John Ajayi attempts to set an agenda for Mr. John Kayode Fayemi as he assumes office today as Governor of Ekiti State
Reflecting on the roads travelled before the inauguration of John Kayode Fayemi as governor of Ekiti state today, both the Ekitis and indeed its new helmsman cannot but marvel at the hands of Providence in both the historical political trajectory of the state and indeed the place and fate of the new Governor as a major political avatar and a gladiator of note within the last one decade. Notwithstanding the partisan divide, well-wishers may want to serve some prophetic admonitions to the Ekitis and its political actors, and most notably JKF who gets set for yet another term in office.
To be sure, JKF’s second coming is a deserved new lease of life for the good people of Ekiti State, the Fountain of Knowledge. Reactions attendant upon his victory at the polls have shown that indeed, Ekiti people have found their mark and are resolute in once again planting their feet on the path of progress, honour and the time-tested values and progressive traditions which over the years have defined the Ekitis and the Yoruba race.
Now that the years of the locust are over, it is time to set hearts and minds to the task of lifting Ekiti from the cul de sac which it found itself in the last four years, to the highway of development and progress.
The unfinished business
It should be recalled that in his declaration speech at his country home in Isan Ekiti, JKF stated that he had ‘unfinished business’ in Ekiti government house. He said he was persuaded to seek the Number One job in Ekiti State once again to put an end to regressive governance and once again rally the people under the banner of progressive and good governance as encapsulated in his 8-Point Agenda.
Fayemi lamented the sorry state of some of the laudable and monumental strides achieved during his first term, hence the pressing need to come back, right the wrongs and finish the good business he started.
In this second coming therefore, JKF should be armed and ready to hit the ground running. Armed with the experience of a first term in office and the advantage of national service as Minister of Solid Minerals Development with the attendant network and influence, Ekiti State’s march to development should be seen to have been assured under the leadership of JKF through the instrumentality of his well-thought out ‘8-Point Agenda’. This Agenda covers pivotal sectors like: Good Governance, Infrastructure and Human Capital Development, Integrated Health Sector, Tourism Development, Qualitative Education, Improved Agriculture and the Economy.
Aimed at enhancing democratic governance and accountability at all levels, the administration should put in place policies that will engender participatory governance and accountability, democratisation of the governance process, enforcement of the rule of law and fundamental human rights, ensure a professional, well trained and highly motivated civil service, institute a culture and process for long term development planning, improve the internally generated revenue base of the state by 50%, establish a framework for fiscal sustainability and improve on ongoing budget process reforms and ensure budget security on sustainable basis.
Government should also work to ensure reduction in the percentage of those living below the poverty level from 70% to 20%, strengthen institutional capacity of state’s civil service for improved service delivery, accord traditional institutions appropriate advisory role in governance, ensure value re-orientation and participatory citizenship and work for a regional integration plan with South Western states and cordial relationship with Federal authorities.
The success recorded in this respect in his first term; for instance, increase in Internally Generated Revenue from less than N100 million to as much as N550 million monthly, should serve as a starting point for accelerated success.
Motivated by the desire to establish optimum communities that will improve the quality of life of citizens and attract maximum investments – with provision of electricity, well maintained roads network, potable drinking water, affordable shelter and security for all Ekiti citizens, Fayemi had earlier vigorously pursued this goal such that in the annals of the state, he remains the best governor in the area of road construction.
In his second coming, Fayemi should be determined to perform better than his first term record in the area of infrastructure development in Ekiti State. He is set to make water dams in Ekiti functional to increase water supply by 80%, develop well-appointed and serviced Rural and Farmsteads development, optimize productivity from all government assets strategic investment in infrastructure to stimulate economic growth and jobs, Deploy Public-Private-Partnerships especially for independent power projects, Continue the implementation of the State’s Water Resource Master plan and Establishment of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone (EKZ) as well as execution of the Digital Transformation Programme (DTP)
Qualitative Education and Human Capital Development
To improve access to and provide quality education in Ekiti State towards the creation and consolidation of a knowledge economy, the governor-elect has been unequivocal.
