Fostering financial inclusion for inclusive economic growth

By John Ajayi

Recently, Ekiti State celebrated 25 years since its creation by the military junta of the late General Sani Abacha. Coincidentally, the celebration which continues to generate excitement and euphoria among the citizens of the state appears to be a foretaste of the great celebration in the labor for the third anniversary of the administration of Dr John Olukayode. Fayemi.

As usual, this historic event drew unwarranted criticism from some critical elements and stakeholders in the state. Indeed, these criticisms are not unexpected, especially in a democratic society and especially, given the political tendencies and the different ideological configuration of these personalities and actors.

Besides the fact that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees the right and freedom of expression to everyone, it is an indisputable fact that there will always be differences of opinion among the citizens of the state despite its nature. homogeneous.

Not only that, the state which boasts of the highest population of highly educated people with a historic record of renowned doctorate holders and seasoned lawyers, professionals and accomplished technocrats, the issue of governance and leadership challenge can only become a matter of critical examination and evaluation. It also comes in the context of the fact that the Ekiti natives are generally seen to be fastidious in nature. Here, no negativity is intended for the good-natured people of the State of Ekiti to which your humble servant belongs in flesh and blood!

Nonetheless, rolling out the drums and popping the champagne to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the state by the current executive governor, the administration of Dr John Olukayode Fayemi cannot be seen as a mere jamboree or a priority. moved. Usually, the age of 25 is universally recognized as a defining moment in the lives of individuals, institutions, organizations, states or nations. Generally regarded as the Silver Jubilee or the Quadruple, the 25th anniversary of all living things, whether state or human, is undoubtedly a turning point.

However, in assessing and evaluating the state of growth and development of Ekiti State over these nearly three decades of existence, it will be grossly unfair to assume or outright nullify the state as a failure. While the state may not have fully met the expectations of its founding fathers, that does not necessarily presuppose that it has not accomplished anything since its inception.

Particularly disappointing, if not completely unfair, on the part of successive state administrations is the beating of the state as a “25-year-old toddler.” Review of the state of affairs of Ekiti State over the past 25 years, former statesman and founder of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) Ado Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola stated that the State of ‘Ekiti had nothing to celebrate. The much revered lawyer and one of the founding fathers of Ekiti had, in a widely published press release titled “Ekiti State A Toddler @ 25”, lambasted the state as being landlocked, airport, industrial and electric, adding that all these developments were detrimental to affect the economic development of the state.

While the elderly statesman reserves the right to express his opinions and frustrations about the condition he has contributed to the midwife, the objective reality on the ground regarding developments, which ‘they are political, economic, social or whatever it is does not in any way justify or justify these assertions and lamentations. This is especially the case because successive state administrations have all contributed their own quotas to the growth and development of the state.

Since its inception on October 1, 1996, the state has been administered by military and civilian administrators, each with their own style and approach to governance. As an organic being, Ekiti State is clearly still a work in progress. For a fact, the founding fathers of the state may have had a utopian perception of the developments to be expected in a particular time frame, the real reality of governance may not and cannot be viewed as the same with the imagination. and the expectations of the founder. fathers.

This is not to say that there are no shortcomings on past and present political leaders and state administrators. Indeed, this cannot be considered an unusual development as it is a phenomenon in underdeveloped, developing and developed countries. For those who may not be aware, the current administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi has been very successful in positioning the state well above its peers when it comes to development in all its aspects and ramifications. State probes revealed that the JKF administrations that will soon be launching activities marking the third year of its second term have no plans for any jamboree other than the commissioning of projects and the unveiling of new projects.

Like all humans, Dr Kayode Fayemi may have his faults, it is indisputable that there remains a blessing and a gift for the State not only as the current Director General of the State but also a very good one. ambassador of the State of Ekiti as a major political actor. actor on national and global political space. His tenure so far as President of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) is eloquent testimony to his intellectual sagacity and political magic. For JKF, former US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes seemed fair and justifiable in his famous and immortal quote when he said: “There are people who make things happen, and there are people who watch what is happening and there are people who have no idea what is going on ”.

