Kemi Olaitan holds a conversation with a former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Prof. (Mrs.) Modupe Adelabu, on the crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress and achievements of the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi
Do you think the Caretaker Committee put in place at the national level of APC would help in achieving the needed leadership vis-a-vis someone to heal the wounds post-Oshiomhole?
This is too early to comment on, or to judge. The important thing is that, everything must be done to achieve peace, unity and cohesion within the party.
What is your take on the struggle by politicians of Yoruba extraction for the Presidency come 2023?
An average Yoruba person including me should support a Yoruba President come 2023.
The APC is in crisis in Ekiti State, what do you think is responsible for this?
APC in Ekiti State like any other state is passing through a stage of internal problems and bickering mainly among some of the political leaders. No state in the federation has absolute immunity from political party crisis. This intra- party crisis is also noticeable at the federal level. Thank God for the timely intervention of Mr. President. The crisis in Ekiti State started since 2014 and several efforts were made to nip this in the bud. Every intra- party crisis is about “who gets what, when and how. ” The control of the party structure is the main reason(s) for this crisis. This is politics and it should be expected.
The party is embarking on another round of reconciliation after that of your own committee, do you think the new one is necessary?
A Yoruba adage says, “As long as you have lice or fleas on your clothe, you will continue to have blood stains on your finger nails.” This is saying that, if crisis persists or new ones crop up, there will always be a need for reconciliation. In Ekiti State, the intra party crisis started as far back as 2014 after the party lost the gubernatorial election. The party elders made several attempts to settle the crisis. Although, the crisis was minimized only for it to resurface during the primary election in Ekiti State (in 2018) in another guise till date. The APC National Peace and Reconciliation Committee of which I was a member was headed by H.E Kashim Shettima. The committee’s principal task was to reconcile members who have grievances arising from the October and November 2018 Governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and State Assembly primaries.
By implication, the committee’s mandate included identifying and addressing potential concerns that could threaten the party’s chances for all elective positions ahead of the 2019 general elections. We did our best to touch every state and we invited aggrieved members. Some of them turned up to register their complaints. It should be noted that, in the case of Ekiti State, there were few notable party members that were aggrieved. However, there was strong evidence of aggressive reconciliatory efforts carried out by the state government and the party before our visitation. The Governor himself had made personal efforts to reconcile with his co-gubernatorial aspirants. Based on our observation and party member’s agitation, a lot of recommendations were made, that could have minimized the crisis across boards. Some of such recommendations were that the party should continue to dialogue with the aggrieved party members and reach an agreement with them, and the party should encourage continued reconciliation and open communication where necessary. We also recommended at that time that urgent presidential intervention may be needed to broker peace in the states. For the new reconciliation committee set up by APC, I suggest that they should revisit the report and recommendations of our committee and build on them, while at the same time make their own enquiries. It is my belief that if majority of our recommendations were accepted and considered, the crisis in APC now would have been easier to handle and minimized. We did our own part but we were not part of the follow up. I therefore recommend that the caretaker committee should take a second look at our report.
The present government in Ekiti State under the leadership of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, came into office with the mantra, “Restoring our values”, how well has this been achieved viz-a-viz infrastructure, agriculture, education and the knowledge economy that the state is targeting?
In Ekiti State, the present government is working it’s talk on “Restoration of Values” in Ekiti State and this cut across all parastatals. As soon as Dr. Kayode Fayemi assumed office, he set out to turn its campaign promises to reality. The strength of the Ekiti person is deeply reinforced in his believe that, hard work is the only sure way to success and Dr. Fayemi, being an Ekiti person himself has the ’Can-do’ spirit and does not only say this, but works to manifest it. He restructured governance to provide the enabling environment for a new lease of life and decent living for Ekiti citizens. I believe he has once more given Ekiti State a pride of place in the nation, and once again Ekiti State indigenes anywhere in the world can be proud to say he/she is from Ekiti, unlike what operated in the administration before him.
Thus far, governance under JKF has been restructured to give the institutions under it a new lease of life. He has initiated the policy of knowledge economy as key to meaningful development.
Gender Issues: Ekiti State is the first state to legislate on Gender- based violence, consequently the state has created support and empowerment funds for verified Gender- based violence survivor. This is first of its type both in Ekiti and in federation. The government has also resuscitated vibrant partnership with the civil society. In the area of justice, many laws have been reviewed, amended and enacted. workers welfare is of primary importance to this administration. Civil servants and teachers can now breath as salaries are paid as at when due, part payment of salaries and pension arears inherited from last administration have also been paid.
Infrastructure: A lot of roads are being constructed. Some of these are Agbado-Ode, Isinbode- Omuo road, Ilupeju-Ire Igbemo, Igbemo – Ijan road, Oye Iye – Ikun road, Aramoko – Erinjiyan – Ikogosi roads. Ibuji- Igbaraodo-Ilawe – Ado road. New Ado – Iyin road.
