Governance is a serious business. It is a pact between the governor and the governed, in which both must play their parts well. Unlike his predecessor in office who took it as a plaything, giving false hope to the people year in year out, turning himself to their totem or object of worship, while scamming and looting their patrimony, the incumbent governor of Ekiti State, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi takes governance as a very serious and transparent contract.
Fayemi firmly believes that the people he is governing are sincere and courageous enough to make the right demands, while as a governor, he is also compassionate enough to listen and meet their demands with the integrity of intent. This is what has informed his actions since his return to power on 16th October 2018.
If it doesn’t break, it needs no fixing, goes the saying. But Ekiti was muscled to fix what did not break in 2014. No sooner had this happened than it dawned on the people that they had been deceived to swallow a bitter pill which they had to live with for four harrowing years, until the return of Dr. Fayemi, who is now doing everything to compensate them for those locust years.
In his 16th October acceptance speech Gov. Fayemi observed that
“Ekiti has been through a horrible wilderness experience in the past four years. Our reputation as a people has been sullied and we have become the butt of jokes due to the crass ineptitude, loquacious ignorance, and ravenous corruption masquerading as governance in our State during this past administration.” He assured the people that “Never Again” would such woe betide them.
And while presenting the 2019 budget, which he tagged Budget of Restoration to the state House of Assembly, the governor promised that his government would bring succour to the people, improve their lives, and deliver on promises to them.
In his words, “2019 is a crucial year for us to lay solid foundation needed to actualise our four point agenda vis-a-vis our quest to institutionalize the policies and practices to restore our values and dignity.”
Ekiti people must concede an indubitable fact to Fayemi: he has the integrity to walk his talk. Good governance, with good intentions, is the hallmark of his government.
Being a government that has vowed to restore the despoiled values of Ekiti people, Fayemi’s administration should be appraised by its performance in the following key areas:
Foremost is that Fayemi will govern the people with the fear of God and the rule of law. There will be no need for any form of oppression or witch hunting. Everyone in the state will be considered equally, subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes. After all, the governor himself has reiterated that he was not on any revenge mission but had returned as a healing balm on a painful wound.
In both his 16th October acceptance speech and 21st December budget presentation to the House, Fayemi also assured that his vision for Ekiti State was to ensure that “it becomes a place where people can thrive and live their lives in dignity.”
It is therefore pertinent that the people themselves accept the governor’s stretched hand of fellowship for a seamless relationship and mutual understanding between both parties without giving in to side talks or undue propaganda from the opposition that is determined to lure them back to the master-slave relationship of old. 2019 should be a win-win year for both the government and the people of Ekiti State.
With the governor’s pronouncement that the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State, BSES, will be back on air from the first day of January 2019, the people should expect responsible and responsive broadcasting from both the State’s radio and television stations without undue influence of any sort. Ekiti people are civil and what is served them as information in 2019 must be genuinely civil.
There is no doubt that the budget, which has been tagged Budget of Restoration, will indeed restore the people if implemented to the letter. To assure that 2019 will be a year of better outcome in terms of budget implementation, Gov. Fayemi employed his usual bottom-up approach.
The administration reinstituted it’s model of Participatory Budgeting, which it initiated during its first term in office. The governor consulted widely and gathered the inputs of all Stakeholders in achieving a Budget that reflects collective aspirations, needs and demands for sustainable growth and development across the Sixteen (16) Local Government Areas of the State. It is therefore right to call it the People’s Budget, which is easily achievable without any showmanship.
There is no half measure to the quality of education that the pupils and students in Ekiti schools deserve in 2019. And it will come with affordability. After all, Governor Fayemi has announced a free education up to the secondary level, removed the taxes imposed on students and their parents as well as made the welfare of teachers a priority. Also, Gov. Fayemi has promised that investment in knowledge economy is one of the four pillars of his government. A Knowledge City will be launched in 2019, which simply means that the economic value of the state will be focused on human intelligence through its development by the government.
If there is any measure that will percolate from the top to bottom, it is the regular payment of workers’ salaries and allowances, including those of pensioners. Gov. Fayemi has started with this on a very good note and he is determined to make it a priority in 2019. With the regular payment of salaries, people can plan for their future.
With a budget that places enough emphasis on human capital, and a government that has made social investment, knowledge economy, agriculture and industrialisation its four-pronged fulcrum, added to its attraction of investment back to the state, job creation and employment are a sure bet in 2019.
The focus on agriculture in 2019 is assured through the budget. Not just staple agriculture, but commercially viable agriculture. Farming is the Number One pre-occupation of Ekiti people and Gov. Fayemi has expressed his administration’s determination to focus on agriculture and rural development as a step towards repositioning the state as a food basket for the country.
Even as everyone awaits Gov. Fayemi’s 100 days in office, having promised to release his findings on the state of the State at the time he assumed office, it is apparent that he met several infrastructures he left behind in 2014 in a deplorable state when he returned in 2018, and there is an urgent need to put them back in order.
The governor has also promised the return of construction of 5km roads, which he embarked upon during his first term in office but was abandoned by his predecessor in office. He has also promised to complete all the community projects abandoned by his predecessor. He specifically cited the construction of the New Iyin Road and completion of the Civic Centre Ado Ekiti as of top priority,
Any government that glosses over the security of lives and properties is a mindlessly reckless one. Gov. Fayemi has admitted that the security of lives and properties of his people in the state was very loose when he took over, and has expressed his determination to double efforts in tightening it. As a security expert himself, human lives are very sacrosanct to him. He has sought and got the support of all the security operatives in the state and welcome inputs from the private sector in terms of funding. The challenge has also been thrown at the people to learn to be one another’s keeper by embracing the spirit of Ubuntu (I am, because you are).
The greatest asset of the Fayemi administration is its very cordial relationship with the government at the centre and this will come handy in 2019. Ekiti paid dearly for its aloofness from the federal government in the last dispensation but Fayemi has assured that Never Again would such ordeal befall the State.
Closely linked to the smooth relationship between the State and the federal is a friendly environment that can attract quality investments from within and outside the country. Ekiti suffered a Pariah status between 2014 and 2018, when the conduct of its governor chased away investors. Things have started bottoming up already and Governor Fayemi is doing something drastic about wooing investors back to the state.
General restoration of values, without deploying any negative energy that can commit the state to disrepute is at the heart of Gov. Fayemi’s style. He has said it times without number that he is not on any revenge mission. Rather, he advocates restoration of the values of hard work, knowledge and integrity, which Ekiti sons and daughters are known for. It is in his determination to see this happen that the _Omoluwabi_ governor plans to establish a Bureau of Values in Ekiti State.
Segun Dipe is the Snr. Special Assistant to Gov Fayemi on Public Communications.