…it’s the devil…

 

IT’S always THE DEVIL…

…amazingly and forever so easy to hear from the devil…”it’s the devil”…” the devil led me to it”….”it’s the work of the devil”…and on and on and on…

Have you noticed / realised / observed a larger percentage of what we do, and rope round the devil are the juicy and “flesh” oriented part of lifestyle ?

LIFESTYLE IS A CHOICE. IF YOU DO NOT LIKE WHAT YOU SEE, LOOK FOR WHAT TO CHANGE !

I have NEVER come accross anyone swallowing Camoquin / Chloroquin / Nivaquin…those nastily bitter anti – malaria drugs of those days, and there after claiming it had been devil aided.

The devil always lead its victims to sugar – encrusted, honey – coated, deliciously, and invigoratingly inviting baits…

So why is it forever so easy to hear from the Grand Master Enemy No 1, that will never go away, and will forever remain, lurking around ?

The answer is as simple, and the understanding as Complex as this – CHOICE.

If we fall so easily into the ever widely-opened, forever-streched devil’s arms, why is it so difficult to hear from Our Great Friend, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and hear His Very Own Wise Counsel…and at best attempt to fall into His Arms of Saving Grace ?

CHOICE…IT’S A MATTER OF CHOICE.

I have for a while decided that if anyone is not a doer of what he / she preachees, that person is a MONUMENTAL FRAUD, and the CHOICE is mine. We CANNOT live a lie forEVER. The Church needs to help the Congregation by showing that the content of a sermon can be actualised, and the very first port of showing this remains the preachers’ lifestyle, PREACHING EVEN BEFORE, AND AHEAD, AND AFTER the words.

Thus if you are telling me its wrong to abuse the wife, and the world knows you are the Chief / Chairman of Wife Abusers, you are flawed already, and you are a devil personified.

People need help, and especially these days, and thus the need to inject relevance into it all…Otherwise, we might as well close the shop. Too too much lies, and horribilies…Perhaps why results are always on the aegis of immagination…

YOUR CHOICE…

Indelible. Radisson BLU. vi. lagos

I’m Not A Spare Tyre – Funmi Olayinka

……………………………………………….Courtesy of EKITI STATE GOVERNMENT…

 
 
 

Funmi Olayinka, Ekiti State Deputy Governor

For Funmi Olayinka, it is interesting being a woman in politics. It becomes more interesting when you are the deputy governor of Ekiti State.

“Politics for me, and I believe a number of other new female entrants, is becoming more interesting.  We aren’t part of the female politicians who were either marginalised or had no roles assigned to them. So, I will boldly say yes, I have being fairly treated not minding my gender,” she begins.

Argue that some other women still face marginalisation. She agrees but says, “I have not experienced it as a person. The governor has brought a lot of civilisation to issues bothering on gender equality and mainstreaming in our state and that is why you will see our women do things without remembering the era when women were spoonfed on the account of gender. I am an irredentist believer in the fact that women should get positions purely on merit rather than on sympathy. We have women in this country who are eminently qualified for whatever positions. Women politicians should compete for positions on the basis of what they have to offer. I am sure that our men would respect us and even listen to us more when we do not offer ourselves as political liabilities.”

A former banker with over 20 years experience, a search for a female running mate for Governor Kayode Fayemi fished her out. According to her, after consulting with her husband and some others, she took up the gauntlet.

Being in office for over two years, what has the experience being for her? Refusing to be referred to as a spare tyre, Olayinka says time spent in the state has being worth its while.

Hear her: “It has been over two years of excitement in governance for us. Unlike other deputy governors, the deputy governor of Ekiti State under the current dispensation is not a spare tyre, but a co-traveller in the vehicle of restoring the lost glories of the Land of Honour. When you are being driven by a governor who believes more in successes than efforts, then you will understand what I’m saying. Dr. Kayode Fayemi is a workaholic and he does not condone laziness. With him, you cannot be redundant. He listens and makes up his minds. He does not mind succumbing to superior arguments when necessary. He celebrates success and not efforts and so whenever he gives you an assignment, he expects performance, not minding whether you are male or female.”

The life of a deputy governor, she says, is not different from any other career woman. You then wonder when she observes her rest.

“I resume in the office by 9a.m and most times, I will not leave until it is very 11p.m. I have heard people discuss in low tones that the governor and his deputy don’t sleep! I think this is mainly because even when we are not behind our desks, we are finding one solution to one problem or the other. It is all in our bid to raising the standard of living of our people. There are times when you close from meetings around 4a.m and  you are expected at functions around 8a.m again!

“Meanwhile, my boss takes no excuse for things not properly done. So, for you to work with him, you must be willing to get innovative and apply yourself to discharging your duties effectively. The mantra is hard work,” she adds.

