Dr. Kayode Fayemi happened to Ekiti as a colossus, when he launched his political odyssey in 2006, he brought not just class but intellectual panache. He has redefined the culture of electoral contract and intellectualized governmental administration in a way that sometimes presents him as a man that is far ahead of time. Fayemi is stickler to careful planning and methodological execution of action. He is a model for public administration in every sense. He was already succeeding in the process of enrooting the culture in the administration of Ekiti when he was unjustly ousted from government in the 2014. But there is no doubt that no that people who appreciated good governance have continued to pray for his return. The focal point of his policy strategy was the 8-Point Agenda that was developed as a domesticated variant of the Sustainable Development Goal which takes a holistic approach to issues of human development from the point of view of human capital development, social justice, inclusion and poverty eradication. Those who appreciate the values of these policies did not stop to urge him to return to the political trenches to relaunch the state back to the path propriety and progress. They believed, and rightly so, that Fayemi has an unfinished business in Ekiti. The business is basically to bring back participatory, inclusive and developmental government. Many believe that many of his reform programs and projects that had not been completed before he left had been left unattended to. The state is littered with uncompleted projects. His public sector revitalization and modernization agenda remain where he left them. The benefits associated with such reformation has also been lost. For example, with the restructuring of the civil service and the reconfiguration of the state revenue channels, government spent less on consultancy services from private institutions and thus, the state was able to increase its Internally Generated Revenue in quadruple. Before this time, the state IGR was paltry and abysmal. Through creativity and resourceful management, Fayemi was able to tremendously increase the state IGR from less than N100 million to as much as N550 million monthly on the average. That accounted for why his government was able to pay salary regularly and attend to those programs that impacted the lives of the populace. It is expected that he will have to quickly fix the revenue profile of the state and redirect the public expenditure portfolio in a way that releases money to finance his social safety projects.
IKOGOSI WARM SPRING RESORT
One of the undeniable legacies of Dr Kayode Fayemi in his first coming was the complete modernization and revitalization of Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort. Fayemi was able to expand the scope of the Resort and launched Ekiti to stardom through aggressive development of the state tourism potentials. The Ikogosi Warm Spring, where cold and warm spring wrestle in Ikogosi was given a commendable facelift. Fayemi spent about N2 billion to remodel the Resort to a modern tourist destination of international reckoning. He raised the aesthetic value of the hitherto abandoned tourist attraction and gave it aggressive marketing within and outside Nigeria, such that it started to generate over N10 million monthly through visits by tourists and investors. Dr. Fayemi’s administration constructed new chalets, event halls and amphitheater in the Resort as part of effort to increase its capacity to generate more income He understood the need for plurality of offerings in tourism marketing and began an aggressive move to expand the warm spring through the phase two plan to have botanical garden, zoo, and football pitch among others. He also invested in Arinta Waterfall and was making effort to construct a Helipad in the area to convey tourists from the hilly point down the slope where people could have a full glimpse of the fall, and also commenced work on the phase two of the resorts. He acknowledge that government is a poor manager of business and sought the services of management consultant to manage the facility.
Let us also take a look at agriculture. In agriculture, Fayemi did very well during his first term. Over 60 per cent of the state population was believed to be involved in peasant farming before he came on board in 2010. Fayemi revolutionalised the practice of agriculture in the state with the introduction of the hugely successful program of Youth in Commercial Agriculture Program. His YCAD programme increased the state poultry and food production immensely. The state became self-sufficient and was able to sell to neighbouring states and industries. The state government earmarked huge money to Ekiti state agricultural inputs and supply, which helped in subsidizing farm inputs to farmers to encourage them to go into expansive production. This greatly enhanced the productivity and profitability of Ekiti farmers. Fayemi also revamped the farm settlements at Orin Ekiti via the YCAD scheme and he even had a portion of land in the area as his own personal farm. Every year, the governor encouraged cocoa nursery through the Ministry of Agriculture and over one million cocoa seedlings were given to farmers yearly. He facilitated over N2 billion, using the connections of the then Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Jide Arowosafe from the African Development Bank to implement major intervention programs in the farming sector. All these landmark policies have been abolished. The return of Fayemi is therefore the return of an era of massive investment in agriculture.
In the area of health, over one million Ekiti indigenes enjoyed free healthcare services under Fayemi. Even those with major sicknesses like appendicitis and hernia were operated upon on the bill of the state government. To ensure that all the citizens have unfettered access to good healthcare delivery, Fayemi renovated all the general hospitals across the state. A sum of N800 million was expended to renovate the 12 General Hospitals to a standard. He also built a new Accident and Emergency unit in Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital to attend to influx of patients to the tertiary health institution. The governor then also partnered MTN for the donation of equipment worth over N20 million to the hospital, among which was a T-SCAN that the hospital could not purchase since 2008 it was upgraded to a tertiary hospital.
In the area of education, Fayemi had written his name in gold. That Ekiti State came first in NECO examinations in 2016 and 2017 respectively could be hinged on the achievements recorded by the former governor in the area of education when he was governor. Upon assumption of office, Fayemi embarked on operation to renovate all schools. 800 public primary and secondary schools cut across the 133 towns in the state were renovated. As a way of spurring the teachers to do more in the area of commitment to duties, Fayemi introduced rural allowance for teachers in the rural towns, so that people can be motivated to work in the remote villages. Again, he introduced core subjects allowance for teachers of Mathematics, English and Basic Science. Realizing that he was overseeing a state that has passion for education and with the people predominantly poor, Fayemi set up a robust scholarship scheme to help bright students up to PhD level. He also funded the state Ministry of Education to be able to give bursary to students in tertiary institutions. To cap it up, Fayemi gave over 16,000 teachers in the state laptop computers to boost their knowledge of ICT, while students in Senior Secondary School cadres also benefited from the gesture. In a way that was different from the present government, his government ran free education up to secondary level, with government responsible for the supply of books to pupils to increase enrollment and reduce drop-outs in schools. The situation in our state today demands that someone like Fayemi should hold on to the mantle of leadership for the next four years. He must conclude his vision for Ekiti educational development. The state needs a new vision and higher vigor to drive her education sector.
Fayemi was the first and only governor to have an inclusive strategy that ensured that every village no matter how small benefit from the yearly budget of the state. He gave minimum N3 million to every community to do any project of importance to them. He also made the local government to do 5 km of road within the local government every year. This has made Ekiti one of the state with the best network of rural roads. All these and many more are expected to form the focus of his government from now till 2022. With the way Ekiti citizens have been pummeled by the present government through arbitrary cancellations of those laudable programs, it is indeed true that Fayemi has unfinished business in Ekiti. The business is basically to bring back the good old days and make the people to take ownership of government. To actualize this, the Governor, before his inauguration has been working round the clock to meet with the federal ministers, his former colleagues, and other multilateral organizations to assist him in taking Ekiti State back to the land of honor where he left it in 2014. It is indeed going to be a herculean task to achieve, but trust the creative ingenuity and experience of this uncommon administrator, Ekiti recovery project is surely in the hands of the right man. Welcome to the era of reclamation, reformation and restoration.