FEATURE ARTICLE

Lere OlayinkaWednesday, May 23, 2007
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Yemison2@aol.com
Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

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UNVEILLING THE NEW FACE OF EKITI


he programme was billed to commence at 10:00am, but the Bishop Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex, Ado-Ekiti, venue of the Inauguration of Ekiti State Transition Committee was already filled to the brim as early as 8:00am. The premises too have been taking over by rivers of different brand of cars, numbering more the one thousand. Out of sheer amazement, one of the drivers of the cars beckoned to me and I moved towards him.


"Oga, do you mean that all the people here are Ekiti people?"

I answered in the affirmative.

"Then, how was it possible for all these people to be ruled by someone of Fayose's standing? Does it mean that all these people never took part in the process that produced him as governor?" he asked again.

This question touched me to the marrow. It touched my nerves because that was not the first time that I would be confronted with that kind of question. In fact, it was that same question that was posed to me in year 2005 that prompted me into embarking on the exposure of Fayose's financial recklessness, a venture that brought me face to face with death. Any way, that in itself has become history.

I told my "driver friend" that the gathering that he was seeing that day was a pointer to the resolve of Ekiti people not to make the mistake it made with the emergence of Ayo Fayose as governor in 2003. I explained that it was that same determination to get it right this time that prompted the emergence of Engr. Segun Oni as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate despite all odds; and that it was the same determination that made Ekiti people to elect him as their next governor.

My friend could not agree with me less, and who would? At least not with the caliber of people already seated in the hall patiently waiting for the arrival of Oni, the man on whose shoulder they have placed the burdens of transforming Ekiti to a developed state and the restoration of its peoples' pride and dignity.

Among the people on whose shoulder the task of formulating a new course for Ekiti State now rested are Justice Olajide Olatawura, retired Judge of the Supreme Court and Justice Edward Ojuolape, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Committee on Administration of Justice respectively, Prof. Babalola Borishade, Minister for Culture and Tourism who is the Chairman of Transition Interface Committee, AVM Ernest Adeleye, former military administrator of Rivers State who chairs the Committee on Roads and US based Dr. Bayo Arowolaju, chairman, Committee on Database of Ekiti Indigenes.

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Others are Chief Jimoh Aliu, Chief Ojo Olowojolu, Dr. Isaac Ayodele, Navy Captain Olubolade, former military administrator of Bayelsa State, two former Deputy Governors of the state in persons of Chief Paul Alabi, and Oluomo Abiodun Aluko, Amb. Dare Bejide, former ambassador to Canada, two former Secretary to the State Government in persons of Chief Afolabi Ojuawo and, Evang. Ade Alofe and Rt. Hon. Femi Akinyemi, former Speaker of the old Ondo State House of Assembly.

From the academic world came Prof(s) Dipo Kolawole, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD), Prof. Odeyemi from Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof Ajayi, Prof. Kayode Familoni, Prof. J. O. Ayeni, Prof. J. K. Akingbade, Prof. Femi Elegbeleye, Prof. E. A. Fasakin, Prof. A. O. Adegbulugbe, Special Adviser to President Obasanjo on Energy and Prof. Bola Ayeni among others.

While inaugurating the 480 member 38 committees, Engr. Segun Oni said who presented the Segun Oni Pledge 2007" to the audience said; ""We are indeed in a hurry to rejuvenate Ekiti and once again restore our people's confidence in Governance and Democracy. This underscores the assemblage of all of you distinguished ladies and gentlemen who have been chosen out of the array of high calibre human resources within and outside Ekiti State to help us develop a road map for the delivery of competent governance to the people of Ekiti State," he said.

On the function s of the committee, Engr. Oni said; "The Transition Committees will effectively help our administration to lay the basic foundation for the ultimate delivery of our campaign manifesto. The 38 committees made up of 460 eminent personalities have the task of translating the PDP manifesto, our campaign policy document of "Segun Oni Pledge 2007" and our vision into an action plan with targets for the first 100 days and the rest of the year.

"This will be readily available for implementation on our being sworn in by the Grace of God on day 29, 2007."

Commenting on the inclusion of some members of the opposition parties in the committees, the governor elect said it is a pointer to the desire of his administration to tap the wealth of experience of Ekiti people wherever they are for the benefit of all.

"We have deliberately included members from the opposition parties who share in our vision of rejuvenating Ekiti, in fulfilment of our pledge to run an all inclusive government. We are ready to tap the wealth of experience of our people they are f or the benefit of all," he said.

Urging the committees' members to give their best in the interest of the State, Engr. Oni said; "I therefore call on you to see this assignment as a call to service and as an opportunity to make quality inputs into making Ekiti what will be the best governed entity and the fastest growing economy in the continent of Africa.

"The membership of the committees should not be seen as job for the boys or political patronage. It is a serious assignment that will provide a basic working document to guide us in meeting the yearnings of our people. Your committee will also provide the broad based consultation, platform, which is necessary in a democratic government. The committees will be expected to submit their report on or before the 28th of May 2007."

Just two weeks after the committees were inaugurated a lot of grounds have been covered as many of them have been turning in their interim reports to the admiration of the governor elect. As at Monday, this week no fewer than twenty seven of the committees have submitted their interim report and there is no doubt that the committees' final report when submitted would be a veritable working tool for the in-coming government in its quest to build a world class Ekiti State. This has further been buoyed and enamoured by the availability of enormours human and which unlike the past governments, the in-coming Segun Oni's government has promised to use maximally.

Again, Segun Oni has demonstrated over time that he is capable of turning Ekiti State around for good. He has used his own resources for the education of thousands of Ekiti sons and daughter and has restored hope into many homes through his Micro-Credit scheme.

Also, he has proved more than any of those who contested the governorship election with him that he is own man. He has proved that he is not going to be answerable to either a state governor whose interest is the control of the southwest through the installation of his surrogates as governor or Ayo Fayose, the discredited former governor whose three and half years reign brought so much pains and disgrace to Ekiti people.

Most importantly too, by bringing together some of the best brains in Ekiti State to channel a new course for the state, Oni has further demonstrated his resolve to be answerable to Ekiti people alone. He has shown that the welfare Ekiti people through whose support he was elected governor is going to be his priority. And with the way he has chosen to commence his journey towards the total regeneration of Ekitiland so that its fountain can again begin to bring forth knowledge for development, there is no doubt that a new face of Ekiti would begin to be seen sooner than latter.