Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi at the weekend ascribed delay in the constitution of his cabinet to pervasive injustice and financial burden allegedly caused by the administration of former Governor Ayodele Fayose.
Fayemi gave the reason during a telephone conversation with his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, noting that he did not constitute the State Executive Council to enable him correct some imbalance in the spirit of continuity.
He said part of the imbalances were nonpayment of salaries, gratuities and pension of active and retired workers and political appointees under that government, saying these had created serious clog in the wheel of the administration’s progress .
Fayemi said the priority of the state government “has been how to pay those outstanding benefits to make lives meaningful to civil servants and not to bring more financial burdens under the guise of appointments.
“This is not to say that my government will not appoint people in the State Executive Council, but that shall come at the right time. We have to put our priority right by being prudent and strategic in whatever we do.
“Everyone knows the implication of having a crowded cabinet. You have to pay their emoluments and that come with finances which we cannot afford now, we are being prudent in our financial dealings.
“We came on board four months ago, and we are just settling down. We are confronted with how to make workers comfortable by paying outstanding salaries allowances as well as pension and gratuities.
“Salaries now are being paid as and when due. We paid February salary last Thursday and we have earmarked N100 million monthly to pay backlog of gratuities of retirees and that we are doing zealously.
“We met a lot of injustices on ground apart from salary crisis . We met a state where children in primary schools were paying taxes when we came. We had to stop that because of our commitment to free education policy of government.
“Government had fully taken over funding of all public schools. Just last week, we approved a sum of N42 million for the payment of WAEC fee of all our students, that is what government is all about.
“So, nothing is amiss with our government, we are only being prudent, set our priority right and stabilise before making further appointments. Don’t forget that we just conducted a major election and the House of Assembly poll is still coming in Ekiti.”
We believe that after we have addressed some of these challenges and we become stable, we shall do the needful in this regard.”
Fayemi’s second term tenure began on October 16, 2018 after winning the July 14 governorship election as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Fayemi defeated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Kolapo Olusola, who enjoyed the support of the then governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose.
Followers of events in Ekiti, particularly the party and other stakeholders are worried that the governor had only appointed two commissioners since he came on board.
The commissioners are that of the Ministries of Finance, Mr Dapo Kolawole and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Wale Fapohunda, among other few special assistants .
In his first term, record had it that Fayemi was so generous with
appointments, as the State Executive Council was composed of 36 members with over 100 special assistants spreading across ministries, parastatals, agencies and up to the local governments’ level.
This accounted for why Fayemi musters enough control over Ekiti APC because many of the party men then enjoyed government’s patronages in form of appointments.
Those who worked hard to ensure that Fayemi returned to power are becoming disillusioned for being kept in abeyance without clarity as to when further appointments will be made.
But Fayemi had doused the raging tension that his government was bedeviled and operating under certain burden that had impeded him from making more appointments.