Fayemi: Ekiti On Scale Of Gains Three Years After
By Wole Olujobi
“Independent spirits spread like a foul disease, so men must keep their places; some up, some down,” says Galileo Galilei, the impossible Italian philosopher, scientist and astronomer, in a deviant response to the Italian church’s challenge to his superior discovery that the Earth revolves round the Sun; a somewhat heretic declaration that was against the Italian church’s long held view that the sun revolves round the earth.
Not quite long after facing inquisition and imprisonment threats over confrontation with the church, Galileo was proved right by no other person than Clavius, the church’s scientist, thus stamping Galileo’s authority as a modern science icon that revolutionised philosophical thoughts on cosmos science.
But for Galileo also, world cannot stand without the influence of the less endowed to make the cycle of development and mission complete. In a somewhat complementary adjunct to his former assertion, a well-informed Galileo also found relevance in the deeply ignorant people to complete his work and world. He had said: “I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him”, thus reinforcing his thesis that no one is independent in this terrestrial plain in the interplay of roles to make impact, otherwise the world will be a hell of singleness of thought that does not provoke creative solution to a common challenge.
And so for Ekiti State, 25 years after it was created by the martial licence of the regimental tradition, the state has fared in the contradictions that characterise human conduct as philosophised by Galileo. While a section believes that Ekiti State is a project that will work and is working, others swear that it is a dream that has been aborted at conception.
Governor Adeniyi Adebayo between 1999 and 2003 had donned the Galileo cap to put Ekiti State in the nation’s development map, but that dream, in the manner of the Italian early church, was contested and suspended by the conspiratorial antics of a strange invention in the state who thrived in physical and moral violence.
The administration of Governor Segun Oni, reputed for probity, was hampered by crisis of legitimacy in his development plan before the new dawn nurtured by the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi that posted sterling performance between 2010 and 2014 was also violently cut short by the gangsters in garrison accoutrements, who believed that Ekiti State existed more for the pleasure of one man against the general principle that propelled Ekiti leaders to demand for a state that would cater for the development purposes of the generality.
For Fayemi’s critics, buffetted by bile, the rots between 2014 and 2018 served Ekiti people better than JKF’s first class landmarks between 2010 and 2014.
But Fayemi never despaired. For in the autumn of the regime that aborted the Ekiti dream and mounted a roadblock on her development track, Fayemi, again drawing from Galileo’s theoretical corpus, retreated to his mental ambience, plotting to “learn” from the frail competency quotient of the deeply “ignorant” task force helmsman that choreographed the reversal of fortunes for Ekiti people after the initial murderous years between 2003 and 2006.
As expected, the protagonists in the Ekiti leadership cadre have their own disciples too just like Galileo kept Andrea, son of his house-keeper, who kept faith with his master till the end in his revolutionary science.
While Adebayo and Fayemi’s disciples fly their principals’ flags to flaunt their development strides, the disciples of the leaders in the opposition, while flaunting nothing, prefer to dismiss the entire Ekiti project as lacking in any merit.
For the records, Fayemi changed the narrative of abandoned projects syndrome fuelled by base instincts, bad blood and blurred vision in Ekiti State politics and embraced a collective and continuity approach in development strategy. As we read, Fayemi has almost completed all abandoned projects by previous administrations, as he believes that the continuity and completion of these projects is for the benefit of all Ekiti people.
Three years into his four-year second term, Ekiti people can feel and see development strides of his administration in infrastructure development, including road construction and rehabilitation, water projects, electricity projects, enhanced health management system, opening of new schools for increased enrolments, supporting small businesses, relieving students from pains of prohibitive school fees, encouraging foreign businesses and revamping moribund state’s industrial assets to create jobs, including creation of a new vista in bureaucracy to enhance openness and transparency in public administration, while also recording several firsts in Ekiti State’s development history.
