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Text of the Address by
His Excellency
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON
Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria
in
COMMEMORATION OF THE NEW YEAR 2021
at
Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State
Friday, January 1, 2021
1. Ekiti-kete, I rejoice with you this morning and joyfully congratulate you
for seeing the dawn of a new year and the beginning of new hopes and
accomplishments.
2. I address you this morning full of praises and thanksgiving to God
Almighty for His grace and benevolence over us as a people, State and
government.
3. I thank you Ekiti-kete for your love, tolerance, support, prayers, criticism
and suggestions. A tree they say does not make a forest. We are making
visible progress against all odds because of your unflinching faith in us,
which is the impetus we need to soldier on with steady strides.
4. The past year, 2020, would forever be remembered as the year the whole
world lived in palpable fear, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. The
world experienced the unimaginable and lived with uncertainty, all
through the year. COVID-19 ran the global economy aground and altered
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plans and projections at all levels of governments, organizations, and had
a profound impact on households and individuals.
5. In Ekiti, we had our own share of the not so pleasant experience as the
second State in Nigeria to record a confirmed case of COVID-19 after
Lagos State. Responding to the challenges created by the pandemic took
a lot of courage, decisiveness, and collaboration. All our responses have
been guided by expert advice, particularly by our very resourceful
indigenes at home and abroad who have supported us in making the
right decisions at the right time, and also helped us to alleviate the
hardship brought by the pandemic on the lives of the people.
6. You will recall that, exactly this time last year, on January 1st 2020, I
addressed and assured you that the year will be better than the previous
one. I made the assertion based on the various short, medium and long-
term plans we mapped out for year 2020, to bring succour to our people
and restore lost values and dignity.
7. Despite the turbulence and economic realities of the year, 2020, we
sailed through with impactful, meaningful and visible accomplishments
on all fronts. All the programmes and projects we initiated last year
received deserved attention. While some were completed and
commissioned, others are in various stages of completion and will be
completed as scheduled. This is in line with the promise I made at the
inception of this administration, to place the overall best interest of Ekiti
people above every other consideration at all times. Without being
immodest and with all sense of humility, I make bold to tell Ekiti-kete
that we are keeping our promises with regards to execution of projects
and programmes.
8. We remain committed to completing all unfinished projects by the
previous administration. In line with this commitment, some inherited
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projects were completed and commissioned in the year 2020, despite the
challenges brought on by COVID-19. This is in line with the Ekiti State
Transition Law that was promulgated in 2019 to prevent successive
administrations from abandoning projects initiated by their
predecessors. We are by this action practicing what we preach that,
henceforth, there will be no abandoned projects again in Ekiti State. We
have done this to demonstrate that regardless of our partisan leanings,
Ekiti State remains our common heritage, and we must do all we can to
lay a foundation for sustainable development.
9. The indices point to the fact that this New Year, 2021, promises to be
more exciting and impactful than the previous year. Christening the year
2021 Appropriation Bill “Budget of Recovery and Economic Restoration”
is not by happenstance. I, therefore, welcome you all to our year of
recovery and restoration in Ekiti State, which is in line with our quest to
leave Ekiti State better than we met her, impacting lives and building
durable legacies.
10. Today, I address you with a strong conviction that despite the
challenges we have faced in the past year, we are making progress
towards accomplishing our goals for Ekiti in the five pillars of our
developmental agenda.
GOVERNANCE
11. In the year 2020, we doubled our efforts at redefining good
governance in Ekiti State by strengthening the public service to function
more effectively and transparently. First, we fulfilled our promise and
recruited over 1,500 new employees into the teaching, healthcare and
various cadres of the civil service. Additionally, many serving officers
benefited from various capacity building programmes in the course of
the year. As the COVID19 pandemic gradually subsides, the capacity
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building programme for public servants will be expanded through
partnerships with the local universities and similar institutions.
12. Our commitment to transparency and values was further
reinforced with our membership of the Open Government Partnership
(OGP) and the publication of the Code of Ethics for civil servants by the
Head of Service.
13. Ekiti Kete, you would recall that we commenced payment of
minimum wage to Levels 1 to 6 in 2019 but the negotiations for the
consequential adjustment for officers from Levels 7 and above had been
stalled by the outbreak of the pandemic. Those negotiations resumed last
month for eventual resolution.
14. Equally, to ease the accommodation burden for public and civil
servants, two of the hitherto abandoned secretariat buildings were
completed, commissioned and assigned to various Ministries,
Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to enhance the performance and
productivity of the public service. We plan to complete the remaining
abandoned blocks in 2021 in addition to ensuring the landscaping and
beautification of the entire Secretariat complex.
15. Despite the economic situation, we are soldiering on in our quest to
clear the outstanding gratuities of retirees in consonance with our belief
that our senior citizens who served the State diligently need to receive
what is due to them, and enjoy their retirement in dignity. Just a few days
ago, another set of retirees received cheques for the payment of their
gratuity. I once again, assure our esteemed workers and retirees that all
the inherited salaries, pensions and gratuities are not bad debts. All the
inherited arrears will be cleared one after the other as things improve
for our dear State.
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16. In response to the clamour of our people on the need to reinforce
the current security architecture in Ekiti State, the Ekiti State Security
Network, codenamed "Amotekun" was created to strengthen security
within Ekiti State and in synergy with other South West States.
Amotekun is already functional in Ekiti State and will be strengthened to
deliver on its mandate with increased training, technology and
equipment, going forward.
17. We have also continued to support our various security institutions
- the police, military, SSS, civil defence, road safety corps, NDLEA and
immigration with logistics and coordination. The new year will witness
the launch of our Safe City project as well as other initiatives aimed at
boosting security and safety in the state.
18. In our deliberate effort to bring government closer to the
grassroots, we revisited the issue of Local Council Development Areas
(LCDAs) that were created from the existing Local Government Areas in
the State, on Thursday June 26, 2014. The new council areas were
created then after due process that included the conduct of a referendum
by the State Independent Electoral Commission and consideration of the
outcome of the referendum by the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
Unfortunately, the previous administration abandoned the project. The
decision we took as a government in 2014 that earned us applause from
majority of Ekiti sons and daughters, is therefore being revisited. The
process of creating additional LCDAs is ongoing. The quest to create
more LCDAs is not driven by political coloration, but for the socio-
economic wellbeing of our people. I enjoin Ekiti-kete to work with the
committee put in place for this purpose, for us to have a just and
enduring outcome.
19. We strengthened the Anti-Land Grabbing policy of Ekiti State
government with the establishment and implementation of the Ekiti
State Land Administration and Management Project through the
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Executive Order Number 008 that I signed on October 30th 2020. One
major challenge that government faces is the increasing cases of land
grabbing and other fraudulent land transactions across the State. The
Executive Order was, therefore, in furtherance of government’s desire to
undertake sustainable land reforms in the State. Previously, in an effort
to curb these unlawful activities, government enacted the Ekiti State
Property Protection (Anti-Land Grabbing) Law 2019. The objective of
this law is to prohibit forcible entry, violent and fraudulent conduct in
relation to landed properties in Ekiti State. Government is further
implementing in 2021 an automated Land Geographic Information
System project that will significantly enhance land management in Ekiti
State.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT
20. It is clear to us as a government that a state with decrepit
infrastructure cannot enhance the productivity of her people. That's why
this government has placed a lot of premium on improving
infrastructure to accelerate development.
