By Isa Isawade
Good governance is about effectively addressing challenges confronting the people. It is about faithfully providing basic needs of the citizens and bringing soccour to the disadvantaged. The people’s standard of living keep improving, while all and sundry feel catered for, thereby engendering peace and tranquility.
Therefore, people should be the main focus in formulation and implementation of policies by government. Any policy that is not about that is anti-people and should be jettisoned, especially, by a government laying claim to coming to power on mandate of the people.
Using the foregoing as yardstick, one can, reasonably, conclude that the recently enthroned government of John Olukayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has started well.
I have been visiting Ekiti, Ondo, and other south-western states, at least twice a year, since 2016. The economy of Ekiti remained in shambles throughout the administration of the previous government. Hooliganism and violence were the order of the day. Larger percentage of youths in the state, including educated ones, had been turned into commercial motorcyclists, popularly called ‘okada riders’.
On Tuesday July 10, 2018, four days to the 14th July 2018 Ekiti Governorship Election, I was in Ado-Ekiti. I did not have prior information that the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Exellency, Muhammadu Buhari, a natural crowd-puller, was visiting the state same day to attend the grand finale of Dr. Fayemi’s campaign.
The then incumbent Governor Ayodele Fayose had created serious tension in the state by slamming curfew on the state in order to prevent Ekiti citizens from welcoming their president. He declared public holiday for civil servants, asked commercial transport workers to down tools and ordered every resident to stay indoors. Thugs were let loose to monitor compliance and teach violators of the governor’s strange order bitter lesson.
Also, no vehicle from outside was allowed to enter Ado. Interstate commercial vehicles, including the one in which I travelled, off-loaded their passengers at the entrance of the state capital. I couldn’t find either a cab or motorcycle to convey me to my destination.
We were in the hostage when suddenly, to the relief of everyone, truckloads of combined teams of armed soldiers and mobile police deployed from neighbouring states, apparently on the order of the President, came in to arrest the situation. The visiting President Buhari had gotten wind of the untoward development and ordered deployment of security across the state capital.
The soldiers displayed a show of power across the city, asking residents to go about their normal businesses and assuring them of safety.
This assurance led to an immediate evaporation of the tension, and like a flight of birds just released from an enclosure, the people gleefully trooped out to go about their normal businesses, vehicles and other means of transportation fully back on roads.
Peace at last! The commercial motorcyclists, who had vanished from the roads, were back with full force, soliciting for patronage. I engaged one of them who jumped at the offer and took me to my destination. I hurried my assignment in Ekiti because the atmosphere still appeared uncertain.
Of course, Governor Fayose’s decision ended in fiasco as civil servants and students took advantage of the holiday to troop to the venue of the All Progressives’ Congress’ mega rally with majority trekking (as a result of the initial ban on vehicular movement) to catch a glimpse of their president.
This was the situation I left Ekiti ten months ago, and did not return there until Tuesday April 9, 2019 while on a mission to see some of our sales agents in the south-west.
When I entered Ado on that Tuesday the experience was a total contrast from the unpleasant past. I felt a new breeze of peaceful atmosphere with residents happily going about their businesses. Commerce had come back to boom in the Fountain of Knowledge’s Capital. The city appeared neater and safer.
I also gathered from my host that individual and general economies in the state had started taking shape due to some fiscal and socio-economic policies of the Fayemi administration which were already positively impacting on the people.
According to him, few months after assumption of office, the Governor paid up to date backlog of salary arrears inherited from his predecessor, restored the monthly aged allowance launched during his first term of office between 2010 and 2014 and embarked on youths employment and empowerment.
I left Ekiti with full conviction that the citizens did great service to their beloved state by returning Fayemi to office. Hence, I am passionately appealing to the Governor to continue on that noble path towards fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of all and sundry in Ekiti.
I also enjoin other South-Western states, especially the ones where litany of complaints by citizens over anti-people policies; economic hardship; unpaid salary arrears; backlog of unpaid pensions; lack of good healthcare and so on are rife, to re-design their programmes in line with the indelible legacy of pioneer of the region’s development, Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo.