In deciding to write this, I was fully conscious of the risk I ran. I knew many would query the professionalism of calling an election about one month ahead. Others would just say: “Ha. What do you expect”. Even those who do not know me would say, “no wonder, we knew all along where he was headed”.
It really does not matter what anyone thinks or says. It is clear to me that the Ekiti election is too important to be ignored at this stage. I must point out that I am not even pretending to have the crystal ball here. Not in this piece. What I am doing here is explaining why no other person deserves to take up the task of serving as governor of the state.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi who has been in the saddle for four years deserves to continue because he has fulfilled his pledges to the people. Over and beyond the nuts and bolts, bread and butter, he promised to restore value and virtue to the state and its governance. This he has done and it is acknowledged by all wise and wonderful Ekiti people. He fought hard to retrieve his stolen mandate. For more than three years, he moved from one court room to another to prove his contention that he was the rightful winner of the people’s mandate. At last, he triumphed and was installed October 2010.
But, like the gentleman that he is, he was quick to put the struggle behind him by concentrating on the task at hand. Witch-hunt did not appeal to him. And, that succeeded in calming frayed nerves and putting an end to the orgy of violence that had seized the state and become the norm. At a point, it appeared more an illusion to imagine an Ekiti where violence was not the essence of governance. But, a focused Fayemi rolled up his sleeves and achieved what had been considered impossible.
Second, there is no Ekiti town or community yet to feel the impact of governance. Ekiti money has been spent on the people. The elderly have not been abandoned and left to the vagary of hunger. They are fed and made to feel like the human beings that they are. Roads have been extended to every town and community and the people now contribute to budget making. This is a development that all lovers of democracy in this country should not ignore. All other governments should be taught that there can be no rulers without the ruled.
Anyone who was in Ekiti before 2007 and by 2010 and has been away since would find it difficult to locate the old landmarks today. All thanks to the urban renewal programme of the Fayemi administration. What about the legacy projects- the Civic Centre, Pavilion, the ultra-modern Government House and the Funmi Olayinka Cancer Centre? It is simply unbelievable that Ekiti, with the paltry income available for recurrent and capital expenditure, could put up such structures in such a record time. Ekiti money has really worked for the people.
What about the schools? What about hospitals? Then, the economy. With Fayemi, the Ekiti economy is not stupid, neither is it dumb. The future is looking brighter than the past. Tourism is being positioned to generate enough to fund the Ekiti Project. Agriculture is being accorded the pride of place, and investors are being wooed into a state where a decent man rules, and decent institutions and processes are being put in place.
Unlike many observers and commentators, I have taken time to visit the renovated schools. The results could not be denied by anyone. At first misunderstood by teachers when he chose to reform the system, they have since seen Fayemi’s sincerity and keyed into the vision. He is now regarded as the messiah long awaited. That is what selfless leadership does.
Another four years of Dr. Fayemi in office will do Ekiti a world of good. It would enable the man of history fully transform the state. He has promised to industrialise ekiti and supply potable water to all the people. He said it in 2007 and 2010 and did it. Now, he has said it again. He deserves our confidence.
Were I registered a voter in Ekiti State, there would be no prize guessing who would get my single vote. Fayemi has earned it. The people would not only do well to resoundingly return him to office on June 21; they should do all in their power to frustrate those who may be planning to steal the votes. Those who once mismanaged the economy, elevated state violence to an ideology and have little to offer by ways of ideas and character have no business plying their trade in a state like Ekiti. They should be permanently cashiered and allowed enough time to answer to EFCC charges.
This is my vote, the only one that I am entitled to and I leave no one wondering what I think of the candidates. For me, it is Fayemi all the way.
By Bolade Omonijo
This article was first published in The Nation on May 18, 2014.
Last modified: May 18, 2014