The inauguration of the Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the governor of Ekiti State was held on Tuesday, October 16, amid pomp and pageantry in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
Fayemi, a scholar, politician and activist, who was sworn in as the 12th executive governor of the state was coming into office for the second time, after losing his re-election bid in 2014. The former Minister of Mines and Steel Development was declared the winner of the July 14 governorship election in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, after defeating the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate and immediate past Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola and candidates of 33 other political parties. Fayemi polled 197,459 votes to beat Olusola, who got 178,022 votes to the second position.
The 14,000-seater Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado Ekiti, where the historic event was held was already filled to capacity, as early as 8a.m by residents, party members, supporters, admirers and friends of the new governor from across the country, who defied the early morning rain to witness the proceedings. nt Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented at the occasion by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, led the army of dignitaries to the colourful ceremony.
Before the commencement of the inauguration proper, he was driven round the arena in a police ceremonial Land Rover, while waving and acknowledging cheers from the crowd. Fayemi also inspected a guard of honour mounted by both the policemen and women who dressed in their smart and colourful ceremonial attires. At about 12.30 pm, the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, administered the oath of allegiance and the oath of office on Dr. Fayemi, supported by his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi. The Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, and his wife, Margaret, at about 12.15 pm had the oath of office and allegiance administered to him by Justice Daramola. In his inaugural speech, Fayemi, who said a new dawn is being witnessed by the people, promised to transform the state by concentrating on four cardinal policies. These, according to him, are agriculture and rural development, social investment, nfrastructure development and entrenched knowledge economy. The governor said his victory at the July 14 governorship poll and his second coming signalled the “end of an era and end of an error in which Ekiti passed through wilderness in the last four years.” Fayemi said the social security scheme for the aged in which registered senior citizens received N5,000 monthly stipend will soon return.
He disclosed that Ekiti is owing N170 billion, which are loans taken by the immediate past administration, noting that the challenge won’t hinder his government’s plan to meet the needs of the people.
He said never again shall pupils in public and private schools be made to pay tax as witnessed in the days of the last administration. Fayemi, who reiterated that he is not on a vengeance mission, promised to review all documents to know the exact financial situation of the state and make his findings known to the people within 100 days. The former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said he will ensure that the payment of arrears of workers’ salaries is fully and firmly addressed as soon as possible. Fayemi said he remains committed to re-instituting social safety nets that would bring succour to the most vulnerable segments of the society. He said, “One example of such safety nets is the Social Security Scheme for the elderly which I am pleased to say will be revived shortly. “A place where our young people do not roam the streets looking for jobs that are not there, a place where people are not so hungry they resort to pilfering food to survive. A place where the cycle of generational poverty can be broken, and in which our elderly can reap the fruits of their labours over their children. A place where people are safe, healthy and prosperous. “The governance agenda of this administration is therefore compelled to focus on four areas through which we will deliver our promises to the people. The four pillars of our administration will be: Social Investments; Knowledge Economy; Infrastructure and Industrial Development; and Agriculture and Rural Development.”
Fayemi’s Four-Point Agenda
On this, Fayemi said, “Our greatest resource remains our people. As the great sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo insisted, human beings are the measure of all things. Only a healthy and enlightened people can drive the sustainable development we want to see in Ekiti State. “We therefore remain committed to re-instituting social safety nets that would bring succour to the most vulnerable segments of our society. One example of such safety nets is the Social Security Scheme for the elderly which I am pleased to say will be revived shortly. “Eyin iya mi, eyin baba mi, owo arugbo n pada bo laipe, laijina. (My mothers, my fathers, the elderly’s cash is coming back soon). “Our ideological position remains that no individual in society should be left behind, but everyone should be supported to live out their dreams to their fullest potential in their youth, and have a dignified and comfortable retirement in their old age – this is the fundamental responsibility of any government.”He added that following up on this, he was pleased that many of the programmes he pioneered in his first term in office have been adopted and scaled up by the Federal Government under the Social Investment Programme. He added, “We would work to ensure that more of our people are beneficiaries of these programmes.
