It is a year since Governor Kayode Fayemi returned to power in Ekiti State and the records of his achievements are indicative of his administration’s readiness to take the state to the next level, writes Shola Oyeyipo
October 16, 2019 marked exactly one year since Dr. Kayode Fayemi returned to the saddle as Governor of Ekiti State, and as expected, it also comes as a period of critical evaluation of the impacts of the administration within the period under review.
No doubt, as much as there are many, who have rolled out the drums in praise of the Governor Fayemi administration for its numerous achievements, there are one or two others who remained critical of the government and one of such is the Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which described the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government as a colossal failure with no visible achievements to showcase to the populace.
In the estimation of the opposition party, the several billions of naira collected as allocations to the state from the federal government by the governor has been grossly mismanaged.
But to put a lie to PDP’s delusion, Fayemi’s predecessor, Peter Ayodele Fayose, on Tuesday, congratulated the governor as he marked one year in office.
Fayose wrote thus on his verified twitter handle: “Your Excellency, Kayode Fayemi, I wish you well as you celebrate your one year anniversary in office, hopefully with ‘visible projects’ that will speak for you tomorrow. Above all, Your Excellency, I am not eligible to contest Ekiti Guber, so let’s have some peace.”
Whatever evaluation anyone has for the government, there is a well-documented achievements of Fayemi-led administration under the broad five-policy pillars tagged, ‘Starting Strong’, which encompass good governance, agriculture and Rural development, social investments, knowledge economy and infrastructure and industrial development
The APC leadership in Ekiti State, which delights in the fact that good, accountable, transparent and inclusive governance has been the hallmark of the Fayemi leadership, claimed government has ensured that the people have access to information on government services, participating in the budgetary process and feeling tangible impact of governance in their local communities.
In commemoration of the first year anniversary of the government, the APC leadership noted that Governor Fayemi has remained committed to building institutions, human capacity and empowering the civil service for sustainability in delivering the dividends of democracy to every Ekiti resident, irrespective of class, creed or status.
Some of the tangible actions already taken under the governance pillar include among other things, commencement of monthly payment of gratuity to retiree with increased allocation from N10million to N100million monthly, regular and prompt payment of salaries, payment of severance allowance to past public office holders reopening of the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) by the National Broadcasting Corporation after the state government intervention and upgrading of the BSES complex.
There has been capacity building for various cadres of civil servants, including Government House drivers, information and press officers, tax officers and others, passage of various laws including the Autonomy Bill of Ekiti Board of Internal Revenue Law, 2019 to boost internal revenue generation and enhance optimum collection of all taxes, levies, which are used in providing for infrastructure across the state.
The government implemented the Treasury Single Account (TSA) via Remita Payment Platforms across the state to for transparent and accountable revenue collection in the state, while three Permanent Secretaries, who were unjustly demoted by the Fayose administration were reinstated.
In the aspects of agriculture and rural development, being a state blessed with very fertile vegetation and with farming being the main occupation of a majority of its residents, as a matter of priority, growing the agribusiness, improving the value chain, opening farm-to-market access roads and investment in youth participation in the sector, formed the administration’s policy thrust aimed at lifting the Ekiti people out of poverty into prosperity by empowering farmers and entrepreneurs in the agriculture value chain. Some of the steps already taken to impact the sector are legion.
For example, as much as 1540 hectares of farmland had been conceded to agricultural investors; abandoned and ongoing projects across the 16 local government areas in the state were completed; partnership was established with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for agriculture and infrastructure development, while trainings were organised for livestock farmers across the 16 LGAs.
Further to improve agriculture, four truckloads of fertilisers were sold at subsidised-controlled price, road verges across all LGAs were cleared, rice farmers were trained at IITA Ibadan and quality rice seeds were provided to them to boost rice production in the state and all paperwork to commence construction of over 160 rural farm to market roads to open up over 500 rural communities and farmsteads was signed.
Fayemi is ever passionate about social investments. He committed so much energy to it during his first term in office and is not relenting on that even now. His position has always been that a healthy, motivated and socially secure people are the greatest asset of a nation.
Hence, in Ekiti State, the welfare and well-being of the people is Governor Fayemi’s focus and this informed the continuous investment in healthcare, employment, soft loans and social safety nets by his administration, in partnership with national and global development initiatives and institutions like the World Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), European Union (EU) and others.
Some of the ongoing actions under this particular pillar include free health care services for children from 0-5years, free health care services for aged from 65 and above, free antenatal and postnatal care for pregnant women, free training for traditional birth attendants, provision of treated mosquito nets to combat malaria, 10,000 free delivery kits provided in primary healthcare centers and automatic employment for 43 graduates of College of Medicine to boost doctor/patient ratio.
Others are free health outreach mission to all 16 LGAs as well as the core rural areas in Ekiti State, free screening for all cataract patients and cataract surgery for over 500 citizens, flag-off of basic healthcare provision fund programme, flag-off of National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDS), payment of Resident Hospital Bills in all the General and State Specialist Hospitals across the state, inauguration of state steering committee members on Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
There was also training on Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) for Ekiti State Steering Committee for Secondary and Tertiary facilities in the state.