21. We recognised that transportation infrastructure is a crucial factor
in improving agricultural productivity and creating new markets for
agricultural produce, enhancing the quality of life of the people,
facilitating interaction among geographical and economic regions, and
opening up new centres of economic activities. Therefore, in addition to
the routine maintenance of the existing road networks, we are also
working on some roads critical to our local economy across the state. You
are all aware of the ongoing work on the Ado-Iyin phase of the new Ado
- Iyin- Igede - Aramoko - Itawure Road; Aramoko-Erijiyan - Ikogosi road
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in the Central Senatorial District; Agbado-Ode-Isinbode- Omuo Road and
Ilawe-Igbara Odo –Ibuji - Ondo State boundary road in the South Zone
and; Ilupeju-Ire-Igbemo-Ijan road and Oye-Ikun-Otun Road in the North
Senatorial District of the State. These roads are all due for completion in
2021. Other critical roads will also receive attention in the new year.
22. The new year will also witness the commencement of the first
phase of the Ado-Ekiti multi modal Ring Road project which has been
awarded to Craneburg Construction Company. This 17 kilometer long
section of the ring road connects the new airport to Igbemo, Iworoko and
Ifaki axis.
23. You will recall that our relentless advocacy and collaboration with
the Federal Government has yielded results, as the contract for the
reconstruction and dualization of Ikere-Akure-Ado Ekiti road has been
awarded to Dantata & Sawoe, and the contractor has started work on the
site. Equally, due to additional pressure mounted by the State
government and our representatives in the National Assembly and
federal agencies, many federal roads that have been abandoned over the
years are now receiving the attention of the Federal Roads Maintenance
Agency (FERMA).
24. I told you last year that work was almost approaching completion
on Ero and Egbe Dams rehabilitation. Pipelines conveying water to
various homes have been installed and water meters will follow suit
apace with other water sector improvements. We are confident that the
State will witness a comprehensive return to the supply of pipe borne
water and a reduction in water borne diseases. I am glad to report that
we have tested the pipelines conveying water from Ero and Egbe Dams
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to various communities and we are confident that the job will be
completed on schedule in 2021.
25. Ekiti Agro-Cargo Airport remains a priority for us and we projected
that it would be completed in record time before the end of my tenure. I
am happy to inform you all that despite the economic challenges of the
year 2020, we are making remarkable progress with our Agro-Cargo
Airport project and we are still on course for completion in 2022. I must
commend the communities affected by the airport for their cooperation
and Aare Afe Babalola, the Federal Ministry of Aviation, the Nigerian Air
Force for their collaboration and support to date.
26. Electricity remains a sore point in many communities in Ekiti State
due to the less than satisfactory supply by BEDC. Many of our people are
rightly unhappy about the bad electricity supply to the State as we are in
government. We are working with the Transmission Company of Nigeria
to improve the transmission capacity in the State by creating additional
loop with the installation of 132 - 33kva substations in Ijesha-Isu and
Ifaki. We are also working with the Rural Electrification Agency of
Nigeria on solar powered energy in various communities. Equally, the
State has signed a contract for a 3 megawatt Independent Power Project
which will supply power to all public institutions including the
Secretariat, street lights, Teaching Hospital, the State University and
Government House. This project is due for completion in August 2021.
27. Since I signed the Executive Order reducing the Right of Way
(ROW) charges for laying broadband infrastructure from N4, 500 to
N145 per meter in May 2020, we have started reaping the benefits of this
strategic ease of doing business decision. Barely a week after the ROW
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fee reduction, we signed a memorandum of understanding with Oodua
Infraco, to lay 606 kilometers of fiber optic cabling in the State. Under
the agreement, Oodua Infraco will leverage the State's 'Dig Once" policy
to create the State's single pipeline for fibre optic infrastructure - but will
provide multiple ducts for other providers.
28. I can report that MTN - the largest telecommunications company in
Nigeria has already commenced the installation of 240 kilometers of
fibre optic infrastructure in four local governments while IHS - the tower
company will commence 600 kilometers of fibre optic infrastructure in
the first quarter of 2021. With MTN, we are creating a regional education
network looping all the four universities – Ekiti State University (EKSU),
Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Federal University, Oye (FUOYE) and
Bamidele Olomilua University of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, in the first
round. This will be expanded subsequently to Federal Polytechnic, Ado-
Ekiti and College of Agriculture and Technology, Isan-Ekiti.
KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY
29. This intensified fibre optic cabling programme in the State which
will accelerate broadband penetration is critical to our strategic
objective of making Ekiti a destination of choice for the knowledge
industry - particularly as it relates to information and communication
technology.
30. The knowledge economy and human capital development
programme is a central feature of our development agenda in Ekiti State.
This is one of the reasons we continue to provide a conducive
environment for the education industry for which we are most
prominent in Nigeria. Despite the adverse effects of COVID-19 on global
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economy, what the pandemic has also done is underscore the
importance of technology in our human capital development strategy.
31. We have received research support from the African Development
Bank to finalise the development plan for the Ekiti Knowledge Zone in
addition to completing the necessary formalities for its approval as a
Special Economic Zone by the Federal government. So, 2021 is a critical
year for the development of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone.
32. In our passion to promote and encourage academic excellence, we
initiated and granted merit-based bursary and scholarships to
Undergraduates, Physically Challenged Undergraduates, Masters’
Degree and Doctoral degree students of Ekiti State origin studying in
various higher institutions in the country, including law students.
33. In terms of critical infrastructure in the education sector, we have
continued with the construction of new schools as well as renovation of
old ones. We are committed to the vision of leaving no school building
untouched in the Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti State
programme.
34. In addition to the brick and mortar interventions, we also supplied
instructional materials to all public schools and ensured constant
payment of running grants to our primary, secondary, and technical
schools in our free and compulsory education programme.
35. What this has done is the exponential increase in the enrolment
figures in our primary, secondary and technical schools in the state from
106,271 pupils in primary schools in 2018 to 140,518 pupils in 2020;
85,681 in secondary schools in 2018 to 109,542 pupils in 2020 and 240
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students in technical colleges in 2018 to 910 students in 2020. What is
also remarkable is that a large percentage of the new enrollees were
attracted from the private school sector in the State.
36. At the heart of our knowledge economy agenda is the quest for
functional and values oriented education that will allow our products to
become technologically competent and academically sound for the jobs
of the future.
37. In our quest for values restoration - particularly among the young
generation , our team has completed the development of the curriculum
of our values programme from Primary 1 - 6 and JSS1 - SSS3. The full
implementation of the programme will commence in 2021.
SOCIAL INVESTMENTS
38. In Ekiti State, the wellbeing of our people is vital to us as a
government because a healthy, motivated, and socially secure people is
the utmost asset of a State. In pursuit of this, we have successfully
revived and strengthened all sectors of our social investments to serve
the best interest of our people.
