Fayemi’s Critics Are Victim of Stomach and Politics of Welfare By Maxwell Adegbenro
Edmund Burke wrote that “government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants”. The quality and importance of Government varies in forms in Nigeria’s political journey but Burke inspired the shade with informing analysis of what government stands for:
In other not to make Burke’s claim a subterfuge of the system that governs the people. Late Margaret Thatcher also buttressed “Government as the only institution that is decided by the people, institution that provide security and ensure safety of citizens. Provide means of surviving the people, via food, water, public housing, national health services and importantly education for sustaining leadership. Amongst those that have analysed processes of government and politics none have ever discussed politics of stomach infrastructure wherewith. Burke explanation is paragraph in our constitution stating the fundamental and primary objective of any government to its people which ranges from security, welfare and life.
Every government is selective of wings of operation; the left and right wings. The left wing is for welfare, public provision, collectivist, for institutional welfare whereas, the right wing against all these. Moreover, a government that wishes to surpass records and beat the margin of populism won’t dare the later.
To a large extent, the candor of the last 44months in Ekiti under Governor Kayode Fayemi, the incumbent Governor reflects the express image of governance and leadership no doubt. But sad, the people through their votes look disapproval of the elitist belief and style of running Ekiti, a state full of elites and vast human resources. The Governor, Kayode Fayemi is a proud product of our democratic struggle, which survives through relentlessly for 21years. Even as a student of history, he fought alongside many gladiators until democracy is birth. Ofcourse, when the hoarse of sustaining and stabilizing democracy springs, Dr Fayemi was part of many comrades that thrives the system accordingly far. Obviously, every whip of democratic principle accustoms by tradition and law is not strange to him. He has spent more than what any leader would take to get his mandate from opposition, inexorable, swift and actively involved with the people, until the eventual outcome of the June 21 Governorship election.
Fayemi was regarded as the leading light and probable winner of the poll while seeking re-election back to office beyond October 16, 2014. But nay, the will of the people differ, if that at all was their choice. The cue solace I infer is bent on the events that make his 4years and the drama Ekiti people see beyond principle, collectivism, rights and importance of social democracy. But, as a disciple, social democrats, Fayemi was unwavering and determined to do that which is right and demanded.
His claim to this is widely cerebral. He stood by his promises to the people, “participatory governance”. The street interpretation of this, is ijoba awara wa, where the people is engaged to develop their towns and villages through a grant in aid of the Governor. Fayemi does this annually before preparing his budget. This development in many range fosters people orientated policy where youth and community leaders are allowed to be front runner of what benefits them rightly, importantly and necessarily demanded by populists.
No one possesses this social attributes more among all the candidates that ran for the poll. What then went wrong?
Treating argument of people and commentary that surmounted Governor Fayemi’s loss; “the stomach infrastructure, lack of political will of connecting with the people”.
I feel terribly disagreeable to these claims. First, one of the important characters that make Dr Kayode Fayemi tenure is the “social welfare scheme” which renders the commentary puerile with form. The murderous claim that Fayemi failed to connect with the people is simply not well thought. It is not a crime to pursue what you believe through demonstration of who you are. Gov Fayemi is not street walker like Fayose, who spent most of his donkey years struggling on the street! The only thing that cost him is to take to pieces social order of relating shabbily with the people. The Governor elects, Fayose’s first tenure in office before the impeachment saga sought it breather. The other time Ibrahim Aminu Turaki, former Governor of Jigawa state visited Ekiti in 2005, after the rowdy federal might that presumed Fayose as Chairman of NGF, from Ojumose down to Gov office saw “Oshokomole” whisked three roasted corn, greeting passers in dialect. Unlike Fayemi, an elite, whose service to the people is believed to be right of those that voted not favor, better than the way Fayose and those civil servants in Ekiti want to see it. I remember with nostalgia, how Fayose would spent more than what afforded him on a project in the media to gain popularity. This, Kayode Fayemi lacks and the people fault.
The different between social democrat and socialists is hazy, because their ideals may coincide in some aspects and not in others, but the two are particularly established under Dr. Fayemi’s developmental strides. In 3years plus, there are visible signs of development efforts, road transformation, modernizing Agriculture to national point, Ekiti State is today the highest Cassava producing state. Fayemi’s ideal also suggested empowering young individuals that developed interest in mechanized farming with an incentive tagged “YCAAD”. 10,000 youths are gainfully engaged with stipends monthly. How well any governments could connects with the people. And yet, Ekiti is still work-in-progress in a few others.
If all mentioned, are not convincing people oriented strategy of driving the people out of poverty, which the world knows as the only ravening challenge desecrating our society. Then, the people don’t look ready for change that could breed sustaining development. On the average, Ekiti people know that over 25,000 old citizens benefitting from the 5,000 social security scheme is another celebrated welfare package any government could give her citizens. To grow from children to adult and in later years become grandparents under pension could be enliven better with fayemi social security scheme. The ideal thing about the social security incentives is that averagely our old citizens are still relevant and adored by government. They would no longer die of neglect and hunger.
