An Overview Of The Transformation Agenda: The Ekiti State, Nigeria Experience

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AN OVERVIEW OF THE TRANSFORMATION AGENDA: …

AN OVERVIEW OF THE TRANSFORMATION AGENDA:
THE EKITI STATE, NIGERIA EXPERIENCE
by
His Excellency Dr. Kayode FAYEMI
Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria
During the Study Tour by Course 35 Of the
National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru

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  • 1. AN OVERVIEW OF THE TRANSFORMATION AGENDA:THE EKITI STATE, NIGERIA EXPERIENCEbyHis Excellency Dr. Kayode FAYEMIGovernor, Ekiti State, NigeriaDuring the Study Tour by Course 35 Of theNational Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, KuruMonday, April 29, 2013INTRODUCTION:The appropriateness of the theme of your study cannot be more expedient than nowwhen our dear country is affronted with various challenges and the citizenry are asking manyquestions with no convincing answers and they are gradually slipping into self-help, asituation that has called for a “real” transformational agenda, driven by a selflesstransformational leader. I have accepted the invitation to speak because this platformprovides me an opportunity to contribute some ideas and share my views on the subjectmatter with you. It is my firm belief that this will provoke further conversations outside theconfines of this place. I am convinced that this study will expose you to the multi-facetedproblems facing our dear country and also the limitless untapped potentials andopportunities for advancement that abounds in this part of the country which if properlyaligned can be of immense benefit to all.Since its creation in 1996, the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuruhas served as a major contributor to shaping the direction of policies in the country. Theinstitute occupies a central space in our national life, with tremendous influence to catalysepositive and enduring change in our great country. It is my hope that as you return to Kuru,you will engage in peer learning discussion with your colleagues with a view to sharingexperiences and coming up with solutions and suggestions for our collective benefit.THE CONTEXT OF ENDURING TRANSFORMATIONOne major agreement in the literature on this thesis is that the ultimate goal of anyTransformation Agenda is the institutionalization of good governance that truly serves thepeople. In my opinion, Institutional transformation of the scale that Nigeria needs will not
  • 2. be achieved by government rhetoric. It requires willingness to restore values to the frontburner of the discourse on transformation (Fayemi 2013). It requires a willingness to lead byexample, to incarnate the values of the society that we want. In the words of Ghandi, wemust become the change we want to see. Transformation cannot be imposed from above. Itcan only be generated by exemplary leadership which not only elicits emulation but inspiresthe conviction that the proposed path of change in the right road5. If the goal of anytransformation agenda is to entrenched good governance, our conceptual construction wouldbe incomplete without briefly examining the concept of good governance.Good governance according to Wikipedia is how public institutions conduct publicaffairs and manage public resources. The IMF declared in 1996 that “promoting goodgovernance in all its aspects, including ensuring the rule of law, improving the efficiency andaccountability of the public sector, and tackling corruption, are essential elements of aframework with which economies can prosper”.6The United Nations identified eight characteristics of good governance:Consensus oriented;Participatory;Following the Rule of Law;Effective and Efficient;Accountable;Transparent;Responsive;Equitable and Inclusive.7In 1952, the World Bank underlined three aspects of society which they feel will affect thenature of a country’s governance:(i) Type of political regime;(ii) Process by which authority is exercised in the management of the economic and socialresources, with a view to development; and(iii)Capacity of government to formulate policies and have them effectively implemented.8Other good governance indicators identified by the World Bank are as follows(a) The process by which those in authority are selected and replaced (voice andaccountability: political stability and absence of violence);(b) The capacity of government to formulate and implement policies(government effectiveness; and regulatory quality); and
  • 3. (c) The respect of citizens and state for institutions that govern interactionamong them (rule of law: control of corruption).Nevertheless, “there is new empirical evidence that governance matters, in the sense thatthere is a strong causal relationship from good governance to better development such ashigher per capita incomes, lower infant mortality rate and higher literacy” On the other hand;bad governance is responsible for inequality, poverty and undesirable socio-economicoutcomes.9In this regard, Collier (2007) opined that bad governance is one of the “Fourdevelopment traps”. The other four traps are conflict, natural resources, being landlocked withbad neighbours).Maseko argued further that with proper institutions of governance and regulatoryframeworks, nation States will be able to improve performance in a number of key areas.One notable area is the protection and promotion of civil liberties. Good governance is alsoabout proper stewardship of the country’s resources. Therefore, conceptualization of goodgovernance as an aspect of stewardship is consistent with the definition of good governance asa “process referring to the manner in which power is exercised in the management of the affairs of anation”.10There is also a consensus around the world that good governance denotes the “political andinstitutional processes and outcomes that are deemed necessary to achieve the goals of development”(Fayemi 2013).Conclusively, it is clear that “real” transformational leadership and good governance aremutually exclusive. The challenge in our country today is how to construct an acceptablepathway through which the transformational agenda can engendered good governance realtime and translate in tangibles for the benefit of the citizenry. We have to move beyondsloganeering to constructive and people oriented policies that are real and measurable.REVISITING INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS AND THE TRANSFORMATIONAGENDA:Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, the essence of any transformation agenda iscreating the greatest happiness for the greatest number of the citizenry in any society. I have astrong conviction that for any transformation agenda to serve the need of the majority andmeet their expectations, the importance of regulatory frameworks to nurture and regulates itsfunctions and processes cannot be over-emphasized. This paper will briefly interrogate the