39. This informs our continuous investments in healthcare
infrastructure. Our proactive stance in the healthcare sector helped our
preparedness for the outbreak of COVID-19. Some of the infrastructure
interventions in the health sector include the acquisition of Modular
Laboratory for the testing of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,
equipping and upgrading of our 150-bed capacity Infectious Diseases
Centre for the containment of communicable diseases as well as the
renovation of 20 primary health centres and one secondary facility.
40. This year will witness additional concrete developments in the
health sector. All our specialist and secondary health facilities will
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receive a comprehensive face-lift and at least sixty more primary health
facilities will be upgraded in addition to the twenty renovated in 2020.
Part of this upgrading will also include equipment upgrade in these
facilities and additional human resource recruitment in our facilities.
Already, we have procured solar powered refrigerators for vaccine
storage for all our primary and secondary health care facilities in the
State and these will be available from January 2021.
41. Our primary purpose for doing all of the above is to improve the
quality of healthcare in the State, given the deterioration experienced in
maternal and child mortality in the interregnum between the JKF1
(2010-2014) and JKF2 (2018-present) administrations. Our vision is to
return Ekiti to its pride of place in providing qualitative healthcare for
citizens of the State.
42. For all of these investments to be sustained beyond my tenure, we
launched the State Health Insurance Scheme in 2020. We have
committed to increase investments in the scheme in 2021.
43. You will all agree with me that social security is evidently one of the
hallmarks of my administration given our unshaken belief that
government owes a duty to the weak, the vulnerable and the less
fortunate to lift them up and provide them with succour. We ran it
successfully in my first term (JKF1) and relaunched Owo-Arugbo on
October 16, 2019, as part of activities to mark the first anniversary of this
administration.
44. The Office of the Wife of Governor also launched Ounje-Arugbo, a
Food Bank for the elderly, to complement the Owo Arugbo program in
September 2019. Not only did the Ounje Arugbo project function
uninterrupted in 2020, during the COVID19 lockdowns, the Food Bank
was repurposed to provide support to vulnerable Ekiti citizens. Through
this, we distributed over hundred thousand food packages to households
across all the 16 Local Government Areas of Ekiti State.
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45. It is also noteworthy that Ekiti State ranked one of the best among
other States in terms of the provision of palliatives to ease the hardship
the people faced during the COVID-19 induced lockdown. In addition, we
collaborated with the Federal government’s initiatives, including the
provision of stipends for the youths through the Youth Employment and
Social Support Operation (YESSO) initiative.
46. Early in 2020, we signed a MoU with the United Nations Office of
Project Services (UNOPS) to provide 50,000 affordable homes over ten
years. We have now finalized the land title for UNOPS which signifies the
commencement of the project in 2021.
47. In a similar vein, we are working in partnership with Family
Homes Fund to provide 1000 units of social housing for our workers at
affordable prices and low interest mortgages. We are rolling the
programme out in the first quarter of 2021.
48. The place of recreation in social investment cannot be over
emphasized. The sports sector in Ekiti has long been in the doldrums but
I can report that things are beginning to look up. Here again, the steady
strides are bearing fruit but it is also clear that success in sports
development lies in the capacity of the State to mobilize non -
governmental resources. The Bill on Sports Development Fund that I
recently signed into law and the establishment of the State Lotteries
Commission were both informed by this realization. While government
will continue to support the various sporting activities at the grassroots,
we will also help mobilize private sector involvement in an accountable
and transparent manner. Ekiti is determined to return from the National
Sports Festival being held in Benin, Edo State in February with laurels to
prove our seriousness.
49. Still on recreation, we are passionate about the place of the elderly
in the state. Last year, we engaged the Ekiti Council of Elders and our
views on a Recreation Centre for the elderly were aligned. The
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construction of the Ekiti Elders Recreation Centre will commence in
2021 and it will be equipped with ultra modern facilities for the use of
our elders in the State.
50. Ekiti is regaining its pride of place in Arts, Culture and Tourism. In
the recently concluded National Festival of Arts and Culture in Jos,
Plateau State, Ekiti State was second overall but seen as clearly the most
improved State in the festival. To crown the glory, the State was awarded
hosting rights for the National Festival of Arts and Culture in 2021.
51. The New year will also witness the implementation of the Tourism
Master Plan in the State and the vision is to maximize the tourism
potential in the State whilst addressing the locational and security
challenges that are impediments to the growth of the tourism sector.
52. Our work on social investment will be incomplete without
highlighting activities in our women's development and gender
empowerment sector and plans for the new year. That Ekiti State leads
the way on issues relating to gender equality and women empowerment
is not in contention, the challenge is not to rest on our oars. In terms of
legislation and its enforcement, advocacy and enlightenment, support
for victims of gender-based violence and empowerment programmes for
the girl child and women, the past year witnessed strict enforcement of
legislation on gender based violence and community naming and
shaming. The year also saw the construction and commissioning of
Moremi Clinic - the Sexual Assault Referral Centre and the Transit Home
and Skills Acquisition Centre for women in addition to procurement of
equipment for the Funmilayo Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre
in the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital. In addition, the Ministry
of Women Affairs and Social Development working closely with the
Office of the Wife of Governor and the Sustainable Development Goals
Office have continued to develop capacity building and empowerment
programmes for women across the State.
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53. Still in relation to our social investment programme, we also
focused attention in the past year on People Living with Disabilities. In
partnership with Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd, we commissioned a fully
equipped vocational training centre and recreational facility for people
with disabilities. The facility has four training halls, a 400 seater
auditorium, fully furnished accommodation for 16 people, a computer
training facility and training equipment for fashion designing, shoe
making, hair dressing and catering and hotel management. In the New
Year, attention will shift to our special schools for people with disabilities
in the State. Working with the World Bank supported At Risk Children
programme, the Office of the First Lady will collaborate with the Office
of Disability Affairs in the State to strengthen the State's capacity to
manage disability challenges in children.
54. Our social investment strategy risks derailment if we do not
strengthen our people's capacity to earn a living on their own, rather
than depending on handouts from government - which is not sustainable.
The COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the vulnerability of our people in
the wake of the enforced lockdown. In 2020, no fewer than 1000 local
businesses benefited from the various funds disbursed through our
Microcredit and Enterprise Development Agency. It is important that
the efficiency and effectiveness of such disbursements is best measured
through cooperatives that can easily hold beneficiaries accountable for
their actions or inaction. In 2021, our STATE CARES programme will
provide resources to support our SMEs by strengthening their trade
cooperatives.
55. In JKF 1, there was hardly any community in Ekiti that did not
receive government support for projects chosen by the communities for
development. Some of the projects were left uncompleted when we left
in 2014 and it was only upon my return to office in 2018 that we
commenced the completion of many of those projects. In the course of
the past year, I've received delegations from various communities
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requesting support for one project or another. The newly established
Bureau of Community and Rural Development shall focus attention
on these community projects in the new year and use the remaining two
years to support projects identified by the communities themselves.