Water Project – A total of 170km of HDPE pipes have been laid in Ado Ekiti metropolis alone which is divided into zones. Rehabilitation work is going on in Ero Dam and hopefully before the end of this year, all things being equal, Ero dam will supply to nine local governments in the state. Similarly, a lot of rehabilitation work is going in Ureje Dam as well as Egbe Dam where the European Union is working presently as a partner of the state government. Ido-Ile mini-water scheme is 100% completed, while that of Oke-Imesi is 80% done. On electricity, the state is working with Transmission Company of Nigeria to construct two of 120 MM 132k substation at Ijesu-Isu and Ilupeju.
Health : Rural health centres have been rejuvenated and given new lease of life. Some General Hospitals in the state which were neglected by the last administration have been rehabilitated immediately Fayemi assumed office. Presently, work is going on in about eight Primary Health Centres while construction of a new comprehensive health centre is on-going around Okela in Ado Ekiti. Free health care is also a State policy for a category of Ekiti citizens. Ekiti State is one of the least states affected by COVID-19. It is 34th lowest in the country. The response of the state government was not only timely but quite appropriate. Ekiti State has established a Molecular Diagnosis Laboratory to do COVID-19 tests (and ultimately Infectious Diseases test) and molecular biology research in Ekiti.
Agriculture : There are massive land acquisition and clearing for farming purposes to encourage our teeming youths to take into agriculture. There are such farms in Osin where water melon grows and are doing well. There is also such farm in Gede, Oke-Ado and Orin. The commercial farming programme, Youth in Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD), has been expanded to accommodate and encourage more young farmers in commercial agriculture. Some youths who embraced the YCAD programme which started in 2012 (first tenure of Fayemi) are successful farmers today and have been sustaining the programme even when Fayemi was not in office. Recently Ekiti State is partnering with CBN to empower 1000 cassava farmers.
Education : The administration inherited a lot of dilapidated schools in 2014 as a result of total neglect by the last administration. There are many ongoing projects in schools. These include: 1. Renovation 348 building 2. New construction 131 buildings including four mega schools 3. Fences 171. 4. Toilets 200. 5. Boreholes 120. Ekiti primary and secondary schools are undergoing renovation and Education is free up to Secondary School level while government has paid the WAEC fees of the students and obtained JAMB forms for them. A new tertiary institution which the College of Agriculture and Technology, is getting ready for accreditation.
Cargo Airport Project : The airport project is in phases: Acquisition of Land has been done.
Payment of compensation is ongoing and some land owners have been paid. Fencing is ongoing. Some Ekiti indigenes have indicated interest to partner with the government. Job has started and the airport will be completed and commission before the expiration of JKF’s tenure.
State Secretariat : New buildings at the Secretariat will be completed and ready for commission by October.
Governor Fayemi is doing six major road projects that cut across the three senatorial zones of the state while the Ikun Dairy Farm industry has begun operations after decades of neglect, what development do you think all these would bring to the state?
The good road network and the Diary Farm will certainly boost the economy of the state. A good road network will facilitate inter- city movements of people and goods, and certainly lead to the growth of the state and bring economic and social benefits. Ekiti is an agrarian state. The good road will help farmers to transport their goods from the inter land without much stress. The state will also attract development from within and outside the state, trade will flourish, and transporters will do their business with ease. Without any gainsaying, the Dairy Farm will boost the economy of the state and provide employment for the teeming population. These projects will attract investors from far and near.
Funding is often said to be the bane of university education in the country but the Ekiti State University (EKSU) seems well funded, is this a deliberate policy?
Education has primacy of place in Ekiti State. At his first coming in 2010, education and human capital development was one of the 8-point agenda of Governor Fayemi and even now much attention is given to education. Consequently, the government has also in addition to primary and secondary education focused attention on tertiary education, Ekiti State University in particular. This may appear deliberate because education is our major business and enterprise in Ekiti State and this has not changed. This is hinged on the believe that a good education is the foundation for a productive future.
There is the view that the achievements of Governor Fayemi are under reported in the media, as an eminent indigene of Ekiti State, what is your candid assessment of the administration?
This administration has done a lot within two years in the area of health, infrastructure, education and governance. Those in Ekiti State are aware of this, even if these achievements are under- reported in the media, the onus is on us, the indigenes and non-indigenes of Ekiti State who have seen these to broadcast and tell others within and outside the state. This is what I refer to as “Political Evangelism”, which must be aggressively done by Ekiti people themselves. The project are verifiable and are not clothed in secrecy nor white washed. The infrastructures were built to last without any panel beating.
What do you see as the marked difference between Governor Fayemi and past governments in the state especially his immediate predecessor in office?
As you can see in the actions and activities of the present Governor, Dr. Fayemi, he has not bothered himself about the past governors especially Mr. Ayodele Fayose. He remains focused on his work and his achievements will speak for him. The only thing that is obvious is that Ekiti State is safer to live in, and people go about their businesses without any harassment. The state is attracting investors, and many development partners are collaborating with the state now unlike the previous government. This is why the “Never Again Declaration of Freedom” brought relief and a new dawn of life to Ekiti people.
The government has also in addition to primary and secondary education focused attention on tertiary education, Ekiti State University in particular. This may appear deliberate because education is our major business and enterprise in Ekiti State and this has not changed. This is hinged on the believe that a good education is the foundation for a productive future