His Excellency Dr Fayemi is a Nigerian Star
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Before the star in Oke-Bareke (Ekiti Government House,that is) came on board in October 2010,an age long myth existed in the land of the rolling hills: that the state who has the highest number of scholars per capita anywhere in the world is poor! A yoke the young state has borne since creation on Independence Day of 1996.
The man, Dr. Fayemi, a leadership superstar I dare say, came into office apparently angry and upset at this false mind-set. And he has done a massive, though quiet job of tackling the twin evils of actual and the more dangerous psychological poverty from the Land of Honour as Ekiti, our Ekiti, is now called in lieu of the hitherto somewhat effusive ‘Fountain of Knowledge’.
I hold this view, however, in light of the fact that a true leader is the one who breaks whatever myth to advance the life of his/her people and not much for the bricks and mortars in the rating index of public office performance; especially in this part of the world. In short, the political star is the one who makes human capacity development the common denominator of all policies, projects and programmes under his/her watch-just what the star fondly called JKF is doing in Ekiti.
In the quest to free Ekiti from poverty, this star has created thousands of jobs for the youth. But the initiative that promises to give poverty a killer blow is termed YCAD (Youth Commercial Agriculture Development) which already engages some 20,000 young people in training. Fundamentally, these people will get farming implements and soft loans-aptly termed ‘seed money’-upon completing their training. In the long run, this bold initiative will mark the beginning of the end of Ekiti dependence on monthly hand-outs from Abuja, which places the state 35th among 36 states in the allocation ladder, the funny reason Ekiti is considered poor.
In the same direction, students in Senior Secondary Schools in Ekiti have all been given a Samsung Laptop to aid their learning and properly launch the next generation of Ekiti scholars into the league of tech-savvy intellectuals that is sure to rule the world. Though restricted to public schools, the clamour now is to extend the initiative to all schools (public or private) and all students(senior or junior).
The human development ongoing in Ekiti under the leadership of the star agent of change that is the Governor isn’t limited to the youth alone, even if they are the focus. The first social security in this part of the world was instituted for the Ekiti elderly people almost immediately on taking over the reins of government. Under the scheme, people who are 70 years and above are entitled to 5,000 naira every month. Though people with visible means of income (like pensioners) are exempted, it is ethnic blind. In so far an old person lived and paid taxes in Ekiti, he/she is eligible even if from Mars!
Another world class initiative, though short term, aimed at poverty reduction in Ekiti is the FOOD BANK. Under this initiative, indigent people are head hunted, registered and given food items with a view to give them a balanced diet of feeding every month. In a state hitherto left prostrate by unwarranted poverty, this is very invaluable to the beneficiaries.
As for the tangibles, the ‘bricks and mortars’ that is, an awful lot has been done or is being done. That may not be the thrust of this essay, but it is pertinent to point out that the star in Ekiti government house is well rounded. The state is dotted with a lot of projects and the landscape has been altered for good.
Like a true leadership star, JKF isn’t obsessed with mere populism. He’s only identifying the right things and putting them in place. An instance is his insistence that teachers and civil servants must be assessed before they are duly promoted. In a state where these two categories of people hold the forte and are visible in every home, that is a courageous call to make. As a leader only concerned with the next generation rather than the next election, he’s admirably standing his ground.
As it is, one can hardly get a home in Ekiti where the human development efforts are not felt. If there are no school kids bearing laptops, there must be a youth employed in the various schemes or an elderly person enjoying the monthly stipend.
Indeed, there is a star in Ekiti, turning around the fortune of the state in an unassuming manner; who has since exploded the myth that Ekiti is a poor state. His name is John Kayode Fayemi.
DR. JOHN KAYODE FAYEMI is the incumbent Governor of Ekiti State.
This “I Know A Nigerian Star” Story was submitted by…
Twitter handle: @OluOgundele
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