“Likewise, delivering qualitative healthcare is a priority for our administration, and we will ensure our hospitals are once again well-equipped and functional to attend to the needs of the population.”
Fayemi reiterated that Ekiti State is known as the Fountain of Knowledge, meaning that Ekiti “people love, seek, and celebrate knowledge.” He said, “We arguably have the highest number of professors and academic pioneers per capita in Nigeria. We also have many of our citizens who are leading lights in every field of human endeavour as well as those who are at the frontiers of research in the academia and scholastic practice all over the world. It is therefore a logical choice to turn to knowledge as the primary product in which we can trade successfully. “To survive and thrive in today’s global economy, as Ekiti people, we should be committed to using our brilliant minds to promote sustainable development. We will pay attention to fields such as teaching, research, skills development, creative arts, strengthening tertiary institutions and educational entrepreneurship.” To achieve this, he said his administration will resuscitate the Ekiti Knowledge Zone which was established during his first term in office. “We will also be counting on the input of Ekiti people everywhere in our efforts to establish these critical linkages in our knowledge economy,” he added.
Infrastructural And Industrial Development:
According to the governor, the advancement of Ekiti State’s economy is pivotal to wealth and job creation for the citizenry of the state,which he said is crucial and relevant to the Poverty Reduction and Revenue Enhancement mission of his administration. Therefore, in order to further advance an economic and industrial revolution in Ekiti State, and in furtherance of his administration’s commitment to job and wealth creation, Fayemi said, “We will revisit the commercial and technical viability of abandoned projects and schemes in the state with a view to reactivating them. “These include our vast network of roads, our many community-based projects and our flagship tourism asset – Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort. “We shall also carefully take on new infrastructural projects that would be strategic in advancing economic growth and industrial development in the state.” Laying emphasis on security as the panacea to development, Fayemi said that in order to guarantee sustained operations of commerce and industrial enterprises within the state, the government is required to create a secure environment. He pledged that an integrated network of security infrastructure would be put in place to ensure Ekiti is once again the safe and secure haven for local and foreign direct investments to enhance inflow of foreign and local investments into the state.
Agriculture And Rural Development:
Reiterating that Ekiti is essentially an agrarian society with soil properties conducive for growing a wide variety of crops, Fayemi said that in order to achieve sustainable food security, create employment opportunities and foster agro-based industrial development for poverty alleviation and wealth creation, the approach must change from the current focus on farming and agriculture as a government social service to a commercial and private-sector driven approach which is now called Agribusiness. He said, “We are therefore adopting a sustainable and commercial value chain approach, which will lead to transformational agribusiness development that can enhance food and personal security, create employment opportunities, empower women and youth, reduce poverty, and create wealth through viable agro-allied industrial development. While pleading for the patience and understanding of all Ekiti sons and daughters, Fayemi assured that they will once again feel the impact of a purposeful and egalitarian government. He said, “We assure you that we are well prepared to get off the block from day one. We take full ownership of the challenges ahead of us and together, we strongly believe that we shall overcome.
“You can also be assured that I will not rest till the burning issue of payment of workers’ salaries is addressed. “Ekiti shall once again play its rightful role as an integral part of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, and work with other descendants of Oduduwa in our sister states to leverage our respective strengths and comparative advantages in order to fast-track the development of the region.”
The governor also called on all development partners, corporations and multilateral agencies alike, to please return to Ekiti State. He added, “You would find in this administration a competent, accountable and willing partner, and you will appreciate that our governance objectives are well aligned to global development priorities as enshrined in such instruments as the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
“Our plans and aspirations are also fittingly integrated with the programmes and policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria. We are assuming office with an enviable track record of performance at the federal and state levels of governance, and we enjoy immense goodwill of all key stakeholders in Nigeria and beyond. We are ready to work with you in partnership to create landmark success stories in the shortest possible time.
