THE old, young men and women trooped out in large numbers on Thursday to witness the inauguration of Ayodele Peter Fayose as the new governor of Ekiti State.
Majority of them, dressed in different colours of the inauguration uniform, started arriving at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium venue of the ceremony in Ado-Ekiti as early as 7am.
At the ceremony, six All Progressives Congress members of the state House of Assembly that defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, were received by the PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu.
The defectors are Olowo Ajiboye, Adeloye Adeyinka, Abeni Olayinka, Fatunbi Olajide, Olugbemi Joseph and Adeojo Ayodele.
The people roared with songs as Fayose, decked in a white dansiki and sokoto,arrived at the venue at 12.40pm in a light green 1965 model Mercedez Benz W110 in company with his wife, Feyisetan. Feyisetan wore a green attire.
Apart from musicians, including Yinka Ayefele, who thrilled the crowd, there were performances by masqueraders at the sideline.
People coming into the stadium were asked to raise their hands for security checks. Security operatives had a hectic time controlling the crowd.
Three police helicopters hovered the sky of Ado Ekiti while four Armour Personnel Carriers were stationed at strategic locations.
The Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, personally led the police team that provided security for the state Chief Judge, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, who administered the oath of office on Fayose and his deputy, Olusola Eleka.
Lakanu had on Wednesday night met various interest groups, including the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria, the NURTW, okada riders and political parties.
Before delivering his inaugural speech, Fayose ordered the observance of a minute silence in honour of a former state Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Omolafe Aderiye, who was murdered by some gunmen.
Aderiye, a staunch supporter of Fayose, was killed on September 25 in the wake of violence that erupted in the state.
The new governor also asked for a minute silence to announce the ‘burial’ of the APC in the state.
One of the highlights of the speech was when Fayose decreed “stomach infrastructure” at the ceremony which was not attended by his predecessor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
He said, “My emergence is divine. That is why the more they fight me, the more they make me popular.
“When they write about me in the papers, they want me to be the governor of their imagination. But I am governor of your imagination. I am the governor that eats boli with you; the governor that drinks agbo jedi with you.
“You have successfully supported me to serve you and send them back with their agenda to their master in Lagos.”
Fayose also went spiritual in his speech when he said God spoke to him to forgive the state for his unjust removal as governor in 2006 and to also decree peace to the people.
“Today I declare peace, prosperity, progress, employment, food and stomach infrastructure,” he said.
He announced that he would appoint a special adviser for stomach infrastructure and provide rice as well as chickens for them to celebrate Christmas.
The governor said, “I will dedicate myself to your service; I will banish hunger in your midst; I will work hard to put food on your table. Whether they call it food infrastructure is their business because I’m going to appoint a Special Adviser for Stomach Infrastructure.”
“If I put car on the road and I’m hungry and my children can’t go to school, that car is meaningless. But putting food inside the stomach is very important. I’m breeding your chicken for Christmas; I’m getting your rice ready to do stomach infrastructure….”
As the jubilant crowd shouted ‘yes oh’ in appreciation, he then lashed out at the Fayemi administration for what he described as recklessness in managing the state’s finances.
He said the Fayemi administration which had 157 accounts in different banks committed the state to financial liability of N84bn.
According to him, it will take the state six years to get out of the financial burden.
He argued that despite the huge sums expended by the outgone administration there was no corresponding impact on the lives of the people of the state.
Fayose urged the people to be patient with his administration, saying the next few months would be slightly rough because of huge financial deficit to offset.
The governor said, “They have committed this state to the tune of N84bn and we are committed up until year 2020. The records are there. New discoveries will be made public very soon. They left without paying wages. Since the former governor lost election, he appointed eight permanent secretaries when there was no vacancy.
“To my amazement, he employed over 3,000 people. To my amazement, an outgoing government created 19 extra local government areas. It’s unfortunate; it is sad. And I want to appeal to you to give me all the necessary cooperation and understanding because the next few months might be slightly rough. They have every month, a deficit of N552m. I don’t know how a government can be this reckless.”
The governor, who said he left over N10.4bn in cash and sureties in the state in October 2006, expressed regret that the money was depleted by successive governments which began with the interim “quasi-military” which took over when he was removed.
Fayose accused the previous governments of serving interests other than that of the ordinary man.
He said, “My heart bleeds today that our state has been plunged into heavy debt of well over N49bn by our own brothers and sisters who claimed to be our leaders. They took a bond of N21bn and then took another N10bn. Other bank loans N15.5bn. Outstanding salaries, instead of two months, it’s now three months running to about N5bn.
“Since after election they refused to pay salary monthly salaries of about N2.4bn. When they deny this, I’ll publish it in the papers with the names of such banks and everything that went through them. I know they are good at propaganda, but the world would know that these people do not love their people.”
He added that unpaid subventions to parastatals and tertiary institutions, 2014 leave bonuses, unpaid pension and gratuities amounted to about N57.45bn, whereas monthly accruable income of the state stood at about N3.3bn.
Fayose also said he was surprised to discover that the state had 157 bank accounts and none of them has up to N1m in it.
He said he did not want to join issues with the Fayemi administration, which “was responsible for the huge debt profile,” but wanted to let the people know the state of the state’s finances.
Fayose noted that he had made history by being the first Ekiti man to take the oath of office as governor twice and also the first to have defeated two incumbents.
“When I defeated them, they said it was as a result of stomach infrastructure. How can an incumbent say that? You have the money; you have the power; you have the might; you disconnect yourself from the people. They are gone; I say they are gone,” he added.
Fayose also pleaded with the media to give him a chance as the representative of ordinary people of Ekiti State.
On the programme of his government, Fayose said the focus would be on economic empowerment; development of agriculture; infrastructural development; affordable housing schemes; education; provision of free health care for children, women and people living with disability; as well as security.
Promising that a military formation would be established in the state, he warned that civil servants who allowed politics to get in the way of their jobs would be sacked.
Fayose directed the Head of Service to return all officers redeployed on June 21 to their substantive positions.
He voided all appointments and promotions that were effected after the June governorship election and promised that a panel would be constituted to reorganise the civil service.
The governor blamed the recent events that led to the attacks on court premises and judges on the leadership of the APC. He alleged that it desperately wanted to steal the mandate that was given to him by Ekiti people.
Fayose pleaded with the judiciary and the state legislature to put those events behind them and work amicably with him for the development of the state.
He also promised to make the judiciary in the state the best in the country.
Prominent people that witnessed the ceremony were the PDP National Secretary, Prof. Olusola Oladipo; governor Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Theodore Orji (Abia); Liyel Imoke (Cross River); Ramalan Yero (Kaduna); Isa Yuguda (Bauchi); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); Usman Dakingari (Kebbi); and Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta).
Former governors Rasheed Ladoja (Oyo); Peter Obi (Anambra); and Christopher Alao-Akala (Oyo); the former PDP governorship candidates in Osun and Ondo states. Iyiola Omisore and Olusola Oke, were also in attendance.
The Chairman, South-West PDP Mobilisation Committee, Chief Buruji Kasamu; former Acting Governor of the state, Tunji Odeyemi, senatorial aspirant, Mrs. Fatima Raji-Rasaki; Minister of State for Works, Chief Dayo Adeyeye; outgoing Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro; a former Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, as well as royal fathers in the state led by their chairman and the Onitaji of Itaji, Oba Adamo Babalola.