Ekiti’s Financial Challenge and Fayemi’s Unfazed Demeanour

Kayode Fayemi

Resolute to reform Ekiti State’s economy and make it a model before bowing out in 2022, Governor Kayode Fayemi has set a 21-goal development focus for the 2021 fiscal year. Education , Security, Infrastructures and Digital Economy top the agenda. Victor Ogunje analyses this development template , the politics behind it and its plausibility, in view of the lean resources of the state

By October 16, 2022, the second term tenure of Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi will lapse. Going by constitutional provisions, he enjoys no opportunity to vie for the governorship again in his lifetime for the constitution stipulates four -year tenure, renewable once.

Taking cognisance of this, Fayemi is gradually being brought before history. Like a politician who values posterity and favourable judgement, the governor seems to be circumspect of what the history would record against him after bowing out, by deciding to rev the pedal of development through a well designed 21-point development focus for 2021.

It is no gainsaying the fact that Fayemi was reelected after four years he had been out of power owing to his superlative performances in his first term. He initiated a lot of novel programmes, which he banked on to launch aggressive campaign for his return and he achieved the target.

Dissecting the present mood of the nation, except the All Progressives Congress(APC) is deluding itself, the mindset of an average Nigerian voter seems unpredictable due to the general conception that the party has failed the people at the centre .

The fear and angst in town have been corroborated by the pulsating and frightening level of insecurity, economic depression and corruption in high places in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s virulent war against grafts.

Though, governor Fayemi has consistently paid the salary of workers to escape the boody trap of failing in his succession battle. As good and strategic this seems to be, the anger in town over parlous state of the economy and insecurity are still issues to grapple with.

Putting it succintly, the governor is now caught in the web of delivering good governance to the people in the faces of daunting challenges of Covid 19, 2022 gubernational election and feeble economic resources of Ekiti. It requires proper planning for him to be able to wriggle out of this conundrum and emerged unscathed to leave indelible marks on the sand of time. However, the governor looks unfazed in spite of these uphill tasks.

Definitely, the foregoing must have spurred the governor to discern so earnestly and rolled out a new economic blueprint to put soothing balm on the people’s excruciating headache. This becomes imperative because politics determines governance and he can’t afford to fail to deliver the latter for APC to have firm control on Ekiti .

During a programme commemorating his second year in office, Fayemi himself predicted that the 2021 would be full of political activities. With the way he spoke, he was expecting a mixture of unflinching loyalty and backstabbing from some cabinet members and party stalwarts. These are always expected in politics and when such surface, only good rating by ordinary voter can be a saving grace and the governor seemed to be aware of this.

The next year’s governorship election is going to be a battle royale for the governor in the sense that losing such a pivotal election will debase his rating and will be counter productive to his much touted presidential ambition.

Fayemi’s handlers must have considered two factors for him to rise to stardom in national politics. One, that he must perform very well in terms of delivery of democracy dividends to the people, for no governor can fail in his home state and still claim to be apt to be elected as a President of a big nation like Nigeria.

The other factor is the fact that any politician that would succeed at the national level must have full control of his homestate. Accomplishing the two arduous tasks is paramount to the governor and he perceived good governance as the best ingredient to be deployed to extricate himself out of the seeming logjam.

Knowing full well the strategic position of 2021 in relation to 2022 and 2023 political years , governor Fayemi has prepared to face the post-COVID-19 challenges and ensure fast economic recovery, by spelling out a 21- goal target for Ekiti in the five pillars of his developmental agenda to be achieved for the year 2021.

Determined to expand the scope of the economy and launch Ekiti to the high pedestal of digital economy, Fayemi is to complete the MTN Broadband Network looping in Ekiti State University, Afe Babalola University , Federal University Oye Ekiti, and the new Bamidele Olumilua University of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, in the first round. This will be later extended to Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, and College of Agriculture and Technology, Isan-Ekiti, to tackle the challenges of unemployment and attendant crises.

Describing digital economy as a money spinning venture that can turn around the dwindling fortunes of the state, Fayemi added ; “in the year, we will commence the laying 600km of fibre optic infrastructure in the first quarter of 2021 by IHS. We are also going to complete the ongoing installation of 240km of fibre optic infrastructure in four Local Government Areas by MTN”.

Moreso, it has always been Fayemi’s ardent desire to make Ekiti an open defecation free and rid it of opportunistic diseases, by providing potable tap water to communities in 14 Local governments on Completion of Ero and Egbe Dams Rehabilitation. Under this, Fayemi said Ekiti has partnered the world bank, European Union and United Nations Children Fund and that efforts are on top gear to deliver on this project.