  • 4. synergy between these frameworks as it affects the transformation agenda taking intocognizance the earlier identified TRAs with a view to identifying areas of strains and stressesand also elaborate on the Transformation in Ekiti State since my assumption of office foryour consideration.Regulatory framework in this context refers to significant rule, whether legislated or freelyadopted, as well as standards, specifications, best practices that effectively influence conductwithin a system or State.12For the purpose of this lecture, I shall divide regulatory frameworks to both formal and Quasiformal. The formal regulatory institutions in a democracy include but not limited to theLegislature, Executive and the Judiciary, while the Quasi-formal regulators are the electorates,civil society, trade unions, traditional/religious institutions, the Armed Forces and the Press.The Parliament is an important link in the chain of accountability between government andthe people, 13if and when the parliament plays an effective role it can lead to what is referredto as the three interlocking dimensions of humane governance that ensures the health of thewhole. One critical area where the Parliament can be an effective regulator is in the area ofparliamentary oversight which refers to the legislative surveillance of the executive arm ofgovernment. This power is largely exercised through the committee system. It also occurs ina wide range of legislative activities and contexts. These include authorization, appropriation,investigative and legislative hearings by standing committees14. Legislative oversight authorityis derived from the implied powers in the constitution, public laws and extant rules of thelegislature. It is therefore an integral part of the doctrine of check and balances. Inrecognition of the import of this very important function and to strengthened the capacity ofmembers of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, our government has consistently support theirexposure to both local and international capacity building and parliamentary supportprogrammes. This is exemplified in the relationship between the Ekiti State House ofAssembly and the Gauteng Parliament in South Africa. Another novel initiative introducedis the regular Executive/Legislative parley which provides the platform for regularconversation between the Executive, Legislature and members of the National Assembly toshare ideas and build consensus on major government policies and programmes.The Judiciary is also an important regulator. The function of this very important arm ofgovernment is stated in Chapter VII of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic ofNigeria. To be able to perform this regulatory function, the Judiciary must be trulyindependent. Judicial Independence as a concept is defined as a system of keeping the
  • 5. judiciary from undue influence by other arms and branches of government15. The principleof judicial independence is one of the cores of the justice system. Their values includefairness and justice, efficiency of the judicial process, access of justice, public confidence inthe courts and financial autonomy, for the Judiciary to be truly independent, a combinationof institutional reforms of the processes of appointing Judicial Officers, their discipline andpromotion coupled with a sincere attempt on the part of government to enhance their safetyand condition of service driven by political will on the part of the political leadership areimperative and germane. In Ekiti State, we have embarked on various judicial reforms toproperly position the judiciary to meet the challenges of our time. We have also put theissues of capacity training, welfare and humane working environment on the front burner. Itwill interest this gathering that for the first time since the creation of this State, our Judgesjust returned from a capacity enhancement tour of South Africa and we intend to pursue thiswith vigour in the years ahead.As you are aware, I head the executive arm of the government which is the hub of policyformulation and implementation. There is an adage from this part of the country that a fishgets rots from the head. The nature and character of the leadership of the executive willdetermine the place of such government in history and its impact on the people. I shallexplain the Ekiti Transformational Agenda to you in due course but it is suffice to state thaton assumption of office myself and my late Deputy without any prompting publicly declaredour assets and I make bold to say that there is no political appointee in this state that has notdone same. We have also signed into law the Fiscal Responsibility Law and Freedom ofInformation Law and put in place a robust procurement system. This is to make governmentaccountable, responsive and responsible. Members of my government are constantlysubjected to periodic assessment through the Office of Transformation, Strategy and Delivery;we shall come to that later.As opined earlier, other equally important regulatory frameworks in a democracy are theelectorates through periodic election, civil society, trade/labour unions, traditional andreligious institutions, the Armed Forces and the Press. These critical bodies if well structurecould at any point in time galvanize and mobilize public opinion for or against any publicpolicy. A critical example is India, where the armed forces in spite of the frequency of regimechange continue to defend their constitutional democracy. In Nigeria too, labour/tradeunions have played a very active role in the moulding of public opinion against obnoxiousgovernment policies.
