The Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ forum, former Minister, scholar, activist and politician, Dr Kayode Fayemi popularly called JKF is three years in the saddle this October. This is his second time as Governor of the state having first superintended over the affairs of the state between October 2010 and 2014 which is now being referred to as JKF 1 and his second coming as JKF 2. Just as he had an eight-point agenda fashioned after the Millennium Development Goals during his first tenure, he has a five-point agenda in his second coming which are Governance, Knowledge-Economy, Social Investment, Agriculture and Rural Development and Infrastructure and Industrial Development. In his first term, through his eight-point agenda, he touched all 132 (now 139) communities in Ekiti State and now, he has also touched all the communities one way or the other through his five-point agenda.
The mantra, “Reclaiming the land, restoring our values” was the signature tune of JKF 2 and his campaign slogan while seeking office for the second time in 2018. Having spent 3 years in the saddle, it is evidently clear that the slogan is neither a mere election sloganeering nor polemical sally. The milestones achieved in the last three years have confirmed that JKF has indeed reclaimed the land and restored Ekiti values and the work is still ongoing. Recently, Ekiti came second in the country for budget transparency. Ekiti State also recently won awards for the best private secondary school in Nigeria, best public secondary school, best SUBEB nursery and primary school and the best teacher in Nigeria. Ekiti came first in International Arts and Craft Expo 2020 and came second National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) 2020. All these are testimonies of good governance.
The first executive order he issued on the assumption of office in 2018 was the abolition of all forms of education taxes levied on pupils by the previous administration and he pronounced free and compulsory education for all pupils in Ekiti state from primary school to Junior Secondary School. Teachers were recruited as well as civil servants. JKF has been paying workers salaries promptly and paid part of the arrears owed by the last administration. He also increased payment of gratuity from N10m monthly to N100m.
JKF restored electricity to Ikogosi, Ipole-Iloro and Erijiyan communities that have been in darkness for 4 years. He resuscitated the moribund Gossy water company, Ikogosi Warm Spring Resorts, Ire burnt bricks and Fountain Hotels. He completed the abandoned Oja Oba market, many buildings at the state secretariat, Oba Adejugbe hospital and the state Pavilion. This is just to mention a few which shows that Fayemi does not play politics of bitterness and does not believe projects should be abandoned because of political party differences! This is what led to the novel “Ekiti Transition Law” which he presented to the house of Assembly and was passed into law in 2019. It forbids any new government from abandoning projects by its predecessor. He has also completed the gigantic and ultra-modern civic centre which he started during his first tenure. He has constructed and commissioned the ultra-modern office of the Ekiti State Water Corporation while many towns without pipe-borne water in the last 30 years have been connected. He has rehabilitated the Ero dam to provide portable water to 10 Local governments as well as Egbe, Itapaji and Ureje dams. Erijiyan water supply scheme has been completed while the water supply was also restored to Ipole Iloro. Many new areas in Ado Ekiti have been provided with pipe-borne water. There was the electrification of many farm settlements.
Many development partners that left the state under the last administration have returned and are supporting in the area of infrastructure.
Fayemi in three years have touched all communities in Ekiti State through the construction of roads, provision of pipe-borne water, renovation of primary and secondary schools, renovation of basic and comprehensive health centres, general hospitals as well as Ekiti State Teaching Hospital where the internal roads were rehabilitated, payment of WAEC and NECO fee for students and many empowerment schemes under the Social Investment programme. There is a monthly sustenance cash transfer for 15,000 Ekiti elders and monthly food support for the elderly across the state called “Ounje arugbo”. Four new model colleges were constructed and named after Ekiti icons, additional secondary schools were established due to overpopulation of students, 3 new model schools have again been approved. It is also worthy of note that school enrolment shot up in Ekiti and this necessitated the establishment of these model colleges and new secondary schools.
Fayemi embarked on massive road reconstruction and thus, Ekiti has the best network of state roads in the Southwest and that’s why Abuja bound trucks recently invaded and destroyed our roads. It should also be mentioned that federal roads in the State have collapsed! The ongoing airport project, the knowledge zone and the safe city project are all to open up Ekiti economically and secure it technologically in accordance with global best practices. The creation of 19 additional Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) by the Fayemi administration is to bring government and development closer to the grassroots. The state roads constructed by Fayemi are; the Ilupeju-Ire-Igbemo- Ijan road, Oye-Isan-Ikun Road, Aramoko- Erijiyan road, Agbado-Ode-Isinbode Road, Ibuji-Igbaraodo-Ilawe- Ado Ekiti road. The new dual carriage Ado-Iyin Road will be commissioned this December.
Rural Assess and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAMP), a world bank project is also intervening in some roads. On security, Ekiti has her own fair share of this general problem but the JKF administration has put in place, a good security architecture combining the regular security agencies, Amotekun and local hunters. The safe city project is also ongoing as CCTV cameras are installed at strategic places in the State capital.
The House of Assembly where I presently serve was totally renovated and to give a befitting ambience. The house has collaborated well with the Governor in passing into law bills that are beneficial to the people especially the protection of women and the girl child. The enactment of the 2019 Ekiti State Gender-based (prohibition) Law (Revision of 2011 GBV Law), the naming and shaming of sexual offenders is also novel in Ekiti while the 2020 Sexual Violence Against Children Compulsory Treatment & Action Care Law was enacted in 2020. The house also passed the bill for the establishment of the Ekiti Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps, 2020. Altogether, the house has passed a total of 68 laws. The Assembly has been able to perform its primary function optimally.
In agriculture, the government has attracted many big investors like Stallion rice mill, Dangote rice mill, FMS farm, JMK farms, Promasidor etc. The Ikun Dairy Farm has been resuscitated and is producing 80,000 litres of milk per month. Youth in Commercial Agricultural Development YCAD a programme started during JKF 1 has been sustained and over 1,000 young farmers have been empowered and they are doing well. They were assisted with all they needed to succeed like land, implements, seedlings and loans. Loans were also given to rice farmers as well as cocoa and cashew seedlings as support for farmers. There is the ongoing creation of Agric villages in the 16 LGAs in Ekiti State. The House of Assembly recently passed into law, a private member bill sponsored by this writer titled, “The Ekiti Food Security Bill by making provision for active participation of political office holders and career officers in Agriculture otherwise called “Own a Farm Project” and other related matters, 2021. The law was recently signed by the Governor.
The Ekiti elderly resort is almost complete, a transit home and skill acquisition centre for women who are victims of domestic violence has been built and there are inmates. The wife of the Governor has also done a lot in protecting and empowering women in many ways like the multiple birth trust fund and helping the elderly and the needy. A molecular laboratory was procured and installed to test for COVID. Over 250 beneficiaries received between N250,000 and N10million as COVID-19 soft loans.
Fayemi’s second term has witnessed more development in concrete terms than his first coming. This is in spite of the lean resources of the state. Ekiti is one of the states that earns the least federal allocation. All communities in the state have been touched by the JKF 2 administration and indeed, his government is actually reclaiming the land and restoring Ekiti values. As his administration winds to an end, it is hoped that the ongoing projects will be completed especially the agro-allied cargo airport scheduled to be delivered next year August. Congratulations to the Ekiti people for choosing the right and I pray that JKF finishes well.
Hakeem Jamiu writes via email@example.com