When he won the Governor of the Year Award from Leadership Group of
Newspapers in September 2012 on the strength of unprecedented
achievements recorded since he assumed office, some observers believed that it was only a matter of time before the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, receives an international recognition for excellence in governance.
Fayemi has always been reluctant and indifferent when it comes to the
issue of awards which he believes has been bastardized in Nigeria
telling anybody who cares to listen that he believes his work will
speak for him and history will judge him after he might have left
Providing good governance, deployment of resources to the right
channels, probity, accountability, transparency and improving the
standard of living of people of any political entity are ingredients
of governance that are very difficult to ignore.
It is heart-warming that the giant strides made by Fayemi in the field of education were recognized in faraway South Africa by electronics giants, SAMSUNG.
The Ekiti State helmsman was bestowed with the award of SAMSUNG’s Best Governor in Africa for Education Project at the corporation’s Africa Forum Conference held in the South Africa city of Cape Town on
Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
The award did not come by accident as Fayemi has invested massively in education in his determination to take the sector which he met in
shambles to a higher pedestal.
Education and human development is the fourth leg of the famed
eight-point agenda of the Fayemi administration, otherwise known as
the Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery.
The Governor before coming to power had envisioned a computer on every student’s desk while pupils in public schools were to enjoy free and compulsory education up to senior secondary schools.
Fayemi’s education blueprint also incorporates special initiatives for the physically-challenged students. The establishment of Institute of Science and Technology and State Sports Academy for Gifted Youths are also on the cards.
Midway into his four-year tenure, Fayemi has surpassed expectations of Ekiti people in the field of education and human capital development with the fulfilment of over 80 per cent of the governor’s campaign promises affecting the sector.
Many sceptics scoffed at Fayemi’s vision of providing laptops for
students of public secondary schools which he shared with the
electorate when he was campaigning for the highest office in the
Many eligible voters and opposition politicians thought that providing laptops for students in public schools was a pipe dream given the huge financial implication and logistics involved.
The promise looked like several ones made in the past by politicians
who, in their desperation for power, would make promises they know
they cannot fulfil.
Apart from students in government-owned schools in Ekiti, teachers
also received laptops which were all distributed free of charge.
It is on record that a total number of 50,000 laptops have so far been distributed to students and teachers in Ekiti public schools under the Fayemi administration’s e-school project.
More will still be distributed to students and teachers who are yet to benefit between now and 2014 which is the target year for the
completion of the project.
Fayemi has blazed the trail in Africa with the laptop per child
initiative with has put students in public schools in Ekiti State on
the same page with their contemporaries in the developed world.
The e-school project is being driven by the Fayemi administration in
partnership with SAMSUNG West Africa Limited and MICROSOFT, a global
trademark in software technology.
The Fayemi administration has also signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) with SAMSUNG to establish a Computer Assembly Plant dedicated to the sustainability of the scheme and ICT goals of the government.
Under the project, special computers were also distributed to the
physically-challenged students to enable them enjoy the benefits of
Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Distribution of laptops to students and teachers in public schools in
Ekiti State was flagged off by Fayemi in March 12, 2012 in Ikere-Ekiti at an impressive ceremony where the Governor unfolded his
administration’s agenda to use ICT to drive education.
The Governor also kicked off the distribution of 100, 000 school bags
free of charge to all pupils in public schools in the state.
The laptop per child initiative of the Fayemi administration couldn’t
have come at a better time with the recent directive by the Joint
Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) that all its examinations would
henceforth be computer-based.
He expressed satisfaction that what used to be a dream has become a
reality in the state with indigent students who never envisaged owning laptops now getting what they thought was impossible.
Fayemi said, “Our government has gone this far to ensure that
everything is done to make us stand shoulders higher than other states by recreating our feat in the areas of academic excellence that our land was in the time past identified with.
“This is why it has become very imperative for those involved in the
teaching and learning process to be computer-literate in line with
global standard of knowledge acquisition.
“Indeed, given the huge investment on this computer for all secondary
school students’ initiative, some might even deem it as a waste. I
would like to assure those who might harbour such erroneous impression that nothing could be further from the truth.
“The benefits will not be immediate but we have absolutely no doubt
that it is a way to go, an objective to purse, not a dream deferred”.
Apart from the laptops given to students and teachers, Fayemi also
changed the face of 180 public schools in the state under his
administration’s Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE).
The initiative was intended to save public schools which were hitherto abandoned by successive administrations from dilapidation and collapse.
The scheme was also carried out to provide conducive learning
environment for students and working environment for both teaching and non-teaching staff.
Some of the schools that benefited from the scheme were last touched
when they were established while others last saw renovation between
20 and 40 years ago.
A visit to such schools, many of which did not have vibrant old
students associations, now revealed a massive facelift to their
classrooms, assembly halls, dining halls, hostels, administration
blocks and sports facilities.
Apart education, Fayemi has also received global accolades in the
areas of infrastructure development, tourism development,
industrialization, social security scheme for the aged, health care
services, among others.
His achievements in these sectors are visible in every nook and
cranny of the state and these have made Ekiti people to be proud of
the man they gave their mandate to make things happen in the state.
Definitely, the best is yet to come for the people of the Land of
Honour who are savouring the leadership qualities of a leader that is
transforming his vision into reality.
*Ogunmola who is Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor, writes