By Femi Orebe
This coming election is another opportunity for us in Ekiti to once again demonstrate, and, confirm that Ekiti will never again be the play thing of these smart Alecs
As the Kayode Fayemi Campaign rolls out next week to canvass the votes of his trusting and ever appreciative Ekiti people, it is the bounden duty of this column to play John the Baptist and foretell his second coming because, as our people never fail to say: JKF = 4+4 =8.
This assignment is a ‘must do’ because long before our people ‘knew’ him, even when impunity ruled the roust and mandate thieves arrogantly seized his mandate for a season, playing god, this column had started, and never for once waivered, that here cometh the man who will make all the difference to our lives in Ekiti. And why was I so sure? Simple. It was his total person. Here is a young man, scion of a decent Christian parentage, intellectually sound and supremely confident, humble yet so self-effacing you are bound to miss his stern interior; a man of principles. It took me no time to know this is a decent gentleman you can trust and one who, unlike the other wannabe governors, will never deceive our people. And so for the first time since 1983, when I was deeply involved in Ondo State politics and indeed had to run to Lagos from that year’s raging inferno as was copiously reported on the front page of The Guardian of Tuesday 20, 1983, I saw myself irretrievably drawn, first to Dr Fayemi, and only later to Ekiti politics.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, as our people have come to roundly acknowledge, is simply a miracle worker. Extremely easy to work with, he is a glutton for work; so untiring sitting by his table, all you can do is pray God for His continuing grace upon such a dedicated public servant.
The Yoruba says, if you do not know where you are going, you must at least know where you are coming from. Ekiti is today, without a doubt, not where Governor Kayode Fayemi met it. Therefore, for some of us, who may have forgotten those parlous days of Ekiti being a state of ‘one day, one trouble’; days of murder and near assassinations, days of all manners of illegalities, we need remind them of those pre-Fayemi days, to let them know that only CONTINUITY can keep Ekiti in its present mode of multi-sectoral development, peace and concord, in the utmost hope that the caterwaulers will never be allowed to ever return us to those better forgotten days.
Given these extant circumstances, Dr Fayemi, as governor, hadn’t a day’s honey moon. Rather, the long journey to damage control, reconstruction, renewal and modernising had to begin in earnest because it was a period when the preceding seven years had seen as many governors, one of which was for as long as one day; a state, as I mentioned earlier, of ‘one day one trouble’ and one that was nothing more than a client state of big PDP chieftains from as far afield as Ibadan and Lagos. Thus the doyen of amala politics, all the way from the old metropolis would come, pick and choose whichever contract meets his fancy while the militrician from Lagos ensured he got from Ekiti what funding the party in Lagos could no longer source from its own estranged member of the federal cabinet, in addition to the big man descending to the measly level of hiring helicopters, at hugely inflated prices, for respective Ekiti governors.
This coming election is another opportunity for us in Ekiti to once again demonstrate, and, confirm that Ekiti will never again be the play thing of these smart Alecs. We must, and will vote CONTINUITY, whatever the schemes of these villains. This trilogy will explicitly explain the devilish plans of the PDP which include, not only a massive misuse of the military and the police, but named towns where INEC will deliberately under supply electoral materials and villages, specially around border towns, where PDP intends to use the voters cards which they will not only obtain officially, but also print as happened in Akwa Ibom and Abuja in 2011. They will meet a very prepared Ekiti because our people, trusting in God, have said: NEVER AGAIN.
But the above was only the tip of the Augean stable Dr Fayemi met on his inauguration on 16 October, 2010. State infrastructure had collapsed, education, for which the state had always been celebrated from time immemorial had gone comatose, Ekiti youths were now no better than hordes of okada riders, social relations had so broken down that a blood relation top party member could invite his own relation to a nonexistent meeting only to get him killed in his bed room, and the whole place had become a killing field with life, in general, becoming short and brutish, analogous only to, please pardon the exaggeration, Europe after the thirty years war.
The above was the unflattering Ekiti Dr Kayode Fayemi inherited at his inauguration. Countervailing all these, however, were a combination of an over pouring of love and support for him by the vast majority of our people, his own innate ability and willingness to bury himself in the herculean task of reconstruction, and the perspicacity to attract to himself , persons of ability, passion and commitment who would assist him in deconstructing this mountain of monstrosities.
But first, the Augean stable had to be cleared. And one of the first individuals he called upon to join him in doing this, was Professor Bolaji Aluko, the then U.S-based Professor of Chemical Engineering, scion of the one and only Prof Sam Aluko of blessed memory, and now, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Otueke, who had many years back come to the then Ekiti State University, to offer inestimable assistance to the university during the Vice Chancellorship of Professor Akin Oyebode.
For the short time he functioned, Bolaji, hard-headed and deep, with a very sharp and penetrating mind, was, to the governor, the equivalent of the U.S White House Chief OF Staff; his highest ranking ‘staff’, to whom there were no off limits in the government. This was the man who painstakingly, went through the books, asking questions, ferreting out extant policies which had been mostly observed in breach, and through countless meetings with heads of departments, was able to avail the governor a kaleidoscopic view of the putrefying state of affairs which needed to be promptly attended if the new administration was not to be manacled by the ineptitude of past years.
Conscious of the parlous state he inherited, he immediately promised a complete turnaround beginning with a comprehensive review of what had transpired in government in the past 42 months, not as a witch hunt of the past PDP governments, but with a view to strengthening the fabric of democratic governance and to correct the ills of the past. He equally pronounced the following policies about which he must be extremely happy to be judged today given his sterling performance on all: free education for primary and secondary schools pupils, a review of the then recently jacked up fees at the state-owned tertiary institutions; free health programme for children below age five, pregnant women, the physically challenged and the aged and including massive job creation, modernisation of agriculture, improvement of infrastructure, provision of adequate security, care for the elderly, tourism and industrial development, as well as promotion of gender equality and women empowerment.
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Femi Orebe/The Nation