  • 6. OVERVIEW OF EKITI STATE TRANSFORMATION AGENDA:I have earlier argued that far before we were elected into office. I and my team understudiedthe Ekiti situation and came up with our own solutions based on the information available tous at that time. This resulted in our road map to Ekiti Recovery. The 8-Point Agenda whichis our own antidote to poverty reduction because our study revealed that poverty is endemicand must be confronted for meaningful development to take place. I shall explain in duecourse our modest achievements in the pursuant of the 8-Point Agenda.To provide a launching pad for our affront on poverty, we embarked on a holistic reform ofthe institution for policy formulation and implementation in the State. To ensure promptservice delivery across the State, we established the Office of Transformation, Strategy andDelivery (OTSD) with the aim of re-shaping how government functions, re-engineering itsprocesses and systems in order to ensure the implementation of government’s developmentalprogrammes in a more effective and efficient manner. The Office focuses on quick-winactions that ensure the delivery of the agenda of the administration, and long term visioningand strategic thinking of various developments alternatives that guarantee sustainable andaccelerated improvement in the lives of the people.This office also assists in breaking down bureaucratic barriers impeding policyimplementation and also embarks on a quarterly assessment of MDAs in respect of their workplans and Key Performance Indications. We also created the Ministry of Budget, EconomicPlanning and Service Delivery from the erstwhile Ministry of Finance, Budget and EconomicDevelopment with a view to transforming the budgeting process and put the people on thefront burner of policy formulation. For the first time in the history of Ekiti State, theGovernor on a yearly basis convokes village square meetings before budget preparation to askthe people what their needs are. Budgetary options since I became governor largerly arereflections of the outcomes of such conversations. This is a radical departure from the usualtop bottom approach where government officials allocate resources to the citizenry withouttheir inputs. Our budgetary processes are driven by MTEF with fiscal projection of revenueusing macro-economic assumptions at three levels of likelihood. Namely:(i) Baseline revenue with up to 95% confidence level.(ii) Plausible revenue with up to 60 -75% confidence level.(iii) Optimistic revenue with up to 30 – 40% confidence level.The levels of revenue then guided the prioritization of capital projects. Another initiativeembedded in the budget was the adoption of a result based budgeting method as against the
  • 7. historical incremental approach, by this method MDAs actually justified their revenue andexpenditure proposals to ensure efficient allocation of public fund to priority sectors. Wehave also created the Ministry of Rural Development and Community Empowerment toaddress the needs of the people of the grassroot levels.Let me provide a few concrete examples of what we have been able to achieve through ourtransformation agenda in the last two years.In the area of governance, our goal was to enhance participatory governance andaccountability, thus motivating the citizens with ideas for better productivity, and creating anintellectual bank for policy formulation and implementation. In this bid, we have taken anumber of crucial steps and recorded important achievements.For example, for the first time in the history of the state we established a regime of legislationsto guarantee a predictable environment of good governance and promote transparency andaccountability. We domesticated the Freedom of Information Law, therefore, in our state,citizens have the right of access to government documents which are not classified – the firststate to so do and we also enacted into law a Fiscal Responsibility bill, a Public ProcurementLegislation, a Public Private Partnership Law and a Gender Based Violence Prohibition Lawamongst forty new legislations passed into law. For the first time in the 16 year history of thestate, which was created out of the old Ondo State in 1996, we have replaced the Edicts andLaws of the old Ondo State with the laws of Ekiti State.Second, we adopted a merit-based system of appointment and promotion of civil servants,including at the highest levels of the bureaucracy. The chief bureaucrats, including the Headof Service, Permanent Secretaries, and the Accountant-General, were all selected through anopen and competitive process. In an environment which had been dominated bypatrimonialism and clientelism, this was a transformative step and it has led to therejuvenation of the civil service, such that we now have civil servants who are capable ofdriving the people-focused policies and programmes of the government. We also focused onincreasing the revenue base of the State by reducing our dependence on what comes from theFederation Account.We also instituted a social security benefit scheme – the first of its type in any state in Nigeria.This is backed by law so as to ensure continuity. It is therefore now a scheme of theGovernment of Ekiti State and not merely the policy of my administration. Based on thisscheme, we give monthly stipends to indigent citizens over the age of 65 years. We currentlycater for over 20,000 senior citizens in the State. This is in addition to our Free and
