One significant thing about the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State is that it is going to put to test the extent to which good governance could be a basis for winning an electoral mandate.
Given the nature of politics in many third world countries where there is a notion that electoral mandate is a function of a clientele relationship between the candidates standing election and the electorate, it may not be difficult for any uninformed spectator of Ekiti politics to conclude that the incumbent, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, would lose the election to any of his opponents.
However, if democracy is to be understood as a system of service delivery by the government to the governed, then the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Fayemi, stand shoulder high above any of the other contenders.
Within three years, the Fayemi administration has virtually re-written the directory of infrastructural and manpower development in Ekiti State.
Following the prism of the 8-points agenda of his administration, the Fayemi-led government has touched almost every area of human and capital development indicators. In order to bring his campaign promise of opening up every community in Ekiti State through road network, Governor Fayemi devised a process of constructing five kilometre road in each of the 16 local governments in the state, constructing a total of 81.5 kilometres in the first phase and another 91 kilometres across the 16 local councils in the second phase.
In fact, Fayemi’s achievements in the area of road reconstruction remains epochal in Ekiti State, as the summation of all the roads being constructed or repaired stand at a staggering 958 kilometres.
In the area of education, the Fayemi government has, in three years, renovated 836 primary schools and 183 secondary schools. The government also established 24 new primary schools in 2011 and another 18 in 2012 bringing the number of primary schools from 776 in 2010 to 836 by 2012. Consequently, there is a remarkable increase in primary school enrolment from 155,296 in 2010 to 170,768 while the trend nationwide is the reduction in public school enrolment to the advantage of private schools. The same feat was repeated in secondary schools; and as at today, Ekiti State has the highest per capita in terms of public school enrolment in the country.
The government’s decision to revolutionise the methodology of learning in Ekiti State gave birth to the concept of e-learning and the distribution of 33,000 laptops free of charge to students and 18,000 laptops to teachers at a subsidised price.
The government also introduced the payment of Rural Allowance to teachers in the rural areas.This is to address the lopsidedness in the student- teacher ratio because teachers are reluctant to work in rural areas. It introduced the payment of Core Subject Allowance to teachers of subjects like Mathematics, Physics, and Biology to promote the teaching of science and ensure that Ekiti students are competitive in this age of technology. In tertiary education, the government restored peace and industrial harmony to Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti; reduced fees paid in higher institutions and introduced various scholarship schemes to help many indigent and brilliant students of the state.
In two years, 2011 and 2013, a total sum of N315.7Million had been disbursed as scholarship to 2,329 students while bursary awards of N148.2Million were paid to a total of 9,919 beneficiaries.
These initiatives have shored up the level of literacy in the state from 67 per cent in 2011 to 72.2 per cent by 2012. In the formal sector, the state has recorded many recognitions of the advancement in education. The state has won the Best Overall Performance State in the Annual National Mathematics and Science Competitions by Science Teachers (STAN); first position in Mathematics for Senior Secondary School Category in the National Quiz competition organised by MAN in 2013; first position in ANCOPPS National Stage Quiz/Essay Competition in 2013; Best Male Student in 2013 WAEC result and for two years running; and has produced the best student in the Nigerian Law School.
It is in recognition of these remarkable strides that the World Bank recently announced a USD10 million support for the state under the State Education Programme Investment Project (SEPIP).
Governor Fayemi has also recorded remarkable strides in the provision of healthcare services. He introduced free health care for pregnant women, children under the age of 5, elderly citizens, the physically challenged persons and people living with HIV/AIDS. He renovated all general hospitals in the state and constructed a new one, Oba Adejugbe General Hospital, in the state capital, to bring healthcare service nearer to the people. He constructed a Cancer Diagnostic and Wellness Centre, named after the late deputy governor of the state, Aduni Olayinka, in Ado Ekiti. In general, Fayemi has increased the number of health care facilities in the state from the 350 he inherited in 2010 to 495.
Another important initiative in the health sector is the introduction of a mobile healthcare system known as Health Missions through which specialised teams of medical personnel travel across the communities to provide healthcare services to the people. At the last count, 363,050 persons have benefitted from the programme. Another 7,850 persons have benefitted from the Ilera Lafin programme through which health care services are taken to the palaces of the traditional rulers for the benefits of the communities, bringing number of beneficiaries of the health outreach programmes to 370,900.
The benefits of these initiatives are apparent.For instance, in-patient attendance of public health care facilities jumped from 9,448 in 2010 to 11,867 by 2012. Delivery of birth in the secondary health facilities increased from 2,190 in 2010 to 2,823 by 2012 while out-patient attendance at secondary health facilities rose from 62,374 in 2010 to 85,730 by 2012.
The records bear Fayemi out for these initiatives. Ekiti State now has the lowest Infant mortality in the country. It has the lowest maternal mortality in the country as well. It presently has the highest life expectancy in the country at 55 years; against the national life expectancy of 47 years.
Another significant way through which the Fayemi government is combating poverty and promoting good health among the citizenry is the enactment of the Ekiti State Senior Citizen Welfare Law under which citizens above the age of 65 are entitled to a monthly stipend of N5, 000. The government has enrolled 25,000 senior citizens of the state under the scheme. The senior citizens also enjoy free medical service.
In the area of industrial development, Fayemi resuscitated the Ire Burnt Bricks Industry which had been moribund for 23 years, established enterprise development centre at Iloro, Aisegba and Ilupeju to train the people in entrepreneur skills, increased the number of small scale industries from 1,066 in 2011 to 2,257 by 2012 through the provision of a conducive environment and several economic empowerment schemes. He also remodelled the Ikogosi Warm Springs.
Against the foregoing, it is safe to conclude that in spite of the hype of the gubernatorial contest in Ekiti State, there is no doubt that Fayemi stands tall above the other contestants in the Ekiti gubernatorial election and Fayemi’s victory at the polls will confirm that Nigeria is fast joining other parts of the world where a good performance by a contestant is a guarantee that the appreciative electorate will return him to office.
– Ajakaiye writes from Ado-Ekiti