They scored 100 per cent in outbreak response on polio in Nigeria; the state’s school of nursing and midwifery scored 100 per cent in national certificate exams; a task force to tackle quackery in medical health practices in Ekiti was inaugurated; primary healthcare was brought under one roof, the Ekiti State Health Insurance Scheme; the renovation of Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) and purchase of 1000kva generator.
There are obviously too numerous achievements in the social investment scheme to mention, but also worthy of note are payment of specialists allowances and all arrears by the Hospital’s Management Board, establishment of the Ekiti State Unemployment Register, social intervention to alleviate poverty, YESSO community development for cash scheme, Owo Arugbo monthly sustenance cash transfers to senior citizens and Ounje Arugbo – monthly food stuff support for indigent seniors in all 16 LGA among many others.
To build a knowledge-driven economy, Governor Fayemi took some concrete steps to return good and qualitative education to Ekiti State by making education compulsory and accessible, improving infrastructure, providing teaching aids and improving teacher welfare and conditions of service. With ongoing plans to make education a major contributor to the state’s economy, Ekiti State is on the path to returning to its spot as Nigeria’s ‘Fountain of Knowledge’.
The free education was provided up to secondary level at all public schools in the state, schools’ tax and levies in both public and primary schools had been cancelled and the government paid N227m for 2019 SSCE and UTME examination fees for all SSCE students in all public schools in the state.
The state made payment of core subjects and rural allowance to teachers in the rural area, N140m was released as running grants to public schools monthly, N200 million was released as car loan to teachers, the Ekiti State Technical Colleges to global standard was upgraded with the support of the World Bank in the three senatorial districts to boost technical education.
There is free education in all Technical Schools, free feeding for all public primary school children from Primary 1 – 3 (Ekiti Kete School Meal), distribution of Instructional materials, Science and ICT equipment of school libraries, ongoing renovation of public schools across Ekiti State and approval has been given for the establishment of more secondary schools in Ado Ekiti with facilitation of three Command Secondary Schools for Ekiti State.
Quite a lot has been done is the aspect of education. The perimeter fencing of 42 public schools were done, the School of Agricultural Sciences in Isan Ekiti State was revived, Ekiti State University graduated 43 medical students after 10 years, EKSUTH College of Medicine got full accreditation by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and 8,075 units of furniture, 3,375 units of metal legged students’ lockers and chairs and 4,150 teachers’ tables and chairs were distributed for students.
There was the payment of Bursary and scholarships for Ekiti students in tertiary institutions, commencement of recruitment of graduate and NCE teachers into Ekiti State primary school through SUBEB, release of N28m for special intervention lessons for SS2 and 3 students in 2018/2019 Session, distribution of 554 HP laptops to public secondary schools.
The government also ensured distribution of science textbooks to all public secondary schools, quarterly seminar and workshop for teachers across all 16 LGAs, provision of science equipment worth N109m for public secondary schools and the ongoing construction of an e-library by Texaco at St Augustine Oye Ekiti that will contain 45 computers, e-library server and other multimedia/active devices are parts of the achievements the government is boasting in its first year of office.
The Ekiti State government has been fast-tracking the huge infrastructure needs required as a way to grow industry and commerce. There are deliberate efforts at providing an efficient road network, improving electricity, potable water, access to fast internet and creating the enabling environment for commercial, manufacturing and processing business concerns are some of the policy focus of the Fayemi administration.
Some of the concrete steps already taken towards these include, resumption of the abandoned urban water project by the World Bank, lifting the “non patronage” ban placed on three major commercial banks in the state by the immediate past administration, reconnection of Ikogosi, Erijiyan and Ipole Iloro to the national grid after four years of blackout in the towns and the ongoing $55 million rehabilitation of Ero Dam treatment plant and replacement of main pipelines.
There is also the ongoing construction of the new Ado-Iyin Road as first phase of the Ado-Itawure expressway project, ongoing 251km extension of water distribution pipelines to fourteen (14) communities in Ado Ekiti, commissioning of production plant of moribund Gossy Water abandoned by the immediate past administration, partnership with Promasidor on Ikun Dairy farm project, rehabilitation of roads (Operation No potholes) and installation of New LED streetlights in Ado-Ekiti.
The state passed a Development and Investment Promotion Law aimed at establishing a dedicated investment promotion agency and a one-stop-shop to attract and retain investors, it commenced the Ease of Doing Business reforms to ensure Ekiti is ranked in the top three states to do business, embarked on engagement with multilateral donors to provide up to $150 million of funding for EKZ, Ado-Akure Road, Special Agric Processing Zone and the proposed Ekiti Cargo Airport.
The government has embarked on engagement with several investors to complete abandoned projects or commence new ones including the now completed Bon Hotel Ado-Ekiti, investments in Ikun Dairy Farm, Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort and Fountain Hotel, all expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.
There is also the commencement of the National Investment Certification Programme for States in partnership with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC).
But what is considered the biggest of Fayemi’s achievements in his one year in office is the recent signing into law of the transition bill, which compels all successive governments to complete abandoned projects of the previous administration, that way, continuity is ensured regardless of which party is in government.
In all, the government, which prides itself as doing its best to improving governance in the South-west state, has vowed never to rest on its oars as Fayemi strives towards writing his name on the sand of time by his overall achievements at the end of his four-year tenure.