FEATURE ARTICLE

Samuel Bayo ArowolajuWednesday, February 15, 2017
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RUN, RUN SEGUN ONI, YES RUN - EKITI PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU (PART 1)

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"Perhaps when we face our maker, we will not be asked, 'How many positions you hold,' but rather, 'How many people did you help or serve?" - Thomas S. Monson

any friends, associates and supporters of Engr. Segun Oni and the generality of the people of Ekiti State have been wondering if the former governor of Ekiti State would run for the 2018 governorship election. The high level of expectancy have reached the nooks and crannies of Ekitiland and can be felt from the mountain heights and across every social strata of the state in view of the sudden realization of the old buried fact that there has not been a governor in Ekiti State like Segun Oni in terms of integrity, transparency, accountability and good governance. Literarily, the voice of the people can be heard from the mountain tops around Ekiti and the deep valleys saying: 'Segun Oni please come back and finish the good worked you had started'. This time, it is the good people of Ekiti state that is now drafting and clamoring for the return of the amiable good governor popularly known as "Omoluabi".

For his friends, associates and supporters praying, hoping and wishing for this, may not be a surprise but the most surprising aspect of this general expectation is when you see those who in the past could be regarded as sworn 'enemies' of Governor Oni now been the vanguard and champion of his return to power, come 2018. Yes, the good Book is true saying, 'The stone the builder refused has become the head corner stone'. And this is because the stone's vision, values and virtues are now crystal clear, better known and more appreciated.

On February 11, 2017, for the first time in more than six years after leaving office in obedience to a court order, Segun Oni put all speculations to rest. He publicly answered the prayers of his well-wishers and openly announced to the press his intention to run for the office of the governor of Ekiti State come 2018. "Yes I will" was the most important answer to the question, "Will you run for the governor of Ekiti come 2018?" To the silent and very important majority of Ekiti people, it was the greatest news of the New Year 2017. Many people in Ekiti now, including traditional rulers, civil servants, teachers, local government workers, staffs and students of educational institutions from primary to universities in and outside the state, and especially the retirees and pensioners want Asiwaju Olusegun Adebayo Oni back as governor because of the good work he did during his first coming.

The yearnings for the "Second Coming of Segun Oni" did not exclude those of Obas and other traditional rulers, religious leaders of all faith, market men and women, artisans and members of all trade unions in Ekiti state, who like a woman who has tasted and tested two husbands now know the differences between the two. As a matter of fact, every strata and class of Ekiti have been able to see the differences between the tenure of office of all those whom God has given the opportunity to be a governor over Ekiti people. It is not that these past governors have not done their best, but there is always room for improvements in the constant dynamic needs of the people. Been well educated, enlightened but not discriminatory, the Ekiti people are now asking a new ASIWAJU to lead them into a greener pasture because of his accomplishments of the past.

THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF GOVERNOR SEGUN ONI

Engineer Olusegun Adebayo Oni was the Executive Governor of Ekiti State between mid-July 2007 and mid-October 2010. During this period, Ekiti state was governed purposely with the tools of Fiscal Responsibility, Good Governance and Due Process of Law guided by Integrity, Accountability and Rule of Law. All these tools were managed under Accountability and Review Process (ARP) that became the watchword of the governor and government. No wonder the government achieved more while spending less because of the small available financial resources. Ekiti state then confirmed the age old African saying: Some people say we are poor but the progress we make is not about how rich we are.

All the activities of the government fell under this purview of ARP. Each year, between January and December, starting with the State of the State in January, the governor openly declared the progressive vision and mission of Government live to the people of Ekiti, the generality of the people were carried along in what can be described as Open Governance. The Audited Accounts of the state and local governments of the preceding years were published in National Newspapers. The Revised Budget based on the 5 + 7 months review presented to the House of Assembly. The mid-year State of the State review to check the budget performance took place. The budgeting 'Ways and Means' for the next years began at the ministerial, agency and departmental levels. The Pre-Treasury Board Meeting held while the final Treasury Board Meeting took place. By December, the Governor presented the draft budget to the House of Assembly for passing into law.

