As Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, clocks two years in office on Friday, October 16, activities to mark the second anniversary of his second term steering the wheels of the state have commenced with an assurance of better standard of living for the people through the five-pillar development agenda.
The Commissioner for Information and Values Orientation, Hon. Akinbowale Omole said Fayemi was more determined to serve the people and would never be deterred by the economic challenges to make a difference in the Land of Honour.
Omole said the Fayemi administration was on course in the implementation of life-changing policies and execution of populist projects designed to lift the economy of the state and make life abundant for the people.
The commissioner spoke on Thursday at a press conference to kick-start activities to mark the second anniversary of Fayemi’s ascension to power on October 16, 2018 when he was sworn into office for the second time after winning the July 14th, 2018 governorship poll.
The press conference which held at the Conference Hall of the Governor’s Office was also addressed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Hon. Biodun Oyebanji ; Head of Service, Mrs. Peju Babafemi; Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Femi Ajayi; Special Adviser on Corporate Communications, Mrs. Sola Salako-Ajulo and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode.
Omole disclosed that Ekiti State Security Network Agency, the Amotekun Corps will be formally launched by Governor Fayemi on 19th October, 2020 as part of activities marking the second anniversary as a symbol of commitment to security of life, property and investment.
The commissioner noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 forced the government to prioritise the welfare of the people, especially workers over capital projects but gave assurance that they would be completed within the life of the administration.
He said: “When COVID-19 came, we prioritise our targets; we have not abandoned those projects like the new Ministry of Justice and Traditional Rulers’ Chambers but we have to be realistic because it will be unreasonable to continue with them in the face of challenges of paying workers.
“We are taking the security of our people more seriously and I want to tell you that Amotekun will be launched on October 19 to protect our people and ensure that they sleep with their two eyes closed.”
Omole said four new ultramodern secondary schools in Ado-Ekiti to be inaugurated during the anniversary were embarked upon after a careful study of pupil-teacher ratio in the state capital.
He added that they were established by the government to meet the needs of various segments of the population, bring education nearer to new neighbourhoods and give children of the less privileged better access to education.
Omole disclosed that the second anniversary of the Fayemi administration will be marked with full cognisance of the safety protocols imposed on human race by COVID-19 pandemic.
He explained that “Steady Strides…Impacting Lives, Building Legacies,” has been adopted as the theme for the celebration of the second anniversary of the administration.
Omole identified the areas the second Fayemi administration have made the difference to include elimination of poverty through wealth creation and social investment like monthly stipends for the elderly and empowerment of women and youth.
The commissioner said four brand new secondary schools named after Ekiti icons are ready for commissioning, various road projects ongoing and all public primary schools are undergoing massive rehabilitation.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Hon. Biodun Oyebanji
expressed delight on the Ikun Dairy Farms, revived by the Fayemi administration said the farm has started producing milk made possible by partnership with Promasidor Group adding that more development partners and investors have made Ekiti their destination for investment.
According to him, some of the major highlights of the anniversary include inauguration of projects from Monday, October 12 through Thursday, October 15 while Governor Fayemi is expected to deliver a State of the State Address at the House of Assembly on Friday, October 16 where he will make key policy statements on governance issues.
Also on the same day (October 16), the Governor will give assent to new legislations and proclamations. The day will also feature a Jumat Service at the Ado-Ekiti Central Mosque and Anniversary Black Tie Dinner.
Thanksgiving Service will hold at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, October 18 while the anniversary celebrations will be rounded off with Ekiti State Public Service Day with Mr Governor on October 19.
Responding to controversy over payment of gratuity to pensioners, Omole said the decision of the State Executive Council was that a 15 per cent deduction from total sum payable to each pensioner was agreed with the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) and the financial firm in charge.
Omole maintained that government did not authorise 25 per cent deduction as government has ordered the withdrawal of the form rolled out without its knowledge.
Mrs. Salako-Ajulo who also spoke on the issue said government did not force pensioners to part with any fraction of their gratuity saying those who needed gratuity immediately have been given the option of relinquishing 15 per cent of the sum while those who can wait till 2022 will receive their own in bulk without any deduction.
While noting that the arrangement was not a scam and the deductions were not going into the coffers of the state government, Salako-Ajulo said government’s lean resources could not cover about N13 billion pension liabilities they had accumulated over the years.
Speaking on the delay on the recruitment of new workers, Mrs. Babafemi said the exercise was disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19 as they were due to resume work in April 2020.
The Head of Service explained that the issue of recruitment of new workers would be concluded before the year runs out while junior officers presently at home over health precautions would resume work very soon.
Ajayi denied report in some quarters that Ekiti was among the states that have received the sum of $20 million as COVID-19 palliative from the Federal Government.
He said the cash, which was meant for investment in agriculture, Social and Medium Scale Enterprises and social investment is expected either before the year runs out or in the first quarter of next year.