One reoccurring problem that has plagued this nation over the years is the dearth of purposeful leadership that can steer the ship of the nation into the Promised Land. Therefore since the first republic, the nation has been searching for leaders that can really drive development at all levels of government.
In fact many would readily attribute the nation’s underdevelopment to the fact that many leaders that had been foisted on the nation were never prepared for the task they were saddled with and which often resulted in their inability to make any difference in the lives of the citizenry.
Ekiti State, created in October 1996, also is not left out in the search for leaders that can take the state to the Promised Land. For instance, before the coming to power of the present administration, the state has been plagued with the political instability as it has been saddled with eight leaders between 2003 and 2010.
Though, the leaders tried their best in the circumstances they found themselves, they were far away from the aspiration and yearnings of the people. Thus the assumption of power by the Dr Kayode Fayemi administration gave the people the hope of new beginning.
Almost two years and five months into the four-year tenure of the governor, there is no doubt that the people can attest to his performance. While government in its own wisdom will access its performance based on certain indices, the citizens will access the performance of the government based on the impact on their lives.
One unanimous trend in the peoples’ opinion has been that the governor has touched many lives with his welfarist programmes as encapsulated in the Eight-point agenda. Even his harshest critics, particularly the opposition in their criticism would say the governor was merely laying asphalt on major roads in the state forgetting the poor conditions of the road, some of which were almost impassable before the coming to power of the Kayode Fayemi administration.
Chairman of the state branch of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, Prince Tunji Ogunlola said the achievements posted by Governor Fayemi has shut the mouth of the opposition in the state saying the new look of the state capital Ado-Ekiti pointed to the fact that the governor has not just been sitting on the state resources but has demonstrated high sense of integrity and responsibility in managing the affairs of the state.
Ogunlola pointed out that the ambitious road construction in the state not only touches every local government but has turned the state capital into a modern city from the hitherto rural community which could best be described as local government headquarters.
He opined that the road construction which is almost at its peak including the installation of street lights and the ongoing urban renewal programme showed that the state has at last found a committed leader who matches his words with action.
A journalist, Dimeji Daniels while commenting on the achievements of the governor this year said: “Though Kayode Fayemi may not be a schizophrenic blower of his own trumpet like Ayo Fayose, he is definitely a performer and Ekiti people know this.”
He added: “There were governors in Akwa-Ibom before Godswill Akpabio, but Akpabio distinguished himself by converting the state’s resources into beautiful and lasting structures. Lagos State had governors before Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, but these two saw into the future beyond vain entanglements and political‘roforofo’. History has since justified Tinubu and is writing on its un-eraseable slate of nobility and statesmanship the name of Babatunde Fashola. Just like these States, Ekiti had governors before Kayode Fayemi. One or two showed flashes of intelligence, but none can rival Fayemi in purposeful governance rooted in careful considerations and brilliant planning.”
When the present geographical area called Ekiti State was carved out of the then Ondo State, not a few indigenes believed that the state was set on the path of steady development. To many indigenes who celebrated the creation of the state and were ready to celebrate the then military dictator, Gen Sanni Abacha, despite the public outcry against his government, Ekiti in a matter of years would be a model for other states to emulate.
The optimism expressed was informed by the abundant human resources in the state, which any state can rely upon to chart a path of progress. Closely to this is the high level of political awareness which makes it difficult for any leader to fool them as such a leader would readily be shoved aside and given a boot from power.
But almost 16 years after creation, it appears that the optimism expressed is disappearing with complaints from different quarters expressing disappoint with successive rulers over what they termed poor performance.
This was the true situation of things when the present occupier of Oke Bareke (Ekiti state government house), Dr Kayode Fayemi assumed power. His ascension to power was celebrated throughout the state. People rolled out the drums and beer joints were filled to the brim as people saw him as the much needed messiah.
Fayemi had armed himself with an Eight-point agenda with which to turn around the fortunes of the state within a short term only to discover to his chagrin that bottlenecks were already in place to scuttle his vision for the state. Not only was the state swimming in the ocean of mounting debt, but there were challenges also from poor foundation in place which any serious government must destroy and lay solid one for development to take place.
The poor foundation appeared not only in the form of non-existing development policy as to the development of the state but most infrastructural facilities which the people had celebrated in the past were mere window dressing done to hoodwink the people.
Coupled with this is the lack of patience on the part of the people who see the governor as a miracle worker that must turn around the situation of things within a very short time. Also there were those who believed that the governor should open the treasury and be throwing money about in a bid to enslave the people rather than living behind a good legacy.
This is the true position of things as the governor went about putting in place different policies targeted at guiding the development of the state as opposed to the uncoordinated development which has not really brought about the much-needed development.
The Eight-point agenda has been the guiding light for the silent transformation of the state. The Eight-point agenda which is all embracing touches on good governance, infrastructural development, modernising agriculture, education and human capital development, health care services, industrial development, tourism and gender equality and empowerment.
One area which the governor has recorded tremendous success is in the implementation of his Social Security Scheme for the indigent elders. At present about 20,000 elders above the age of 65 years is current earning a stipend of N5, 000 monthly.
The scheme, which is the first of its kind in the country, has brought so much succour to the elders in the state who can barely afford a meal per day and has given them a new lease of life. It is usually celebration time whenever the elders file out every month to be paid at different locations close to their homes. They sing and dance to the admiration of people around.
It is in appreciation of this scheme that the Leadership Newspaper, last year, gave the award of the Best Governor of the Year to Dr Fayemi. While presenting the award, an elder statesman, Alhaji Maitama Sule had noted that the governor stood out among his peers because of his vision and sense of purpose in the administration of the state.
He said: “At a time like this, we need leaders not looters, leaders, not rulers. We need leaders with the fear of God; those who will not lie; leaders who will accept what they can accept in private; leaders who are not corrupt; leaders who will not steal; leaders who look in the eyes of the common man with compassion and not eye of the privileged few. May I congratulate you on behalf of the nation because the nation needs leaders like you.”
By Ifedayo Sayo
This article was first published in The Daily Independent
Last modified: April 3, 2013