John Kayode Fayemi, scholar, politician and activist, was yesterday sworn into office as governor of Ekiti State.
He promised residents of the “Fountain of Knowledge” a new dawn.
Standing before thousands of people, including dignitaries and excited ordinary folks, at the packed Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Fayemi promised to turn around the “Land of Honour” with a four-point agenda.
He is coming into office for the second time, after losing his re-election bid in 2014.
Leading the army of dignitaries at the colourful ceremony was President Muhammadu Buhari, who said Ekiti people made no mistake in electing Fayemi. He promised to support the new administration to develop the state and make life easier for its people.
Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, promised that Ekiti will enjoy cash support and projects under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
The oath of allegiance and the oath of office were administered on Dr. Fayemi, with his wife, Bisi, by his side, by the Chief Judge, JusticeAyodeji Daramola, at about 12.25 pm.
Justice Daramola had earlier swore in the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, who was also accompanied by his wife, Margaret, at about 12.12 pm.
Fayemi won the July 14 governorship election by defeating the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and immediate past Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola and candidates of 33 other political parties.
The governor polled 197, 459 votes to beat Olusola who garnered 178, 022 votes.
Before taking the oath of office, Fayemi was driven round the arena in a Land Rover, a police ceremonial vehicle, acknowledging cheers from the appreciative crowd.
He also inspected a police guard of honour.
Fayemi promised to turn around Ekiti by concentrating on four cardinal policies.
These, according to him, are agriculture and rural development, social investment, infrastructure development and knowledge economy.
Fayemi, who reiterated that he is not on a vengeance mission, promised to review all documents to know the exact financial situation of the state and make his findings known within 100 days.
The former Minister of Mines and Steel Development said he will ensure that the payment of arrears of workers’ salaries is fully and firmly addressed as soon as possible.
The governor said his victory at the July 14 governorship poll and his regaining the highest office in the state signalled the “end of an era and end of an error in which Ekiti passed through wilderness in the last four years.”
Fayemi said the social security scheme for the aged in which registered senior citizens received N5,000 monthly stipend will soon return. The announcement received a thunderous applause.
He promised to bring succour to the citizenry by eliminating corruption.
While pledging to review the state of the treasury, Fayemi said the action will not be taken in a vindictive manner but to ensure that public funds are accounted for.
Fayemi disclosed that Ekiti is owing N170 billion, which are loans taken by the immediate past administration, noting that the challenge won’t hinder his government’s plan to meet the needs of the people.
The governor said never again shall pupils in public and private schools be made to pay tax that was imposed on them by the Ayo Fayose administration.
Fayemi promised to bring relief to the people by executing policies that will improve their standards of living which, according to him, worsened under Fayose.
Fayemi assured his audience that the famous Ikogosi Warm Spring resort, a reputable tourist destination, which was allegedly left to rot away by the Fayose administration will be revived.
He said: “In the last four years, Ekiti was governed by a rudderless, inept and egregiously corrupt government, which was led by those who deceived our people through the instrument of stomach infrastructure.
“In this context, never again will Ekiti slip into the hands of those who knew nothing about governance; never again shall we allow our school children to pay taxes; never again shall we abandon the burgeoning resources at Ikogosi Warm Spring to waste.
“Never again shall we allow our judiciary to be debased by a draconian government and never again shall the most educated state like Ekiti be an apostle of stomach infrastructure that has made us a laughing stock.
“In our quests for economic rejuvenation, our government shall invest heavily in Youth in Commercial Agriculture, because Ekiti is basically agrarian, reactivate community based projects, tap into our tourist potential and ensure security of local and foreign investors.”
The governor went on: “As of today, the debt profile and other financial commitments hanging on the state look challenging, but with your support, we shall overcome. The light shall shine again.
“We shall celebrate our core values of scholarship, knowledge, hard work, unity and strong characters bequeathed to us by our founding fathers.
“We appreciate our fathers who fought for the creation of this state in 1996 and I want to assure them that we shall keep the flag flying and make sure we don’t disappoint them by fulfilling their dreams and aspirations within the next four years.
“We shall network with the Federal Government and other local and international bodies to bring dividends of democracy Ekiti people deserve to their doorsteps.”
While expressing confidence in Fayemi’s ability to deliver democratic dividends to Ekiti people, Buhari revealed that the governor, as a former member of the federal cabinet, always pestered him with issues of development of his home state.
The President added that Fayemi’s governorship would afford him the opportunity to redirect Ekiti to the path of greatness and economic prosperity.
Buhari pleaded with Ekiti voters over his re-election bid in 2019, saying he has a lot to offer Nigerians if reelected.
He said: “I know Dr Fayemi very well, he has always cherished anything that has to do with the development of this state. As Ekiti governor between 2010 and 2014, he instituted some laudable projects that impacted positively on the lives of the people and this pavilion was one of them.
“I know that he will do what is right to justify this mandate. I charge him not to relent in his efforts to serve Ekiti with passion, commitment and candour .
“FG has given support to states in the areas of bailouts, budget support, ecological funds and Paris Club refund, of which Ekiti was a beneficiary.
“We have extended the standard rail project to Ekiti and the construction of the Federal Secretariat will soon be completed. The FG is also planning to dualise Ado-Akure road and reconstruct Ado-Ikare Road for the use of our people. We have also built another 133 KVA power source in Ekiti that will be commissioned soon.
“As of today, 11,000 Ekiti indigenes are benefiting from the N-power programme of this administration.
“We are confident that Dr. Fayemi will help cover the lost grounds brought by past administration. From today, you will begin to have a new breath in Ekiti under the present government.”
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