|Dr. Samuel Bayo Arowolaju||Saturday, November 18, 2006|
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THE GOVERNOR WE NEED IN EKITI STATE (PART II)
In the Beginning
ylvester Ayodele Arise was born in October 1956 in Oye Ekiti to an incorruptible judge of a father and a very humble mother. Ayo attended primary and post primary schools in Oye, Aiyedun and Ikerre Ekiti where he made Grade 1 in his WASCE in 1974 from the Annunciation Grammar School. He obtained his STP and HND in Town and Regional Planning at the Ibadan Polytechnic in 1975 and 1980 respectively; Masters' Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Alabama A&M University, Normal, Alabama USA in 1984 as the department overall best student. His desire to obtain his PhD in Land Use and International Development at the Clark Atlanta University was terminated for lack of fund in 1990. Ayo was a Math Teacher at the Ansarudeen High School, Ikole Ekiti and Methodist Girls Grammar School Yaba, Lagos. He also worked briefly as a Town Planner in Akoko, Ekiti, and Sokoto Urban Development Authority during his NYSC.
Business Entrepreneurship and Corporate Management Experience
Ayo started with buying and selling of video players and tapes in 1981 in Nigeria. In the USA, he established a Computer Training Institute in Decatur and later moved to Norcross a suburb of Atlanta. The Institute later became a Mecca for hundreds of people especially Nigerians from all over the USA who became certified in Oracle, Microsoft and other computer programs. Today, many owe their six figure income and upper class standard of living to Ayo Arise.
Cards Technology Limited: This started in January 2000 with an initial share capital of N1million. Today, its share capital is over N1billion. Thanks to Ayo's economic foresightness and innovation, Nigerians now have access to e-commerce and electronic payment by the use of MasterCard, reducing and hopefully eliminating the grave risk of carrying cash about. Many top Banks in Nigeria have opened this door to their customers and also have equity holdings in the Company. Licensed by the Federal Government, Cards Technology has produced more than 18million MTel GSM recharge cards. It is also capable of supplying personalized identification cards, a growing trend in Nigeria.
Card Plant Limited for producing and supplying magnetic and chip cards not only to Nigeria but the West African Sub Region.
International Payment Devices Limited is for the manufacturing and distribution of ATM Machines to Nigeria and other African countries.
Fortune Games Limited has introduced GSM Lotto in Nigeria.
By the Grace of God, his creativity and industry, integrity and honesty, commitment and plain hard work; and economic and financial wizardry, Ayo Arise is not only capable of providing for his own needs but those of many other Nigerians of various skills working in these businesses through provisions of employment opportunities. Ayo has thus proved that Nigerians can create wealth through hard work, honest and dignify means.
Ayo's prophecy on Fayose's Exit before 2007
I have seen that the incumbent governor has not displayed caution. He has not displayed maturity or good level of intelligence either. Some of his utterances will continue to haunt him. But his prediction that three months to the election, there would be no aspirant will turn out to be the reverse, because three months to the election, I believe Fayose would have run away from Ekiti. It is either he resigns, or he is impeached or he will no longer be running for the governorship. I think rather than thinking of running, he had better be praying so that he could complete this term. He is the one that will no longer be in contention for the seat (Ayo Arise in August 2006. Fayose ran away in October).
On Ekiti Economy:
Arise promises to tap the immense human and natural potentials of the state for the overall development of its economy. As an industrialist, he promises to explore to the fullest, his contacts within the country and in the advanced economies of the world, to bring the desired development to the state; and to use his wealth of experience to bear on the quality of governance in the state. In his words:
This is not the Ekiti that we all dreamt of. We didn't bargain for this rot in our place of birth and we are ready to bring succor to the lives of our poverty-ridden people. What it takes for any society, no matter how backward to develop is not only the resilience of the people but the commitment, dedication, personal experience and wide contacts of its leaders. Ekiti people have resilience and we are ready to supply the rest for our common good. It is our plan to turn Ekiti into an industrially rich business environment from her tradition of being a civil service state; using our God given resources
Our children deserve free and compulsory qualitative education while the elderly folks will benefit from our adult literacy programs. Education is our best legacy in Ekiti. It is the pride of our forebears and we will make every effort to make our education the model for the whole of the country. Now our education is in a sorry state. In our schools, there are no toilets; no teaching aids, classrooms are crowded with no adequate chairs and desks. Our plan is to turn all these around for good, starting with improving the lives of our teachers, the infrastructure, restructuring of the curriculum and texts, and the purpose and focus of education. We will bring back the golden years to replace the tears that our education and our teachers are facing now. We will not promise to put computer on the desk of every pupil in the State like some of the aspirants are promising but we will make use our computer education for the best interest of Ekiti State. After putting in place what will make the computers work, we will make sure that each school has at least a computer library and our teachers assisted to become computer literate to start with.
