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Fayemi: Second Phase of Rescue Mission

Former Minister of Mines and Steel Development Dr. Kayode Fayemi was sworn in yesterday as the governor of Ekiti State. Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU examines the challenges that will confront the administration.

The second coming of Dr. Kayode Fayemi is significant in many ways. Four years ago, he lost power to former Governor Ayodele Fayose on controversial manner, despite his achievements across the sectors. His rescue mission was truncated. His legacies were not protected. The problems he had tackled returned. After comparing the two governments, many Ekiti were seized with nostalgia.

Yesterday, he was back in the same saddle. His triumph at the poll underscored a sort of audacity of hope and courage. He is starting off his second term as if Ekiti is in pre-2014 stage. Fayemi is inheriting a divided state, the agony of unpaid salaries, a demoralised and dispirited civil service, the dearth of infrastructure, an army of restless and unemployed youths and a people who now have a demeaning view of governance, due to the confusing doctrine of stomach infrastructure.

Many people are excited about the new era. There is euphoria. But, the governor is not oblivious of the task ahead. At the inauguration, he was bubbling with patriotic anger. “We have reclaimed our state from those who have held us captive,” he said, thanking God for making his second term a reality.

Fayemi lamented the ineptitude of the last four years. He chided his predecessor for ignorance and alleged corruption that has pervaded the administration. Giving a hint about his intention to investigate the financial books, he said the N170 billion debt profile and the elephant projects pursued by Fayose, especially the bridges that lead to nowhere, were worrisome. He ruled out any regression to media trial. The governor said transparency and accountability will be restored.

Fayemi said: “My coming back is not a revenge mission. We owe it a duty to ensure that we will not make the same mistake that has set us backward.”

During the campaigns, the governor urged the people to anticipate the new dawn with optimism. He advised them to reject the continuity of poverty and embrace freedom. He said the eight-point agenda will be strengthened. Ahead of the inauguration, Fayemi was not idle. He had started wooing investors, assuring that a conducive environment will be provided in post-Fayose era. He visited the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to discuss Federal Government’s infrastructure and assets in the state and ways of improving them. He was also in the office of the Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, to seek cooperation and collaboration on security.

Ekiti is noted for agriculture. Fayemi is thinking of how it can become an alternative source of income. This motivated his visit to the managing Director of the Nigeria Export-Import bank (NEXIM) on how to assist the rural economy to achieve a boom  through export of farm produce. He also held talks with the representatives of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, led by Managing Director Paul Basinga, who promised to partner with Ekiti in the development of its health sector. More important was his discussion with AGCO South Africa Limited, whose Vice President, Nuradin Osma, said the partnership will need to the creation of over 3,000 jobs for Ekiti youths. Also, at the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD), Fayemi sought for assistance in the implementation of his economic programmes.

The governor also met with British Embassy officials in Abuja. He was able to discuss with the Head of DFID in Nigeria, Debbie Palmer, modalities for technical assistance for his programmes, in terms of enactment and enforcement of new laws for social protection. Apart from visiting the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and Secretary to Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha for assistance in relevant areas, Fayemi also visited the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, to discuss how the Federal Government can assist Ekiti in developing the sector. He also met the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Kertil Karslen, to discuss isues of economic development.

Many challenges will confront the administration. The first is financial problem. How will fayemi clear the mess? How will he reposition and rebrand Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort? Will he resuscitate the welfare package for the aged?   Another challenge is the re-orientation of the people to move from their wild applause of crumbs falling from the master’s table to an appreciation of good governance.

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