ROAD NETWORKS -Reaching Out To All and Road to All

The outcome of this planned and integrity based governance include the completion of 22 road networks covering more than 312 kilometers in all the three Senatorial Districts. These include Isinbode - Iro Federal - Iro Irun road on a virgin land where there had never been road before and being the shortest route to link Ekiti East to Akoko in Ondo State. The Ikole-Itapaji - Iyemero where there had never been road before. By the time Segun Oni left office, there were 33 roads of more than 418 kilometers in progress across the state. In addition to these, there were 28 Township roads in all the Senatorial Districts of Ekiti state covering about 56 kilometers. The 2010 proposed roads included the new dualization of roads such as Ado - Iyin - Igede; Ado - Ijan - Iluomoba; Ifaki - Ido; Igede - Ido; Ilasa - Eda Ile; Oye - Iludun -Otun; Ilupeju -Igbemo - Ijan and Ijero - Ipoti - Iloro - Aiyetoro roads; all covering about 926 kilometers across the state.

WATER PROJECTS - Water For All

Governor Segun Oni confronted head long, the supply of Pipe Borne Water, which is the most important infrastructural project in any society; and even in the history of Ekiti people and state, called WATER FOR ALL. Indeed, if Governor Segun had been allowed, every town and village in Ekiti by now, would have been drinking water drawn from water treatment plants and not from ponds, streams, brooks and shallow wells.

Through the combined efforts of the Segun Oni government and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) aid program, there would have been astronomical increase in the capacity and capability of water supply to Ekiti people. Works were almost completed on reactivating the existing water works and improving their quality of water and building more new treatment plants.

To achieve the Water for All project, contracts were awarded for more than 262km supply and laying of pipes, construction of booster stations and reservoirs for millions of liters of water; construction of 1,770 water-fetching-points across the state; and supply and installation of generators. If the Water for All project had been completed including the old rehabilitated ones and those handled by Segun Oni the people of Ekiti state would have been enjoying an installed capacity of about 205,300,000 liters a day serving 2.4million people with a projected water need of about 40 liters of water per head per day or 96, 000,000 liters per day.

For the purpose of carrying all along the entire geographical zones of Ekiti, the locations of the Water Booster Stations and Reservoirs Constructed and Rehabilitated by the Segun Oni government were as follows:

EKITI SOUTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT

1. Isinbode - Booster Station and Reservoir

2. Ilasa - Rehabilitation of Existing Booster Station

3. Ijan - Booster Station and Reservoir

4. Ise - Booster Station and Reservoir

5. Ogotun - Rehabilitation of existing Booster Station

EKITI CENTRAL SENATORIAL DISTRICT

1. Ado (Fajuyi) - Reservoir

2. Aramoko - Booster Station and Reservoir

3. Itawure - Booster Station and Reservoir

4. Ikogosi - Reservoir

EKITI NORTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT

1. Ifaki - Booster Station and Reservoir

2. Oke Ako - Booster Station and Reservoir

Ekiti people are living witnesses of works that were started on the rejuvenating the old moribund water pipelines and laying of new ones and improving pumping capacities across the state. Segun Oni brought his engineering ingenuity to Ekiti Water project by looping all the existing pipeline networks to form a loop of water for one-state integrated pipeline. There was the great plan for concessional agreements between investors and other stakeholders like Ondo state government that would have brought maximum use of our water resources beyond drinking only in the state being the first of its kind. In all, pipelines (new and rehabilitated) covered about 287 kilometers spanning virtually all towns and villages of Ekitiland. This would have extended supply of water to all towns in Ekiti. As a matter of fact Ekiti state would have had more than needed water and be selling to other states. This would have easily been possible with the construction of water reservoirs and booster stations at strategic points.

EDUCATION - Never Been So Free and Never Been So Funded

An average Nigerian knows that Ekiti State has one natural resource feeding its only industry. The natural resource is the ability and Spartan will of the people to make sacrifices and assiduously work in their only educational industry. During the time of Engr. Segun Oni as governor and being the only trained teacher from the legendary Wesley College Ibadan, issues concerning education in the areas of primary, secondary, technical and vocational; adult and non-formal, and tertiary institutions became a priority. The welfare of teachers at all levels in the areas of prompt payment of salaries and allowances including payment of gratuities and pensions; promotions and other welfare packages were pushed to the front burner. The students at all levels were provided with more and better conducive environment for learning. New classrooms and lecture theaters, well equipped libraries and science laboratories were provided. New teaching and non-teaching staff were recruited and deployed even to rural areas with incentives.

Primary Education

For the first time, there was the introduction of feeding of primary school pupils with eggs and chocolate covering about 147, 000 beneficiaries. Unlike when students were bringing their chairs and tables from home to the school in the past, students and teachers were supplied with furniture by the government. There were building of new school buildings and classrooms, renovations and rehabilitation of existing dilapidated ones.

Junior Secondary Education

The three year Junior Secondary School became a very important tier of secondary education. In view of this, free textbooks were provided for JSS students. All schools had fully equipped and functional libraries and laboratories. Free feeding on eggs and chocolate were provided for about 53,000 students. Student and teachers were also provided for with furniture and therefore created more conducive learning and teaching environments.

