FEATURES: Ekiti: A Transformation Never Witnessed Before

July 28, 2013

Since the nation’s return to civil rule in 1999, Nigerians go to the polls every four years to elect leaders they are to entrust with the mandate to make decisions affecting their welfare on day-to-day basis.

But the failure of some elected leaders to live up to expectation has dampened the enthusiasm of the electorate in going to the polls to exercise their civic duty of voting for leaders of their choice when
opportunity for election comes.
The story was not different in Ekiti State which had in the recent past experienced bad governance, lack of accountability and transparency, shambolic execution of projects, disconnect from the masses and misplacement of priorities.

The coming to power of Dr. Kayode Fayemi as the Governor of Ekiti State on October 15, 2010 has brought an end to the sordid experience witnessed by the people of the state before his assumption of office.
As a man well prepared for the herculean task of governance, Dr. Fayemi, came to power with an eight-point agenda, to turn around the fortunes of the Land of Honour for good.

The components of the eight-point agenda are governance, infrastructural development, modernising agriculture, education and human capital development, healthcare services, industrial development, tourism development and environmental sustainability and gender equality and empowerment.
One after the other, the Ekiti State Chief Executive has been using the agenda, otherwise known as the Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery, to solve the problems he met on ground in the key sectors to the admiration of Ekitis at home and in Diaspora.

In a bid to secure the trust of the people he leads before fully settling down to the serious business of governance, Dr. Fayemi did what many elected officials fear to do by declaring his assets and publishing same on the pages of major newspapers in the country to show that he has nothing to hide.
The Governor thereafter put in place some policy frameworks that would engender transparency and help him translate his dream for Ekiti into reality.

He sent some executive bills to the House of Assembly which had since been passed into laws. They include the Freedom of Information Law (the first state in Nigeria to achieve the feat), Fiscal Responsibility Law, Public-Private Partnership Law, among others.

These have encouraged international development agencies, local and foreign investors to do business with an administration that will not fritter away the resources of its people.

Having been in office for two years and nine months, Ekiti State has witnessed visionary and purposeful leadership judging by the delivery of concrete and tangible dividends of democracy that have been acknowledged within and outside the country.
Dr. Fayemi has faithfully and conscientiously used the mandate given to him by the electorate in Ekiti State to bring about positive change and completely turned around the fortunes of the state.

The achievements of his administration are not a mere propaganda, they are verifiable for any independent observer who wishes to come to the state to see what the Peoples Governor has done with the mandate given to him.

The Governor has turned Ekiti into a huge construction site in his desire to bequeath lasting infrastructures like roads, bridges, new buildings, power installations, drainages, streetlights for the
benefit of the masses.

Ekiti now has one of the best road networks in the country through the efforts of the Governor, who apart from constructing new roads, also continued with the ones started by his predecessor.
Township roads, interstate roads and community roads which hitherto constituted nightmares to motorists and commuters are now wearing new look complemented with good drainages and alluring streetlights.

The Fayemi administration’s Urban Renewal Project has turned Ado-Ekiti to a modern state capital with the major streets now having sidewalks and functional traffic lights.

When Dr. Fayemi promised to implement Social Security for the Aged on the day he was sworn to office, many people scoffed at the idea believing that it was not possible given the very limited resources
available to the state from the Federation Account and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The Social Security Scheme for the Aged in which 20,000 registered old people who are 65 years and above and not enjoying any form of pension are receiving stipends of N5,000 monthly is first of its kind in West Africa.

The old people in Ekiti who look forward to receiving their stipends to meet their basic needs are praying for the Governor for remembering them and giving them financial empowerment.

The Fayemi administration has also touched lives in the area of job creation through the Ekiti Youth Volunteer Corps Scheme which has been used to take over 5,000 youths off the streets in addition to the
recruitment of applicants into the teaching service and civil service.

Ekiti also made history as the first state in Nigeria to distribute laptops to students and teachers in public secondary schools free of charge under its e-school project to give them digital empowerment needed in the 21st Century.

Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE) has transformed public schools which were hitherto derelict with some of them built or last renovated over 50 years ago. They now boast of new school halls,
chapels, hostels, dining halls, laboratories, libraries, among other facilities.

A visit to Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort, the flagship of the Fayemi administration’s tourism initiative, would reveal a paradise on earth for tourists, holidaymakers and anyone in search of a good destination
of choice for retreats, conferences and seminars.
The tourist centre, now being visited from within and outside the country, was hitherto abandoned but is yielding revenue into the coffers of the state government.

Industries which include Ire Burnt Bricks Factory which folded up for about 22 years have been revived in collaboration with foreign investors who believed it has the capacity to employ hundreds of citizens of the state and provide materials needed for building houses.

The government of Dr. Fayemi has empowered thousands of Ekiti citizens who are farmers, market women, small scale business operators, artisans, commercial drivers and cyclists with funds to breathe life
into their businesses.

Pensioners in the state are not forgotten by the Governor as he recently approved over N1 billion to settle the arrears of benefits owed them in his resolve to ensure that they get their entitlements while they are still alive.

Recently, the Governor distributed cheques totalling over N300 million to 82 communities to assist them in executing projects peculiar to them.

Over 700,000 residents of the state have benefited from the mobile grassroots medical intervention programme, Free Health Mission, in which they enjoyed free treatment for various ailments and got free

This is apart from the regular Free Health Programme in government hospitals enjoyed by children of five years and under, elders who are 65 years and above, pregnant women and the physically-challenged
In Ekiti of today, there is no community that has not been touched by the Fayemi administration which develops its annual budget with inputs from the people of the grassroots thereby allowing the masses to
participate in decision-making.

With these monumental achievements recorded already, the best is yet to come for Ekiti people judging by the magnitude of the ongoing projects and the ones that are still coming on stream.
With much progress already recorded on the ongoing Legacy Projects-the new Government House, the Civic Centre and Museum and the State Pavilion-the administration is not yet done in executing
masses-oriented projects.

The state government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to dualize the Ado-Iyin-Igede Road, Ikere-Iju, Ondo State boundary road and a flyover at Fajuyi area of the state capital.

The superlative performance of Dr. Fayemi is now a big headache for the opposition politicians who are presently at a loss on how to convince the electorate in the state to change a winning team.

It is not surprising that well-meaning individuals, interest groups and communities in the state have endorsed Dr. Fayemi to run for another term in office to continue the good work being done.

By Odunayo Ogunmola

Last modified: July 28, 2013

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