EKITI State Governor-Elect, Mr Abiodun Oyebanji will have his hands full when he takes over from Governor Kayode Fayemi on October 16, 2022.
Oyebanji, who has been part of the government until last December, knows the tasks at hand.
Addressing the press on Sunday, while delivering his acceptance speech, Oyebanji disclosed the immediate setting up of transition committee “to ensure a seamless transition, and demonstrate our preparedness and clarity of vision with the effectiveness and efficiency with which we would hit the ground running on assumption of office”.
According Oyebanji, one of his targets for now would be to join hands with the incumbent Kayode Fayemi-administration towards finishing well and strong, and completing key legacy projects.
“We recognise that on October 16, 2022 when by the grace of God we would be inaugurated into office, we are expected to immediately start to build on the legacies of those who came before us, and honourably govern our state in trust for the generations coming after us. It is a duty we campaigned for, and accept with all solemnity, and responsibility. In keeping with our covenant with you, we will work together with you, to keep Ekiti working
“I will be seeking audience with you all in the coming days, to benefit from your wealth of ideas on how to develop our dear state- to complement our vision and blueprint for the accelerated development of Ekiti.”
Political watchers in the state believe that the above was necessary, especially when a state is coming from an election which has stratified and divided them. The number one task of the winner is to unite everyone for a common goal.
What Ekiti people want
Oyebanji’s campaign mantra was encapsulated in a six-point agenda: job creation for young people, and human capital development, tapping the rich human resources the state is endowed with.
Other critical areas captured in Oyebanji’s policy thrust include: Agriculture and Rural Development; Infrastructure and Industrialisation; Arts, Culture, and Tourism; and Governance.
Low hanging fruits
However, away from the rhetoric and the science of implementing this manifesto, there are some low hanging fruits which he can easily harvest to increase his ‘street credibility’ and popularity among his teeming supporters and Ekiti people.
These include arresting the pervasive poverty in Ekiti through prompt payment of salaries, and payment of deductions and leave bonuses and arrears to all categories of workers.
Check by Vanguard revealed about four years accumulated workers’ leave bonuses. Part of this could be addressed within 100 in office.
Salary, pension arrears
Currently, there are arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities inherited by Governor Fayemi from Ayo Fayose running to almost N40 billion, part of which has been liquidated to some extent by Fayemi.
In Oyebanji’s first 100 days in office, post-retirement poverty among the rank and file of pensioners could be addressed by increasing the fund for the payment of gratuities from the present N100m to an appreciable level.
Modernisation of markets
Modernization of neighbourhood markets is very essential because all the neighbourhood markets in Ekiti are not properly positioned and are still in pristine stage. Aside from the Oba market which has got attention, all other neighbourhood markets need to be upgraded and new ones created to cater for the needs of emerging communities in the state capital.
Sanitation is very critical. It appears the ministry is no longer functioning. It needs to be overhauled and made effective. Ado-Ekiti, the state capital is constantly under the threat of epidemic as result of overflowing refuse heaps and dumps.
Ado-Ekiti is fast emerging as the dirtiest state capital in the country and this narrative has to change. Ado-Ekiti needs to be cleaned up, and as part of the effort, the Department of Urban Renewal, should be given the mandate to remove all shops with attachments on major streets, and make house owners and developers to obey setbacks.
Another task for the Ministry of Environment is the cleaning of drainages to allow freeways for water and erosions.
Not everybody can be employed by government but it can create an enabling environment through introduction of micro finance banks to fund SMEs or capitalising on unexploited opportunities as being warehoused in some already established instruments for this purpose. Providing funds for petty traders, artisans, farmers, through their associations and cooperatives would inflate their capital and more money in peoples’ pocket will create robust and buoyant economy.
Healthy people make a healthy nation. Oyebanji has the task of reinvigorating, repositioning and rebranding primary health centres across the 177 wards of the state.
The Governor Fayemi administration at a time launched the Security trust fund. Money in this trust should be used to purchase equipment and mobility for the security agencies in the state. Amotekun should be retooled and empowered to carry out its mandate. More recruits should be made, its intelligence unit should be expanded, retired civil servants, local hunters, farmers, etc should be recruited as informants.
Oyebanji could launch ‘Operation fill the potholes.” Nothing expands local economy faster than opening of new roads and rehabilitation of existing ones. Roads in the state capital should as a matter of urgency receive attention. The Governor-elect has to be on his toes to take Ekiti to the next level.