Senior Secondary Education

Ekiti state had 22 Senior Secondary Schools with boarding facilities at a cost of N385 million Naira with the following supplies: 1,650 laptops, 22 V-Sat, 20 Inverters, 60 Teacher PCs, 60 Printers and 60 Magic White Boards. Between 2007 and 2009, the total volumes of text books supplied to Primary and Secondary schools in Ekiti was 755,785. In addition to this, the government paid for the registration for all the student writing WAEC and NECO examinations in the state. The government also provided free JAMB forms and 16 week free JAMB coaching for all qualified students covering the whole 16 local government areas costing about N87 million.

Ekiti State Scholarship Programs

Under the Segun Oni government, Ekiti state government awarded scholarships to qualified students from Secondary level to PhD degree levels within and outside the country. Beneficiaries include students from Secondary and Technical schools; automatic awards for the physically challenged, Law School, Aviation and Maritime School, and One year abroad foreign Language Proficiency students; Colleges of Education, Polytechnics, Undergraduate, Masters and PhD degrees in Nigerian and Overseas institutions. In 2008 academic year, there were 1,146 beneficiaries at a cost of about N165 million. The 2009 year projection was for 1,705 beneficiaries at a cost of N247 million. Unfortunately the tide of change did not allow the 2009 exercise to be implemented.

As part of the Educational Revolution brought to Ekiti by Segun Oni administration, was the Schools Enterprise Project started in eighteen Secondary schools across the 16 local governments of the state. Beside their conventional academic pursuits, these schools were equipped with human and material resources and were engaged in small scale entrepreneur activities like Bakery, Block Making, Cassava Processing, Chalk Production, Custard and Beverages production, Printing Press, Palm Kernel production, Poultry, Soap Making and Textile among other enterprises the students can pick up as a career in their future. This is besides generating funds for the schools and providing catalyst for unemployment in the future for the students. I remember Christ School Bread was the toast of the people of Ado Ekiti then.

Technical and Vocational Institutions

Technical and Vocational education were given a facelift under Engr. Segun Oni with the establishment of new Technical Colleges in Igbara-Odo and Iluomoba. The old Technical Schools at Ado Ekiti, Otun, Ijero, Ikole were provided with standard workshops, hostels and staff quarters. There were procurement and installation of tools, equipment, training materials and well equipped libraries, which prepared the institutions for National Accreditation. Professional examination fees were paid for by the government for all final year students to write their NBC/NTC, FCTCE and Federal Labor Trade Test Certificate Examinations. The government also provided for the Skill 'G' Labless Science Kits.

Adult and Non-Formal Education

The Segun Oni government had the goal for 2015 'Education For All', envisioned to boost literacy level among the adult population and those without the opportunity for formal class room education. To achieve this laudable goal, various programs were put in place. Such as:

Basic literacy program designed to enhance the adult literacy with an enrollment of 2,577 participants from the inception of the administration in 2007; Continuing Education Center for 97 beneficiaries; Head Start programs with Early Education Centers like DayCare in 47 locations in 7 local government areas of the state. There were a total enrolment of 3,917 children as beneficiaries. These centers provided jobs for 374 care givers and other auxiliary staff members. By the year 2009, 3,600 of the children graduated to Primary School with a more brilliant start having been well prepared for primary school education. In 2007, 13 vocational centers were established to cater for the needs of 334 male and female beneficiaries all across the state.

Tertiary Education

The University of Ado Ekiti now Ekiti State University received a frontal attention. In fulfilling his campaign promise, Segun Oni also established The University of Education Ikere, The University of Science and Technology Ifaki and The University Teaching Hospital Ado Ekiti. In responding to the needs of private investors in education in the state and providing conducive environment, two private Universities - Afe Babalola University and Crawford University of Agriculture were established in Ekiti under the watch of Segun Oni as Governor. More were on the pipeline then.

Funding the tertiary institutions became the priority of government. Financial allocations to these institutions were quadrupled right from the inception of the government of Segun Oni. For instance, UNAD Ado Ekiti, monthly grant rose by 364%, College of Education Ikere by 310%, the new Universities of Education Ikere and Science and Technology at Ifaki were never left as orphans. They were well funded to the joy of the faculty and students. This was why these institutions witnessed their best years of infrastructural growth and development so far. While the welfare and well-being of faculty, staff and students were properly and adequately attended to, promotions, salaries and allowances were paid as at when due.

To be continued

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