Kayode Fayemi declared: ‘As am ushered into the governor’s office in Ado-Ekiti, make no mistake about it, I will ensure that you the good people of Ekiti state, own this government. I will do this by redesigning my agenda through the village square and town hall meetings. I promise to ‘democratise  governance, modernise agriculture, improve infrastructure, promote free and qualitative education towards the development of functional human capital, provide free health and social security to the disadvantaged sectors of our state; ensure industrial development, tourism and sustainable development as well as promote gender equality and women empowerment’.

Dr Fayemi has never looked back.

Today, education which had  reached its nadir in the state has since turned the corner. In addition to free education up to secondary school level and improvements in infrastructure and teacher quality, a total of 183 secondary schools and 836 primary schools have been renovated. Equally 48,000 laptops were distributed to secondary school students as additional 25,000 are already on order. The result was a quantum leap in the last WAEC results in the state which went from about 20 percent last year to about 70 per cent this year. Agriculture has been socialized and today over 20,000 youth have enrolled in the YCAD –the Youth Commercial Agricultural programme – in which they are not only trained in agricultural practice, given implements and additives but  also  given seed money. The programme is now being aggressively aided by a massive irrigation programme funded from the combined constituency projects of majority of the state’s National Assembly members.

Health has received such a massive boost that only this past week, the Adunni Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre in honour of our unforgettable late Deputy Governor, for an array of cancer screening for early detection, was commissioned by the governor. This year, all hospitals in the state are being renovated and are to be more equipped.

The mother of all the Fayemi quiet revolution is the unprecedented N5000, monthly  social security stipend to the elderly which now goes to no less than 25000 over 70 year-old citizens of the state.

These wonderful efforts are replicated in every sector of governance.

The governor is ably assisted in all these by two main persons and his entire team, namely,  his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi. Those interested in knowing more about this Amazon should please read my article: ELECT ONE, GET TWO, 19 June, 2011 which, in fact must now read like ancient history given her new exploits in empowering our people. The other is Professor Dupe Adelabu, who has fitted seamlessly into the Deputy Governor’s position. She was before her new appointment, the Chairman of the State SUBEB and remains a strong force in the trajectory of education in the state. As things stand today, Ekiti people could not have asked for more. Yet, there are lots more from where all  these came. To God be the glory.

By Femi Orebe
This article was first published in The Nation

Last modified: October 13, 2013

2 Responses to " FEATURES: Fayemi: I Have Never Been Enlisted In A Worthier Cause "

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