If she exudes so much enthusiasm about her job, how come it was rumoured she had resigned? With a sigh, she replies: “I didn’t take up the job of being deputy governor from the rumour mill and if I am resigning, it is definitely not for my boss to pick up such information from the gutters. When the rumour started, honestly, I was not bothered. If someone simply wakes up to assume the position of your spokesperson without being appointed, do you lose your sleep as a result of that? I have put that behind me. The governor, his wife, and the good people of Ekiti know too well that it was all the figment of the peddlers’ imagination.”

Success at work, she believes, must correspond with a peaceful home. She is lucky to have children who are grown and a husband, who understands the nature of her work. Olayinka, however, confesses that she cooks and does laundry like any other woman.

She says, “I still do all the duties expected of a woman. I cook, do washings, albeit light ones. As grown up as the children are, they will tell you that you have to be careful with Madam O when it comes to doing things right.”

Thrusting aside any stereotype of a female politician, she tells you she still lives a normal family life. “As a banker, I wasn’t having all the time in the whole world to myself. My husband is a very understanding person who allows you to flourish to the best of your ability. Most times as a banker, I remember that I had causes to rush home from work, leave a note behind for him on occasions when I had to make unplanned trips, and each time, he demonstrated uncommon understanding of my situation. He is always willing to support me to succeed at work.

“As for the children, they are grown up, and also ready to be supportive of me. We make plans to still be together as much as possible. Beyond the fact that we communicate regularly on the telephone, members of my family come to Ado-Ekiti at the slightest opportunity to be with me. So, not much is suffering in this aspect.”

Now let’s talk fashion. She looks like one who knows what time it is in the world of glamour. Agreed, she loves to look good but her description of fashion is cleanliness.

“To me, fashion is looking clean. I wear anything provided it makes me free and independent. Occasions predominantly dictate what I wear; I don’t wear native dresses to work between Mondays and Thursdays, and I don’t believe in breaking the banks to get properly dressed. Fashion fetish? There is none.”

With the number of years spent at the bank, does she still miss her first job?

“Who would not miss his or her first love?” she asks laughing. “All I knew ahead of joining politics was banking. Remember, I spent the greater part of my youthful professional life as a banker. But if you ask me, serving the people as the first democratically elected female deputy governor in a sophisticated state like Ekiti is more exhilarating! Yes, once in a while you cannot help flashing back to banking, but the joy of being useful to a lot more people is a good way to live a fulfilled life.”

Lastly, remind her that one day, she will retire from politics. When such happens, what will she do?

Olayinka says, “I have always desired a quiet life. Then, I will be able to get more dedicated to the works of my creator, read books and become more dotting in the affairs of my immediate family.”

 

THE ABOVE ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED BY EKITI STATE GOVERNMENT.

JKF at 48: The music has just begun – Oyebode

In a recent encounter with journalists during an inspection of projects in some parts of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Governor Kayode Fayemi was asked how he manages to raise funds for the numerous projects his administration is undertaking in the state. The reporter had asked the question upon realising that the Operation Renovate All Secondary Schools in Ekiti (ORASE), which led to the renovation of the 183 public secondary schools in the state and the purchase of 40,000 units of furniture for teachers and students cost the state a whopping N2.5billion.

For a state that is ranked number 35th on the federal allocation ladder and gets a little above N2billion monthly from the federation purse, the reporter’s concern seems apt, especially given the fact that the comprehensive renovation of public schools and the computer-per-child initiative of the administration are running side by side with other projects.

When the journalist was told that the state would soon commence the comprehensive renovation of all hospitals and primary health care centres in the state beginning from January, he simply retorted: “Your Excellency must be a magician!”

Fayemi had politely told the reporter that the passion to see poverty and sickness banished from the state and the determination to make the Ekiti the number one destination of choice for business and leisure remain the vital tonic that drives the developmental agenda in Ekiti and provides the creativity that unlocks the required funds. What perhaps is unknown to the journalist is the fact that JKF, as Dr Fayemi is popularly called, remains one of the few leaders in the country who view their call to serve as a privilege and therefore put in everything to ensure that they leave a legacy.

Caroline Mcloughlin, Executive Director of the Washington-based Centre for Visionary Leadership, vividly captures the essence of visionary leadership in one of her works. According to her, “Visionary leaders are the builders of a new dawn, working with imagination, insight, and boldness. They present a challenge that calls from the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose. Their eyes are on the horizon, not just on the near at hand. They are social innovators and change agents, seeing the big picture and thinking strategically.”

Mcloughlin’s definition, no doubt, encapsulates those key attributes that have marked JKF as an innovative leader with a great ability to inspire others and an insatiable appetite for setting and attaining developmental goals. Through a combination of forceful imagination, prudent spending, compassion for the led and placing much premium on the concept of doing development with the people, JKF has, in the last two and a half years, been able to launch the state on an irreversible path of development.

In theory, JKF has espoused the concept of good governance and the concomitant empowerment of the citizens as well as the strengthening of the institutional framework at the various lectures and discussion groups he has participated locally and at the global stage. In practical terms, he demonstrates this in the running of the affairs of Ekiti State by laying emphasis on key elements of good governance, including accountability, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness, responsiveness, the rule of law and forward vision.

