Monday, 11th December 2023

Ekiti stakeholders list expectations as Oyebanji returnes cabinet for good governance

By Ayodele Afolabi, Ado Ekiti
24 September 2023   |   4:08 am
There are very high expectations in Ekiti State that Governor Oyebanji would surpass the record set by his predecessors due to his approach to governance in the last 300 days.

Ekiti State Governor, Abiodun Oyebanji

There are very high expectations in Ekiti State that Governor Oyebanji would surpass the record set by his predecessors due to his approach to governance in the last 300 days.

As some people will say that you can’t be doing things the same way and expect to get different results. This explains why governance is either stagnated or moving in circles with little or no results.

Governor Abiodun Oyebanji is conscious of this and he has been very deliberate about how he wants to run the affairs of the state for four years and make things right. He has six pillars agenda, which is derived from the 30-year development plan.

Oyebanji has not minced words that he would not tolerate any stumbling block to the realization of his goal in governance. Unlike in the past, the governor has led by example by being punctual in every function of the state. Although many observers including the Zonal publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sanya Atofarati, have criticized Oyebanji for not appointing commissioners, wondering how he expects to perform well when “he runs the affairs of the state without commissioners but as sole administrator.”

However, the governor has explained that apart from picking some commissioners needed to help him function well before getting full complement of his cabinet, their absence has never been felt in the running of the government.

Sources close to the governor also confided in our correspondent that, BAO, as he fondly called by the people, is trying to manage the little resources available to his government to make an impact. “The commissioners and their retinue of aides are expected to cost the state about N200 million monthly.”

In what was a clear departure from the past, as soon as the governor inaugurated the commissioners and other Special Assistants as well as Special Advisers, they proceeded on retreat.

The 3-day retreat, which had Oyebanji in attendance, was not the usual talk shop. In his usual character, the governor resumed at the retreat and left the venue by 4pm on those three days.

This was why he suspended the Commissioner for Chieftancy Affairs who left the venue of the retreat while he was still seated. He slammed a two-week suspension on the commissioner. He directed the commissioners to produce and unveil their work plan publicly and any shoddy work plan was rejected or corrected.

At the conclusion of the retreat, the governor made each of the commissioners sign the performance charter, which defined the minimum expectation from them. The bond, which is for a period of six months, would be the basis for examining the performance of each member of the cabinet. What was more, Oyebanji reiterated his zero tolerance for indiscipline and poor performance.

Specifically, the Governor told the political appointees that his friendship with them ended the day they took the oath of office to serve as commissioners and special advisers, adding that his relationship with them henceforth would strictly be based on service delivery.

The Governor made it clear to the newly inaugurated Commissioners, Special Advisers and Permanent Secretaries at the end of the retreat that failure was not an option under his leadership. He added that they must strive to exceed the expectations of Ekiti people in terms of service by ensuring that every citizen feels the positive impact of his administration. He emphasised that every decision made and every action taken must be in the best interest of the people with a clear stance on accountability and an unwavering commitment to the advancement of the State.

“The only reason we are here is just to serve our people and history will be kind to us, we have been given a very unique opportunity to contribute to the development of this State and I know that none of us will drop the ball. With respect to support, government will support MDAs to deliver on their promises as we put responsibility on you. There is also responsibility on government to ensure you are given tools to deliver.

“When it comes to doing the job, we will provide the resources and we’ll demand accountability for performance. I reiterate today, continuous stay in government is going to be premised on performance. I will not hesitate to remove anybody that constitutes him or herself into a clog in the way. I will not blink an eye because I owe a duty to God and to Ekiti people.”

The governor did not stop at that. The commissioners are also having to defend their work plan before a committee, chaired by the governor, through the next six months. He was said to have warned that people should not appear before him to present what they did a few years back.

“The governor is saying: Give me your work plan and then give the roadmap to achieve them.

What is the likely budget? We can now say reduce or add. What they did at the retreat were programmes and policy. Whatever you defend as your work plan, you will be assessed based on that. We started the work plan at the retreat but it was a generic one with some experts. But now, each ministry is coming out to say this is our work plan. We are linking it with a three-year master plan. Whatever you are doing now must be achieved in the next 3 years. The governor is the one chairing it,” a source in the committee said.

He added: “Then they were guided to avoid overlapping responsibilities, although there is going to be collaboration. Some people were allowed to make demands that would help them to achieve their goals. Some demanded for consultants, technical assistants while others demanded for utility vehicles. There will be more collaboration because some definitely need others to perform optimally.”

It is against this backdrop that The Guardian sought the views of the Ekiti residents regarding the composition of the cabinet and their expectations of the Oyebanji administration .

Mr Olabisi Olugbenga, a retired civil servant, who resides in Ado Ekiti, said that the commissioners cannot afford to disappoint the governor.

According to him, many people in the state would have loved to see Oyebanji continue running the affairs without the full complement of a cabinet who may slow him down.

“The governor has carefully selected eggheads to come and work for the state. I know a couple of them. The way he designed the portfolios mean that he knows what he wants to achieve. I expect them to collaborate and reduce the youth unemployment, make electricity stable and industrialise the state. If they can achieve this, they will set the state on the path of prosperity. I urge the governor to be firm and sack any underperforming commissioner.”

Another resident who is a school teacher, Mr Oluwade Ajibade, acknowledged that the task before the commissioners are daunting but surmountable. He noted that the governor has demonstrated the path he wants them to follow. He expressed delight that Oyebanji carved out Youth portfolio from what was known as Youths and Sport. “Look at Information and Value Orientation, before now value orientation used to suffer because whoever occupies the position focuses on information. Art, culture and tourism, the occupants have always paid less attention to tourism, whereas tourism is supposed to be a revenue earner. So now the person heading tourism knows that he must make money for the government. That is why they separated tourism from art and culture and added a creative economy. I think he knows what he is doing.”

A lecturer at the Ekiti State University, Professor Gbenga Jegede posited that a critical analysis of the portfolio pointed to one direction, which is his pillar agenda that is also built on a philosophy of revenue generation.

“The governor is aware that Ekiti people wants him to turn things around as quickly as possible and he can only achieve that with availability of money. From my close observation, I know the governor wants to attract investors to the state. In doing that, the investors will only come if they are sure they will be at ease and get return on their investment.

“My expectation is in the Agric sector with all its value chain, I expect that the Commissioner for Agric, Industry and Trade and other allied portfolios will synergize and take advantage of the state privilege position in the value chain. There is no gain saying that the governor mean well, I only hope that the commissioner would be up and doing.”

Others, who spoke with The Guardian, expressed the belief that the Governor would walk his talk by dealing decisively with any erring commissioner.

They, however, were of the view that Oyebanji should concentrate on employment, tourism sector, art and culture and youth development. They also urged the governor not to leave abandoned project because he would be assessed by the project completed by him. “It is not compulsory that the governor must touch every area, let him pick some projects that are very dear to the people and leave things to posterity.”

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