With the delivery of another set of completed roads spread across the three senatorial districts in Ekiti State and other infrastructural developments, Governor Kayode Fayemi’s dream of making Ekiti the envy of others despite paucity of resources is gradually coming to realisation. Sulaimon Olanrewaju reports.

In the last three weeks, Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi and his team have been occupied with the celebration of the third year anniversary of his second term in the state. To commemorate the anniversary, a lot of activities were lined up. But as the activities continued, it was obvious that the masses are the ultimate winners, considering the number of projects that have been completed under the administration, which touch on the lives of common men on the street of the state.

Beyond the festivity that characterises such event in the Nigeria’s political landscape, it was easy for discerning minds to see and appreciate how the team has followed, howbeit religiously, its five-point agenda which touches on governance, knowledge economy, social investment, agriculture and rural development, as well as infrastructure and industrial development. As dictated by JKF’s mantra, Reclaiming the land, restoring our values during the build up to his second term governorship campaign, the scorecard of the governor presented to the people during the course of the month–long celebration proved that Fayemi was indeed committed to his signature tune.

Perhaps what better reflected the mood of the people towards the achievement of the governor was the tumultuous crowd, comprising traditional rulers, market women, artisans and other members of the public that assembled in Ijan, Oye and Aramoko Ekiti on Wednesday, October 13 to witness the commissioning of the state roads constructed by the governor in the last three years. The roads  are;  the Ilupeju-Ire-Igbemo- Ijan road, Oye-Isan- Ikun Dairy Farm Road, Aramoko- Erijiyan road, Agbado-Ode-Isinbode Road and Ibuji-Igbaraodo-Ilawe- Ado Ekiti road.

In a speech prepared by Ijan Progressive Union, which was shared with reporters in Ijan Ekiti and signed by its President, Mr. Bisi Ige and two others, the community listed at least eight developmental achievements of the governor in the community, which covered appointments, school rehabilitation, hospital renovation and majorly the construction of the road linking Ijan to Igbemo, Ire and Ilupeju Ekiti. “The road is an edifice for Ijan in particular and other towns in general,” the people stated.

For the people of Ekiti West, the local government that houses the popular Ikogosi Warm and Cold Springs, the Fayemi’s administration was described as a “God sent” to them as he has continued to be their messiah over the years in making sure that the nature’s hidden treasure in the local government is not abandoned. Beyond the construction of the road linking Aramoko, Erinjiyan and Ikogosi, the people expressed their joy over the restoration of electricity in Ikogosi, Ipole-Iloro and Erijiyan communities that had been in darkness for four years.

Speaking with journalists in Aramoko, Mr. Issac Fatoyinbo, a community and political leader, described Governor Fayemi’s approach to governance as a reflection of his urbane personality and a product of his passion for all round development.

“With what we have seen in the last three years and the foundation of good governance laid by Dr. John Kayode Fayemi between 2010 and 2014, there is no gainsaying the fact that the governor is not like a typical Nigeria politician who will say what he would not do and do what he didn’t say. Before he came on board three years ago, the previous administration used the Aramoko-Erinjiyan-Ikogosi road to canvass for votes and our people voted but for four years, we waited in vain for the road to be constructed.  Just as JKF did during his first term, he didn’t only construct the road, it’s also to his credit that the moribund Gossy Water Company and Ikogosi Warm Spring Resorts were resuscitated. We are also happy to tell the world that the governor has given a facelift to our schools and hospitals in all the seven towns and settlements in the local government,” Fatoyinbo stated.

While calling on the Federal Government to beam its search lights on the dilapidated federal roads in the state, Fatoyinbo pointed out that Governor Fayemi deserves commendation for providing alternatives for Abuja bound trucks and luxury buses that have suddenly found succour in the state in the midst of collapsed federal roads across many states, a development that is making travelers look for alternative routes, notably Ekiti roads.

The position of the community leader was also echoed by the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, the Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye, on Sunday during a thanksgiving service organized to mark the anniversary by advising Fayemi to do everything possible to protect the newly inaugurated roads from being destroyed by the current influx of trailers and luxurious buses. The Bishop expressed dismay that the recent influx of articulated vehicles and luxurious buses (from other parts of the country), in the state is already taking its toll on the new roads which risk being destroyed.