JKF stated this much in his most recent publication – “Reclaiming The Trust.” He admits that what he has brought into governance in the last two years is the kind of trust that is based on and compels competence, openness, concern and reliability. “Trust is a public good; we cannot do great things collectively without trust. But trust has to be earned,” he stresses.

Within two and half years, Fayemi has been able to place Ekiti on the centre stage by re-awakening the Omoluabi concept in government and laying a solid foundation on which a more prosperous Ekiti would be built. The Social Security Benefit Scheme which pays monthly stipends to indigent elderly citizens of the state; the computer-per-child initiative, where each student in the public secondary schools gets a solar-powered lap top computer are first of its kind in the country. The massive investments in industrial, infrastructure and tourism development in the state as well as diverse youth and women empowerment programmes in an atmosphere devoid of the brigandage and violence of yesteryears have greatly enhanced the profile of the state.

Perhaps this explains why the rain of endorsements of his person and leadership style continues to pour in torrents since the September 18, 2012 endorsement by a former Nigerian Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Alhaji Maitama Sule, at the Leadership Awards in Abuja and that of the 26 Pan-Yoruba groups under the auspices of the Oodua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC) in Ibadan, recently.

As JKF turns 48 today, the question is no longer about what he is capable of doing as a leader. For he has been able to demonstrate his capability as an imaginative leader. Rather, the question will be about what he would not do as a leader. Regarded in some circles as ‘an activist in government’, many believe that his past has adequately prepared him for the present and the future.

John Kayode Fayemi was born on February 9, 1965 into the family of the late Chief and Mrs. Francis Falade Fayemi. A native of Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government, he had his elementary education in Ibadan before attending Christ’s School, Ado- Ekiti for his secondary education between 1975 and 1980.

He received his first degree in History and Politics from the University of Lagos in 1985, a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), in 1987 and a doctorate in War Studies from the King’s College, University of London, England in 1993, specialising in civilian-military relations and defence planning.

Prior to his active involvement in politics, Dr. Fayemi  was the pioneer Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, a research and training institution dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa.

Dr. Fayemi was a Georgetown University Leadership Fellow in 2000 and a Senior Visiting Fellow in African Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA in 2004. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan and was on the Adjunct Faculty of the African Centre for Strategic Studies, National Defence University, USA, between 2001 and 2005.

He was a member of the Governing Board of the Open Society Justice Institute, New York and African Security Sector Network. He was Technical Adviser to Nigeria’s Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission (known as the Oputa Panel) and also served on three Presidential Advisory Committees on Conflict Management and Security Sector Reform; NEPAD and the Millennium Development Goals under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

An advocate of true federalism, Fayemi has written and lectured extensively on governance and democratisation. He is also a recipient of several awards, fellowships and grants, including the Ford Foundation grant on the Special Initiative on Africa and the Macarthur Foundation research grant. He was named Governor of the Year, 2011 by the Leadership Newspaper.

With forty and eight fruitful years in the kitty, the music has just started for Fayemi, the one Ekiti people love to call ”Ilufemiloye “.

 

•Oyebode is Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ekiti State.

JKF @ 48 – Hakeem Jamiu

Between 2007 and 2010 before he became Ekiti State governor, I wrote articles in his honour on his birthdays (February 9) but I deliberately did not write in 2011 and 2012 because I was waiting to see how he would fulfil his electoral promises to the people, which I had vouched on his behalf that he would do in those articles.

I am encouraged to write in his honour this year because he has kept most of his electoral promises and this has made us (his aides) very proud. Dr. Kayode Fayemi is the only governor till date who got into office in an unusual way. He fought a legal battle for 42 months to reclaim his mandate from usurpers.

The legal battle saw him going to court a record four times before he finally triumphed on October 15, 2010 at the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division.

One unique character of Dr. Fayemi is his non- violent approach to the struggle to reclaim his mandate. It is on record that in the face of glaring provocation arising from the massive rigging of the 2007 and 2009 re-run gubernatorial elections in Ekiti State by the PDP, he consistently told his supporters not to resort to violence as he wouldn’t want to be governor over dead Ekiti people.

He had a formidable campaign organisation with able lieutenants and foot soldiers who were so dedicated and selfless that they became thorns in the flesh of the usurpers. Press releases backed with facts were adequately churned out of the campaign organisation as well as periodic press conferences, lectures and general mobilisation of A C N supporters.

There was underdevelopment of Ekiti under the regime of the interlopers. There was political upheaval, violence, uncertainty and anxiety almost on a daily basis until the illegitimate regime was brought to an abrupt end by judicial hammer.

On his assumption of office in October, 2010, Dr. Kayode Fayemi promised to restore the lost glory of Ekiti State but with a caveat that it was not going to be easy. Two years after this declaration, the state has witnessed an unprecedented turn around in many facets.

Going by his eight-point agenda as the cardinal roadmap to Ekiti development, he has touched all aspects of the agenda considerably. Dr. Fayemi took his time and carefully identified what he wanted to do and how to do it before launching his agenda fully.

