His arrival in the Government House signalled a new dawn for a state hitherto ravaged by locusts, savagely raped by interlopers imposed by do-or-die political brinkmanship and bogged down by a huge debt burden.
Dilapidated infrastructures, an abysmally low workers’ morale, disorganized education sector, health sector which was on life support, unacceptable internally generated revenue stared him in the face.
With doggedness, determination, commitment, diligence and well thought out policies, Dr. Kayode Fayemi tackled the problems confronting Ekiti State one after the other and the Land of Honour is now enjoying a new lease of life.
Expectations were high after being sworn in but clearing the rot he met on ground would prove to be a herculean task for the then new governor who was believed by majority of Ekiti people to be wielding a magic wand.
Looking back to that historic and unforgettable 16th day of October, 2010, when Dr. Fayemi was took oath of office as their governor, the people of Ekiti State now have cause to thank God that the man they voted for in 2007 and 2009 eventually regained his mandate.
Even though it took three-and-half tortuous years, their long wait is now being rewarded with countless dividends of democracy in the key sectors of the state.
Dr. Fayemi now represents the new face of good governance that all Ekitis irrespective of their political, ideological, religious and social differences can be proud of judging by the unprecedented transformation going on in all sectors in the state.
It is no surprise that one of the most influential newspapers in Nigeria, LEADERSHIP, nominated Dr. Fayemi as the Governor of the Year.
LEADERSHIP bestowed the award on the Ekiti governor “for his courage, sincerity, and innovative developmental thinking which have leveraged
the lot of Ekiti people”.
The Ekiti helmsman has been able to achieve this feat not because his state is the richest in Nigeria but because he has been able to use
the scarce resources of the state to better the lots of the people he governs.
Administering a state that has suffered bad governance from 2003 to 2010 is a herculean task but Dr. Fayemi, a man who is known never to
run away from challenges has restored public confidence to governance through a transparent approach to leadership.
Armed with an eight-point agenda, Dr. Fayemi has initiated and executed welfarist and populist policies which have improved the standard of living of Ekiti people in a way never witnessed before.
With Dr. Fayemi in charge, Ekiti people are now enjoying what seemed to be impossible in the past which an administration that has the interest of the masses at heart is now implementing in the state.
For example, a total number of 20,000 indigent elderly people (who are 60 years and above and not benefiting from any pension) are now
receiving monthly stipends of N5,000 under the administration’s Social Security Scheme for the Aged.
The Social Security Scheme for the Aged is not only the first of its kind in Nigeria but the first in West Africa. The senior citizens benefiting from the scheme are being taken care of irrespective of the party they voted in the last elections in the state.
The Fayemi-led administration is also the first in Nigeria to give laptops to students and teachers in public secondary schools under its e-learning project.
A total number of 33,000 laptops were distributed to students while teachers got 11,000 laptops in the first phase of the scheme. 100,000 school bags were also distributed to students in public schools in the state.
The administration had already taken the step to digitally empower students before the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) directed that candidates sitting for its examinations would henceforth use computers to answer questions.
Governor Fayemi has consistently reiterated that the digital revolution in Ekiti is aimed at turning the state into “Bangalore of Nigeria”.
A total number of 100 out of 184 public secondary schools are now wearing new look through massive renovation carried out during the long holiday under the Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE) project.
Students are happy to see their classroom blocks, school halls, hostels and other facilities transformed to make learning and other extra-curricular activities conducive with the rest schools to be renovated during December-January holiday.
A total number of 5,000 graduates have been employed through the Ekiti Volunteers Corps Scheme and they have since been absorbed into various sectors like traffic management, revenue generation, waste management, teaching, fire services, among others.
The governor also provided direct employment for 1,500 graduates through the Youth Commercial Agricultural Development (YCAD) scheme to pioneer agriculture on commercial basis in the state.
The YCAD scheme which has received the endorsement of the Federal Government and other international development agencies has also provided jobs indirectly to about 10,000 people in the three major farm settlements in the state.
Through these schemes, Dr. Fayemi has reduced unemployment in the state and has assured Ekiti people that more jobs would be provided as long as his administration remains in office.
The tourism sector has also received the Midas touch of Dr. Fayemi who has transformed the Ikogosi Warm Spring resort to an international standard.
Facilities which will make tourists and holidaymakers feel at home have been provided by the Fayemi-led administration which sees tourism as avenue to shore up the revenue base of the state and provide jobs for its citizens.
The first phase of the project is expected to be commissioned in October as part of activities marking the second anniversary of the Fayemi-led government in Ekiti.
Ten major road projects will also be commissioned to mark Dr. Fayemi’s second year in office with more roads to be inaugurated by December.
Infrastructural development is one sector that has most endeared Governor Fayemi to the people of the state.
A visit to Ado-Ekiti, the state capital and other towns and villages will reveal massive construction of roads hitherto abandoned and left in condition of disrepair.
Governor Fayemi is also using the Urban Renewal policy of his administration to turn Ado-Ekiti into a modern state capital where major roads are being dualized with the second largest town, Ikere-Ekiti expected to benefit from the dualization project.
The Fayemi-led administration has also transformed lives in the health sector with about 400,000 people suffering from various ailments treated freely through the Free Health Mission, a mobile medical intervention programme taken to the grassroots.
This is apart from the Free Health Programme being run in state-owned health institutions to take care of children of five years and under, pregnant women, senior citizens of 65 years and above and the physically-challenged.
Under Governor Fayemi’s watch, the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state has risen from N109 million to over N600 million monthly through the blocking of leakages with the administration targeting N1 billion monthly within the shortest possible time.
Ekiti State, under Dr. Fayemi’s leadership, became the first state in the federation to domesticate the Freedom of Information Law in the administration’s quest to entrench probity, accountability and transparency.
The transparency in governance being practised by Dr. Fayemi has attracted international development agencies like the World Bank, the British Department for International Development (DFID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to the state to partner with a progressive government in Ekiti.
The 2011 Budget was the first that had direct inputs of the people as the governor went round to all the 16 local government areas requesting the people of each community to forward their priority projects for implementation in the budget.
Surely, the LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year award will serve as a tonic for Dr. Fayemi to do more for Ekiti and make the state a model in the Nigerian federation.
Fayemi is working, Ekiti is working. The best is yet to come for the people of the Land of Honour.
*Ogunmola, who is Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor, writes from Ado-Ekiti
Last modified: October 5, 2012