For effect, Fayemi had earlier during his first term between 2010 and 2014 made history in posting unrivalled achievements in his development goals encapsulated in his Eight-Point agenda. He bought over 70,000 computer sets for distribution among secondary school students and renovated 183 secondary schools and 835 primary schools.
For the first time by any administration, Fayemi commissioned five mini- water treatment plants while also erecting 167 water fetching points across the state and moved water supply capacity to 52 percent as against 25 percent on assumption of office.
He also introduced social security of monthly N5, 000 stipend for the elderly; the first in the West Africa subregion, while some communities that had existed for more than a century without light were connected to the national grid.
For the first time, youths were kept off thuggery camps and engaged in commercial farming in the YCAD scheme that took Ekiti to lead the entire nation in cassava cultivation, with the yield at 15THa above national average of 12T/Ha while his health scheme also scored first by reducing infant mortality rate at 98 per 1000 in Ekiti State at the time the national rate was 189 per 1000.
All moribund state enterprises, including ROMACO, Fountain Hotel and Ikogosi Resorts, were resuscitated. Ikogosi Resorts was developed into one of the top seven hospitality destinations in Nigeria while a Knowledge Zone was also created within the facility for advanced studies in various fields, even as a knowledge-based economy through ICT was also instituted within the facility.
The United Nations acknowledged Fayemi’s innovative governance in September 2013 when the world body invited Fayemi to its session on the basis that his state met many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda.
But for the opposition, Fayemi’s efforts are either a silhouette of development strategy or none at all.
As with the disciples on the other side, Fayemi’s disciples have also been flaunting their principal’s landmarks. In his remarks marking the Third Year Anniversary, Fayemi’s media aide, Segun Dipe, had written:
“No one can deny the fact that Ekiti has within the short period adapted itself to the global standard of the changing world, to the new economic context, to the new technological paradigms and to new set of values.
“Looking clinically, one would see a level of confidence building in the state’s essential role in harnessing resources within and directing incentives through a distinctive policy-making process. The policies of the present administration of Dr. Fayemi have greatly attracted investors into the state. This is a thumbs-up achievement for a landlocked state like Ekiti.
” Ekiti ranks higher than other states in terms transparency and integrity. It is second only to Kaduna State which slightly leads it, with both sharing the “A” rating.”
Not done, another Fayemi’s aide, Adeoye Aribasoye, a lawmaker and attorney at Law, wrote in his anniversary message, praising his boss for the progress made so far to enhance the living conditions of Ekiti people.
He had said: “To me as an individual and not because I am in government as a representative of my people, the creation of this state in 1996 was a huge and immeasurable blessing to all of us as Ekiti citizens and not a curse or burden to anyone.
“We knew how Ado Ekiti was in 1996. We knew the little space and attention Ekiti attracted then and what had followed afterwards. This state is undoubtedly making steady progress.”
While Fayemi keeps himself busy strategising to achieve these strides, the cynics have burdened themselves with tasks in the demarketing of this focused visionary. Just like Galileo did while his traducers tortured him with the punitive canon law, Fayemi, whose passion for Ekiti development is the genesis of his genius, profits from the criticisms of those who see nothing good in Ekiti State since creation by using their criticisms as sauce for better performance.
Today, Fayemi is a reference point in Ekiti development strategy. He profited from the obstacles created in his way by the 2014 electoral heist to restrategise and work for Ekiti development just like Galileo beat a tactical retreat from his persecutors to stamp his feet in his belief to become a legend in the world of science.
Bertolt Brecht, a German writer in his book “Galileo” has since etched Galileo Galilei in the hearts of the peoples of the world as a symbol of the power of superior intellect over the brute force of the ancient orthodoxy just like Ekiti people bear testimonies to the genius of Fayemi in Ekiti development history, even as critics moan on the sidelines.
For Ekiti people, Fayemi’s third year in government is a lesson in moral integrity, brilliance, resilience, vision and mission to nurture a prosperous society built on the scale of gains.
* Olujobi, a journalist, is Commissioner in Ekiti State Local Government Service Commission, Ado-Ekiti.