By Gbenga Sodeinde, Senior Correspondent, Ado-Ekiti
Operators of sawmills and timber contractors in Ekiti State have urged the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi to run for another term in office to continue what they called the “unprecedented transformation being witnessed in the state.”
They pledged to mobilize support for Dr. Fayemi and work for his victory in the 2014 governorship polls in the state in appreciation of his commitment to improving the standard of living of the people of the state.
Acting under the aegis of their two unions: Ekiti State Sawmillers Association and Ekiti State Timber Traders Association – the groups at a rally held in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday predicated their support for Dr. Fayemi on the populist policies being implemented by his administration since coming to power in 2010.
The colourful rally which was attended by thousands of members of the unions caused a big traffic snarl along Okesa area of the state capital.
The two bodies presented the Governor with Distinguished Leadership Award and urged him not to relent in his bid to make Ekiti a reference point in the Nigerian federation.
According to the chairman of the sawmillers association, Mr. Kayode Ogunrotifa, the union members were impressed by the policies and programmes of the Fayemi administration which, he noted, have turned around the fortunes of Ekiti people.
Ogunrotifa explained that such policies include the financial empowerment of artisans, youths, market men and women, free health mission to the grassroots, payment of monthly stipends to the elderly citizens of people, construction and rehabilitation of roads, beautification of Ado-Ekiti, among others.
The chairman of the Timber Traders Association, Chief Francis Adebayo, lauded Fayemi for making Ekiti a model in Nigeria and for transparently running the state within limited resources.
“We are happy that you have made our state a model in Nigeria and with your wonderful performance so far in office, we have unanimously agreed to support you to run for another term in office.
“I want to assure you that we are solidly behind you to contest for second term in office to continue the good work you are doing in virtually all sectors”, Adebayo said.
The state Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Eniola Ajayi, said the Fayemi administration has given three approvals to regenerate the forestry sub-sector which she said was being done for the first time in the state since 2004.
She explained that government has also secured the support of the European Union (EU) and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) for the review of forestry law and governance.
Addressing the rally, Dr. Fayemi described the unions as important partners in the development of the state promising the support of his administration to help them boost the state economy.
According to him, Ekiti ranks among the major suppliers of timber in Nigeria with the sub-sector providing employment opportunities to many citizens of the state.
The Governor also pledged to donate buses to the two unions and look into their other demands with their executives in a bid to empower their members.
He noted that sawmillers and timber traders contribute in no small measure to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Dr. Fayemi promised to discuss with the Bank of Industry to assist the unions to enable them have access to loans.
He vowed that his administration will not relent in protecting forest resources in the state and bring the full weight of the law on illegal lumberers.