In few hours from now, a new government will be inaugurated in Ekiti State. The baton of government will change hands from Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to Dr John Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) after he emerged winner of the July 14 governorship election in the state.
With the curtain being drawn on Governor Fayose’s tenure Tuesdsy morning, people of the state are already looking beyond his administration and are bracing up for the coming of Fayemi, who had run on the mantra of “Reclaiming our land, restoring our values.” That slogan of Fayemi’s campaign, suggests to many in the state that the last four years in the state under the administration of Fayose was detraction in the development and values of Ekiti State and its people.
This much was reiterated by the chairman of the Media and Publicity Sub-Committee of the Fayemi’s inauguration ceremonies, Mr Yinka Oyebode, when he addressed newsmen in the state during the past week. Oyebode said the return of his boss was “significant because it marks the beginning of the new order in the reclaiming of Ekiti land and restoring her values.”
To Oyebode, the commencement of the inauguration ceremonies was also significant “in calling attention to the transformation that will emerge from Fayemi’s administration that will take effect from October 16, 2018.”
To underscore what will be seen as a quest for consolidation and a return to the path laid by Fayemi pre-2014, Oyebode said: “As noted in Dr Fayemi’s speeches before, during and after the election, the task of curbing the drift to squalor and abject poverty to which Ekiti State was subjected must be embraced by all men of vision, integrity and good will. They must move away from their comfort zones to the rescue of Ekiti people, who were being made to live with poverty as a way of life.
“Of course the governor-elect knew that this is a daunting task. But then Dr Fayemi knows that the Ekiti conundrum is not an insurmountable challenge. Ekiti people themselves knew and still know that the outgoing administration holds no promise for them in their thirst for prosperity.”
But those in the political camp of Fayose and his acolytes see things differently and reject the submissions of Oyebode. They have also maintained that the catchphrase with which Fayemi ran his campaign, and might base his government, was “yet another coinage typical of the APC to deceive the people of Ekiti and rip them off with high-sounding words and mellifluous language that [landed] them in debt and confusion.”
Idowu Adelusi, the Chief Press Secretary to the outgoing Governor Fayose, who weighed-in on the mantra, said it was “a mere political slogan and sing-song to perpetuate the continuation of (especially the financial) confusion they had foisted on the state.”
According to Adelusi, “but then, we have long gone beyond that level and the people are wiser now. The important thing to us and my boss, Governor Fayose, is for the incoming administration to move Ekiti State and its people to the next level and consolidate on the numerous, huge achievements recorded by Fayose in the last four years; not sweet-sounding political slogans and confusing grammar.”
Likely policy shift
Fayose himself has begun his end of tenure activities and chosen not to react to what was said about his second four-year administration by the APC and the incoming administration. Rather, he listed the achievements his administration had recorded in four years, when he gave a valedictory “state of the state” address, recently.
The outgoing governor had addressed newsmen and traditional rulers and stated that his administration came up with “six development objectives which are empowerment, development of agriculture, infrastructural development, education, science and technology; health and security.” He gave himself a fair verdict when he said “the development objective of the administration, which was designed to meet the present and future hearings of Ekiti people in general, was vigorously pursued and today the manifestation is obvious everywhere.”
Fayose gave a summary of his government’s achievements in the various sectors of the state’s economy. For instance, in the education sector, he said he was “proud to announce the growth and progress made in the education sector consequent upon the collective resolution of stakeholders at the 2015 Education Summit which has catapulted Ekiti State from shame to glory, as our students performed creditably well in both state and national examinations.”
Still on the education sector, Fayose said what we achieved was made possible “through the priority given to the welfare of teachers, capacity building and the creation of conducive teaching and learning environment which is a far cry from the hostilities and suspicion that negatively affected education sector in the recent past.”
Among many other things listed as achievements, which included infrastructural development of the state capital, the governor noted that there was no political killing and violence associated with political party activities during his tenure.
However, the disposition of the people of the state shows that they are expecting a likely policy shift from what was the case in the erstwhile administration. Apart from the pointers to this in the speech of Oyebode, the new development in the state House of Assembly is also indicative of the likelihood of a shift in the government direction in the state.