56. Finally, any social investment agenda that ignores the place of
youth development in a youth dominated setting will not achieve much.
One unforgettable lesson of 2020 is that we need to pay more attention
to what our young people are saying since they genuinely feel let down
by leaders. The way to address the gnawing deficit of trust between the
young people and political leaders is to devise better approaches to
inclusive politics, one that not only informs but consults them widely on
matters that affect them directly. At the Youth Summit held as part of my
second anniversary in office and subsequent meetings held with youth
representatives, we have agreed to a set of values oriented approaches
to youth development that must place them at the centre of government.
2021 gives us as a government the opportunity to demonstrate sincerity
of purpose and strategies for building their capacity for employment and
entrepreneurship.
AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
57. It is common knowledge that Ekiti has comparative advantage in
agriculture, to generate revenue and to create meaningful employment.
In the first two years of this administration, we have advanced our
agenda to make agribusiness the mainstay of our economy. We have put
in place the structures and mechanisms to enhance mechanized farming
and commercial agriculture. We have also worked hard to create the
conducive environment needed to attract investors and cultivated
mutually beneficial working relationships with renowned players in the
agribusiness sector. We are working assiduously to take full advantage
of the Federal Government’s ban on food importation, aimed at
encouraging backward integration in the Agriculture sector. Some of the
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major outcomes are the resuscitation and revitalization of Ikun Dairy
Farm in partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited which is fully
operational. Dangote Farms Limited, Stallion Rice and Jumlar Rice
Limited are in the State for Rice Value Chain, while Promise Point, FMS
Farms Limited are for Cassava Value Chain in Ekiti State.
58. To ease movement of goods from farms to the markets, our Rural
Access to Agriculture and Markets Programme (RAAMP) is
commencing in January 2021 after the delay encountered as a result of
the Covid 19 pandemic. The launch of the pilot roads for rehabilitation
and reconstruction will include Ago Aduloju - Kajola road, Imesi -
Kosomolate - Ipole Road, Itaji - Imojo- Orisumbare road, FMS Farm road
in Iyemero, Ogotun - Alagbede road as well as Iyin (Odo-Uro) - Aroto
road. These pilot road constructions which will commence before the
end of January 2021 will form part of the 1000 km of rural roads already
identified for construction under the RAAMP initiative in the next two
years.
59. We are passionate, committed, and excited about these
developments because its multiplier effects are not just on the possibility
of boosting agricultural outputs but also significantly improving our
Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), as well as the thousands of jobs it
will create for our people.
60. Still on rural development, we will also embark on the
reconstruction of Ajolagun Bridge in Ikere Ekiti as well as the
reconstruction of Arikin Bridge, Ogbomu culvert and channelisation of
gully erosion and flood control sites in Irele and Ipao Ekiti under our
NEWMAP programme in the State Ministry of Environment.
61. Our Forestry programme will also witness significant development
in the new year. The re-afforestation programme will commence fully
and the conservation programme relating to the Ise forest is also
continuing apace in the new year.
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62. On mineral resources exploration, the aero magnetic survey of
mineral development in Ekiti State will commence early in the new year
as part of the World Bank supported, MinDiver initiative of the Federal
Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. Equally, the Nigeria Mineral
Exploration Project (NIMEP) has been undertaking comprehensive
exploration of mineral endowments in Ekiti State in the past year and the
preliminary results appear very promising.
2021 IN FOCUS
63. From the foregoing, the year 2021 is going to be a very busy and
exciting year with many life changing events. Political activities will
intensify this year because of Local Government elections and the
process of creating LCDAs. The remaining half of my tenure is loaded
with activities. Nevertheless, I assure you of my avowed commitment to
complete and commission all the legacy projects we started, before the
end of my tenure in October 2022.
64. The year 2020 has gone but left behind some momentous lessons
and deliberate efforts must be made to build on the visible progress we
recorded, against all odds. Therefore, as a people, State and government
we should approach the year, 2021, with the determination to recover
lost ground and restore lost hopes. This year is therefore expected to be
very eventful with ongoing projects completed and new ones springing
up.
65. The key words this year, therefore, are “Healthy Living and Security
Consciousness.” As a government, we will continue to play our part by
prioritizing and managing our resources judiciously to create a
conducive environment to attract external investment and also help local
businesses to thrive.
66. COVID-19 is still very much with us and the dreaded second wave
is already gaining ground. I urge you all to strictly observe the protocols
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and stay healthy. Although COVID-19 is not a death sentence, we cannot
afford to be complacent by discountenancing the risks involved. As a
government, we are well-equipped to manage infected persons and
curtail the spread and we are now in the throes of our preparation for
vaccine procurement, but it is better not to be infected at all, as
prevention is always better than cure. I enjoin you all to make use of the
available facilities provided by the government to check yourself,
especially when you are exposed to an infected person(s).
67. Security of lives and property is our collective responsibility. The
need to rid Ekiti State of crime and criminality cannot be
overemphasised. The criminals and perpetrators of crime live among us,
and must be fished out for us to have and enjoy our desired peace. I
therefore call on all and sundry to support all the existing security
agencies, including Amotekun, with the right information on crime and
criminality in your community or neighbourhood.
68. There is no rocket science that makes other countries safer than
ours other than the fact that people out there are naturally their
neighbours’ keepers. In those countries, a concerned neighbour will
invite the police to check you up just by hearing strange voices from your
house or noticing strange movement around your house. I enjoin you all
to feel free to feed the security agencies with the right information on
how to make our dear State safer for all and sundry.
69. I urge anyone with genuine information about crime and
criminality that lack the confidence to personally approach the security
agencies, to report to the nearest traditional ruler, who is empowered to
take the case up with the security agencies without disclosing the
identity of the informant. We all have roles to play, and must play our
part before Ekiti State can genuinely be free of crime and criminality.
Page 20 of 21
70. For us, it is not enough to be tough and uncompromising on
bringing criminals to book however, we must also be hard on the root
causes of crime - such as poverty, inequality and lack of opportunities.
71. As a responsible government, each of our policies, programmes and
projects is carefully crafted with a view to making life better and more
meaningful for our people. I urge you all to be patient and do not let your
faith in our government falter. We are making tremendous progress on
all the legacy projects we embarked on. These legacy projects are the
prerequisites for the envisioned future of Ekiti State, and we are poised
to deliver in record time, as promised.
CONCLUSION
72. Ekiti-Kete, as we begin year 2021 today, the year of our recovery
and economic restoration as a State, I urge you all to renew your support
and commitment for the actualization of the Ekiti State of our dreams. I
sincerely appreciate your support and collaboration in year 2020, and I
look forward to the same in 2021, and beyond.
73. We are on this mission together, and I assure you of our firm
commitment to the ideals of a safe, secure and prosperous Ekiti State.
The resources may be limited, but our resourcefulness and creativity are
unlimited.
74. Once again, I am grateful to Ekiti-kete, at home and in the Diaspora,
and all well-wishers of our government for their belief in our capacity to
turn the tide positively for the generality of the people. I enjoin you to
keep supporting us with your tax payment, prayers, encouragement,
constructive criticism and selfless suggestions to move the State
forward.