  • 8. Compulsory Education programme up to senior secondary schools and our free healthprogramme with focuses on the vulnerable segments of our population – children, the elderly,pregnant women and those with physical disabilities.In terms of Infrastructural Development, our goal is to establish optimum communities thatwill improve the lives of citizens and attract investment. Our target is to ensure that everypart of the state is accessible by major roads by the end of our first term – which is in twoyears. This has never happened in the history of the state. We are also making water dams inthe state functional so as to increase water supply by eighty per cent (80%), while using thepublic-private partnership to increase generation and supply of electricity. In the last twoyears, we have focused on urban renewal through many projects. We have embarked onmassive road construction and expansion, rural electrification project in communities thatpreviously had no electricity; we have established a State Ambulance Service unit which isable to respond to emergencies; we have provided portable water and water treatment plantsto many communities.Agriculture employs about seventy-five (75%) of our population. Therefore, agriculture is atthe centre of our programmes. Nigeria used to be a world leader in cocoa production up tothe early 1970s. In fact, the enlightenment project re-started by the late colonial eraindigenous government in our area of Nigeria was partly based on the economic resourcesderived from the sale of cocoa. Ekitiland in south-western Nigeria was an important part ofcocoa production. That ended from the late 1970s. We are now reviving cocoa plantation tomake Ekiti a world leader again in this area of production. This will generate employment fortens of thousands of our citizens, particularly the youth and also focusing on cassava, rice andoil-palm. We project that 20,000 of our youths would have been trained and employed inmechanized agriculture by the end of our first term in office. We also project that agriculturewill contribute fifty per cent (50%) of our internally-generated revenue. To achieve this, wehave improved the conditions of or farming in the state, thus guaranteeing effectivecultivation, harvesting and processing of agro produce.We want agro-business to thrive in our state and change the fortunes of the state as well asthose of our citizens. Towards this end, 15,000 farmers have been assisted through the supplyof agro-chemicals and fertilizers. This has led to the cultivation of several thousands ofhectares of land. We have funded overseas training for agro-workers in cocoa rehabilitationin Indonesia and China; we have refurbished the Orin-Ekiti cassava processing plant andupgraded the plant output from 10 tonnes to 60 tonnes per day under a private-publicpartnership with Vegefresh Agro-Allied Company. We have also rehabilitated and
  • 9. constructed many kilometers of farm access roads; cultivated and supplies 500,000 cocoaseedlings and 60,000 oil palm seedlings to farmers at highly subsidized rates, and collaboratedwith British America Tobacco Nigerian Foundation and FADAMA III project in theconstruction of a $1 million cassava cottage industry which has created jobs for about 3,000women and more than 1000 youths.In the area of education and human development, out target is to put a computer on the deskof every secondary student by 2014, while providing free and compulsory education up tosenior secondary school level, including special initiatives for the physically-challengedstudents. We have delivered 17,512 computers to teachers and 33,000 Samsung solar laptopsthrough the Ekiti State E-School Project. We have invested vast resources in the last two yearson knowledge acquisition and skill development to enable our citizens to work effectively in arapidly changing and complex global environment. Our investments in human capitalrepresent our most critical intervention in the process of state reconstruction in Ekiti State.Other accomplishments include the complete refurbishment of all the public secondaryschools in the state; procurement and distribution of furniture as well as science and sportsequipment to all public secondary schools across the state. We have also sought to improveteacher quality whilst successfully merging the State’s three universities into a better fundedsingle state university. Other initiatives focus on skills based technical and vocationaleducation in the State. (There are several other initiatives that I can discuss during thequestion and answer session).Human development is not sustainable without massive investment in healthcare delivery,which include capacity building and infrastructure and staff welfare and disease control.Therefore, in the area of Health Care Services, we have been providing, in the last two years,free medical services for children, pregnant women, the physically – challenged and seniorcitizens. We have also established health centres in all localities, while increasingimmunization coverage. This year, we have embarked on our ‘Operation Renovate all HealthCentres and Hospitals. More crucially, we have embarked upon a strategic re-development ofhealth management information systems while embarking upon the rehabilitation of healthtraining institutions. We have greatly improved maternal healthcare, disease control, whilealso making the regulation of private health institutions more effective. Through ourinvestment in medical school achieved a 90% success rate in the national NursingExamination. We have constructed a new Accident and Emergency wing in the Ekiti StateUniversity Teaching Hospital, while also creating a State Health Data Bank. We haverenovated and extended the secondary healthcare facilities in the State, and enacted the
