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Hard time awaits Ekiti new governor …inherits N94 bn unpaid salaries and pensions

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Hard time awaits Ekiti new governor ...inherits N94 bn unpaid salaries and pensions

Olusesan Laoye

At last Dr. Kayode Fayemi has bowed out and his right hand man, Abiodun Oyebamiji, has stepped into his shoes as new Ekiti State governor. 

Oyebamiji’s emergence, no doubt, has brought a new hope, aspirations and high expectations for the people of Ekiti State, who the new governor is expected to pilot for the next four years without any hindrance.

Although the only issue which could cause any hindrance or alter his four year first term in office is the ongoing petition at the Tribunal by the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP), Enginreer Segun Oni, challenging his victory.

But both All Progressives Congress APC) and Oyebamiji are optimistic that the petition of Oni, which they believe is inconsequential and of no weight, would not deterred them from ruling the state for the next four years.

The way he ascended the office could be described as very unique with the fact that it was a back to back rulership, which has never happened before in Ekiti State.

Since the state has been in existence it has not been possible for a political party to win an election to succeed itself. Oyebamini is the first beneficiary of such, being an home boy and a grassroots man, who has seen it all, as far of democratic governance.

The mere fact that he has been over the years linked with the people in view of his previous appointments and antecedents makes the expectations from the people very high.

What further heightens the expectations from all quarters is his grassroots connections and being a home grown politician, which is expected ensure Harmony with the people. Others who ruled before him were regarded as Ekitis abroad, who outwitted the home-grown politicians, to rule the state.

But Oyebamiji’s case is different and that is why his governance is expected to be different and people- oriented.

Oyebamiji himself, aware of the task ahead of him, even before he was sworn in, made several consultations with the people and different organizations, assuring them that he would not let them down;as a grassroot man. He assured them of fulfilling all what he promised during his electioneering campaign.

Even in his maiden speech, what caught the attention of the people was his promise to be responsive, responsible and that he would be ready to take constructive criticism, whenever he is wrong.

This statement, according to leaders of various institutions, groups, and political leaders, came as a welcome development and much to be desired by Oyebaminji, who has to ensure that the high expectations of the people in all strata are met.

Some of the issues begging for urgent and drastic measures from the new government of Ekiti state, are poverty alleviation, job creation, security, both primary and secondary health care delivery and most importantly, what would be the style of leadership of the governor himself.

With the agenda set in motion by the new government, which is centered on uplifting the standard of living and the improvement of the economy, to cater for all the six points action programmes set for implementation in order to make impact and as a sign of seriousness, drastic and meaningful changes are expected within the next six months of the present government on all the promises made.

It was argued that transition advisory council set up before the new governor took oath of office, must have smoothing the ground for him, with the level of the people on the council.

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The council which had the immediate past Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, former Deputy Governor, Chief Abiodun Aluko, Senator Olubunmi Adetunji and the former Chairman of the party in the state, Chief Jide Awe, should have by now, based on its mandate, looked into the assets and liabilities of the state to shed lights on how the immediate past governor, Kayode Fayemi governed, and collated the demands from the people, to help the new administration move forward.

Former governor Fayemi without hiding the fact that Oyebamiji has a lot of tasks ahead of him, said that the advisory council had a big tasks to put the incoming government of Oyebamiji through on the right path for it to be able to navigate through the arduous challenges ahead, associated with governance, since he too was just skipping the ropes.

Right now, Oyebamiji is faced with one of the biggest challenges just inherited from Fayemi. People are now looking at how he would commence the implementation of what was described as the hurriedly crafted 30 years development plan of Ekiti from 2021 to 2050.

Though it is meant for the next 30 years, Oyebamiji would be the first to fire the salvo and have a bite of the new development plan as the people of the state are very eager to see how it would take off under him.

It was, however, argued, that although the development plan was put up by his mentor, who is expecting that some of his policies should be rolled over for continuation by his political son, analyst believed that Oyebamiji should take a critical look at the document before committing his administration and the people of Ekiti state to the bogus plan.

But Fayemi believed that Oyebamiji would not find governance and implementations of the Development plan difficult based on his dexterity and qualities of his wealth of experience, as a person who has been a key player in his government from 2010-2014 and 2018 to 2022.

Also his mentor envisaged that his role in politics and other assignments in government are expected to be assets to him in ruling Ekiti State.

One of the key challenges, which Oyebamiji is expected to show serious commitment, is that of security. As a man who was deeply involved in the setting up of the Development Agenda of the Western Nigeria Commission (DAWN), which initiated the formation of the Western Nigeria Security outfit, the Amotekun and the Secretary of the State security Council, Oyebamiji is expected to use all these to his advantage, in solving security issues in state and as well formulate new security policies to ensure that the people got adequate protection from invaders and external attacks.

Governor Oyebamiji also needs to do a lot to gain the acceptance of the people, who had lost hope in the leadership of the APC at the top, and are now skeptical and would want honest, and judicious dispensation of the financial resources and manpower of of the state.

The agenda centred on Education, capital development, infrastructural development, tourism agriculture and how to alleviate the suffering of workers and pensioners are also areas people want the new administration of Oyebamiji to focus on.

Both the workers and retirees have been singing discordant tunes over unpaid areas and this they believed, would change under the leadership of Oyebamiji.

The Chairman of the pensioners in the state would want the long term pension arrears declared state of emergency, as the government is owing them a total of N37.5 billion gratuity areas.

They would also want Governor Oyebamiji to increase the monthly part payment arrears of pensioners from N100 million to N500million to meet the needs of the retirees.

Also the civil servants and other workers under the aegis of the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) and Nigerian Trade Union Congress (TUC) want proper attention and their matters, placed as priority.

The two Unions claimed that the government is owing their members a total of N57 billion of salary, deduction, leave and promotion arrears.

The duo of NLC and TUC chairmen Sola Adigun and Kolapo Olatunde respectively, said they expected the new governor being a grassroots person, to think outside the box, to solve the numerous problems facing the state, so that he would be different from others.

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Apart from workers, other concerned bodies too like the National Union of Road Transport Workers(NURTW), Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS) and Market women, are on the neck of the new governor. They too, have as well, set their own agenda, as to what they would need from him.

The NURTW wanted the new government to buy vehicles for drivers on hire purchase, while the students wanted government to offer them scholarships and pay robust bursary.
They also wanted the new government to comply with the 26% budgetary allocation to education in conformity with the guideline of UNESCO.

As the ex governor Fayemi in his parting words extolled his successor, and political son, now in office, saying that he was sure that the people of Ekiti State are in safe hands with their new governor, Abiodun Oyebamiji and deputy, Christiana Afuye, the people are now watching, to see how safe they would be in their hands.

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