EKITI DIASPORA LEADERS COMMEND FAYEMI FOR INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE
- Ado-Ekiti, May 11, 2020: It was a virtual atmosphere of conviviality between leaders of Ekiti State associations/professional organizations in North America and the UK and Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) subcommittee at the first interactive e-meeting on Saturday, May 9, 2020. The subcommittee which is under the chairmanship of Mrs. Folusho Olaniyan—-is one of the five subcommittees of the Response Resource Mobilization Committee under the auspices of Prince Adelusi Adeluyi with Aare Afe Babalola as the Grand Patron—-was set up by Ekiti State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi to look beyond COVID-19 towards situating the state for sustainable development. The subcommittee was also mandated to find strategic ways for the inclusion and integration of the state’s diasporic indigenes in the state’s developmental architecture.
- Mrs. Olaniyan in her remarks said broadly speaking, the meeting was to stress the imperative of Ekiti State Diaspora community’s holistic participation in the state’s development and the readiness of the state government to partner/collaborate with its diasporic indigenes towards achieving its development objectives.
- The chairman also said that the immediate order of business of her subcommittee was to seek the cooperation of the leadership of all Ekiti State associations/professional organizations in the subcommittee’s efforts in establishing a comprehensive database for all the state’s diasporic citizens around the world for mutual benefits. “I cannot overemphasize the importance of gathering data and I believe you can avail us this privilege by giving us the information of members of your respective organizations as the starting point of this comprehensive endeavor,” she said.
- The Director General of the Ekiti State Government Office of Transformation, Service and Delivery and Special Adviser to Governor Fayemi Prof. Bolaji Aluko presented an overview of the government’s efforts at curtailing COVID-19 in the state during the deliberations.
- In his presentation, Prof. Aluko said in his personal opinion “this is the time for Ekiti indigenes in the Diaspora to come together about Ekiti. If we cannot come together in the face of the existential threat that COVID-19 poses to our humanity then there’s no time we will ever come together.”
- He said the state started with a 10-bed isolation centre which has now been expanded to 150-beds courtesy of Sir Remi Omotosho and Access Bank that donated 40 and 100 beds respectively. Although Prof. Aluko described the state’s preparedness as a “forward looking approach” he also expressed the hope that the state will never get into a situation where all these beds would have to be utilized. In expressing his frustrations about the lack of testing centres in Ekiti State, he said they always wait for the results of patients that has been tested either from Lagos or Abuja. The lack of testing centres therefore makes it difficult to separate those who has been infected but are asymptomatic from the general population. Prof. Aluko also doubles as the coordinator of the COVID-19 Response Resource Mobilization Committee.
- The President of Ekiti Parapo in the state of New York, Mr. Olufemi Falebita, who spoke on behalf of all the associations’ leaders that were present at the virtual meeting thanked Gov. Fayemi for his foresight. He said the meeting was the beginning of something great in the state and commended the government officials at the meeting. “Initiatives like this are welcomed,” he stressed.
- The association president said “to support Ekiti means we’re supporting ourselves. To support Ekiti means we want the progress of Ekiti. We’re supporting Ekiti so it can become what it should be so that the conditions that forced us to leave would not be perpetrated again on our children and the next generation. Many of the leaders that spoke commended the governor for including Ekiti Diasporans in the development of the state not minding what their respective politics might be.
- Sir Remi Omotosho in his remarks said he is optimistic that Ekiti indigenes in the Diaspora would support the various committees that has been set up by the state governor. The elder statesman emphasized the task of raising about N9.5 billion to “enhance the state’s healthcare delivery system” and solicited their support. Also, in their remarks, both Prince Adelusi Adeluyi and Chief Esan Ogunleye admonished Ekiti Diasporans to see the state as their authentic home that must be built by all and sundry.
- Among the distinguished Ekiti sons and daughters around the world at the virtual meeting included Chief Awosemusi, Prof Olonisakin, Dr. Dele Babade, Kabiyesi Oba Fabunmi-Onifisin, Mr. Ola Brown, Mrs. Toyosi Akerele Ogunsiji, just to name a few. More than 25 associations in North America and UK were represented by their leaders at the meeting.
- Almost immediately after the deliberations both Professors Aluko and Olonisakin and Mrs. Folusho Olaniyan developed a template for harnessing Ekiti Diaspora information. The link to this information repository https://forms.gle/6UAmcd9yrpvxRyHA7 is now active and Ekiti Diaspora indigenes are enjoined to share their information with the state government for “mutual benefits” as described by Mrs. Olaniyan.
Senior Special Assistant (Diaspora Affairs) to Ekiti State Governor