On Social and Economic Infrastructures
There is no excuse for the poor state of our roads, water supply, and electricity and health care services. These are the very indices for measuring development and standard of living of a people. We are prepared to break the jinx or circle of poverty in Ekiti State. I lived in America before; there is no village without these basic amenities. Our people deserve these also. Cables, Telephone and Internet services will be part of our programs for socio-economic developments along with stabilizing our power and water supplies and construction of "rain-proof" roads. There is the abundant supply of wind and solar energies that we can tap for the good of our people. There are rivers flowing in Ekiti land which are begging to be redirected by pipes into our homes. There are private sector investments from home and abroad that we can attract for the benefits of our people.
The days of agric of hoes and cutlasses should be gone in 2006 but that is where we are in Ekiti state. No, that is not acceptable. We have 25 year old farmers cultivating 10acres of land in America because of technology. They are ready and willing to sell their technology to willing buyers. Farmers in Brazil are enjoying the same American agric technology right now. There is no reason while people in Ekiti cannot do the same. It is our resolve to bring mechanized farming to Ekiti Land, when we are elected in 2007 by the grace of God. Our program of poverty eradication includes mechanizing our agric sector. When young graduates sit in air conditioned tractors to farm, they will want to go back to the land and be farmers. But the government has to provide the lead.
It is a serious problem for any government to have double standard over issues as serious as security of life and property. It is either you provide adequate security or you allow people to carry guns. The only alternative is just to allow people to be slaughtered for no reason. And that will be irresponsible of any government. It is not enough to make statements. A lot should be done to ensure security. Many people in government are just selfish. When they have two lorry loads of mobile policemen, they no longer have consideration for someone who is at risk? It is either they withdraw police protection from everybody so that everybody feels it, or something is done to protect all of us.
On those who steal the people's money
Some steal the people's money, believing that they are super smart and will not be caught. Ekiti does not have much money, so the little they have must be properly managed. Though I am not wealthy or being a "money bag" as some people are saying but thank God I am not hungry. Only a selfish person will claim to be rich in the midst of so much poverty of our people. Our plan when we are in government is to see how much we can contribute and not how much or what we will take from the state.
On Immunity Clause
They should remove immunity from the governors. The moment they say you are a special person, you cannot be arrested, prosecuted or tried, what kind of crap is that? That gives you a license to feel you are really above the law. I don't believe in that and I don't need it. I am honest, clean and transparent and that is the type of government I will lead, God willing, when I become the governor of Ekiti State. I challenged anybody who has any document or information about me to the contrary to publish them without anonymity. I am for Freedom of the Press and our administration will uphold that.
On other aspirants:
I have my deep respect for all the aspirants. It takes a lot of gut and patriotism to want to sacrifice your time, energy and other resources for electioneering campaign especially someone like me. I salute all of us. I can assure you there is nobody in the race that is not better than Fayose in terms of the quality and strength of character, education and qualification, exposure and experience; be it in corporate governance or in private business or even in public service. Our goal is to run a better open government that will bring progress; restore honor, decency, dignity, and respect for our institutions, especially traditional institutions, elders and people. Our differences lie in our experience and maturity, what we have achieved in our private lives and what we can do for Ekiti State.