75. As we move on to actualize the Ekiti State of our dreams, I pray for
good health, good tidings and a secure society that will make the year
2021 remarkable and great for us as a people, State and government.
Page 21 of 21
May the new year truly be our year of recovery and restoration,
individually and collectively. Happy new year to you all
76. Ashe yi, sh’amodun o.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON
Governor.

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COMMEMORATION OF THE NEW YEAR 2021

  • 1. Page 1 of 21 Text of the Address by His Excellency Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria in COMMEMORATION OF THE NEW YEAR 2021 at Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State Friday, January 1, 2021 1. Ekiti-kete, I rejoice with you this morning and joyfully congratulate you for seeing the dawn of a new year and the beginning of new hopes and accomplishments. 2. I address you this morning full of praises and thanksgiving to God Almighty for His grace and benevolence over us as a people, State and government. 3. I thank you Ekiti-kete for your love, tolerance, support, prayers, criticism and suggestions. A tree they say does not make a forest. We are making visible progress against all odds because of your unflinching faith in us, which is the impetus we need to soldier on with steady strides. 4. The past year, 2020, would forever be remembered as the year the whole world lived in palpable fear, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world experienced the unimaginable and lived with uncertainty, all through the year. COVID-19 ran the global economy aground and altered
  • 2. Page 2 of 21 plans and projections at all levels of governments, organizations, and had a profound impact on households and individuals. 5. In Ekiti, we had our own share of the not so pleasant experience as the second State in Nigeria to record a confirmed case of COVID-19 after Lagos State. Responding to the challenges created by the pandemic took a lot of courage, decisiveness, and collaboration. All our responses have been guided by expert advice, particularly by our very resourceful indigenes at home and abroad who have supported us in making the right decisions at the right time, and also helped us to alleviate the hardship brought by the pandemic on the lives of the people. 6. You will recall that, exactly this time last year, on January 1st 2020, I addressed and assured you that the year will be better than the previous one. I made the assertion based on the various short, medium and long- term plans we mapped out for year 2020, to bring succour to our people and restore lost values and dignity. 7. Despite the turbulence and economic realities of the year, 2020, we sailed through with impactful, meaningful and visible accomplishments on all fronts. All the programmes and projects we initiated last year received deserved attention. While some were completed and commissioned, others are in various stages of completion and will be completed as scheduled. This is in line with the promise I made at the inception of this administration, to place the overall best interest of Ekiti people above every other consideration at all times. Without being immodest and with all sense of humility, I make bold to tell Ekiti-kete that we are keeping our promises with regards to execution of projects and programmes. 8. We remain committed to completing all unfinished projects by the previous administration. In line with this commitment, some inherited
  • 3. Page 3 of 21 projects were completed and commissioned in the year 2020, despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19. This is in line with the Ekiti State Transition Law that was promulgated in 2019 to prevent successive administrations from abandoning projects initiated by their predecessors. We are by this action practicing what we preach that, henceforth, there will be no abandoned projects again in Ekiti State. We have done this to demonstrate that regardless of our partisan leanings, Ekiti State remains our common heritage, and we must do all we can to lay a foundation for sustainable development. 9. The indices point to the fact that this New Year, 2021, promises to be more exciting and impactful than the previous year. Christening the year 2021 Appropriation Bill “Budget of Recovery and Economic Restoration” is not by happenstance. I, therefore, welcome you all to our year of recovery and restoration in Ekiti State, which is in line with our quest to leave Ekiti State better than we met her, impacting lives and building durable legacies. 10. Today, I address you with a strong conviction that despite the challenges we have faced in the past year, we are making progress towards accomplishing our goals for Ekiti in the five pillars of our developmental agenda. GOVERNANCE 11. In the year 2020, we doubled our efforts at redefining good governance in Ekiti State by strengthening the public service to function more effectively and transparently. First, we fulfilled our promise and recruited over 1,500 new employees into the teaching, healthcare and various cadres of the civil service. Additionally, many serving officers benefited from various capacity building programmes in the course of the year. As the COVID19 pandemic gradually subsides, the capacity
  • 4. Page 4 of 21 building programme for public servants will be expanded through partnerships with the local universities and similar institutions. 12. Our commitment to transparency and values was further reinforced with our membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the publication of the Code of Ethics for civil servants by the Head of Service. 13. Ekiti Kete, you would recall that we commenced payment of minimum wage to Levels 1 to 6 in 2019 but the negotiations for the consequential adjustment for officers from Levels 7 and above had been stalled by the outbreak of the pandemic. Those negotiations resumed last month for eventual resolution. 14. Equally, to ease the accommodation burden for public and civil servants, two of the hitherto abandoned secretariat buildings were completed, commissioned and assigned to various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to enhance the performance and productivity of the public service. We plan to complete the remaining abandoned blocks in 2021 in addition to ensuring the landscaping and beautification of the entire Secretariat complex. 15. Despite the economic situation, we are soldiering on in our quest to clear the outstanding gratuities of retirees in consonance with our belief that our senior citizens who served the State diligently need to receive what is due to them, and enjoy their retirement in dignity. Just a few days ago, another set of retirees received cheques for the payment of their gratuity. I once again, assure our esteemed workers and retirees that all the inherited salaries, pensions and gratuities are not bad debts. All the inherited arrears will be cleared one after the other as things improve for our dear State.