He inherited a debt of N42 billion and many abandoned projects from his predecessor and a meagre N2.5 billion monthly allocation from the federation’s account which is the second lowest in the country. But with careful planning, prudent management of resources and an avowed commitment to the welfare of the people, he has been able to deliver, within reasonable limits, dividends of democracy to the people in an unprecedented manner.

In two years, Fayemi has turned Ekiti State around such that discerning observers say the job he has done could suffice for a four-year term. Just as the way he came to power is unprecedented so is his style of governance. Apart from his eight-point agenda, he has twice toured the 16 local governments to know what the people actually wanted and this is what he has incorporated in the annual budget of the state.

This has translated to sustainable development in all Ekiti communities. For instance, this is the first time in the history of Ekiti State that all communities would feel the presence of government through a project. There is no town where a secondary school has not been renovated in Ekiti State as all the 183 schools have been renovated; 2,820 youths have benefitted from the Youth Commercial Agriculture (YCAD), while cassava bread was launched in the state in August 2012.

The governor’s second agenda is Infrastructural Development. The Fayemi Government has commissioned 103 kilometres of roads in two years. All the roads linking the state capital to other towns and neighbouring states are all resurfaced with thick asphalt; this is apart from the five-kilometre road construction in all the 16 local governments of the state which makes another 80 kilometres.

Many rural roads have been opened up by the Bureau of Rural Development and Ekiti State Community and Social Development Agency (EKSCIDA), which is funded by the state government and the World Bank. EKSCIDA has executed over 180 micro projects in the last two years. Fayemi has done rural electrification of many communities in the state. Certain towns that have not seen electricity in the last 200 years have been connected to the national grid.

Dr. Fayemi knows that water is a basic necessity of life and he has been addressing the water problem with a multipronged approach. He has embarked on the construction of mini-water works in many towns like Okemesi, Ipole-Iloro, Efon, Ido-Ile and Maryhill in Ado-Ekiti. These are already supplying water to many towns around their locations.

These were commissioned in 2012 October. In Ado-Ekiti, Water has been extended from Ureje water works to Mary-Hill and this has supplied water to Okeila, Housing, Afao Road, Odo-Ado and Adebayo which have not seen water in the last 10 years. The second phase of the water supply is the sinking of boreholes in many communities as a stop gap measure pending the final laying of pipes to all towns in the state and the total turn around maintenance of the major dams of Ero, Egbe, Ureje and Itapaji to operate at maximum capacity.

MDGs have sponsored the constituency project of some National Assembly legislators which is the sinking of boreholes in about 26 towns. Apart from this, some of the governor’s aides have assisted in repairing and sinking boreholes in such towns as Ilawe and Igbemo Ekiti.

This year, there are positive signs that the water situation will improve drastically. Apart from the pipes that have been laid between years 2011 and 2012, another 26,000 length of pipes would be completed by the end of March. The new pipes are for the extension of water to new areas that would be serviced by the dams which are currently undergoing turn around maintenance for maximum output. The Ureje Dam is currently undergoing a turn around maintenance which has reached 50%, while that of Ero dam which one billion naira has been allocated, will commence soonest.

The good news about all these is the international assistance which the Fayemi government has attracted to the state. Ekiti is one of the 12 states selected by the World Bank to benefit from the Urban Water Reform Project.

Also there is an EU grant of N500 million yearly for five years which Ekiti State and two other states will receive under the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme. Arrangement is almost concluded with the African Development Bank (ADB) to assist the state in terms of water infrastructure.

As many as 20,000 elderly citizens were paid N5,000 monthly as social security. As many as 29,341 laptops have been distributed to students while 12,244 were given to teachers. The free health programme of the government captured about 60 percent of the population, while the free health mission has benefitted as many as 400,000 Ekiti indigenes many of whom have undergone free surgery for various ailments.

The Ire Burnt Bricks, which has been moribund for the past 21 years, has been resuscitated and will start producing in March. The company has the capacity to produce 20 million bricks in a year and will employ about 200 workers.

The transformation of Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort centre is another wonderful feat of the Fayemi administration. The resort has been transformed such that it can compete with any international tourist site apart from its unique feature as the only natural warm and cold spring in the world.

The government will embark on operation renovate all hospitals this year, while the urban renewal currently going on in Ado-Ekiti would be extended to other major towns of Ikole, Ikere and Ijero. One invaluable gift for Ekiti people is peace which has returned to the state since Dr. Fayemi assumed office. The peace is palpable such that the state is now attracting investors, especially since infrastructural development is going on at an alarming rapidity.

A visiting investor, who has not visited Ado-Ekiti in five years, said: ‘I can see a town bursting at its seams and in the process of exploding into a modern city. Obviously, there are so many infrastructure in place and this will encourage people to invest in the state with a lot of capital inflow’. Ekiti owes this and many other good things to the visionary and result–oriented leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi.

