Gbenga Sodeinde, Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the planned airport project by Governor Ayo Fayose as a drain pipe to siphon money from Ekiti State treasury.
It said the promotion of elite project while neglecting initiatives for the growth of local economy for the masses of the agrarian state was insensitive, wicked and selfish, noting that the promoter of the project had no motive other than the “characteristic flight of the state funds” in such capital projects that have little or no hope for the local economy.
Criticising some community leaders for their accomplice role in the project mainly planned for the fancy of the few who see Ekiti State as their private property, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Taiwo Olatunbosun, said in a statement on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015 that the governor, had in a desperate move, embarked on begging and cajoling some first class traditional rulers with mouth-watering offers to support “this wasteful venture”.
“Of what economic sense and use is an airport to the economy of Ekiti when the Akure Airport is less than one hour drive to Ado Ekiti? What has been the positive economic impact of the Akure airport on the economy of Ondo State, which has hundreds of big industries compared to Ekiti with none? Olatunbosun queried.
He wondered why the governor could not learn anything on the poor state of Ibadan Airport in that highly industrialised city.
“The Ekiti airport project estimated to cost a whopping N17 billion is the most economically unviable project at this period considering how Fayose daily laments that the state has no money “To even think about such a needless and wasteful project has shown Fayose as very insensitive to the plight of the common man in Ekiti.
“A governor that prefers an airport that risks lack of patronage to infrastructure development that will be beneficial to the people is a governor that doesn’t care about the welfare of his people. “It shows that Fayose can never change his profligate tendencies because this is the same way he embarked on the needless poultry project that gulped N1.3 billion over which he is still standing trial in court”.
APC spokesman also berated the governor for his anti-people posturing, saying his unbearable tax regime and cancellation of empowerment schemes by former Governor Kayode Fayemi was a burden on the people he promised abundant life during electioneering campaigns.
He explained: “Fayose cancelled life-lifting programmes introduced by his predecessor, such as the Social Security for the elderly, the Youth Volunteer Scheme, Youth In Commercial Agricultural Development, Ekiti State Transport Management Agency, the Peace Corps and Youth Entrepreneurial and Apprenticeship scheme that can make youths become employers of labour, among others, and replaced them with stomach infrastructure in beer and hard drinks joints and distribution of chicks and rice every Christmas.
“To complete the rout, he is again planning airport project that will only benefit the few that are prodding him to enhance their private businesses and bring money to his pocket.” He added that with the state’s lean purse, the airport project would foreclose any hope for infrastructure development.
“Road construction has been abandoned; Ikogosi Resort as well as the Ire Burnt Bricks Industry with potential to generate revenue have been abandoned while top civil servants have lost their jobs and the serving ones no longer enjoying their dues in office while petty traders pay taxes through their nose.
“No wonder, Ekiti peole are beginning to protest the hardship brought on them by Fayose who pretends to be a friend of the masses,” Olatunbosun said.
Tasking the governor to convince the people that the airport is desirable, he accused Fayose for criticising Fayemi for building revenue-generating ventures, such as Ikogosi Resort and Ekitiparapo Pavilion, including building N2 billion Government House where Fayose now lives while the governor now wanted to build N17 billion airport that would waste in the bush as seen in Akure Airport.
Olatunbosun added: “With the way this governor is behaving, the reason behind the mad drive for revenue collection is obvious if the experience Ekiti people earlier had with him could teach them a lesson. “Fayose has through his education summit imposed ridiculous taxes on average Ekiti citizens who he has also asked to start paying school fees right from the primary school level.
“Fayose has not created conducive atmosphere for investors that would patronise the airport if at all the project will succeed. Ekiti is no longer safe as it used to be in the last four years as thuggery, kidnapping and sundry crimes have taken over, which has led to an all-time low for businesses with many entrepreneurs relocating to other more conducive states.
“We as a party will join other progressive Ekiti people to resist with all legal means possible, any attempt to turn Ekiti into a one-man ‘Spotless Business Venture’ and we implore our traditional rulers that instead of being used to rubber stamp this anti-people project, they should be on the side of their subjects, as posterity will judge the few elite that want to entrench poverty among the people in pursuit of their selfish interest”.