Gov Fayemi ideas of developing the state is philosophical and worthy of enhancing our democracy. In open bid of sustaining the scheme, even and after his tenure irrespective of party rivalry the policy must continue. He sought legal address on this and got legislative nod. With that alone, is it not watery and cheap to say there is connection between his government and the people. Fayemi’s policy and programmes are developmental and reflective of his personality, who would not only engage the youth and pregnant women and construct road without education.
However, when the administration of Dr. Fayemi came on board, roads in Ekiti was almost impassable due to the shoddy jobs the successive governments before him. Fayose’s regime lost the ideas on road construction to euphoria of performance. It was eventually turned to a mere façade. Ado township roads became an eyesore. Potholes to death traps.
Gov Fayemi’s government is a forward looking development. There was no more cosmetic road projects nor do we have cases of abandoned road projects. The quality of these roads became unprecedented. Any close visit to all exits business district will amazed anyone of the massive construction. For instance, the scrapping and reconstruction of Ado Ikere road, the rehabilitation for Ado – Ijan road to the construction of modern day bridge that would replace the pre independent bridge constructed in the colonial era. Fayemi in the process of getting the work done, had to pull down structures, clear some places and rebuild. As demonstrated in his style of leadership, Local governments are empowered to handle 5km worth of road. This strategy will also address the shoddy intra road network that connects towns and communities which the government believes will in no small measure boast citizens’ participation in developing the states. The first phase is completed and another phase was early this year flagged off.
‘What we had before was largely very poor foundation. Yet, the people of the state were deceived by the orgy noise of opposition that had spent more than half of democracy in government without meaningful projects.
Today, Fayemi’s administration that failed to connect with the people engaged over 400 Ekiti indigenes at the rehabilitated Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort. 40% of these indigenes are residents and sons and daughters of Erijiyan, Ikogosi, Aramoko, Okemesi axis that habituated the resort. Little do these critics remember the unhealthy state of Ikogosi that is now a worthy resort for the people. Gov Fayemi did not only invest in tourism for pleasure, the resort is expected to boast the state Internal Generated Revenue monthly running into a billion now.
Ekiti State has passed through years of uproar. Avid very sincere admirer of administration one will easily recount the strides made by the administration (outgoing). Mark away from road and tourism, breathes better news from the health and education sector. As a promising youth, education is more essential. Once it feels right, to address the conundrum of “politics of welfare. I feel importantly headway to appraise Gov of Fayemi landslide contribution to Education. Ofcourse, it is apparently sane to say we have moved beyond the trappings of our old glory. What is new, that no government have considered is modernizing education for students and teachers. Free laptops distribution to all senior secondary school students. The computers are hefty attraction to the students, it inspired them more and hubs up their interest in education. Government target was before 2015, every student in all the secondary schools must be technology compliant and exposed to the good of internet. What informed Fayemi’s led government was the years of economic pillage and erosion of values that has confounded the nation human capacity development, and in turn worsened the social value. Most graduate in the country have failed to propose tenable solutions to economic, social and cultural issues in the country, and without less saying reduced model of respect. This government, conform the choice of educated. Renovated all primary and secondary schools and also upgraded those dilapidated buildings under ORASE.
Before coming out with this piece, I have been engrossed with stories of fallen love for belly. I have been insulted and also impressed by contrary views (as is usual in Nigeria) and amidst these frustrating indices lay a growing apathy amongst the citizenry. It seems, after all, that settling with under-performing leaders seem to be the new turn in our democratic dispensation. Ignorant is darkness!
So, until government loses his head like others against public power distributing notes to pedestrians and Okada riders it won’t connect well. This, Governor Fayemi would not do. Election according to Prof Pat Utomi should be “about performance, credibility, personality and values” and if the result of June 21, election would be in tandem to that, certainly political actors and civil societies apparently have to double their efforts when nurturing and configuring our democracy to maturity.
The image and profile which democracy and governance get across the land is defined by what political leaders called do or fail to do. The people have seen politicians as remote solution to their immediate needs and got caught up in the politics of welfare. And when such leader or another failed to honor belly call; is openly confronted with
criticism of under-performing. Certainly, I often argue that to measure connection and development; social welfare, security and infrastructure must not suffer when investing in future. It must go in handy, that is what performance and governance stands for.
But in the example of Ekiti debacle, the people didn’t deny the good work. They allude affirmatively to his performance and good intention for the people.
They had only complained of the early rout he had with teachers and students of tertiary institution. This obviously explained that our people aren’t ready to sacrifice anything for reform. Gov Kayode Fayemi had through his keen love for affordable and qualitative education resolved to reform the sectors through TDNA test which the teachers that largely occupy the state civil services faulted. Would there be impact of the works? These, the people failed to x-ray well before going to poll. They voted out of contempt for under-performance in stomach infrastructure.
Performance is not center on perishable things. Ekiti instance diffused our intellectual efforts, that construction of roads, clearing of gutters, and provision of boreholes are the end of governance not beginning where peoples belly should be priority. Until we get that right and define our common interest before our leaders, we’ll always get the end wrong.
Maxwell ADEGBENRO, write from Ado Ekiti
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