Little wonder then that he won the Leadership prize as ‘Governor of the Year’. The Action Congress of Nigeria, Ekiti State chapter, as well as the party leaders, socio-cultural groups and many towns in the state are so proud of his performance that they have adopted him as their flag-bearer in the 2014 gubernatorial election.

This is a call for him to do more. As Ekiti people celebrate this enigma, who has brought joy to many homes and restored the lost glory of the state, I join them to wish him a happy birthday!

 

•Jamiu wrote in from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

Why Fayemi Is Governor Of The Year – Hakeem Janiu

Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was recently named the LEADERSHIP newspapers Governor of the Year 2011 at an elaborate ceremony in Abuja where Ekiti people comprising of government officials, (elected and appointed) and market women thronged the Sheraton Hotel venue of the ceremony in solidarity with their governor. Other awardees were General T.Y Danjuma who bagged Man of the Year, businessman Aliko Dangote as Business Person of the Year, Condoleeza Rice, the former US Secretary of State as Author of the Year; Ann Marie Imafidon the young academic wizard who bagged an Oxford University Masters Degree at the age of 12 as the Young Person of the Year. There are other awardees in other categories, but the award of the Governor of the Year conferred on Dr. Fayemi was the most discussed and the cynosure of all eyes.

Dr. Fayemi is always wary of awards because of the indecent and spurious nature of most awards that are equally conferred on unworthy fellows in the country. In fact, he has rejected many, but for him to accept the LEADERSHIP award, there must have been a cogent reason. This was revealed in his acceptance speech when he said he accepted the award because the process of selection was transparent, predictable and independently verifiable. The award is credible because nobody was asked to pay any money.  Predictably, the winner of the award last year was Governor Adams Oshiomhole who proved that he deserved the award going by how he has transformed Edo State and later secured a landslide victory for second term in office.

The award was announced in 2011 when Governor Fayemi was one year in office but was celebrated on Tuesday, September 18, 2012. If his performance has dwindled he would have been stripped of the award, but he has done much more than when he was named a year ago and this has confirmed that he is the right choice for the award. For the avoidance of doubt, LEADERSHIP Newspapers is one of the most credible in the country. Governor Fayemi was given the award because of what he has been able to do in just two years in office. He is the first governor in Nigeria to sign into law, the Freedom of Information bill, the bill against gender-based violence and the social security bill where 20,000 Ekiti elderly citizens receive N5, 000 naira monthly.

Despite the meagre resources of Ekiti State (Ekiti earns 2.5 billion from the federation accounts out of which it pays 1.5 billion as salary), and the debt of 40 billion inherited from the Oni’s administration, Governor Fayemi is currently embarking on a massive transformation of the state capital through road construction where about 15 completed roads would be commissioned this October while construction of 5 kilometres each is presently going on in all the 16 local government areas of the state. There is urban renewal, and provision of pipe-borne water, streetlights, traffic lights and the general beautification of the city.

The Fayemi administration provides free and compulsory education at the primary and secondary levels, while it reduced fees payable in higher institutions. It consolidated the amorphous higher institutions it inherited for purposes of better funding and overall management. They are now well poised to partner with the state government in its development efforts. Governor Fayemi has also done a lot to improve the study environment by renovating all schools in Ekiti State in two phases with the first phase concluded in just eight weeks under Operation Renovate All Schools (ORASE).

The renovation works include reconstruction of dilapidated classroom blocks, school halls, laboratories, chapels, painting of classroom blocks and school fence, PVC ceilings, new windows and new furniture. 33,000 laptops have been distributed to students, teachers and the physically challenged in Ekiti State schools. This is an unprecedented achievement. The governor recently signed an agreement with Samsung in South Korea to establish an engineering academy in Ekiti State which is going to be first of its kind in West Africa. The academy will impact on the faculty of engineering in the state university and will provide after sales services of computers and training of electronic engineers. Samsung will also assemble its products in Ekiti. The deal is payback for Ekiti by Samsung which got the contract to supply the 100,000 laptops for each student in Ekiti.

Health care delivery in Ekiti is one of the best in the country as more than 1, 500,000 Ekiti people have benefitted from the free health mission and programme of the government. Little wonder that the latest MDG Report (2012) circulated by the Federal Ministry of Health scored Ekiti high in healthcare delivery. According to the report, Ekiti has the second lowest infant mortality rate in the country. The Minister of Health recently commended Ekiti State for doing what no other state is doing on health care in the country. Ekiti is the only state that is doing free health 100 per cent to its pregnant women and covering 45 per cent of the state’s population under her free health programme.

Many industries are being revived while the tourism potentials of Ekiti State are being presented to the world with the complete transformation of the Ikogosi Warm Spring resort and the development of the tourism corridor of that area. The Warm Spring has been completely re-engineered with a new swimming pool and a befitting landscaping, while modern chalets have been built for the use of tourists. An amphitheater is currently under construction at the resort and has reached 85 per cent completion. Ire Burnt Bricks which has been abandoned in the last 21 years is about to begin operation as installation of N400 million naira worth of equipment is ongoing. The ROMACO Quarry Company in Igbemo Ekiti and the Ikun Diary farm in Ikun Ekiti would soon begin operation.