Without mincing words, infrastructure remains the fulcrum on which the economy and investment rotate. To attract investors and boost his rating among the voters, Fayemi set a target of completing the Phase 1 of 2-lane dual carriage New Ado-Iyin-Igede-Aramoko-Itawure road; Agbado-Ode-Isinbode-Omuo road , Ilupeju-Ire-Igbemo—Ijan Road, Oye-Ikun Road Road; Aramoko-Erijiyan-Ikogosi Road and , Ado-Ilawe-Igbara-Odo-Ibuji Road . While also begin the construction of the 17km first phase of the Ado-Ekiti Ring Road project connecting the new airport to Igbemo, Iworoko, and the Ifaki axis.

When assumed office in 2018 , Fayemi promised to up the game in the area of industrialisation. Though, he had succeeded in revamping some moribund State owned industries like Ikun Dairy farm while also investing in agriculture in terms of building of rice processing plants in the state. But the main cause of why Ekiti was poorly industrialised is epileptic power supply by distribution companies. And he was resolute to tackle the crisis headlong and bring Ekiti out of economic doldrums.

To solve this perennial power brouhaha , Fayemi targets the installation of 3-megawatt Independent Power Projects to supply power to public institutions including the State’s Secretariat, Ado metropolis street lights, Ekiti State Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ekiti State University (EKSU), and Government House.

Resolute to effect radical changes in the health sector, for health is strategic to wealth creation, the governor said: “Efforts are on for the installation of Solar-powered refrigerators for vaccine storage in 177 Primary Healthcare Centers (1 per Ward) to raise the standard of healthcare delivery system.

“There will be comprehensive face-lift, equipment upgrades and additional staff for all 3 Specialist Hospitals in Ikole, Ikere and Ijero, 21 General Hospitals and upgrade of additional 60 primary health facilities”.

Since 1947 when Ekiti produced the first graduate, it had been recognised as a leading ethnic group in education producing myriad of professionals and academics across various fields. In fact, education remains the only thriving industry where the state enjoys comfortable comparative advantage.

To bolster the sector and make it a beacon to other states, Fayemi promised to embark on aggressive Operation Renovate All Schools. This would be followed by construction of new schools in Ekiti State. Last year, four model schools were constructed to shore up school enrolment and ease of getting admission into secondary schools in the state.

“We shall also begin the construction of 50,000 affordable homes over ten years, with support from the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) and start building 1000 units of social housing for public workers at low interest, affordable mortgage, with support from Family Homes Fund.

In his statewide broadcast on the 1st of January, 2021, Fayemi expressed readiness to clear the balance of inherited outstanding salaries as the economy improves in Ekiti State.

When Fayemi came on board, he said the aggregate of the salary , promotion, gratuity from 2012 and pension arrears owed by the past administrations totalled a sum of N57 billion. He promised to defray the debt while also assuring the workers that he won’t perceive the debt as a bad one as being rumoured.

He added further; “We know that the dividends of all we are doing can’t manifest if we don’t enjoy good security. I will strengthen Ekiti State Security Network, “Amotekun” on training, technology, and equipment to keep Ekiti safe.We are going to launch Ekiti Safe City Project to boost security and safety in the state”.

Fayemi assured that he would ensure that government is brought nearer to the people, by reviving the canceled Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and conduct fresh Local Government Elections, before the year runs out.

However, the Fayemi’s economic blueprint has pitted the APC against the opposition People’s Democratic Party in the state. While the APC described the development agenda as commendable and attainable in view of the prudent nature of the present government, the PDP branded it as mere jamboree and media razzmatazz meant to arrogate undue respect to Fayemi and his “overrating” capacity to deliver.

The APC State Publicity Secretary, Hon Ade Ajayi, said the party was proud of the projection the governor has set to rejig the economy of the state and make the populace feel the gains of democracy. He exuded confidence that the governor will be resolutely committed to accomplishing the projection for the benefit of all.

“We are proud of our dear governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi for not being agitated by the challenge of fund and set a tall economic projection for our dear state.

“This underscored the priority the governor has for good governance. APC is a progressive party and we are not going to do anything less than to be placing high priority on those projects that will benefit all Ekiti indigenes”.

But the PDP State Publicity Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju, said the agenda was meant to attract media attention and to erroneously decorate Fayemi as a performing governor.

“The governor promised to pay all outstanding workers benefits within one year of assuming office, he failed in this regard. He promised to complete all ongoing projects before the end of 2020, he failed. He promised to offer employments to about 3,000 Ekiti people in 2020, he reneged

“So, we in PDP were not in any way aroused by these lies. APC is only working on the pages of newspapers and the social media platforms and this is also one of those antics, nothing will be achieved in the end.”