“I assure you that my administration will be committed to best practices in governance, characterised by discipline, ethical behaviour and dedication to excellence.” Fayemi also used occasion to appeal to the Federal Government to come to the assistance of the people of Ekiti State through this difficult time. According to him, “Ekiti State’s economy is clearly in a state of emergency, and we deserve the urgent support of the Federal Government under the constitutional provision of Economic Stabilisation for Distressed States. I have no doubt that Mr. President would accede to this request and expedite a life line to resuscitate our ailing economy.” Addressing the mammoth crowd, President Buhari, through Mustapha said Ekiti people made a right choice by electing Fayemi. He promised that the state will enjoy more financial support and projects under the All Progressives Congress, APC-led Federal Government. The President, who expressed confidence in Fayemi’s ability to deliver the goods to Ekiti people, disclosed that the governor, as a former member of the federal cabinet, always makes demand on the issues regarding the development of his state. The President added that Fayemi’s governorship would afford him the opportunity to redirect Ekiti to the path of greatness and economic prosperity. Buhari pleaded with Ekiti voters over his re-election bid in 2019, saying he has a lot to offer Nigerians if reelected.
He said: “I know Dr Fayemi very well, he has always cherished anything that has to do with the development of this state. As Ekiti governor between 2010 and 2014, he instituted some laudable projects that impacted positively on the lives of the people and this pavilion was one of them.
“I know that he will do what is right to justify this mandate. I charge him not to relent in his efforts to serve Ekiti with passion, commitment and candour . “The federal government has given support to states in the areas of bailouts, budget support, ecological funds and Paris Club refund, of which Ekiti was a beneficiary. “We have extended the standard rail project to Ekiti and the construction of the Federal Secretariat will soon be completed. The federal government is also planning to dualise Ado-Akure road and reconstruct Ado-Ikare Road for the use of our people. Construction of internal roads at Federal University Oye Ekiti, rehabilitation of Iwaraja-Efon road are also on the card. We have also built another 133 KVA power source in Ekiti that will be commissioned soon. “As of today, 11,000 Ekiti indigenes are benefiting from the Federal Government’s N-Power, Cash Conditional Transfer programme of this administration.” Buhari congratulated Ekiti people for making the right choice, even as he challenged Ekiti people to return him to power in 2019, adding, “We are confident that Dr. Fayemi will help cover the lost grounds brought by past administrations. “From today, you will begin to have a new breath in Ekiti under the present government.” Other members of the Federal Government delegation who attended the inauguration ceremony included, the National Security Adviser, NSA, Babagana Monguno and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Governors at the event include: Kebbi State’s Atiku Bagudu; Kaduna State’s Nasir El-Rufai and South Western governors of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo states, Akinwunmi Ambode, Ibikunle Amosun, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and Abiola Ajimobi, respectively.
Also in attendance was the governor-elect of Osun State, Gboye Oyetola and governors of Plateau and Bauchi states, Simon Lalong and Mohammed Abubakar respectively. Former governors who graced Fayemi’s inauguration were: Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua (old Ondo); Chief Bisi Akande (Osun); Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo (Ekiti); Alhaji Isa Yuguda (Bauchi); and former former governor of Edo State and former National chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. Other dignatories include: former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani; Senator George Akume, Senator Ayogu Eze, wife of Oyo State governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi; wife of Ogun State governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun; wife of former Ekiti State governor, Erelu Angela Adebayo; Lagos APC governorship candidate, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu; Delta APC governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru. Traditional rulers at the event include the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo; the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo; the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe; the Oloye of Oye-Ekiti, who is also the chairman of Ekiti State Council of Obas, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju among many traditional rulers in Ekiti State. Religious leaders were led by the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye and President General of League of Imams and Alfas in Southwest, Edo and Delta States, Sheikh Jamiu Kewulere Bello.
The inauguration was also witnessed by members of the diplomatic corps, officials of international development agencies, senior civil servants, labour leaders, community leaders, market women, student and youth bodies.