However, Thursday, October 14, 2021, turned out to be a major highlight of the commemorative events, when the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), joined by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and the host Governor Fayemi to cut the ribbon to commission the Ekiti State Civic and Convention Centre, Ado-Ekiti. The magnificent multi- storey building has since been described as one of the most beautifully designed civic centers owned by any state in Nigeria.  The high point of the inauguration was the major take-home from the maiden edition of the state’s Economic Summit, where Vice President Osinbajo and three Governors: Nasir el-Rufai, Obaseki and Sanwo-Olu took time to review the governor’s approach to economic rejuvenation and how Fayemi’s approach to knowledge economy could lift states in Nigeria.

While admitting that technology has no border, Professor Osinbajo said in his keynote speech that the future of every state, especially with the growing population of young men and women, is technology. He said, “Ekiti is in the flow of progress regarding the plan to build a technology special economic hub in the state. Clearly, the future of a fast-growing economy is the knowledge economy. Natural resources are forced to give way to the knowledge economy. Unlike land, science has no border, visa and immigration restrictions. Technology has erased visa, immigration, border and even physical offices. From the age of territory, we are entering the age of science. This is the future of jobs.

“However, for the digital hub to be successful, it must be attractive to digital companies. I understand that Ekiti State is already attracting investments via paying telcom companies due to a major slash of the fees charged telecommunication companies. So, we need to train talents in the state to be engaged by incoming investments.”

Meanwhile, one outstanding thing about Fayemi’s approach to governance has remained his determination not to leave any of his projects uncompleted and commitment to complete uncompleted projects of the previous administration. Speaking during the state of the state address delivered in the House of Assembly as part of the activities, Fayemi allayed fears that preparations for the 2022 Ekiti governorship election could affect projects execution and other areas of service delivery by his administration.

According to the governor, “This administration has about only one year left, but I can assure you we shall work till the very last day. All abandoned projects by the previous administration had been completed by us, with only few others still at various stages of completion, but I am giving my words that by the time I leave office, there will not be any project left unattended.”

Governor Fayemi has demonstrated this by completing several projects abandoned by some of his predecessors in office. The completion and commissioning of the Secretariat buildings embarked upon by the Segun Oni administration and completion and inauguration of the Civic and Convention Centre as well as the Ado-Iyin road which had been abandoned since 1978 were pointers to the governor’s ability to match his words with action in respect of abandoned projects.

The governor, at the state of the state address, said his administration had, in the last three years, delivered well above 1,000 projects, while it had embarked on a-1,000 kilometres rural road projects in partnership with the World Bank. This is to facilitate movement of farm produce from the farmsteads to market across the three senatorial districts. The project is designed to complement the administration’s huge investments in agriculture and rural development. The agenda is to allow local farmers exist side by side with the big players like Coscharis Farm, Dangote Farm, JMK, FMS and Arog farms. The big players are to serve as off –takers to the traditional farmers, while also cultivating their own large expanse of lands and setting up processing plants.

Governor Fayemi expressed displeasure at the deplorable state of the Ado-Akure road, saying his administration would continue to engage the Federal Government towards ensuring that something concrete was done to alleviate people’s lamentations concerning the road. Speaking to journalists after the address, the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, lauded Fayemi administration’s performance in the last three years, describing it as outstanding. Oba Alabi, who is the immediate past chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, said, “Dr Fayemi has shown exemplary and untainted leadership in the governance of Ekiti State. The governor is worthy of commendation for his performance in developing Ekiti State by executing legacy projects.” The traditional ruler said one very unique factor about the Fayemi administration is the fact the administration ensures that it touches every nook and cranny of the state.

This, he explained, is a clear departure from the past when projects are concentrated only in the big cities to the detriment of the smaller towns.

Looking at the scorecard presented by Governor Fayemi, it’s obvious that, in three years, he has touched all communities in the state, through construction of roads, provision of pipe borne water, renovation of primary and secondary schools, renovation of basic and comprehensive health centres, general hospitals,  as well as  Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, where the internal roads were rehabilitated.

Whereas the celebration was on a low key, the bigger focus was on project commissioning which continued till the end of the month.