With his popular campaign slogan, Arise Ekiti, the Oye Ekiti-born industrialist, Mr. Ayo Arise is no mean man in Ekiti gubernatorial race. Arise, until his return to Nigeria few years back, had sojourned in the United States for many years. With commitment and aggressive campaign, he has penetrated into the nooks and crannies of Ekiti, winning more and more supporters and convincing them that it is high time that governance in Ekiti State witnessed a revolutionary change. Brimming with self-confidence, Arise employs the tool of courage in his gubernatorial pursuit, assuring all and sundry that his ride into Ekiti Government House comes 2007 is a settled matter. His popularity began to soar in 2004, when he picked up the gauntlet to reposition AD in the state after its gallant loss at the 2003 general elections. In fact, he was one of the principal figures who mobilized support for AD and encouraged hundreds of thousands of members that the defeat notwithstanding, AD had in it the potential not just to regain power but to change the face of governance in the state. It was through this approach that his name became a household name in Ekiti.
The Chief Executive Officer of Cards Technology, an independent organization based in Lagos, which championed the use of Master Cards in the country, Arise's campaign strategy has been enticing and systematic. Combining affluence with industrial prowess, his followership has continued to soar, threatening the chances of other aspirants even the governor. His campaign machinery has grown very strongly to a formidable platform, attracting both the young and the old. He is viewed as a man who has all it takes to govern Ekiti with a difference.
Arise said his motivating factor is the need to exploit his professional trainings in City Planning to map a new planning structure for Ekiti. He explains his motivating factors: "Ekiti is a place where we have generous resources, handsome and human resources. But if you travel all over Ekiti, what you see is the landscape being occupied by rots... But I intend to let people know that we are no longer in the period of brick and mortal. We are in technology time and having used that to achieve success, I hope to replicate many Ayo Arise's in Ekiti. "So, it is not so much about coming into governorship because I want to be governor. My first and second degrees were on City Planning. We have a lot of things to do. Ekiti needs proper planning. You see, we have plans. One of the first things I'll do is to call all the professionals together. We'll sit down to brainstorm - where do we go from here? How do we get there? How much can we do within the next four years? How much can we vote for this or that?
One of the best areas in Ado-Ekiti is the GRA, occupied by the colonial masters. Why shouldn't we be able to improve on that and produce many GRA's in Ekiti? So the first thing to do in Ekiti, is the plan to restructure the state," Arise promised.
Following the decision of his party to begin the conduct of primaries at the local government level, Arise has moved his campaign structures to his local government, rooting for supporters at the grassroots to enable him emerge winner at the council level before the state primaries. As a result of this new trend, many believed that his campaign's strength had diminished.
Dear Readers, I know many will want to ask me why I suddenly become partisan; profiling a candidate out of about 40 aspiring for the same office. I am committed to be part of this Nehemiah getting ready to rebuild the fallen walls of the pride, honor and dignity of Ekiti. For me, no sacrifice is too big and none is too small to contribute as building blocks for this project. I have held it as a firm philosophy that when the wise and prudent refused to participate in politics, he should not complain about the government of the fools and prodigals. This was proved right by the installation of Fayose whose political father has now characterized as a political error in Ekiti. The communiqué of the meeting of Ekiti Stake Holders held recently, which was another reaction to the Tragedy in Governance in Ekiti (2003-2006) is also instructive of while any patriotic son and daughter of Ekiti should no longer fold his/her hands and watch actors and players on the Ekiti theatre of politics. This is Action time, it is time for Action.
For emphasis, three of the communiqué are very instructive. "Never again should Ekiti State be saddled with a political leadership of dubious ancestry or questionable antecedents. Efforts at mobilizing and educating the voters in Ekiti State should be intensified. All knowledgeable and enlightened Ekiti sons and daughters should be involved in the task of ensuring the election of good, accountable and transparent government at all levels in Ekiti State." This is exactly what I am doing.