  • 5. Page 5 of 21 16. In response to the clamour of our people on the need to reinforce the current security architecture in Ekiti State, the Ekiti State Security Network, codenamed "Amotekun" was created to strengthen security within Ekiti State and in synergy with other South West States. Amotekun is already functional in Ekiti State and will be strengthened to deliver on its mandate with increased training, technology and equipment, going forward. 17. We have also continued to support our various security institutions - the police, military, SSS, civil defence, road safety corps, NDLEA and immigration with logistics and coordination. The new year will witness the launch of our Safe City project as well as other initiatives aimed at boosting security and safety in the state. 18. In our deliberate effort to bring government closer to the grassroots, we revisited the issue of Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) that were created from the existing Local Government Areas in the State, on Thursday June 26, 2014. The new council areas were created then after due process that included the conduct of a referendum by the State Independent Electoral Commission and consideration of the outcome of the referendum by the Ekiti State House of Assembly. Unfortunately, the previous administration abandoned the project. The decision we took as a government in 2014 that earned us applause from majority of Ekiti sons and daughters, is therefore being revisited. The process of creating additional LCDAs is ongoing. The quest to create more LCDAs is not driven by political coloration, but for the socio- economic wellbeing of our people. I enjoin Ekiti-kete to work with the committee put in place for this purpose, for us to have a just and enduring outcome. 19. We strengthened the Anti-Land Grabbing policy of Ekiti State government with the establishment and implementation of the Ekiti State Land Administration and Management Project through the
  • 6. Page 6 of 21 Executive Order Number 008 that I signed on October 30th 2020. One major challenge that government faces is the increasing cases of land grabbing and other fraudulent land transactions across the State. The Executive Order was, therefore, in furtherance of government’s desire to undertake sustainable land reforms in the State. Previously, in an effort to curb these unlawful activities, government enacted the Ekiti State Property Protection (Anti-Land Grabbing) Law 2019. The objective of this law is to prohibit forcible entry, violent and fraudulent conduct in relation to landed properties in Ekiti State. Government is further implementing in 2021 an automated Land Geographic Information System project that will significantly enhance land management in Ekiti State. INFRASTRUCTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 20. It is clear to us as a government that a state with decrepit infrastructure cannot enhance the productivity of her people. That's why this government has placed a lot of premium on improving infrastructure to accelerate development. 21. We recognised that transportation infrastructure is a crucial factor in improving agricultural productivity and creating new markets for agricultural produce, enhancing the quality of life of the people, facilitating interaction among geographical and economic regions, and opening up new centres of economic activities. Therefore, in addition to the routine maintenance of the existing road networks, we are also working on some roads critical to our local economy across the state. You are all aware of the ongoing work on the Ado-Iyin phase of the new Ado - Iyin- Igede - Aramoko - Itawure Road; Aramoko-Erijiyan - Ikogosi road
  • 7. Page 7 of 21 in the Central Senatorial District; Agbado-Ode-Isinbode- Omuo Road and Ilawe-Igbara Odo –Ibuji - Ondo State boundary road in the South Zone and; Ilupeju-Ire-Igbemo-Ijan road and Oye-Ikun-Otun Road in the North Senatorial District of the State. These roads are all due for completion in 2021. Other critical roads will also receive attention in the new year. 22. The new year will also witness the commencement of the first phase of the Ado-Ekiti multi modal Ring Road project which has been awarded to Craneburg Construction Company. This 17 kilometer long section of the ring road connects the new airport to Igbemo, Iworoko and Ifaki axis. 23. You will recall that our relentless advocacy and collaboration with the Federal Government has yielded results, as the contract for the reconstruction and dualization of Ikere-Akure-Ado Ekiti road has been awarded to Dantata & Sawoe, and the contractor has started work on the site. Equally, due to additional pressure mounted by the State government and our representatives in the National Assembly and federal agencies, many federal roads that have been abandoned over the years are now receiving the attention of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA). 24. I told you last year that work was almost approaching completion on Ero and Egbe Dams rehabilitation. Pipelines conveying water to various homes have been installed and water meters will follow suit apace with other water sector improvements. We are confident that the State will witness a comprehensive return to the supply of pipe borne water and a reduction in water borne diseases. I am glad to report that we have tested the pipelines conveying water from Ero and Egbe Dams
  • 8. Page 8 of 21 to various communities and we are confident that the job will be completed on schedule in 2021. 25. Ekiti Agro-Cargo Airport remains a priority for us and we projected that it would be completed in record time before the end of my tenure. I am happy to inform you all that despite the economic challenges of the year 2020, we are making remarkable progress with our Agro-Cargo Airport project and we are still on course for completion in 2022. I must commend the communities affected by the airport for their cooperation and Aare Afe Babalola, the Federal Ministry of Aviation, the Nigerian Air Force for their collaboration and support to date. 26. Electricity remains a sore point in many communities in Ekiti State due to the less than satisfactory supply by BEDC. Many of our people are rightly unhappy about the bad electricity supply to the State as we are in government. We are working with the Transmission Company of Nigeria to improve the transmission capacity in the State by creating additional loop with the installation of 132 - 33kva substations in Ijesha-Isu and Ifaki. We are also working with the Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria on solar powered energy in various communities. Equally, the State has signed a contract for a 3 megawatt Independent Power Project which will supply power to all public institutions including the Secretariat, street lights, Teaching Hospital, the State University and Government House. This project is due for completion in August 2021. 27. Since I signed the Executive Order reducing the Right of Way (ROW) charges for laying broadband infrastructure from N4, 500 to N145 per meter in May 2020, we have started reaping the benefits of this strategic ease of doing business decision. Barely a week after the ROW
  • 9. Page 9 of 21 fee reduction, we signed a memorandum of understanding with Oodua Infraco, to lay 606 kilometers of fiber optic cabling in the State. Under the agreement, Oodua Infraco will leverage the State's 'Dig Once" policy to create the State's single pipeline for fibre optic infrastructure - but will provide multiple ducts for other providers. 28. I can report that MTN - the largest telecommunications company in Nigeria has already commenced the installation of 240 kilometers of fibre optic infrastructure in four local governments while IHS - the tower company will commence 600 kilometers of fibre optic infrastructure in the first quarter of 2021. With MTN, we are creating a regional education network looping all the four universities – Ekiti State University (EKSU), Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Federal University, Oye (FUOYE) and Bamidele Olomilua University of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, in the first round. This will be expanded subsequently to Federal Polytechnic, Ado- Ekiti and College of Agriculture and Technology, Isan-Ekiti. KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY 29. This intensified fibre optic cabling programme in the State which will accelerate broadband penetration is critical to our strategic objective of making Ekiti a destination of choice for the knowledge industry - particularly as it relates to information and communication technology. 30. The knowledge economy and human capital development programme is a central feature of our development agenda in Ekiti State. This is one of the reasons we continue to provide a conducive environment for the education industry for which we are most prominent in Nigeria. Despite the adverse effects of COVID-19 on global