On Thursday morning, news hit the state that there was unusual security presence at the Ekiti State House of Assembly. The security agents prevented entry to and exit from the assembly complex and when the members said to be in the complex were done, the security agents withdrew. Soon after, the lawmakers invited newsmen for a press conference.
There, the members announced a change in the leadership of the House and stated that Pastor Kola Oluwawole had been removed as the Speaker of the House along with his Deputy, Mr Sina Animasaun. They also announced that the removed Speaker and his deputy had been suspended along with nine other members, who are Fayose’s loyalists.
Gboyega Aribisogan, who addressed newsmen on behalf of the House of Assembly, said he had become the assembly’s new leader of business. He also said Mr Ebenezer Adeniran Alagbada had been appointed as the new Speaker to replace Oluwawole.
But Oluwawole rejected his impeachment and the emergence of Alagbada as his replacement, describing it as “thuggery aided by security agencies.” He said the development was “bizzare in a democracy, the height of illegality and it can never stand.” However, he didn’t say what he would do about it but insisted that he “retains the power to reconvene the House and I have not done that yet.”
While the state awaits what would happen next, many people have said the development in the House of Assembly is a pointer to what to expect in the coming months and years in the state. The new Speaker, Ebenezer Alagbada, said after he was enthroned that what happened in the Assembly was “nothing extraordinary.”
Alagbada said: “The Fourth Assembly changed its leadership in 2014 where some members of APC defected to the PDP to facilitate the smooth take-off of the administration of Chief Peter Ayodele Fayose.
“What we have done is history repeating itself. We have not done anything extraordinary. Dr John Kayode Fayemi administration must therefore enjoy same for the progress of the state.”
Observers of the crisis in the House contend that it is not out of place to assume that the shift in many facets of the life of Ekiti State has begun. This foundation, the holders of this opinion contend, was laid with the election of Dr Fayemi on July 14th, 2018.
The state is primed for what is to come, going by the postulations within and all around it. The people are bracing up for a new government and have prepared their minds for whatever challenges. Some of the people of the state have expressed anxiety that the problem of unpaid salaries would persist, the new government notwithstanding.
When Dr Fayemi set up a transition committee to work in liaison with the outgoing government, the committee complained that the government wasn’t cooperating with it and said it was only making do with the information it could piece together. Members of the committee saw this as a challenge and believed it might affect the smooth take-off of the incoming government.
Fayose reacted to the non-cooperation with the transition committee by saying that apart from acting on antecedent as he said he suffered when he came to office in 2014, the committee was unconstitutional just as its role was not properly defined.
But their altercation notwithstanding, the incoming administration has said it knows there are challenges but that the challenges are not insurmountable. The challenges as listed by some of the people of state include salary arrears, pension and gratuity of the retired workers; infrastructure, especially roads, many of which across the state have been deteriorating. “There is a lot to do in the state, and I know that Dr Fayemi himself knows this and has planned what to do for the people, and for the state.”
Among the issues the people are expecting to cause anxiety, if not crisis in the coming months, is the new Oja Oba market in the state capital. The allocation of the shops by the Fayose government attracted condemnation from the Fayemi group. A trader in Ado Ekiti, Mr Oladayo Ojo, said he was interested “in a smooth transition as far as the market is concerned because the outgoing government said since it built the market, it had the right to allocate it. I think I agree with that.”
There are also the challenges of the uncompleted projects by the first term of Fayemi in the state between 2010 and 2014. “I expect the incoming administration to be well prepared, with a plan and with a definite direction for the uplift of the state. I trust Fayemi as a technocrat to know what to do,” Mr. Adewumi Adegbuyi told Sunday Tribune in Ado Ekiti.
Fayose said he had “run a good race.” He has also thanked Ekiti people “for their overwhelming support for me and my party PDP to sail through the hurdles that created some bottlenecks, especially at the beginning of this administration.” He said he hopes the incoming administration would complete projects he hadn’t been able to finish , especially the Oja Oba Market, saying he had “N320 million in the bank for this purpose.”
Fayemi will resume with a focus, contends his supporters. But after the tenure, which comes with its thrills and frills, posterity will be the final judge of all.