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Building A New Image, A Must For Ekiti Governor By Akogun Tai Oguntayo

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For over 26 years of the creation of Ekiti State, it was an herculean task for every strata in the land of honour to overwhelmingly embrace any of the successive governments in the State. Each governor was branded with all manners of unpalatable names until the herald of Abiodun Abayomi Oyebanji, who appears to represent what every dick and harry regard as a home-grown governor, thus making people’s expectations from his administration to be unimaginable.

The unprecedented peaceful manner in which Biodun Oyebanji was elected as the governor of the State and his acceptance by all and sundry made political pundits to believe that he must do things differently because he is seen as the first elected governor who grew up among his people and had his education in the State. Ever before his swearing in, he gave the whole world the impression that his administration would be for all by visiting leaders; within and outside the State, with or without party affiliations, seeking their cooperation and maximum support. 

BAO Felicitation

Courses under Mass Communication and Media Technology includes:
- Advertising
- ⁠Broadcasting
- Development Communications⁠
- Film and Multimedia
- Information and Media Studies⁠
- ⁠⁠Journalism and Media Studies
- ⁠Mass Communications
- ⁠Public Relations
- ⁠Strategic Communication

BAO Felicitation

Courses under Mass Communication and Media Technology includes:
- Advertising
- ⁠Broadcasting
- Development Communications⁠
- Film and Multimedia
- Information and Media Studies⁠
- ⁠⁠Journalism and Media Studies
- ⁠Mass Communications
- ⁠Public Relations
- ⁠Strategic Communication

BAO Felicitation

Courses under Mass Communication and Media Technology includes:
- Advertising
- ⁠Broadcasting
- Development Communications⁠
- Film and Multimedia
- Information and Media Studies⁠
- ⁠⁠Journalism and Media Studies
- ⁠Mass Communications
- ⁠Public Relations
- ⁠Strategic Communication

However, on assumption of office, a section of the public expected an immediate detachment from his predecessor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, not minding the fact that as the Secretary to the State Government in the last administration, he was part and parcel of whatever achievements recorded in that regimen whether negatively or positively perceived. Shortly after the inauguration, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Funminiyi Afuye passed on and within a week, the Assembly had two Speakers, leading to controversies, allegations and counter allegations, all of which made Ekiti to be in the news for not so palatable reasons. 

The governor made it clear to those who cared to listen that the independence of the three arms of government must be sacrosanct under his watch. Mixed reactions greeted this decision but in a long run, the governor’s style yielded result as 24 out of the 25 lawmakers have now accepted the leadership of the new Speaker, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba. As at today, the House of Assembly is now a one family, except for the impeached Speaker, Rt. Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan who is still in court to challenge his controversial impeachment. Whether or not the invincible hand of the governor is involved in the peaceful resolution of the crisis, the fact remains that the State is now having a new image which must be sustained in order to avoid distraction that may hamper the progress of the new government.

At the inception of the post military rule, the State had a perfect gentleman as its pioneer governor, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, born with silver spoon in his mouth, was simple in his approach to governance, yet Ekiti people saw him as someone who was given to enjoyment and youthful. He failed in his bid to return to power because of the Operation Sweep the Southwest coupled with the activities of a pretentious lifestyle of the People’s Democratic Party’s flagbearer, Ayo Fayose who stormed Ekiti political landscape like a thunderbolt; fetching water for people and eating corn in the street with a reckless abandon. 

Within the three and half years of this self-styled Professor of Politics, it was one day, one trouble. No sooner than he started maltreating traditional rulers and abusing the elites that he was removed and replaced with Segun Oni, another political enigma who came third in his party governorship primaries only to be made the PDP flagbearer. He was announced the winner of the election and for the three and half years that he was on the hot seat, he was taunted as a dullard and moron despite his acclaimed simplicity and reformation in the local government sector. 

Oni’s government was sacked by the court and Kayode Fayemi, a man with human rights background so loved by Ekiti sons and daughters came on board after a tortuous three and half year struggle for power. It was a struggle that led to the losses of lives and properties were. Hardly did that governor come on board when he was branded an “Imported Governor” because of his alleged preference for his school mates and technocrats in different strategic positions far above indigenous politicians who considered themselves well educated and experienced.  For this and some other reasons, the governor was not returned for second term despite his undisputable performances.

In a mysterious and shocking manner, the once impeached governor, Fayose was returned to power, defeating the incumbent in the entire 16 local government areas of the State but with his so called populist style, his surrogate, Prof Olusola Eleka was defeated by his Fayemi who returned to power after his initial defeat.  The PDP’s loss in the 2018 election despite Fayose’s boastings was so devastating that it took so long to forget his “severe pain” slogan in the political history of the State.

Having learnt his lessons during his first term, Fayemi’s second term was much more people oriented as his cabinet was made of more home based politician unlike his first term. While he was feasible in national and international scenes, promoting the image of Ekiti State, his wife was everywhere giving succour to the less privileged and vulnerable people with her anti gender based violence and child abuse activities. 

In 2022 election, for the first time, Ekiti people massively voted a party twice consecutively not just because the then governor got the nuances of governance and politicking in his second term but also because the APC candidate, Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji was considered an experienced homeboy who had been around all this while to learn from the mistakes of the successive governments.  

Within a short time in office, Oyebanji has created a niche for himself as a governor who is not given to flamboyance and sophism in his style of administration. As a leader reputed for his humility, he occasionally strolls into his subordinates’ offices unannounced and still finds time to attend ward meetings of his party to the administration of his followers.  

As a man who values frugality and simplicity, barely a week to December 25, his first birthday in office, the governor announced that he did not want the usual wasteful spending in form of newspaper or radio advertisements, competitive presentation of gifts and unnecessary eye service that usually characterize such event.  Rather, he advised his friends and associates to present gifts to the less privileged and orphanage homes in the State. This no doubt sounded strange in the State and it is giving the land of honour her place of integrity in the comity of State. 

Having scored a rubicon against his opponents who took to court to challenge his victories at his party primaries, the governor is now less-distracted and he is faced with how to meet the yearnings of the people. Most importantly, the narrative about Ekiti is now changing as pensioners recently heaved a sigh of relief with governor’s proactive step to offset the backlog of their unpaid arrears just as workers  now get their deductions  as at when due. He did not only maintain prompt payment of salaries as inherited from his predecessor but also paid a month arrear of the Local Government workers within his first month in office.

The task before the governor now is how to combine governance with politics in such a way that one will not be at the detriment of the other. Just as the ordinary citizens are eagerly awaiting dividends of democracy, the political participants in the build up to his success are also looking up to him with the hope that there would be a commensurate reward for their participation in the political activities of the State. The year 2023 is full of expectations, promises and aspirations being a year of general elections when Nigerians will go to poll to elect their leaders at all levels.  

Akogun Tai Oguntayo is the former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ekiti State.


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