By Wole Olujobi
The last four years in the Ekiti State leadership had seen the worst in the nature of human conduct. Creation provides leaders with the grace to aspire to greatness by writing their names on the positive pages of history through their deeds to promote humanity for good. Or otherwise!
Call it providence or accident of history, Ekiti State since creation has seen two types of leadership that differ in orientation and morality. Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo noted for his suave, elegant and moral excellence led Asiwaju Segun Oni and Dr Kayode Fayemi to promote Ekiti virtues of hard work and honesty.
But the post Adebayo administration in 2003 was denominated in thefts and violent crimes and at the eclipse of that regime that was eventually interred in dishonourable grave, no fewer than 20 Ekiti families had worn sackcloths to mourn the untimely deaths of their promising sons.
Fayemi, between 2010 and 2014, recorded many ‘firsts’ in development index that placed Ekiti State in a prime record of human capital development.
But, again, like a thief in the night and in a comprehensive looting scheme plotted on a raiding chart, roguery, violence and crookery crept into Ekiti State again, gnawing like a vicious rat at the soul of an hitherto serene community and, like a thunderbolt, shattered the peace and integrity of a society that once enjoyed its innocence in the maze of rolling hills with gentle slopes that define the Ekiti genius as towering in value and soft in character and morals.
Indeed, the period between October 2014 and September 2018, a period of a capital loss in integrity and fortunes in Ekiti State, was all about bad boys in government: the bandits and harlequins in a complex game of guile and hollow wits to maim, steal and kill.
It all started with an audacious and armed poll theft that went with tears and sorrow. Like a community doomed to a ceaseless banditry, no one, including the upscale and the yokels, was spared the pains of vicious raids that went with haul in loss of human dignity and material well-being.
Ekiti, like a marooned willow lost in the meadow, was forced to live apart from modernity in what looked like a solitary community of outcasts fated to sedentary living. Not only were the locals stranded in their own land as the bandits raged and raped; national and international development partners also took flight from the shenanigans of the street patron and populist manipulator who in broad smiles hawked misery among the populace in a trading post that Ekiti State had become.
The genie had his hands full with bountiful harvests that could still not fill the cistern of his lust and his victims accepted their recreation into poverty as a rare but harsh providence that went with jaded fortune; a beatification of genteel poverty in which case some Ekiti people accepted poverty as a way of life: a paradox of sorts that is difficult to explain in human sociology and psychology.
For the first time in Ekiti history and contrary to the lessons and morals of the legendary Ekitiparapo War, a people in chains and bedevilled with the callousness of a heartless leader, hailed that vicious leader as Hossana after raising potentially productive youths on the streets as hell-raisers to threaten their own future and existence.
At the height of his success as a consummate manipulator in the killing of his people’s dreams through lies and deceits, he gleefully dubbed Ekiti people the colony of fools among his co-revellers and Ibadan comrades.
In the autumn of that regime, it was plain that poverty and hunger, the inseparable cousins of want, had crept into the living rooms of Ekiti people, as huge debts overhang of N117b threatened the very survival of Ekiti State that was also burdened with unpaid 10 month salaries and pensions, unpaid contract obligations and cloudy compensation claims to those that lost their houses to over-priced flyover and other fraudulent construction works.
As expected in a human community forced into unwanted slavery, on all four, despondency and anger crept onto the streets on July 14, 2018 calling for a change of regime. And following covert rebellion and overt challenge, a burst of emotional legato of ballot fury across the state closed the page of that fiendish regime that stole Ekiti dream at gunpoint and gang-raped her future in the most savage brutality.
The protagonist in the revolution, Dr Kayode Fayemi, is a pro-democracy veteran and natural scourge to the survival of bad governance anywhere it exists. He led the field again with Ekiti people following and shot to victory, bringing home laurels and sceptre that have today restored Ekiti to a kingly state that hopefully will keep away the scoundrels, knaves, charlatans and demagogues from nursing the future of Ekiti people.
Fayemi prepared very well for his new assignment, for during campaigns, he reiterated his resolve to recharge his vision in the Ekiti Collective Rescue Mission (Chapter Two) by retooling his development blueprint to post better results, calling on Ekiti people to reject continuity of poverty but vote for freedom.
He reaffirmed his resolve to not only resuscitate the Eight-Point Agenda, but also promised to strengthen the agenda for a more fundamental and comprehensive development strategy to make poverty history in Ekiti land.
