Taking Ekiti to Greater Heights

February 19, 2012

One major tragedy of governance in Nigeria is the fact that most political office holders were never prepared for governance. Many got to the position of authority either reluctantly or were pressurized to contest for political office. This situation has accounted for the failure of many in political offices.

Even in cases where politicians drew up programmes for execution, it is often regarded as a mere window dressing to cajole the electorate into voting them into office. This lack of confidence in political office holders by the electorate is responsible for the incessant pecuniary demands by the people on politicians.

But in Ekiti State, the youthful governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi appears to be charting a new path of confidence building between the electorate and the rulers. After a three and half year legal battle, he assumed office with an eight point agenda with which he has asked his people to assess his performance.

The Eight-point agenda

The all embracing agenda included participatory governance, infrastructural development, modernizing agriculture, education and capital development, health care services, industrial development, tourism and gender equality and empowerment.

Almost 16 months into the four year tenure, people have started assessing the performance of the governor based on the eight point agenda. For instance, a prodemocracy group, Ekiti Democrats, believed that the governor has not disappointed the electorate.Coordinator of the group, Dr. Funso Adekunle said the various welfare programmes put in place by the governor has endeared him to the grassroots of the state. He said the state Social Security Scheme through which indigent elders are being paid N5,000 monthly and the Youth Volunteer Corps through which thousands of youths across were allowed to earn a living are pointers to this.

True to Adekunle’s claim, over ten thousand elders across the state are benefiting from the Social Security Scheme. The programme was designed to take care of the indigent elders, many of those who do not have children that could look after their welfare at old age.

The Youth Volunteer Corps has removed 5,000 unemployed youths from the streets while more are in the process of being recruited by the Youth Employment and Job Creation Agency. The youths who were camped and trained to inculcate the values and other virtues for which the state is known, are presently working in different government establishments.

A review of the performance of the governor in the last 16 months showed that he dedicated his first one year in office to putting in place a legal frame work for the actualization of his programmes and the implementation of welfare programmes for the people of the state. No wonder that several bills were sent to the state assembly for passage into law.

Having dealt with the issue of the legal frame-work for the transformation, the governor embarked on several other welfarist programmes such as Micro Credit facilities, tourism development, mechanized farming, free education and free health programmes and provision of pipe borne water supply, rehabilitation of dams, road construction among many other programmes.

For instance, apart from continuing with inherited road projects, the governor awarded 13 new road projects to improve on the network of roads in the state. These contractors who have been mobilized and are already working to meet the deadline of between six and twelve months.

These roads include Igede-Awo-Ido; Igbara Odo-Ikere; Ikogosi-Ipole Iloro-Ayetoro; dualisation of Old Garage- Ojumose; dualisation of First Baptist-Atikankan; Ijan-Ise; Ijero-Ipoti and Ilawe-Igbara Odo-Ibuji road. These are in addition to the Ado-Ekiti – Ifaki dual carriage road, Ado-Ilawe, Ado-Afao, Ewu Bridge, Aramoko-Ijero-Ido, Osun-Iloro and Awo-Iyin which are nearing completion. Others are Ikole-Ijesa Isu-Ilumoba; Ijigbo Baptist College-Ilawe road; and a host of others.

The Kayode Fayemi administration; in keeping with his agenda for the transformation of the state has also embarked on urban renewal project to give the state capital, Ado-Ekiti a new look. The renewal project which commenced last year is expected to be completed this year. The programme include planting of ornament trees and flower as well as construction of walk ways, and construction of mechanic village and new motor parks.

Also, traffic lights have been installed at major junctions to ensure orderliness on the roads while the state government is in the process of awarding contracts for the erection of street lights to replace the non functioning solar powered street lights inherited from the immediate past administration.

The urban renewal project will involve the construction of ultra modern market to replace the existing Central Market. As part of the preliminary work on the new market which drawings have been completed, the market and traders are being relocated to Agric Road where over 100 shops have been erected.

 Beyond the issue of urban renewal, the state government has placed the provision of portable water to the citizenry on high priority. For instance, in continuation of the 2009 Millennium Development Goals, it has provided water treatment plants for the five communities including Ido-Ile, Okemesi, Efon Alaaye, Ipole Iloro and Erijiyan

To ensure that residents of Ado-Ekiti have access to drinkable water, the government is laying a dedicated 300m ductile steel pipeline from Ado-Ekiti head works to Mary Hill, a distance of about 4.5km. There is also pipeline extension from Mary Hill to Ajibade-Idolofin-Housing and another pipeline extension from Ogotun to Ipole Iloro, a distance of 12km.

If there is any area that the people have felt a purposeful governance, it is in the area of health care delivery. Apart from the introduction of the free health programme which took care of physically challenged, pregnant women, children under the age of five years and adults above the age of 65 years, the government introduced a free health mission to take care of all the citizens of the state irrespective of their religious or political leanings.

The free health mission which is a mobile clinic takes health care delivery to the door steps of the beneficiaries. The mission comprising of medical personnel specializing in different fields of medicine were put together by the governor as part of his electioneering campaign but had to continue in the face of the successes recorded by the programmed.

Diseases treated by the mission range from malaria, to eye disease, rheumatism, diabetes, typhoid fever, hypertension among others. As at last year, over 145,000 residents benefitted from the programme.

In the area of educational development, the governor introduced free and compulsory education at primary and secondary levels. He also reduced fees payable in state owned tertiary institutions. The government also merged its junior and senior secondary schools into one administrative unit to remove the usual friction between the management of the two separate schools.

The governor in a bid to improve learning introduced students in secondary schools to Information Communication Technology {ICT} through the supply of laptop to every student. This is to continue till the end of the administration.

To restore the lost glory of the education sector, a summit of stakeholders was convened and at the end of the summit, the hitherto existing universities, though on paper were merged into Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, while the hitherto comatose College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti was revived.

In the area of tourism, the governor has equally fulfilled his promise to the people. The neglected Ikogosi Warm Springs has received due attention. It is the intention of the governor to make the state a tourists’ haven which informed the ongoing massive transformation of the Ikogosi Warm Springs. The 130 hectares Warm Springs and Resort phase 1 is to be commissioned soon.

While the process of transforming the state continues, the governor in keeping with his eight point agenda has declared that this year is a year of delivery on his electioneering promises. This accounted for the massive construction works going on in the state.

While, the governor continues to deliver on his electioneering promises, it is equally good to wish the tireless, pro-democracy activist, scholar and leader of men more years of service to mankind.

Sayo, is a Senior Special Assistant to Ekiti State Governor

Last modified: February 19, 2012

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