Ekiti: Between Today's Civility and Yesterday's Insolence
By Segun Dipe
"When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state." -Euripedes.
It is two months into the administration of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti and things are already looking up.
The strained relationship between the state and its external world was as a result of the insolence of its immediate past governor, Ayo Fayose, who, between October 2014 and October 2018 was the most popular governor in the country for all the bad reasons. It was one week one trouble from Ekiti then. But, two months down the line, the frosty relationship has thawed and the dented image of the government in the eyes of the people is smoothening.
Prior to the 16 October swearing-in of Governor Fayemi as Executive Governor, Ekiti State was swimming in backwaters, value-wise. The people's reputation was cloaked in inglorious rags.
There is a world of difference between the good and bad governance. Good governance has certain characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective, efficient and follows the rule of law. Salaries are paid as at when due and an enabling environment is in place for businesses to thrive. All these characterise Gov. Fayemi's administrative style.
Fayose's style, on the other hand, was everything but couth. It was a corrupt system, being strictly profit-down, not driven to serve the best interests of the people. There was a great decline in institutional integrity and capacity between 2014 and 2018, aggravated by arbitrary actions of the governor. The governor's undemocratic conduct and political interference greatly reduced the institutional autonomy of the public sector and integrity. It also dominated established procedures, greatly undermined both the accountability process and the technocrats capacity in the public service.
By default, Ekiti people deserve good government and not a bad one. They may not be wealthy, but they are genuinely civil, gallant, gracious, good natured and well mannered. This reputation was ill-formatted with Fayose's gangster conduct. All of a sudden, it was a curse to be a son or a daughter of Ekiti.
Virtue is the fundamental principle of a popular or democratic government to win the heart of the people and rule in peace. This aptly explains why in the 2018 governorship election they opted to pick a leader with integrity, one who says what he means, keeps his words and does not lie to the people.
They picked a leader who is strong, well exposed and confident, yet humble, intelligent but not sly. One who understands the diverse views of everyone: the farmer, the teacher, the civil servant, the artisan, the doctor, the traditional rulers, etc. They picked Dr. John Kayode Fayemi.
No sooner had he mounted the saddle than he reversed the downward trend of the state's reputation. He made his government people-centered, through a four-pronged agenda of social investment, knowledge economy, agriculture and industrialisation. His personality holds a high moral ground. He was undaunted in his determination to restore the values in a record time, as well as make the people breath fresh air and live well. This, however, was not seen as an enviable task by many, knowing how far the image and well being of the people had dipped.
Apparently mulling over the degree of decadent Fayemi inherited by Fayose, Prof. Niyi Osundare warned the incoming governor that he had an impoverished populace to empower, a swarm of jobless youths to engage, random education system to fix and the people's psychological clock to reset.
Two months down the line, all these challenges are being met. The values have started showing, the resetting is taking shape and the people have started seeing the difference between good and bad governance.
As for Fayose who mindlessly threw the state into backwaters through his insolent act, raped the people of their much valued values and carted away their collective patrimony, his judgement days are here.
Segun Dipe is the Senior Special Assistant to Ekiti State Governor on Public Communications.