By Opeyemi Gbemiro
Ekiti Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, on Saturday counted many blessings from the creation of the state 27 years.
The governor, in a broadcast to the people of the state marking the creation on Oct. 1, 1996 and the 63rd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, noted that there are abundant reasons to justify the celebration.
Oyebanji recalled that as a young university lecturer, he served as the Secretary of the Committee for the creation of the state, a body which included prominent traditional rulers, statesmen, captains of industry, top bureaucrats, among others
The governor congratulated all Ekiti people on the 27th anniversary and also thanked those whose toiled and sweated to bring about its realisation.
“As we are thankful to God for how long we have gone as a people, we also need to reflect on the unity of the past that gave us the State and the need to do even far more to achieve more,” he said.
He expressed satisfaction that the state had excelled in many aspects of Human Development Indices and became a front-liner in education, life expectancy, access to quality healthcare services, physical infrastructure development, access to water, peace, ease of doing business, gender equality, social inclusion, among others.
While noting that Ekiti is building a formidable profile of a progressive and development-oriented state that is poised for inclusive prosperity for all, Oyebanji expressed his commitment to the dreams of the founding fathers to utilise its abundant mineral resources.
He disclosed that his administration is already collaborating with appropriate Federal Government’s agencies that will invest in the exploration of the state’s God-given mineral resources to create wealth and increase its internally generated revenue.
The governor used the occasion to appeal to the organised labour to sheathe its sword and exhaust the avenue of dialogue to resolve issues around the planned indefinite strike action slated to commence on Tuesday.
Oyebanji said that “on our part, we have undertaken some interventions to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal on our people.
“Apart from the direct food distribution and cash transfer to the most vulnerable, Government has also made buses available to staff and students, especially in the state capital, to ameliorate the cost of transportation.
“Beyond this however, is that, the Federal Government has promised that there will be a wage review across board soonest.
“The good news is that, even, for those not earning salaries directly from government, with more money available for workers as more disposable income and more money for government to undertake critical infrastructure development, more jobs will be available and the circular flow of money will ensure that the current monetary challenges will give way to the envisaged shared prosperity.
“I therefore want to appeal to the organised labour movement to exercise absolute patience and dialogue in resolving the current economic challenges. We cannot afford to compound the already tensed situation by shutting down this extremely fragile economy.
“It will be like cutting one’s nose to spite one’s own face. Whatever may be gained thereafter will be nothing but a temporary victory which would have done an incalculable damage to the economy and which may be difficult to reverse in the immediate.”
Oyebanji noted that his administration acknowledges that one of the dreams of the founders is that government is a continuum and that no administration is an island from those before it .
He said that the philosophy serves as the motivation for the continuation of ongoing and abandoned projects met on ground which are useful to the socioeconomic development of the state.
“For example, we have completed the Ado-Ekiti Central Bus Terminal, the Ekiti Council of Traditional Rulers’ Chamber, ten Secondary Health Facilities, major street lights, re-connection of Ekiti East, Aiyekire and some parts of Ekiti West and Ikole Local Government areas to the national grid after many years of darkness.
“We have also undertaken new projects such as rehabilitation of many roads in Ado-Ekiti. We are continuing with the Ikole township road, just as we are rehabilitating the Ilawe-Igede, Ado-Ilawe roads, Ikere-Ilawe, Erijiyan-Ilawe roads. We are also reconstructing the Igbara-Odo-Ikogosi road among others. More projects will be captured for execution in the ongoing budget preparation exercise,” he said.
He paid tributes to all former helmsmen of the state including the late Col. Inua Bawa, Navy Capt. Atanda Yusuff, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Chief Segun Oni, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Chief Ayodele Fayose, the late Brig.-Gen. Tunji Olurin, Rt. Hon. Tope Ademiluyi and Rt. Hon. Tunji Odeyemi for their various roles in the development of the state.(NAN)(nannews.ng).
Edited by Abdulfatai Beki/Julius Toba-Jegede