  • 10. Primary Healthcare Development Agency Act. Our health sector indices vis-avis the nationalaverage bear testimony to the significant steps being taken in the health sector. Ekiti has oneof the lowest maternal and child mortality rates in the country, the lowest HIV prevalenceand the highest life expectancy in Nigeria.To be able to generate employment, development and empower the citizens to pay taxes, wehave been providing the enabling atmosphere for industrial development. To jumpstart this,we have create technology and industrial parks for small and medium scale enterprises,established micro-credit facilities for promising entrepreneurs, while also promoting agro-allied and solid minerals sectors. We also plan to make Ekiti State a most attractivedestination for relaxation and holidays by developing the Efon, Okemesi, Ikogosi and Ipole-Iloro tourism corridor, a heliport, and world class hotel and accommodation facilities. Weare incredibly blessed by nature in Ekiti State. For instance, we have the Ikogosi spring whereboth natural warm and cold water flow from the hills to the valley. I encourage you to visitIkogosi to enjoy this most fascinating and unusual blessing of nature.Our administration is just concluding the re-development of the first phase of the IkogosiWarm Spring & Resort as the flagship of the tourism industry in the State. About 116hectares of land was acquired for this new Resort, with plans for theme parts, spas, high-attitude sports academy, resourcecentre for women, golf course, entertainment centres, andsports academy. The hotel part of the Resort will be a 150-room branded international three-star hotel. We plan to spend N1.5 billion in creating a mini-paradise in the Ikogosi WarmSpring & Resort. No doubt, it is now a place that the world will come to and enjoy thebeauty of nature. Electric power is very central to jump-starting the local economy, especiallyin the area of agro-processing which is our focus and we are working on the development ofindependent hydro and solar power generation in the State.Finally, in the area of gender equity and empowerment, we are committed to promotinggender equality and empowering women to maximize their potentials. In this context, wereserve no less than one third of all appointments and promotions for women, whilemobilizing resources to attend to issues of concern for women from maternal health and childcare to employment and freedom from abuse. Specifically, I signed into law, the Gender-Based Violence (Prohibition) Bill in November 2011, making Ekiti State, the first state todomesticate this law in Nigeria. We also domesticated the national Gender Policy, whileproviding skills acquisition programme for out-of-school girls, supporting girl-child educationand inaugurating the Family Court for the implementation and administration of childrenand family matters.
  • 11. CONCLUSION:Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, having spent the last eight years in partisan politics andparticipating in grassroots organizing and state reconstruction, my belief in the need to takepolitics beyond political parties is more reinforced. Our immediate challenge is to concentrateon how to rescue our people from bad governance. Unless the critical mass of our peoplecutting across age, gender, zones and party affiliations adopt the same positions, with a moreclearly defined collective agenda, the current transformation efforts will not suffice. There isan urgent need to build coalitions and permanent platform in the public sphere that isbeyond party and personalities, but all embracing enough to those who subscribe to the corevalue of integrity, honesty and dedication to transformation in Nigeria.16This all embracing platform could address a variety of issues, but none is more urgent thanthe question of the structure of the Nigeria State.17In spite of all the challenges, I am hopeful in Nigeria future. I strongly believe that we canrevive the Nigerian State in a qualitative manner and make democracy more meaningful toour people, provide jobs for the jobless, improve healthcare, modernize agriculture andreclaim our young people from a future of violence decadence and despair by linking socialenterprise, civil society activism to politics and not draw artificial divisions in our promotionof value-driven leadership. We need leaders who have a clear vision of the future, wellprepared, who see character as destiny, who advocate value-driven orientation, who do notjust mouth transformation. We must move away from transactional to politics totransformative leadership.18This is our covenant with the people of Ekiti State and we arepursuing this with all vigor. I am proud to say that in Ekiti State, we are running agovernment that is participatory, transparent, consensus-oriented, inclusive, responsive,efficient, effective, accountable and one based on the rule of law. Many independent bodiescontinue to attest to this and the latest is the Special Report on Africa in the EconomistMagazine of London, which states as follows about Ekiti:“Better governance is creeping beyond the metropolis.When your correspondent emails the governor of EkitiState in impoverished central Nigeria, he gets a replywithin minutes, with the entire cabinet copied in … Cabinetmembers are highly motivated and have private sectorexperience. A new employed agency sends out jobadvertisement by text message. All secondary schoolpupils are getting free laptops with solar panels. All civil
  • 12. servants, including teachers are tested annually; those whofoils stand to lose their job… To be sure, sortgovernment of governance is still an exception(The Economist, March 2nd, 2013).I thank you for listening.Dr. KayodeFayemiGovernor