In addition to all of these, Governor Fayemi is the major force behind the regional Integration agenda of Southwest states .Without a doubt, Governor Fayemi has impacted positively on large areas of the state and by the time on-going projects are concluded, the governor would have more than firmly planted his feet on the sands of time. The words of the elder statesman and orator, Alhaji Maitama Sule who presented the award to him capture the enigmatic personality of the governor,’ “At a time like this, we need leaders not looters, leaders, not rulers. We need leaders with the fear of God; those who will not lie; leaders who will accept in public what they can accept in private; leaders who are not corrupt; leaders who will not steal; leaders who look in the eyes of the common man with compassion and not eyes of the privileged few. May I congratulate you on behalf of the nation because the nation needs leaders like you, let other leaders emulate this governor”.

—Jamiu wrote in from Ado-Ekiti

Bisi Fayemi And The Ekiti Development Foundation – Hakeem Jamiu

It is uncommon for a governor and his spouse to be activists of repute.  Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi is an activist of international repute so also is his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi. The activism of the governor’s wife is so intense that she had always been in the news both in the local and international media. She is in the league of world female leaders such as President Hellen Sirleaf of Liberia and former South African First Lady, Mrs. Graca Mandela who had on many occasions, graced the events of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) which she headed until she resigned recently. Bisi Fayemi had received standing ovation on the floor of the General Assembly (UNO) for her efforts through the AWDF to make life better for African women. She narrowly missed the African Leadership Hunger Prize award in 2008 when she was nominated. 
      On April 5, 2011, she was presented with the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of Philanthropy.  With this award, Mrs. Fayemi has joined the rank of past winners of the award such as former South African President, Nelson Mandela, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Sheela Pattel, Fazle Hasan and Queen Rania. In 2011, she was appointed as the chairman of the Advisory Board of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) by the federal government. She was listed in March this year as one of the 100 personalities working for the advancement of women and girls in the world. It was no surprise then when she decided to replicate what she has been doing in many African countries in her home in Ekiti.
   She used the occasion of her birthday to launch the Ekiti Development Foundation (EDF)  which is aimed at transforming the lives of Ekiti women and the needy especially widows. Her birthday was June 11 but she launched the Fund on June 10 and the event drew many dignitaries in the economic  and political circles. On June 11, she also launched the Forum of Spouses of Ekiti State Officials (FOSESO).
To those who know Bisi Fayemi, the launch of the Ekiti Development Foundation is not a surprise because this is what she has been doing all her life. Apart from being an activist of note, she is a humanitarian to the core. I once marveled at her efforts in making life better for African women up to the remotest villages in the continent which I witnessed in Enugu on April 26, 2008.  The traditional ruler of Umezi Owa in Enugu State, Igwe Ozoeze gave her chieftaincy title in recognition of her invaluable contributions to the community. It was an elaborate event where hundreds of women whom she had helped one way or the order emotionally showed their gratitude. Many of the women who were widows sang her praise, some wept and hugged her and a particular woman knelt down at her feet and prayed for her in Ibo language till her emotions took over and she started crying.

It was a scene that would make anybody want to do good.  It was there she was given the title of Ochiora which means ‘a leader of the people’. The monarch, expressed the gratitude of his people to Bisi Fayemi in this words,’ ‘the entire people of Imezi Owa and Women Aid Collective ( WACOL) have decided to honour an illustrious African Lady, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi. Mrs. Fayemi has been able to put smiles in the faces of widows and other women in difficult circumstances, as a result, the lives of these women and their dependants have tremendously improved’ We and some of them (widows) are gathered here therefore to behold our benefactor face to face and express in concrete terms our appreciation of her good deeds, works and genuine love for us all by honoring her with a befitting chieftaincy title’. The monarch of her husband’s town, Isan Ekiti, Oba Sunday Ajiboye in 2011 also presented her with the title, ‘Erelu of Isan kingdom.’

For Ekiti women, the launch of the project is a double take because apart from benefitting from the laudable programmes of the Kayode Fayemi administration under the 8-point agenda, they would also benefit from the Foundation which is specially meant for them to improve their lives. Some of the women described her as God’s own gift to Ekiti. Before the launching of the programme on June 11, Bisi Fayemi had on her husband’s birthday on February 9 2011, from her own purse, paid N769, 000 for surgeries of 12 indigent citizens of the state at the State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti after having been diagnosed by the free medical mission team.
The main thrust of the Ekiti Development Foundation is the economic empowerment and livelihoods of women. The project among others is to support women in agriculture such as women farmers, market women and the enhancement of market infrastructure. The EDF is also to promote women leadership from local to cabinet positions in government. It is also to compliment the efforts of government in improving the health of women especially in eradicating child and maternal mortality, providing education on breast cancer, cervical cancer and ovarian cancer. The EDF would work in the area of education that would guarantee the education of the girl child and protect her from sexual and parental abuse. In the area of financial empowerment, the EDF would work with support and civil society organisations, co-operative associations and community- based groups.

