MY GOOD PEOPLE OF EKITI STATE
The ceremony of swearing-in, in the form that was just witnessed today, is the second time of my oath-taking as the Governor of Ekiti State. You will recall that I took the first oath of office on May 29, 2003, as the flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party after defeating the then incumbent Governor and his party, the Alliance for Democracy. That mandate was truncated three and half years later through my unjust and forceful removal from office on October 16, 2006. The serial events are still fresh in our minds to be recounted here.
Today marks the eighth anniversary of that dark episode. Also today, October 16, 2014 marks the epoch of my inauguration as Governor the second time, under the same umbrella of the PDP, at this same venue and before the same good people of Ekiti State. The total glory of these unusual dynamics of history, which are too precise to be taken away from divinity, goes to the Almighty God, the Alpha and the Omega.
I want to specially thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, the Vice-President, the Chairman of our great Party, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the National Executive Committee, PDP Governors, and indeed the leadership and entire membership of our Party for the confidence reposed in me and for their unflinching support in the struggle to reclaim my mandate.
Also, I want to express profound gratitude to the good people of Ekiti State for keeping the faith and for identifying with my destiny, eight years after my experience of travesty of justice and sojourn in the wilderness of life. I am inclined to believe that as salvation came to the Jews and Gentiles through one man, God shall help me to use my own favour and grace to liberate the Ekiti People from the shackles of poverty, want and retrogression. I promise to serve you far more than I did during my first term.
THE TRAGEDY OF THE PAST
Good people of Ekiti State, it is highly regrettable that we were made to swim against the tides in the last eight years. The popular will of the majority of our people was supplanted with the selfish interests of a powerful few. We were seized in the jugular by power mongering demagogues who foisted on us an emergency rule at first. They thereafter manipulated hallowed democratic institutions and produced pretenders and interlopers to superintend over us. The ship of state drifted with neither a compass nor a navigator. Our state witnessed many tragedies, including destruction of human lives and properties. There were waste and unproductive expenditure of huge sums of money, considerable slowing down of progress, and incalculable sufferings and deprivations.
There was smear and malicious campaign of calumny against the innocent and orchestrated celebration of the desperate. They could however fool all of the people some of the time, but could not sustain their foolery for long. Ekiti people have seen beyond their veil of fraud and deception and rejected them all.
It is our fervent and declared aim to erase the physical and psychological effects of these tragedies as quickly as human ingenuity can contrive: to repair the damage, to retrieve lost grounds, and to promote concord and unity in place of bitterness, enmity and pretence. We leave the rest to history and posterity.
THE POSITION OF STATE FINANCES
My good people of Ekiti State, I left over ten billion naira (in liquid cash and securities) in this state in October 2006 alongside all the monumental infrastructural and human developments that were emplaced
during my first coming. This huge sum was depleted by the quasi-military
emergency government that was foisted on our people by a power hungry cabal which masterminded and supervised my ouster. All the governments that forced themselves on the good people of Ekiti since I left office in 2006, including the out-going cloned democrats, served every interest other than that of the ordinary Ekiti people.
My heart bleeds today as I report to you, that our state had been plunged into a heavy debt dungeon of over forty
nine billion naira by our own brothers and sisters as follows:
(i) Bond (Capital market) and Agric Loan – N21.2b
ii) Other Bank Loans – N15.5b
(iii) Outstanding, Salary (two months) – N3.2b
iv) Unremitted monthly deductions from salary (4 months) – N2.4b
(v) Unpaid Subventions to Parastatals and Tertiary Institutions – N700m
2014 Leave Bonus – N400m
Unpaid Pensions and Gratuities -N3.2b
Unremitted withholding taxes and other deductions -N850m
Indebtedness to Contractors – NIO.Ob
Total = N57.45P
The position of monthly accruable incomes (net) to Ekiti State is as follows:
(I) Statutory Allocation from the FG – 2.3b
Value Added Tax (VAT) – 650m
Internally Generated Revenue – 350m
Today our state has been committed financially up and until year 2020, even beyond my own administration. The proportionate benefits of this huge debt profile to our people remain to be seen or felt by the ordinary man and woman in our state.
My intention here is not to join issues with the immediate past administration which was substantially responsible for this debt burden. However, I consider it expedient that this parlous position of our finances be made known to members of the public who gave us the mandate to be here. The situation is a challenge that requires our collective effort and creative devices to resolve. My consolation and hope is in our astute human resource capacity and creativity to pull our state out of the palpable quagmire. I therefore appeal to our people to show understanding at this period and be wary of their distractive tendencies, unfounded rumours and outright propaganda of falsehood, as the new government finds appropriate solutions to this immediate challenge.
I am very pleased today that Ekiti has returned to the mainstream of Nigeria politics. My Party believes in a strong, united and indivisible country. We shall ensure strategic partnership with the Federal Government and its agencies. We shall make our contributions in human and natural resources to the Nigerian Commonwealth and also ensure that we secure our dues. We shall also collaborate with foreign missions and development partners in our developmental strides.
It is a fact that Ekiti, for now, is the only PDP- controlled State in South West Nigeria. More of them will soon come under the umbrella by the grace of God. We shall carefully study the objectives of the existing regional political and economic groups in the South-west and make our inputs and decisions as appropriate.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION
My administration recognizes the importance of Local Government Councils as the third tier of government and growth poles for grassroots development. We also appreciate the legitimate yearnings of our people for rapid socio-economic transformation.