After dropping my person desire to run, I decided to look out for an aspirant to who I can yield my position. I have been in contact with probable aspirants until the possible ones emerged after the fall of Fayose. I decided to study, research, and investigate all the serious contenders that I could contact. In all modesty, I used every tools of investigation available to me including background checks. I focused on the person and personality of the aspirants, their theology and sociology, maturity and capability in relationship to the needs of Ekiti state and people; their past and present, which can easily open the window into their future romance with power, privilege, influence and judgment, which are the four cardinal points in politics. I spoke with their supporters and those who are not.
Sylvester Ayodele Arise who has just past 50 years of age is seen by many as the ideal candidate who may not suffer from "youthful exuberance" of the last two governors. With a Master's degree, he is not too educated to be snobbish and proud and not without enough to have low self esteem among intelligentsias like Fayose. His business and industrial success and corporate relationships come handy as a panacea to the bane of poverty for which many have now identified with Ekiti. His humility which is known and acknowledged by many will be a pull factor to the best brains from the young and old, at home and abroad for the Ekiti collective rescue mission to restore our honor and glory. His root and upbringings including education in Ekiti, his community participation, his traverse in the north, south, east and west of our land have exposed him to our fears and tears. His marriage to the Princess of a prominent traditional ruler in the state, who on her own is an epitome of humility, has eternally bonded him to have nothing but respect for our traditional rulers, our elders and our people. His schooling and teaching and civil service experience in the state will assure the teachers and civil servants of ready listening ears. Above all, his drive, courage, initiative, commitment, sacrifice to his political base, his honesty and transparence, his strong faith and believe that power belongs to the people as ordained by God and given to whom He chooses; live me without any fear or concern, doubt or hesitation in my heart that Sylvester Ayodele Arise, if given the chance and opportunity, will be the best governor Ekiti need now.
In view of all the foregoing and after all considerations of the competing values and alternatives and especially the other aspirants in the race for the next governor of Ekiti State; I, Samuel Adebayo Arowolaju therefore endorse Mr. Sylvester Ayodele Arise as the Governor we need in Ekiti State come 2007. I call on all those who share my values, hopes, faith and aspiration to support him in this endeavor. That does not mean that other aspirants are not good or qualify BUT Ayo Arise to me is just the best of all that we have and need at this crucial moment in Ekiti as we cannot afford to gamble again. And if we are to gamble, then Ayo Arise is the best card we can play to win. He is the one in my view that will provide the best that we need in the next dispensation. However, if it is not the will of God for him to be elected, as Ayo and I believe in the supreme power of God Almighty, to enthrone and dethrone kings; we have resolved as a loyal and patriotic sons of Ekiti, to give our unalloyed support to whoever is elected for the good of Ekiti our fatherland provided he does not follow the path of Fayose.
Meanwhile, I call on all who are qualified to vote at the AC primaries on December 12 2006 to vote enemas for Ayo Arise. For those who will not have the chance and opportunity to vote, please make sure to call out your friends and relations who can vote to go out and vote. For our friends and others who will want to contribute money to this worthy cause, we have set up "Friends of ARISE 2007" Fund to which you can voluntarily and generously contribute. Be assured your money is in good hands. Every penny will be accounted for as the beginning of transparency and accountability in Arise government. You may decide to be anonymous if you will but the donor list will be published later. For the modalities, please contact me at the e-mail on this article.
I wish my friends and admirers who disagree with me or my choice will please kindly show understanding and respect my right of choice and participation in the process of moving my state, Ekiti forward. I respect the fact that we cannot always agree on all issues or on one candidate but the greatest beauty of democracy is mutual respect to disagree on issues, values and the way to get things done, while we can still remain as friends. To those from Ekiti and especially to other aspirants, we may be heading to the same destination but through different routes. Let us rejoice in the fact that we all stand up to be counted as co-laborers in rebuilding our beloved State, Ekiti. The days of sitting on the fence or on the couch with remote control to listen to news about Ekiti should be gone. The days of being observers are gone; we should all be participants now. That is exactly what I believe I am doing.
Thank you all,
EKITI A GBE A O.
Long Live Ekiti State, Our Dear Fatherland.
ARISE EKITI!!! EKITI ARISE!!!!
© 2006 - Dr. Samuel Bayo Arowolaju