Fayemi introduces another paradigm shift in education
Post the PDP locust years, 2003-2010 in the entire Southwest, but more poignantly in Ekiti, we can, with more than considerable justification, thank God as the Holy Writ enjoins us in 1 PETER 2: 9: ‘But ye are a chosen generation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light’.
When, between 2007 -2010, Ekitis rooted for Dr Kayode Fayemi and swore to stick by him whatever the odds; when men, both within the state and outside it were playing god; when then President Obasanjo believed he could turn daylight to darkness, we were counting on nothing more than the almighty God and the young man’s democratic pedigree, his good moral upbringing, his well-known erudition and scholarship, the fact that we know this one is in good political company and will never lie to us and, indeed, that which we knew of his exertions in the cause of democracy and human rights. Even when ‘Mama’ was suborned, by the powers that be, to eat up her Christian conscience and ran, Awol, from her duty post in Ado-Ekiti, we stood firm just like we did as Fayemi and his illustrious Deputy, our own late MOREMI, Mrs Funmi Olayinka, went all through the judicial acrobatics and shenanigans a thoroughly misbegotten Nigerian judiciary could manufacture. Ekiti stood ramrod behind Fayemi until when The Nation’s highly perceptive columnist, Dele Agekameh called ‘Fayemi’s Final Triumph’, in his column of Wednesday, June19, 2013. That was at the Supreme Court on May 31, 2013.
Now, there can be no going back as we see every stratum of the Ekiti society endorsing him, asking him to continue the good work even the blind can see -4 More Years for JKF – they say -Just Keeping the Faith. Fayemi’s good work is seen in every nook and cranny of the state. That, he ensured simply by deriving his government’s annual budgets bottom up. How?
The governor, ahead of his budget preparations, goes on a state-wide tour of the Local Government areas during which the peoples’ immediate and preferred projects are presented to him by the people themselves. And, in clear contradistinction to our friends of the other party, Fayemi will let the constituents know that all the projects cannot be accommodated in a single budget, and that what could not be taken immediately will be included in the next. That way, there is no single Ekiti community that can claim not to have felt the government’s presence.
I am happy; even ecstatic. Last week, it was: ‘Aregbesola waohs them’, during the past week it was a woman of real conscience, Mrs Bose Adedibu, widow of the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Papa Lamidi Adedibu, who could not , like other PDP members in the state, continue to live in denial, celebrating the Oyo state governor, Abiola Ajimobi for his great strides. Said Mrs Adedibu: ‘I remember vividly that at that time, the people of Oyo state lived in perpetual fear of insecurity. But now, everywhere is peaceful and people are going about their business without fear or molestation’. That was aside her good words for the governor in other areas and we do hope she will help drum that to our Accord friends.
Like his Oyo state counterpart, Fashola continues to dazzle, now building institutions that will immortalize him , just like Ibikunle Amosun and Adams Oshiomhole continue to receive rave reviews of their sterling performance. This is what I call being in a good political company; one that does not deceive the people.
And this is where Governor Kayode Fayemi and the Ikogosi Graduate Summer School initiative comes in. Just like the Lagos state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, once said: ‘The buildings will come down in 20 or 30 years time. It is the institutions and the policies underlying them that will remain and once those policies are there, whoever is there in future can erect other buildings’. Fayemi has by the IGSS programme once again demonstrated that building institutions is the fulcrum of his administration, thereby erecting for himself, imperishability. This man will be remembered and celebrated long after many an Ekiti state governor had been forgotten. Of that, I haven’t a scintilla of doubt.
What then is the Ikogosi Graduate Summer School?
From his first day in office, Fayemi has agonised over the state of our education, at all levels in the country, but more pointedly, in Ekiti. He has been tortured to no end, for instance, about the loss of the culture of inquiry and moderation that the university represents in other climes, about journal articles that are everything but scholarly; to publications that are driven solely by quest for promotion and so add nothing to real knowledge as well as to the menace that VCs without CVs represent to the university system. Of course, says he, there are VC’s that are still eminently worthy of that name. I should know these concerns of his because I served on his Education Committed – one of his first set of committees – established very early in the administration to interrogate all the issues accounting for collapsed education in Ekiti. The IGSS is another building block to re-mediate that albatross. The IGSS is a bold move to turn Nigeria’s endemic brain drain to brain gain. In the words of the two co-coordinating directors of the programme, the suave and seminal Drs Wale Adebanwi and Ebenezer Obadare: ‘higher education has, from the period of the regime of structural adjustment, suffered so much depreciation from which it is yet to recover. A glaring consequence of this is brain drain with Nigeria now exporting what it so desperately needs, namely, it’s human resources and mental capital. This hemorrhaging of human resources, they assert, has in turn led to the loss of high quality manpower in our universities. The IGSS is therefore designed to provide access to highly-trained and accomplished Nigerian academics abroad to interact with graduate students in Nigeria alongside the home-based but no less accomplished and highly-trained scholars thus leading to the blending of global and local scholarship of the highest standards for the benefits of graduate students, first, of Ekiti origin. It will give the students an opportunity to access free and fine grain mentoring from foreign-based scholars in addition to local supervision which will constantly expose them to world-class research as well as engage them with ongoing global discourses not only about their particular disciplines, but also the place of Africa in the world’.
The programme which has an inaugural 50 Ekiti graduate students spread over the liberal arts, social sciences, law, education, banking and finance, and that rallying ground and crucible of diverse disciplines – Africa Studies – kicked off on Monday, 16 June, 2013, to a wondrous keynote address delivered by my friend of many decades, the world acclaimed poet and teacher, Professor Niyi Osundare, on what he titled: THE SPIRIT OF IKOGOSI and there could be no better way of ending this article than by quoting Niyi at some length on what the government of Dr Kayode Fayemi has made of Ikogosi Warm Springs in its single-minded determination to make Ekiti the tourist’s destination of choice.
Wrote Professor Osundare: ‘Consider the very location of the Ikogosi Graduate Summer ‘School’. Ikogosi. A place of near-Edenic serenity tucked away in the awesome flanks of Ekiti hills, made popular by the differing temperatures of its springs. Until recently, Ikogosi was nothing more than a promissory mantra in political campaigns and recurring decimal in the arithmetic of annual state budgets. Half-executed projects littered its landscape. Giant mosquitoes and dragon-like reptiles played host even in the most executive of its executive suites. Government after government extolled its potential as a tourist money garnerer, but fell tragically short of taking adequate care of the goose that was expected to lay the golden egg. But as we look round today, a terrific difference arrests our gaze: gleaming access roads, enticing swimming pools, cozy chalets, capacious multi-purpose halls, spacious amphitheatre (with dramatic intimations of the famous Christ’s School Quadrangle), wood-terraced tour walks, etc. A world-class golf course is rearing to tee off into existence to the pastoral astonishment of a sleepy Ekiti terrain, etc. A world-class golf course is even teeing into existence much to the pastoral astonishment of a sleepy Ekiti terrain. There is every indication that Ikogosi is beckoning to the world; the tourist naira rain is about to fall.’
My last word though: those packaging Ikogosi Tourist Resort for the world should go no further than Osundare’s keynote address to carve its profile from the Advert nuggets he gave, pro bono.
Without a doubt, God is good to us in Ekiti state.
By Femi Orebe
This article was first published in The Nation
Last modified: June 23, 2013