  • 10. Page 10 of 21 economy, what the pandemic has also done is underscore the importance of technology in our human capital development strategy. 31. We have received research support from the African Development Bank to finalise the development plan for the Ekiti Knowledge Zone in addition to completing the necessary formalities for its approval as a Special Economic Zone by the Federal government. So, 2021 is a critical year for the development of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone. 32. In our passion to promote and encourage academic excellence, we initiated and granted merit-based bursary and scholarships to Undergraduates, Physically Challenged Undergraduates, Masters’ Degree and Doctoral degree students of Ekiti State origin studying in various higher institutions in the country, including law students. 33. In terms of critical infrastructure in the education sector, we have continued with the construction of new schools as well as renovation of old ones. We are committed to the vision of leaving no school building untouched in the Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti State programme. 34. In addition to the brick and mortar interventions, we also supplied instructional materials to all public schools and ensured constant payment of running grants to our primary, secondary, and technical schools in our free and compulsory education programme. 35. What this has done is the exponential increase in the enrolment figures in our primary, secondary and technical schools in the state from 106,271 pupils in primary schools in 2018 to 140,518 pupils in 2020; 85,681 in secondary schools in 2018 to 109,542 pupils in 2020 and 240
  • 11. Page 11 of 21 students in technical colleges in 2018 to 910 students in 2020. What is also remarkable is that a large percentage of the new enrollees were attracted from the private school sector in the State. 36. At the heart of our knowledge economy agenda is the quest for functional and values oriented education that will allow our products to become technologically competent and academically sound for the jobs of the future. 37. In our quest for values restoration - particularly among the young generation , our team has completed the development of the curriculum of our values programme from Primary 1 - 6 and JSS1 - SSS3. The full implementation of the programme will commence in 2021. SOCIAL INVESTMENTS 38. In Ekiti State, the wellbeing of our people is vital to us as a government because a healthy, motivated, and socially secure people is the utmost asset of a State. In pursuit of this, we have successfully revived and strengthened all sectors of our social investments to serve the best interest of our people. 39. This informs our continuous investments in healthcare infrastructure. Our proactive stance in the healthcare sector helped our preparedness for the outbreak of COVID-19. Some of the infrastructure interventions in the health sector include the acquisition of Modular Laboratory for the testing of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, equipping and upgrading of our 150-bed capacity Infectious Diseases Centre for the containment of communicable diseases as well as the renovation of 20 primary health centres and one secondary facility. 40. This year will witness additional concrete developments in the health sector. All our specialist and secondary health facilities will
  • 12. Page 12 of 21 receive a comprehensive face-lift and at least sixty more primary health facilities will be upgraded in addition to the twenty renovated in 2020. Part of this upgrading will also include equipment upgrade in these facilities and additional human resource recruitment in our facilities. Already, we have procured solar powered refrigerators for vaccine storage for all our primary and secondary health care facilities in the State and these will be available from January 2021. 41. Our primary purpose for doing all of the above is to improve the quality of healthcare in the State, given the deterioration experienced in maternal and child mortality in the interregnum between the JKF1 (2010-2014) and JKF2 (2018-present) administrations. Our vision is to return Ekiti to its pride of place in providing qualitative healthcare for citizens of the State. 42. For all of these investments to be sustained beyond my tenure, we launched the State Health Insurance Scheme in 2020. We have committed to increase investments in the scheme in 2021. 43. You will all agree with me that social security is evidently one of the hallmarks of my administration given our unshaken belief that government owes a duty to the weak, the vulnerable and the less fortunate to lift them up and provide them with succour. We ran it successfully in my first term (JKF1) and relaunched Owo-Arugbo on October 16, 2019, as part of activities to mark the first anniversary of this administration. 44. The Office of the Wife of Governor also launched Ounje-Arugbo, a Food Bank for the elderly, to complement the Owo Arugbo program in September 2019. Not only did the Ounje Arugbo project function uninterrupted in 2020, during the COVID19 lockdowns, the Food Bank was repurposed to provide support to vulnerable Ekiti citizens. Through this, we distributed over hundred thousand food packages to households across all the 16 Local Government Areas of Ekiti State.
  • 13. Page 13 of 21 45. It is also noteworthy that Ekiti State ranked one of the best among other States in terms of the provision of palliatives to ease the hardship the people faced during the COVID-19 induced lockdown. In addition, we collaborated with the Federal government’s initiatives, including the provision of stipends for the youths through the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) initiative. 46. Early in 2020, we signed a MoU with the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) to provide 50,000 affordable homes over ten years. We have now finalized the land title for UNOPS which signifies the commencement of the project in 2021. 47. In a similar vein, we are working in partnership with Family Homes Fund to provide 1000 units of social housing for our workers at affordable prices and low interest mortgages. We are rolling the programme out in the first quarter of 2021. 48. The place of recreation in social investment cannot be over emphasized. The sports sector in Ekiti has long been in the doldrums but I can report that things are beginning to look up. Here again, the steady strides are bearing fruit but it is also clear that success in sports development lies in the capacity of the State to mobilize non - governmental resources. The Bill on Sports Development Fund that I recently signed into law and the establishment of the State Lotteries Commission were both informed by this realization. While government will continue to support the various sporting activities at the grassroots, we will also help mobilize private sector involvement in an accountable and transparent manner. Ekiti is determined to return from the National Sports Festival being held in Benin, Edo State in February with laurels to prove our seriousness. 49. Still on recreation, we are passionate about the place of the elderly in the state. Last year, we engaged the Ekiti Council of Elders and our views on a Recreation Centre for the elderly were aligned. The
  • 14. Page 14 of 21 construction of the Ekiti Elders Recreation Centre will commence in 2021 and it will be equipped with ultra modern facilities for the use of our elders in the State. 50. Ekiti is regaining its pride of place in Arts, Culture and Tourism. In the recently concluded National Festival of Arts and Culture in Jos, Plateau State, Ekiti State was second overall but seen as clearly the most improved State in the festival. To crown the glory, the State was awarded hosting rights for the National Festival of Arts and Culture in 2021. 51. The New year will also witness the implementation of the Tourism Master Plan in the State and the vision is to maximize the tourism potential in the State whilst addressing the locational and security challenges that are impediments to the growth of the tourism sector. 52. Our work on social investment will be incomplete without highlighting activities in our women's development and gender empowerment sector and plans for the new year. That Ekiti State leads the way on issues relating to gender equality and women empowerment is not in contention, the challenge is not to rest on our oars. In terms of legislation and its enforcement, advocacy and enlightenment, support for victims of gender-based violence and empowerment programmes for the girl child and women, the past year witnessed strict enforcement of legislation on gender based violence and community naming and shaming. The year also saw the construction and commissioning of Moremi Clinic - the Sexual Assault Referral Centre and the Transit Home and Skills Acquisition Centre for women in addition to procurement of equipment for the Funmilayo Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre in the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital. In addition, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development working closely with the Office of the Wife of Governor and the Sustainable Development Goals Office have continued to develop capacity building and empowerment programmes for women across the State.