In this second dispensation also, the governor-elect should be determined to do more; this will be achieved through: ensuring computer and computer based education, free and compulsory education up to secondary school, strengthening Vocational Education to build a functional cadre of highly skilled workforce, special initiatives for physically challenged students, promotion of indigenous language as the medium of instruction in schools, establishment of institute of science and technology, promotion of Adult Literacy and creation of state sports academy for gifted youth.
These should be complimented by educational infrastructural development and upgrade, capacity building for teachers and educational administrators, scholarship and proper funding.
The Social Security Scheme initiated during his first term, where poverty-stricken elderly people above age 65 got monthly stipends of N5,000 which now has the buy-in of the federal government should be resuscitated.
Other schemes like the Youth in Agriculture programme popularly known as YCAD. Ekiti State Traffic Management Agency (EKSTMA) Ekiti State Peace Corps are expected to be re-introduced.
The realization that making agriculture a viable source of revenue and sustainable livelihood by ensuring suitable employment, food security, provision of industrial raw materials and poverty alleviation is a faster road to self-sustainability, especially since over 60 per cent of the state’s population are involved in peasant farming, Fayemi should further revive cocoa plantations to make Ekiti a world leader in cocoa production again, continue commodity-based value chain approach to agricultural development, ensure that agriculture contributes 50% of IGR, expand commodity chains to include Cocoa, Timber, Oil Palm and Rice, build capacity in mechanized agriculture towards food security.
The YCAD programme that ensured increased poultry and food productions to the extent that Ekiti had enough and was selling to neighbouring states should be brought back bigger and more elaborate.
Fayemi knows that it is only a healthy people that can be a productive people. Hence, he aims at prevention as the key goal of Ekiti Health Service under his watch and will seek to ensure the provision of holistic and comprehensive healthcare services and facilities for the people of Ekiti. To this end, he has assured the people of Ekiti of free medical services for children, pregnant women, the physically challenged students and senior citizens. He should also ensure the establishment of Health Centres in all localities, increased focus on primary healthcare delivery system, increased immunization coverage, improved integrated public health education and enlightenment and sustained social protection and safety nets programmes.
Making Ekiti, with its abundant tourism potential, a tourist destination of choice in West Africa has never been lost on JKF. To achieve this, he has concluded plans to expand the scope in the sector and launch Ekiti to stardom through aggressive development of its tourism potentials. Fayemi is therefore determined to optimise government’s investments in the flagship tourist destinations especially, the Ikogosi warm spring, Build a heliport, identify and evaluate all major festivals and strategically integrate them into a yearlong source of traffic to the state, build and encourage the development of world-class hotel and accommodation facilities, create activities and media attention around our natural endowments to drive traffic to the state and develop Efon, Okemesi, Ikogosi, Ipole Iloro tourism corridor. These are expected to stimulate local participation in the tourism industry and ensure continuous expansion of tourist destinations in the state.
As any follower of the State will know, Ekiti’s tourism sector recorded its peak during the first term of Fayemi as governor. With his second coming, tourism will have another lease of life.
Gender Equality and empowerment
Promoting gender equity and empowering women by maximizing the potential of half of the population of Ekiti has been aptly demonstrated by JKF as he was the first Governor in Ekiti State to have two female deputies. As he did in his first time, he is expected to increase the number of women in the political space by ensuring that at least a third of political appointments would be women, immediate establishment of community fund for women development, sustaining and institutionalizing current gains, sustained promotion of the security, health and safety of Ekiti women, prioritize programmes and policies that will uplift Ekiti women out of poverty and faithful implementation of all laws and execution of policies formulated for the empowerment of women.
This is Fayemi’s promise, his offering and the creed that will guide governance in Ekiti State in the next four years. The task, as can be seen, is beyond an individual. In order for Ekiti state to regain its lost glory and fast track its development, there is the need for the confluence of brilliant minds that earned the state the credo of being the, ‘Fountain of Knowledge’. This is the next civic duty of the people of Ekiti and the Chief Servant of the state who had said that before now.