Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Aare Muyiwa Olumilua, has stated that the first year of the Kayode Fayemi-led administration in Ekiti State was spent rebuilding the State from its state of shambles, and repositioning it to its pride of place as the Land of Honour.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti at a press conference marking the first year anniversary of the Fayemi-led government, Olumilua said Fayemi met an Ekiti where workers and pensioners were owed between 4 and 8 months salaries and pensions, as well as gratuities running to several Billion of Naira; adding that a burden of education tax was also placed on pupils whose parents the previous government failed to cater for, by regularly paying their entitlements.
The Commissioner said Governor Fayemi had taken steps by abolishing the education tax, and declared free and compulsory education in the State.
Olumilua said the Governor has also won the confidence of investors, by improving on the ease of business indices in the State, so that Ekiti can be a destination of choice for investors.
He added that many development partners and investors who had fled the State in 2014 after the first tenure of Governor Fayemi, are now returning to the State in droves.
The government’s spokesman stated that Fayemi has also restored the honour of Ekiti people who were ridiculed as beggars, by the previous administration’s stomach infrastructure programme.
“Every facet of life in Ekiti was touched, albeit negatively. Civil servants, Teachers, Local Government workers, indeed all public servants were owed salaries; economic activities grinded to a halt, and there was hunger in the land, while criminals and criminality held sway in Ekiti. Investors fled, Development Partners vanished, donor agencies disappeared, and the dreaded “Yahoo Yahoo boys” were about the only visible set of people in the society, as they were the only ones who had a free flow of the much desired cash. Morale was very low.”
“The number of out-of-school children multiplied, as parents who were not paid salaries had problems keeping their children in school, and our young ladies took to the oldest known profession, to keep body and soul together. It is on record that the previous administration encouraged Civil servants to stay at home with the excuse that, for whatever reason, government could not pay their salaries and other entitlements. Government officials would line up – heads of families, mothers and even children, in the open street for several hours under the scorching sun, and sometimes when it was drizzling, for a pittance. They sometimes received one ‘kongo’ of rice and between 200 Naira to 500 Naira each, depending on the whims of the helmsman, under the administration’s poverty alleviation programme called stomach infrastructure”, he said.
Aare Olumilua stressed that the Fayemi-led government has promptly paid workers salaries, which has in turn changed the face of the State completely, especially for the children and elderly citizens, who are dependants of public servants.
The Commissioner said the State Government had taken steps to revamp the Agriculture sector, with the creation of a special agricultural industrial processing zone, alongside the 38,000-hectares that has been earmarked for the cultivation and processing of strategic crops which include cassava, cocoa, cashew, oil palm and rice.
According to him, the zone will be supported by access roads, three dams to ensure irrigation is available for optimum yield, and a dedicated plan to power the zone.
He added that the State Government has also cleared 1554 hectares of agricultural land, spread across 5 local government areas, for the benefit of individuals, and corporate investors, interested in large scale agri-business, with a partnership already been initiated by the state government with both Belarus and China, in a bid to improve and strengthen technology in commercial agricultural practices.
In the area of tourism, Olumilua disclosed that the government has adopted a shift from a government managed tourism industry to a private sector driven tourism sector in Ekiti State.
Tourist sites will therefore be concessioned to private sector investors to enable the tourism sector grow organically and sustain the development of the industry, he said.
Aare Olumilua who stated that the Fayemi-led government is not given to propaganda said the press conference was to give a summary of all the steps taken by the administration in restoring the values of the State and returning it to its pride of place.
In his remarks, the Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Biodun Oyebanji, said that the administration cautiously made sure that all promises made to the people of the State are met based on the 5 pillars of the agenda of government.
He also stressed that the aim of this administration is to build institutions that are strong enough to ensure that government delivers on its promises to the people.
Oyebanji who stressed that the people of Ekiti are more interested in the result than the efforts put into getting the results assured that the Fayemi-led administration will not fail Ekiti people.