  • 15. Page 15 of 21 53. Still in relation to our social investment programme, we also focused attention in the past year on People Living with Disabilities. In partnership with Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd, we commissioned a fully equipped vocational training centre and recreational facility for people with disabilities. The facility has four training halls, a 400 seater auditorium, fully furnished accommodation for 16 people, a computer training facility and training equipment for fashion designing, shoe making, hair dressing and catering and hotel management. In the New Year, attention will shift to our special schools for people with disabilities in the State. Working with the World Bank supported At Risk Children programme, the Office of the First Lady will collaborate with the Office of Disability Affairs in the State to strengthen the State's capacity to manage disability challenges in children. 54. Our social investment strategy risks derailment if we do not strengthen our people's capacity to earn a living on their own, rather than depending on handouts from government - which is not sustainable. The COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the vulnerability of our people in the wake of the enforced lockdown. In 2020, no fewer than 1000 local businesses benefited from the various funds disbursed through our Microcredit and Enterprise Development Agency. It is important that the efficiency and effectiveness of such disbursements is best measured through cooperatives that can easily hold beneficiaries accountable for their actions or inaction. In 2021, our STATE CARES programme will provide resources to support our SMEs by strengthening their trade cooperatives. 55. In JKF 1, there was hardly any community in Ekiti that did not receive government support for projects chosen by the communities for development. Some of the projects were left uncompleted when we left in 2014 and it was only upon my return to office in 2018 that we commenced the completion of many of those projects. In the course of the past year, I've received delegations from various communities
  • 16. Page 16 of 21 requesting support for one project or another. The newly established Bureau of Community and Rural Development shall focus attention on these community projects in the new year and use the remaining two years to support projects identified by the communities themselves. 56. Finally, any social investment agenda that ignores the place of youth development in a youth dominated setting will not achieve much. One unforgettable lesson of 2020 is that we need to pay more attention to what our young people are saying since they genuinely feel let down by leaders. The way to address the gnawing deficit of trust between the young people and political leaders is to devise better approaches to inclusive politics, one that not only informs but consults them widely on matters that affect them directly. At the Youth Summit held as part of my second anniversary in office and subsequent meetings held with youth representatives, we have agreed to a set of values oriented approaches to youth development that must place them at the centre of government. 2021 gives us as a government the opportunity to demonstrate sincerity of purpose and strategies for building their capacity for employment and entrepreneurship. AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT 57. It is common knowledge that Ekiti has comparative advantage in agriculture, to generate revenue and to create meaningful employment. In the first two years of this administration, we have advanced our agenda to make agribusiness the mainstay of our economy. We have put in place the structures and mechanisms to enhance mechanized farming and commercial agriculture. We have also worked hard to create the conducive environment needed to attract investors and cultivated mutually beneficial working relationships with renowned players in the agribusiness sector. We are working assiduously to take full advantage of the Federal Government’s ban on food importation, aimed at encouraging backward integration in the Agriculture sector. Some of the
  • 17. Page 17 of 21 major outcomes are the resuscitation and revitalization of Ikun Dairy Farm in partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited which is fully operational. Dangote Farms Limited, Stallion Rice and Jumlar Rice Limited are in the State for Rice Value Chain, while Promise Point, FMS Farms Limited are for Cassava Value Chain in Ekiti State. 58. To ease movement of goods from farms to the markets, our Rural Access to Agriculture and Markets Programme (RAAMP) is commencing in January 2021 after the delay encountered as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. The launch of the pilot roads for rehabilitation and reconstruction will include Ago Aduloju - Kajola road, Imesi - Kosomolate - Ipole Road, Itaji - Imojo- Orisumbare road, FMS Farm road in Iyemero, Ogotun - Alagbede road as well as Iyin (Odo-Uro) - Aroto road. These pilot road constructions which will commence before the end of January 2021 will form part of the 1000 km of rural roads already identified for construction under the RAAMP initiative in the next two years. 59. We are passionate, committed, and excited about these developments because its multiplier effects are not just on the possibility of boosting agricultural outputs but also significantly improving our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), as well as the thousands of jobs it will create for our people. 60. Still on rural development, we will also embark on the reconstruction of Ajolagun Bridge in Ikere Ekiti as well as the reconstruction of Arikin Bridge, Ogbomu culvert and channelisation of gully erosion and flood control sites in Irele and Ipao Ekiti under our NEWMAP programme in the State Ministry of Environment. 61. Our Forestry programme will also witness significant development in the new year. The re-afforestation programme will commence fully and the conservation programme relating to the Ise forest is also continuing apace in the new year.
  • 18. Page 18 of 21 62. On mineral resources exploration, the aero magnetic survey of mineral development in Ekiti State will commence early in the new year as part of the World Bank supported, MinDiver initiative of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. Equally, the Nigeria Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) has been undertaking comprehensive exploration of mineral endowments in Ekiti State in the past year and the preliminary results appear very promising. 2021 IN FOCUS 63. From the foregoing, the year 2021 is going to be a very busy and exciting year with many life changing events. Political activities will intensify this year because of Local Government elections and the process of creating LCDAs. The remaining half of my tenure is loaded with activities. Nevertheless, I assure you of my avowed commitment to complete and commission all the legacy projects we started, before the end of my tenure in October 2022. 64. The year 2020 has gone but left behind some momentous lessons and deliberate efforts must be made to build on the visible progress we recorded, against all odds. Therefore, as a people, State and government we should approach the year, 2021, with the determination to recover lost ground and restore lost hopes. This year is therefore expected to be very eventful with ongoing projects completed and new ones springing up. 65. The key words this year, therefore, are “Healthy Living and Security Consciousness.” As a government, we will continue to play our part by prioritizing and managing our resources judiciously to create a conducive environment to attract external investment and also help local businesses to thrive. 66. COVID-19 is still very much with us and the dreaded second wave is already gaining ground. I urge you all to strictly observe the protocols
  • 19. Page 19 of 21 and stay healthy. Although COVID-19 is not a death sentence, we cannot afford to be complacent by discountenancing the risks involved. As a government, we are well-equipped to manage infected persons and curtail the spread and we are now in the throes of our preparation for vaccine procurement, but it is better not to be infected at all, as prevention is always better than cure. I enjoin you all to make use of the available facilities provided by the government to check yourself, especially when you are exposed to an infected person(s). 67. Security of lives and property is our collective responsibility. The need to rid Ekiti State of crime and criminality cannot be overemphasised. The criminals and perpetrators of crime live among us, and must be fished out for us to have and enjoy our desired peace. I therefore call on all and sundry to support all the existing security agencies, including Amotekun, with the right information on crime and criminality in your community or neighbourhood. 68. There is no rocket science that makes other countries safer than ours other than the fact that people out there are naturally their neighbours’ keepers. In those countries, a concerned neighbour will invite the police to check you up just by hearing strange voices from your house or noticing strange movement around your house. I enjoin you all to feel free to feed the security agencies with the right information on how to make our dear State safer for all and sundry. 69. I urge anyone with genuine information about crime and criminality that lack the confidence to personally approach the security agencies, to report to the nearest traditional ruler, who is empowered to take the case up with the security agencies without disclosing the identity of the informant. We all have roles to play, and must play our part before Ekiti State can genuinely be free of crime and criminality.
  • 20. Page 20 of 21 70. For us, it is not enough to be tough and uncompromising on bringing criminals to book however, we must also be hard on the root causes of crime - such as poverty, inequality and lack of opportunities. 71. As a responsible government, each of our policies, programmes and projects is carefully crafted with a view to making life better and more meaningful for our people. I urge you all to be patient and do not let your faith in our government falter. We are making tremendous progress on all the legacy projects we embarked on. These legacy projects are the prerequisites for the envisioned future of Ekiti State, and we are poised to deliver in record time, as promised. CONCLUSION 72. Ekiti-Kete, as we begin year 2021 today, the year of our recovery and economic restoration as a State, I urge you all to renew your support and commitment for the actualization of the Ekiti State of our dreams. I sincerely appreciate your support and collaboration in year 2020, and I look forward to the same in 2021, and beyond. 73. We are on this mission together, and I assure you of our firm commitment to the ideals of a safe, secure and prosperous Ekiti State. The resources may be limited, but our resourcefulness and creativity are unlimited. 74. Once again, I am grateful to Ekiti-kete, at home and in the Diaspora, and all well-wishers of our government for their belief in our capacity to turn the tide positively for the generality of the people. I enjoin you to keep supporting us with your tax payment, prayers, encouragement, constructive criticism and selfless suggestions to move the State forward. 75. As we move on to actualize the Ekiti State of our dreams, I pray for good health, good tidings and a secure society that will make the year 2021 remarkable and great for us as a people, State and government.
  • 21. Page 21 of 21 May the new year truly be our year of recovery and restoration, individually and collectively. Happy new year to you all 76. Ashe yi, sh’amodun o. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON Governor.