It will work with and support smaller non-governmental organisations based in Ekiti State financially and through capacity building to ensure these organisations achieve their aim of helping the people of Ekiti. The Foundation will collaborate technically with the Ekiti State government in matters relating to gender empowerment and equality as contained in the administration’s 8-point agenda.  In other words, the Foundation is a total package and given the antecedent of the initiator, Ekiti women are in for a good time because Bisi Fayemi does not make promises in vain. Before she became the First Lady of Ekiti State, she had helped many Ekiti women through soft loans akin to micro credit scheme through her organisation – the AWDF.  So the only difference now is that she is doing it in a more structured manner. In a statement that underscores her passion for the womenfolk, she once said,..’if for instance, young women grow up in an environment where they have very little education or skills, and therefore few options, in terms of seeking employment, they become vulnerable. They become dependent on either their families or their spouses. It makes it very difficult for them to leave violent or disruptive relationships. In that situation too, transactional sex becomes an option for young women. That is why young women are more at risk of HIV/AIDS than young men on the continent’. In Ekiti today, God help you if you maltreat a woman or abuse her sexually. Mrs. Fayemi will immediately be interested in the case and would ensure that the man faces the music in a law court.

Erelu Bisi Fayemi is an international woman, an agent of social and positive change and justice, a resource person and a strategist who is in great demand around the world. Bisi Fayemi was a director of Akina Mama wa Africa (AMwa) an international development organisation for African Women based in London, UK with an African office in Kampala, Uganda. Through AMwa, she was able to train many African women who are now important personalities all over the world. She has B.A and M.A in History from University of Ife, Ile Ife (now OAU) and an M.A in Gender Studies. She once served as president, Association for Women’s Right in Development (AWID) and co–chair, International Network of Women’s Funds. She is currently an Adviser to Global Fund for Women (USA), Mamacash Foundation (The Netherlands), editorial board member of the Alliance Magazine (UK) and Resource Alliance (UK). She is one of the conveners of the African Feminist Forum. Bisi Fayemi had bagged many international awards such as the Dame Nita Barrow Visitor in Women and Development and Community Transformation for the academic year 2000/01, University of Toronto Canada, a Synergos Institute Senior Fellow which is a forum for senior leaders of philanthropic institutions.
 
Jamiu is senior special assistant on Research to Ekiti State governor.

JKF@48…AND THE BEST IS YET TO COME…

Between 2007 and 2010 before he became Ekiti State Governor, I wrote articles in his honour on his birthday (February 9) but I deliberately did not write in 2011 and 2012 because I was waiting to see how he would fulfill his electoral promises to the people, which I had vouched in those articles that he would perform creditably. I am encouraged to write in his honour this year because he has kept most of his electoral promises and this has made us (his aides) very proud.

Dr. Kayode Fayemi is the only governor till date who got into office in an unusual way. He fought a legal battle for 42 months to reclaim his mandate from usurpers. The legal battle saw him going to court a record four times before he finally triumphed on October 15, 2010 at the Court of Appeal, Ilorin division.

One unique character of Dr. Fayemi is his non-violent approach to the struggle to reclaim his mandate. It is on record that in the face of glaring provocation arising from the massive rigging of the 2007 and 2009 re-run gubernatorial elections in Ekiti State by the PDP, he consistently told his supporters not to resort to violence as he wouldn’t want to be governor over dead Ekiti people.

He had a formidable campaign organisation with able lieutenants and foot soldiers who were so dedicated and selfless such that they became thorns in the flesh of the usurpers. Press releases backed with facts were adequately churned out of the campaign organisation as well as periodic press conferences, lectures and general mobilisation of A C N supporters. 

There was underdevelopment of Ekiti under the regime of the interlopers. There was political upheaval, violence, uncertainty and anxiety almost on a daily basis until the illegitimate regime was brought to an abrupt end by judicial hammer.

On his assumption of office in October, 2010 Dr. Kayode Fayemi promised to restore the lost glory of Ekiti State but with a caveat that it was not going to be easy.  Two years after this declaration, the state has witnessed an unprecedented turn around in many facets. Going by his 8-point agenda as the cardinal roadmap to Ekiti development, he has touched all aspects of the agenda considerably. Dr. Fayemi took his time and carefully identified what he wanted to do and how to do it before launching his agenda fully.

He inherited a debt of 42 billion naira and many abandoned projects from his predecessor and a meager 2.5 billion naira monthly allocation from the federation’s account which is the second lowest in the country. But with careful planning, prudent management of resources and an avowed commitment to the welfare of the people, he has been able to deliver, within reasonable limits, dividends of democracy to the people in an unprecedented manner.

