Since its creation on October 1, 1996, Ekiti State has struggled to develop at the pace envisaged by its founding fathers who toiled to deliver a state that could compete with its peers in the Nigerian federation.
The challenges of bad governance, low allocations from the Federation Account, poor internally generated revenue, huge debt burden and poor infrastructure slowed down its pace of development.
Rigged governorship elections of 2003, 2007 and 2009 further compounded the ills afflicting the state which lost its bearing owing to self-inflicted woes and legitimacy crisis.
One clear reality was the need for a well-prepared and a visionary leader with a solid blueprint to transform the fortunes of the state from a backwater state to a frontline state that its citizens would be proud of.
The Court of Appeal judgment of 15th October, 2010 which enthroned Dr. Kayode Fayemi as the Governor of Ekiti State, marked the turning point in the history of the Land of Honour.
Taking his oath of office before a mammoth crowd the following day, 16th October, 2010; Fayemi promised to use his eight-point agenda as a catalyst for the transformation of the state.
Having prepared the agenda before seeking the nomination of his party as governorship candidate and subsequently as the governor, Fayemi had prepared himself for the serious task of governance and hit the ground running after being sworn in.
The third anniversary of the Fayemi administration which ran for about four weeks of commissioning landmark projects offered Nigerians opportunity to believe that good governance is still possible in the country.
It was a celebration of excellence in leadership and good example of transparency, probity, accountability which are scarce commodities in governance in Nigeria.
To run a state which places 35th on the nation’s revenue ladder out of 36 states is no mean feat.
Fayemi has slowly but decisively tackled the multifarious problems plaguing Ekiti and has successfully pulled the state out of abyss of underdevelopment, poverty, want, hunger and poor infrastructure.
With over 1,000 capital projects already executed into the third year of his regime, Fayemi is already on the home stretch to securing the gubernatorial crown for the second time.
He has virtually touched all the components of his eight-point agenda, otherwise known as Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery.
These include Governance, Infrastructure Development, Modernising Agriculture, Education and Human Capital Development, Health Care Services, Industrial Development, Tourism Development and Environmental Sustainability and Gender Equality and Empowerment.
Three years down the line, Ekiti people now have every cause to smile for having the man they truly voted for as the captain of the ship of the state.
Fayemi is a goal getter and has scored so many goals of positive change in Ekiti state with construction and rehabilitation of roads, schools, hospitals, markets, drainages, streetlights and other public infrastructure.
As the top striker leading a winning team, Fayemi has scored many firsts and would be remembered for the populist policies and projects executed by his administration which have improved the standard of living of the people of the state.
The governor is the first state chief executive to publish his assets as a mark of his belief in transparency, probity and accountability.
The law only prescribes declaration of assets by public servants but Fayemi went a step further by publishing his assets in the major newspapers in the country in his resolve to lead by example.
Fayemi’s Social Security Scheme for the Aged, in which registered elderly citizens are paid from the government coffers, is the first of its kind in the West African sub-region.
Beneficiaries of the scheme in Ekiti are receiving N5,000 every month and it is no surprise that three other states-Anambra, Bayelsa, and Osun-have adopted the scheme to take care of their elderly citizens.
Fayemi pioneered distribution of laptops to students and teachers of government-owned secondary schools in Nigeria under his administration’s e-school project.
The administration’s Youth Commercial Agriculture Development (Y-CAD) is the first policy to be executed by any government since the creation of the state to make youths the centrepiece of food security.
The budget making process has been revolutionized by Fayemi who adopts village square and town hall meetings in receiving inputs from the people of the grassroots to formulate the fiscal policy framework.
Through the novel initiative which is first of its kind in the country, each community is asked to submit its three most important needs to be incorporated into the budget which makes all communities in the state to have at least one project to be executed through the instrumentality of the state budget.
By this, Fayemi has displayed an uncommon leadership quality by allowing the locals to have their say on what they want government to execute for them rather than sitting down in the state capital and deciding for the people.
It is not a surprise that Ekiti has witnessed unprecedented transformation under the leadership of Fayemi in all the sectors covered by his administration’s eight-point agenda.
Fayemi embarked on massive renovation of public secondary schools, many of which had not been renovated since they were established over 50 years ago making teaching and learning conducive.
Ekiti now has one of the best road networks in the country courtesy of construction and rehabilitation of roads in the state including federal roads which has facilitated movement from one place to another.
The Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort which was hitherto an abandoned tourism jewel has been redeveloped to a world class standard and now plays host to tourists from all parts of the globe.
Ekiti people are yearning for more goals are still coming from the boots of Fayemi as he is about to conclude the first half of his administration in October 15, 2014.
If the governor can score so much in the first half, definitely he is reserving his best as the second half whistle blows from October 16, 2014.
*Ogunmola, who is Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor, writes from Ado-Ekiti.