Our developmental strides must however be pursued within the ambits of the law and the age-long altruism of the maximum good for the maximum number. Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, clearly spells out the authorities and procedures for the creation of Local Governments. The sudden and shoddy balkanization of the existing sixteen local government areas by the immediate past administration under the guise of creating Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) is being challenged in the court of law. Our Party considers the hurried creation of nineteen LCDAs, after the incumbent lost the June 21 election, as a gratuitous after thought of a bad loser. It smacks of political subterfuge masterminded in utmost bad faith. But at the moment the matter is subjudice and as law abiding citizens, our government will not do anything that wiil render the decision of the courts nugatory. However, pending the pronouncements of the courts, the new administration shall be guided by the provision of section 3 and part 1, First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution on the list of Local Governments in Nigeria, in the allocation of resources to that tier of Government. We shall ensure real democratization at the local government level and put in place effective administration for rapid grassroot development.
Essentially, this government is a government of restoration. We shall continue with the People-oriented programmes which we started in 2003. Our destiny is inextricable with that of the Ekiti People. Our vision is to replace poverty and want with plenty and prosperity. This we intend to achieve through the following five cardinal programmes, which were evolved after due consultation with the people in their various communities, then and now:
This Government seeks an egalitarian society for all Ekitis at home and in the diaspora. It shall rekindle hope and restore the self-confidence that we are known for. Every Ekiti Person shall be assisted to pursue and realize his or her aspiration(s) in the area of core ability or competence and encouraged to develop to the fullest without any form of inhibition or limitation.
Government shall create an enabling environment and provide basic facilities for youths in the various professions, businesses, vocations, skills acquisition and other forms of human enterprise. It shall promote equal opportunities for women and support the physically challenged to demonstrate that there is ability in disability.
b) Development of Agriculture
Government shall encourage increased agricultural production towards ensuring food security for local consumption and also for export. It shall enhance the production of cash crops, particularly Cocoa and palm oil. It shall lay emphasis on agro-based projects as a catalyst to employment generation through the encouragement of small/medium enterprises such as cassava processing, rice milling, poultry, feed mills, fruit and juice factories etc. Government shall provide equipment, storage facilities and soft loans.
c) Infrastructural Development
This Government shall ensure the Provision of good and durable intra and inter-township roads. It shall encourage Local Government Councils to construct access roads to communities and farmsteads. It shall collaborate with the Federal Government towards the realization of Federal Projects including the Federal Secretariat, the Airport project, the extension of rail line and also on road maintenance. We shall ensure the rehabilitation of existing dams, in addition to the replacement of old and damaged water pipes to ensure improved water supply to all communities. Provision of enabling environment and partnership with private investors for affordable housing schemes shall be pursued vigorously.
Education, Science and Technology
The PDP Government in Ekiti State shall pursue the restoration of the past glory in education, and offer free and qualitative education up to senior secondary level. Teachers shall be accorded their right of place as critical stakeholders through the provision of appropriate benefits and conducive working environment. We shall ensure adequate funding for all levels of education including the University and all other tertiary institutions in the state. We shall strengthen our Technical colleges for skill acquisition and restore bursary awards and scholarship schemes.
This Government shall provide Free Health care services for children aged 0-5 years, pregnant women and the physically challenged. It shall offer affordable and efficient health care for all the citizens. We shall provide functional equipment and adequate personnel at all levels of care in addition to rehabilitation of facilities. Adequate funding and staffing for the University Teaching Hospital shall be ensured.
Our Government shall ensure the take-off of the military formation in Ekiti state. We shall collaborate with the Police and other law enforcement agencies and support local vigilante groups for the security of lives and property.
The Public Service
This government appreciates the critical role of the public service as the engine room of Government. We shall therefore take appropriate steps towards the restoration of the core values of professionalism, honesty, integrity, accountability and probity, which appears to have declined to worrisome levels in recent years in the public service. We shall halt the ugly trend of politicization of the service.
Consequently, my government shall review all public service personnel issues including appointment, promotion, and discipline which were hurriedly effected after the governorship elections. The Head of Service is hereby directed to return all officers to their substantive positions as at June 21, 2014. A review panel will be constituted immediately to advise Government on the merit of each issue as may be appropriate. This directive extends to Heads of statutory commissions and boards. The Civil Service shall be re-positioned to make it serve the interests of the public and re-directed as a key player in the socio-economic transformation of our state through objectivity and dutiful implementation of government development programmes. Priority attention and resources shall be accorded the training and re-training of officers to attune them with best practices in governance and service delivery.
Events of the last few weeks – Outgoing Government
Good people of Ekiti State, the last minute attempt by the opposition party to truncate the mandate which you freely entrusted to me on June 21 has clearly confirmed the true character and direction of interest of these political desperados. Their machination is to demonise and portray me as a violent person. The role and indeed the open conduct of some of the judicial officers in the plot, are already being investigated by the appropriate authorities. We await the outcome.
My government will join hands with the appropriate authorities in ensuring that no stone is left unturned in the re-tracking of our hallowed democratic institutions from slide and bastardisation. The Judiciary should be truly re-positioned as the actual temple of justice and last bastion of hope for all.
Gratitude to all
Let me seize this opportunity to, once again, thank Your Excellencies, Mr. Speaker and members of the House, my lord the Chief Judge, Your Royal Highnesses, Chiefs, Religious leaders, the public service, members of the organized private sector, market men and women, road transport unions, okada riders, artisans, technicians and indeed gentlemen of the press for gracing this occasion. With your prayers and good wishes, we shall get to the Promise Land.
Before I am done with this speech, I like to reiterate that the challenges before this government are enormous. We are however not rattled by them. We have the capacity and determination to surmount them all. We have done this before and we shall do it again by the help of God, and the cooperation of our people.
Finally, Ekiti Kete, men, women, young and old, I call upon you to join hands with my government to usher in another era of restoration – of meals to the tables, of smiles to faces, of money to pockets, of soundness of body and mind and of unique infrastructural development – as we resume the steady journey to plenty and prosperity.
I thank you and may the good Lord bless us all.