FAYEMI, PLAYING POLITICS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
“It’s not the lack of resources that cause failure, it’s the lack of resourcefulness that causes failure” – Tony Robbins. The above quote captures the mood of the moment like the 25th anniversary of the creation of Ekiti State coincides with the 3rd anniversary of the second term in office of Dr Kayode Fayemi, the fourth Executive Governor of Ekiti State.
The journey, however, has taught me many lessons. What I’ve observed in contemporary day Nigerian politics, is that most members of the public are either ignorant or in haste to celebrate just anything, all in the name of developmental strides. It’s as a result of this, that governors in Nigeria, often engage in ‘window dressing’ and termed such as infrastructural development for the purpose of mere show off cum chicanery.
Sadly, this ridiculous situation was where the current governor of Ekiti State, H.E Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had to rescue the ark of governance in Ekiti State on two occasions. Aside my current status as cabinet member, Dr Fayemi had also, during his first term, drafted me to Abuja as federal lawmaker. These two political engagements availed me an ample opportunity to understudy the character and disposition of Dr Kayode Fayemi as it concerns his leadership style.
Governor Fayemi, no doubt, places high premium on laying an enduring foundation in every sector of the state economy. He considers good foundation as an impetus for sustainable development in governance. Though I do not know the reason why Dr Fayemi had chosen that leadership path, I know that God is also at home with matters of a good foundation in any building project.
“When the foundation is destroyed what can the righteous do?” Says the scriptures. Another place of reference is Mathew 7: 24-25. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice, is a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it didn’t fall, because it had its foundation on the rock”
Ekiti State was created 25 years ago by the late military Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha along with five other states which included; Ebonyin, Gombe, Nasarawa, Bayelsa and the Zamfara States, and without take-off grant. The import of this is that governance kicked off in Ekiti State without a clear-cut economic cum development plan.
The first two military administrators, Col Mohammed Bawa(now late) and Navy Captain Atanda Yusuf, were appointed during the military era, merely to actualize the reality of the creation of the State. They could not do anything far-reaching within the span of 2years and 7months during which they were in the saddle.
On the return of the Nigerian State to democratic rule in 1999, Ekiti State was blessed with Otunba Niyi Adebayo whose economic blueprint Dr Fayemi, wholly adopted and incorporated. While in office as the first Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Adebayo was undeniably faced with the monstrous challenge of zero FAAC allocation throughout his tenure.
When Adebayo discovered that the money accruable to Ekiti could barely pay pensions and workers’ wages and few other routine maintenances of the state public service, former Governor Adebayo, had to think outside the box by laying a solid foundation for future sustainable economic development in the state.
The only functional investment which Ekiti State inherited as at that time from the Old Ondo State was Fountain Hotel (FH), he upgraded the hotel to 5 star hotel so as to improve the economic base of the State. His successor, Mr Ayo Fayose, converted the hotel to governor’s office. Contrary to his predecessor’s master plan of having the hotel as a source of revenue generation for the State.
Consequently, he invested hugely in real estate sector; for instance, his administration acquired/invested the Oju olobunHouse in Victoria Island, Lagos, Ekiti House in Central Business district of Abuja, several acres of land in Asokoro, Abuja and shares at the stock market. The strategic move of Otunba Adebayo’s led administration was geared towards ensuring future financial stability of the state. But unfortunately, Adebayo’s foundation for economic sustainability was discarded and abandoned by his successor, Mr. Fayose, who callously sold off most of these investment and assets of the state government for immediate gain.
Since Otunba Niyi Adebayo left office in 2003, no other administration has made concerted effort towards laying foundation for the growth and development of Ekiti state apart from Governor Kayode Fayemi (2010 -2014), and 2018 and still running. Although one may be forced to excuse Engineer Segun Oni from this narrative, owing to the protracted legal fireworks that characterized and attended his controversial electoral victory during the 2007 general elections.
During Fayemi’s first tenure, he laid solid foundation for equitable distribution of democratic dividends in the state by spreading government presence to all the nooks and crannies of Ekiti State. Fayemi also established Local Council Development Authorities (LCDAs) across the state in a bid to bring government closer to the people at the grassroots. Dishearteningly, On his assumption of office in 2018, Dr. Fayemi had to go through the rigours process of re-establishing the LCDAs as a result of the fact that his predecessor, Mr. Ayo Fayose (2014-2018) did not only repelled the law establishing the LCDAs but also strangulated them.
In order to improve the State IGR and diversify its economy through tourism, Governor Fayemi leveraged on the efforts of the Niyi Adebayo led government by resuscitating the moribund Ikogosi warm spring and resort during his first tenure. On his second coming, he met the resort in shambles and he had to start all over again in his efforts to make Ikogosiresort a destination of choice for fun seekers and tourists. Through public/private partnership the Ikogosi warm spring and resort is now being revamped as one of the revenue generating agencies of the State government.
Also, during his first term in office 2011-2014, Dr. Fayemi, invested heavily in the State educational sector. As a renowned academic, he embarked on aggressive renovation of schools in the State, new teachers were not only recruited during the period, their salaries and leaves bonus were equally paid as at when due. However, the foundation he laid in the sector was abandoned until his second term coming. To resume from where he stopped during his first tenure, Fayemi has completed the construction of some model schools in the last three years of his administration.
Aside Fayemi’s obvious interest in increasing food productionand productive engagement of the youths through the Youth in Commercial Agriculture Development YCAD during his first term Fayemi, he has seen scaled up the agricultural potential of the state by initiatives that has attracted investors like Promasidor ( Ikun Dairy), Dangote Rice, JSK Rice, Promise Point Cassava Processing plant etc.
The usual woe of successor also befell both the Agricultureand social security scheme he initiated during the first tenure, they were cancelled. Owo Arugbo was cancelled; Youth for Commercial Agric (YCAD) was cancelled; trust fund for mothers of multiple children was also cancelled. All these foundational programmes were replaced with what Fayemi’s successor tagged Stomach Infrastructure where mature adults were made to queue by the roadside to collect noodles, few cups of rice or beans. But on Fayemi’s second missionary coming, he has been busy with restoring the social fabric destroyed by his predecessor by his robust social investment programmes to care for elders, children and youths.
Fayemi did not leave the state’s arts and culture out of his foundation-laying efforts. Some efforts were made to attractShoprite to Ekiti (2010-2014). Governor Fayemi conceived and started a first class Civic Centre ever in the history of Ekiti State. The Civic Centre was abandoned by Fayemi’s successor and the Centre which was under construction then became home for rodents and reptiles. Mr. Governor had to resume the construction of the abandoned project from where he stopped during his first tenure. Now, that the beautiful Civic Centre has been completed, the Initial arrangement to attract shopping malls, cinemas etc may be realized anytime soon.
Furthermore, Dr. Fayemi initiated rural-urban road connectivity of 5km road per local government in his first term. The foundation was also destroyed by his successor. During Fayemi’s ongoing administration, he has brought in Rural Access Road Programme (RARP) as a replacement for the destroyed programme. Through RARP, government’s road construction would soon hit 1000km in Ekiti State.
Aside the foregoing, the knowledge zone and agricultural processing zone are two greatest achievements of Fayemi’s government which alone, are worthy of celebration by the good people of Ekiti State, even if the knowledge and agricultural processing zones are what his administration could achieve for four years. And in the area of public utility, Dr Fayemi would rather continue to address all problems, both administrative and technical, that are responsible for why Ekiti has not been getting sufficient amount of electricity from the national grid through partnership with federal government agencies like Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Niger Delta Power Holding of Nigeria (NDPHC) to build up the transmission capacity of the state, this partnership is one of the foundation being laid Dr Fayemi for the future energy independence of Ekiti State. The partnership with TCN is expected to deliver two 120MVA 132/33KV Substation in Ijesha Isu and Ilupeju Ekiti while partnership with NDPHC will deliver ten 7.5MVA 33/11KV Injection sub station across then local government in the state, the construction for the IdoOsi LG station has seen commenced.
Moreover, 2012 during the first tenure of his excellency Dr Kayode Fayemi who laid the foundation for the state water sector reform by enacting the Ekiti state water policy 2012, and Ekiti state water law of 2013. By 2014 when the world bank launched the 3rd national urban water reform, Ekiti state was ready with all the legal and administrative frameworks which qualify the state as one of the three states in the federation to participate in the reform programme. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the last administration failed to run with the vision of reforming the water sector that will ensure universal access to clean water by the citizen. Therefore, we must congratulate Dr Kayode Fayemi for this wonderful opportunity to initiate a reform in 2012 and in less than three years of his second tenure delivered on all thereform programmes and projects. It is important to list some of these key projects delivered by Gov Fayemi in less than three years.
The most valuable of our achievements that speak to foundation laying leadership of Gov Fayemi are the intangibles
• staff re-orientation and training
• Ekiti State Water Corporation water operator partnership with Lusaka water, Zambia (transfer of knowledge)
• Exposure of Water Corporation personels to international best practices through both local and overseas training programmes
• Establishment of Ekiti State Water and SanitationRegulatory Agency.
• Enactment of new policy and law to address emerging issues on hygiene, covid19etc
• Incorporation of Ekiti water and sewage company ltd, a new business vehicle for water corporation.
• Upgrade of the rural water and sanitation agency Ruwassato Ekiti small town and rural water and sanitation agency.
Again, Gov Fayemi directed that a comprehensive review of the 2012 water policy and 2013 water law with the aim to position the sector for future investment opportunities. In November 2020, the new water policy tagged Ekiti state wash policy 2020 was approved by the state executive council and in June 2021 Gov Fayemi signed the Ekiti state wash law 2021 into law. Early this year, the preparedness of Ekiti State paid off with the World Bank selected Ekiti State among the seven states in Nigeria to participate in its $700 million sustainable urban and rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene (SURWASH) investment fund, again without the leadership and of his excellency, there is no way we would be able to scale the hurdle to get into the programme. The programme will set the sector on the trajectory of a self-sustaining system.
Conclusively, time and space wouldn’t allow me to reel out the numerous achievements and uncommon transformation of the Kayode Fayemi led administration in Ekiti State. I can only wish and pray that Governor John Kayode Fayemi ends well to the glory of God and admiration of all well-meaning sons and Daughters of Ekiti State.
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