Not only that, after his election victory, he raised a Transition Committee of eminent Ekiti sons and daughters that called a stakeholders forum to a month-long brainstorming sessions on critical development initiatives and strategies for policy formulation, development and execution.
He also criss-crossed parts of the world to rally investors and development partners to help lift Ekiti State from doldrums.
As wont with audacious visionaries, Fayemi succeeded in his trips with pockets of international aid agencies promising to help rescue Ekiti State in the objectives of the Collective Rescue Mission (Two).
They included a visit to the Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to discuss issues relating to the ministry’s infrastructure and assets in Ekiti State and how to improve them and introduce fresh ones while at the Ministry of Interior, Fayemi sought from the Minister, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, cooperation and collaboration on security.
On August 29, 2018 Fayemi met the Managing Director of the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Abba Bello, in Abuja, to discuss on how to record a boom in Ekiti State’s economy through export of farm produce.
In health sector, Fayemi same day held talks with the representatives from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation led by its Managing Director, Paul Basinga. They promised to partner with Ekiti State government to develop the health sector while also seeking partnership in agricultural development partnership with AGCO South Africa (Pty) Limited.
The company’s Vice President, Nuradin Osman, assured that the partnership would create more than 3,000 jobs for Ekiti youths while at Agence Francaise de Development (AFD), Fayemi sought the cooperation and support of the agency in the implementation of the following economic programmes in Ekiti State:
• investing in private sector development through credit lines for informal and formal small and medium businesses tailored towards the needs of poorly funded entrepreneurial groups;
• improving public finance management by assisting Ekiti State in improving tax revenues and improving the economic environment necessary for investments, particularly the technical support and strategy, and other measures aimed at improving the ease of doing business standards that will improve private investments in Ekiti State; and,
• investing in essential infrastructure and improving urban services, especially in transportation and basic social services, such as access to water and sanitation, among others, across Ekiti cities and rural communities.
Others include access to farms and markets and deepening investment in rural infrastructure, agriculture and roads.
Fayemi also sought funding opportunities in alternative sources of energy for private sector and proposed industrial clusters in the state while also seeking collaboration in a purchasing/agro-processing scheme that aims to stimulate investment through agro-processing enterprises that will create jobs.
For Fayemi, this would help enhance agricultural productivity among small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains while also achieving human capacity development, employment, modernised machinery and equipment, competitiveness and productivity improvement.
On September 14, 2018, Fayemi took his investment drive to the British Embassy in Abuja where he met with the Head of DFID in Nigeria, Ms Debbie Palmer, to discuss prospect of support for policy formation and implementation, technical assistance, and communications, including enactment and enforcement of new laws for social protection.
A day before, Fayemi had met the Minister of Education, Alhaji Adamu Adamu, to seek support in social intervention programmes and other educational policy programmes relating to human capital development while same day, Fayemi met with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, to seek collaboration and support of the Federal Government to strengthen policy programmes that would impact human development indices in Ekiti State.
The Governor-elect also visited the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, to seek cooperation in growing agricultural productivity and employment, especially among the youth and building on his Youths In Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD) initiative during his first term in office.
Other issues discussed included efforts aimed at improving processing units across the value chains of crop export produce, including cocoa, coffee, cassava, rubber, cashew, and yam amongst others, including improving storage facilities for farm produce to encourage large-scale production as a way to further encourage agro investments in Ekiti State.
Fayemi on September 18, 2018, also met with the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Kertil Karlsen, where they discussed ongoing and future economic programmes of the institution in Ekiti State. The Governor-elect used the occasion to canvass for programmes and supports that guarantee jobs for youths and steps on improving inter-linkage between public and private sector-led development.
Fayemi, a vision, hard work and transparency devotee, is taking the driver’s seat today in Ekiti development process. Like before, he will drive safely to Ekiti destination of prosperity.
Good morning Ekiti people to the dawn of fine-tuning your history and reshaping your battered destiny for good. Today October 16, 2018 marks the beginning of the reclaiming of your land and restoration of your values, hopes and aspirations with the urbane Fayemi leading the vision. It is an opportunity that must never be allowed to slip again into the hands of scoundrels and bandits that survive on dark intentions.
• Olujobi, a journalist and former Director of Media and Publicity of the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation, writes from Ado-Ekiti.