So far, an objective examination of past administrations at Ekiti will easily confirm that Dr John Olukayode Fayemi is a shaking up leader and indeed has big ideas about what is going and needs to happen. Since assuming the mantle of state leadership, he has made strategic thinking the cornerstone of governance and policy direction. As an accomplished politician with a progressive hue, JKF’s approach to governance has been rooted in the common good of as many of his people as possible.

The views of statesmen like Chief Deji Fasuan, former Governor Segun Oni, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Biodun Oyebanji and others were in line with the position previously mentioned by Governor Fayemi that Ekiti n has by no means failed in pursuing its development program. .

Truth be told, over the past three years, Fayemi’s government has attracted over $ 100 million in investment to the state. In today’s economy, this is no small feat and it could not have been considered a failure by any standard.

It is understandable that only the apolitics, who periscope the problems with an impartial spectacle, could recognize and display this enigmatic dashboard.

One fact must be reflected here; in 1996 the town of Ado Ekiti, as it was called then, was like a glorified village without the modern touch. Today, all the major dualisation of the road to Ado Ekiti carried out cumulatively by the administrations of governors Fayemi, Segun Oni and Ayodele Fayose like Basiri-Ijigbo-Ajilosun, Ijigbo-Ilawe road, Post Office-Irona and Ado-Ifaki, n could not have been undertaken if the state had not been created. Akure, the capital of Ondo State, could have been seen as the hub of development, where things would be anchored and focused.

The new governor’s offices in Oke Bareke, the secretariat of the new Iyin road, the trade fair complex, the Ekiti Parapo pavilion and other government structures in the Ado Ekiti metropolis, are clear evidence of modernity and progressive facelift of the city.

Let me also say that before 1996 Ekiti had no functioning state industry. The ROMACO granite company in Igbemo, the Ikun Dairy farm in Ikun, Ire Burnt Brick in Ire Ekiti and the Orin Farm colony in Orin Ekiti, were all moribund. But with astute and dexterous management of Fayemi, abandoned businesses are bouncing back on their accounts.

For the Ikun Dairy farm to be redeveloped, the government, in partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited, spent $ 5 million to import cows and purchase other machinery. At an optimum production level, the company will produce 10,000 liters of milk per day. This will go a long way in creating jobs and strengthening the state’s revenue profile.

Deploying his link with the international community, Governor Fayemi had joined forces with private companies to manage ROMACO and Ikun Dairy Farm for efficient management and they are gradually being reorganized.

One of the catalysts for good governance is a functional and strong local government structure. When the third level of government is closer, it spirals in development and gains ground.

Prior to 1996, Ekiti had six local governments in Ero, Ekiti East, Ekiti South, Ekiti North, Ekiti Central and Ijero. But the tally had grown to 16 legally recognized councils, with 19 local council development authorities established to provide midwives and propel the development pedal to the base.

In 2011, the government of President Goodluck Jonathan established 12 new universities across the country, with Ekiti being the beneficiary of the approval given for the establishment of Oye Ekiti Federal University in the state. The concept behind this was to ensure the balance so that each state could have a federal university.

It is an indisputable fact that Ekiti could not have benefited from this noble gesture if it was still subsumed under Ondo, it is because the Federal University of Akure had existed for decades. In a few months, work would also begin on the Federal Accredited Medical University in Iyin Ekiti after receiving Presidential assent.

As precarious and weak as Ekiti appears to be in the area of ​​the economy, the state receives an average of 3.5 billion naira from the federation account each month. These funds are spent on education, health, agriculture, human capital development and other essential sectors. Would it have been possible for Ondo to allocate a staggering 3.5 billion naira monthly to projects in the Ekiti axis if Ekiti still kept the six local governments we had then? It also means another area of ​​benefits that needs to be considered.

This came to the fore because Ekiti gave Governor Fayemi the true governor platform to prove his courage and worth. Let the skeptics search the history books; no Ekiti man had ever been touted for such a coveted seat.

Added to this was the fact that Governor Fayemi is the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, overseeing the affairs of the 36 governors across party lines and divisions. These are documents that give credence to the fact that Ekiti has gained a reputation not only among the most educated, but also as a body of politically sophisticated and conscious people.

John Ajayi is a public affairs commentator and journalist based in Lagos


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