In two years, Fayemi has turned Ekiti State around such that discerning observers say the job he has done could suffice for a four year term. Just as the way he came to power is unprecedented so is his style of governance. Apart from his 8-point agenda, he has twice toured the 16 local governments to know what the people actually wanted and this is what he has incorporated in the annual budget of the state. This has translated to sustainable development in all Ekiti communities.

For instance, this is the first time in the history of Ekiti State that all communities would feel the presence of government through a project. There is no town where a secondary school has not been renovated in Ekiti State as all the 183 schools have been renovated. 2,820 youths have benefitted from the Youth Commercial Agriculture (YCAD) while cassava bread was launched in the state in August 2012.

The Governor’s second agenda is infrastructural development. The Fayemi government has commissioned 103 kilometres of roads in two years.  All the roads linking the state capital to other towns and neighbouring states are all resurfaced with thick asphalt. This is apart from the 5-kilometre road construction in all the 16 local governments of the state which makes another 80 kilometres.

Many rural roads have been opened up by the Bureau of Rural Development and Ekiti State Community and Social Development Agency (EKSCIDA) which is funded by the state government and the World Bank. EKSCIDA has executed over 180 micro projects in the last two years. Fayemi has done rural electrification of many communities in the state. Certain towns that have not seen electricity in the last 200 years have been connected to the national grid.

Dr. Fayemi knows water is a basic necessity of life and he has been addressing the water problem with a multipronged approach. He has embarked on the construction of mini-water works in many towns like Okemesi, Ipole-Iloro, Efon, Ido-Ile and Maryhill in Ado-Ekiti. These are already supplying water to many towns around their locations. These were commissioned in 2012 October.

In Ado-Ekiti, Water has been extended from Ureje water works to Mary-Hill and this has supplied water to Okeila, Housing, Afao Road, Odo-Ado and Adebayo which have not seen water in the last 10 years. The second phase of the water supply is the sinking of boreholes in many communities as a stop gap measure pending the final laying of pipes to all towns in the state and the total turn around maintenance of the major dams of Ero, Egbe, Ureje and Itapaji to operate at maximum capacity.

MDGs have sponsored the constituency project of some National Assembly legislators which is the sinking of boreholes in about 26 towns. Apart from this, some of the governor’s aides have assisted in repairing and sinking boreholes in such towns as Ilawe and Igbemo Ekiti.

This year, there are positive signs that the water situation will improve drastically. Apart from the pipes that have been laid between years 2011 and 2012, another 26,000 length of pipe would be completed by the end of March. The new pipes are for extension of water to new areas that would be serviced by the dams which are currently undergoing turn around maintenance for maximum output.

The Ureje Dam is currently undergoing a turn around maintenance which has reached 50% while that of Ero dam which 1 billion naira has been allocated, will commence soonest. The good news about all these is the international assistance which the Fayemi government has attracted to the State. Ekiti is one of the 12 States selected by the World Bank to benefit from the Urban Water Reform Project.

Also there is an EU grant of 500 million naira yearly for 5 years which Ekiti state and 2 other states will receive under the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme. Arrangement is almost concluded with the African Development Bank (ADB) to assist the state in terms of water infrastructure.

As many as 20,000 elderly citizens were paid 5,000 naira monthly as social security. As many as 29,341 laptops have been distributed to students while 12,244 were given to teachers. The free health programme of the government captured about 60 per cent of the population while the free health mission has benefitted as many as 400,000 Ekiti indigenes many of whom have undergone free surgery for various ailments.

The Ire burnt bricks which has been moribund for the past 21 years has been resuscitated and will start producing in March. The company has the capacity to produce 20 million bricks in a year and will employ about 200 workers.

The transformation of Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort centre is another wonderful feat of the Fayemi administration. The resort has been transformed such that it can compete with any international tourist site apart from its unique feature as the only natural warm and cold spring in the world. The government will  embark on an operation to renovate all hospitals this year while the urban renewal currently going on in Ado-Ekiti would be extended to other major towns of Ikole, Ikere and Ijero.

One invaluable gift for Ekiti people is peace which has returned to the state since Dr. Fayemi assumed office. The peace is palpable such that the state is now attracting investors, especially since infrastructural development is going on at an alarming rapidity. A visiting investor who has not visited Ado-Ekiti in 5 years said, ‘I can see a town bursting at its seams and in the process of exploding into a modern city.

Obviously, there are so many infrastructures in place and this will encourage people to invest in the state with a lot of capital inflow’. Ekiti owe this and many other good things to the visionary and result–oriented leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi. Little wonder then that he won the Leadership prize as ‘Governor of the Year’.

The Action Congress of Nigeria, Ekiti State chapter as well as the party leaders, socio-cultural groups and many towns in the state are so proud of his performance that they have adopted him as their flag-bearer in the 2014 gubernatorial election. This is a call for him to do more. As Ekiti people celebrate this enigma who has brought joy to many homes and restored the lost glory of the state, I join them to wish him a happy birthday!

Jamiu writes from Ado-Ekiti.