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Guber 2018: Ojudu Unveils Blueprint For A Prosperous Ekiti

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Ahead of his March 9, 2018 formal declaration as a contender for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as its candidate in the governorship election coming up in Ekiti on July 14th 2018, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu has released his MANIFESTO to the public. Titled “My Agenda for Life More Meaningful for Ekiti People”, the gubernatorial hopeful envisions ‘a prosperous state where life is more meaningful for the people.

The Manifesto which covers a wide range of economic and social development issues addresses itself to overcoming the manifestations of poor governance in Ekiti State over the years – battered economy, shattered dreams; infrastructural decay; non-existent social services; erosion of positive values; executive rascality, a situation which has led to a complete arrest of the development of Ekiti State and her people. According to the Presidential aide, these challenges are traceable to a myriad of causative and consequential factors bordering on lack of capacity for public governance; endemic poverty; neglect; and the culture of entitlement, etc.

Ojudu believes that change can only happen in the compact and homogeneous state if knowledge is fused with enterprise to bring about development and prosperity. With a strategy thrust which rests on four (4) Pillars, seeking to: Foster Economic Growth; Invest In the People; Nurture Enterprise and Innovation; and Ensure Wellbeing (F-I-N-E), Ojudu plans to put Ekiti back on the path to greatness to make the lives of the people more abundant and restore the dignity of Ekiti people. The translation of these interrelated Pillars into action is expected to bring about an elimination of unemployment and unemployability; a reduction of poverty; an improvement in the living standards of the people; and personal motivation for a productive economy.

Specifically, the gubernatorial aspirant noted that government will embark on initiatives that trigger a revolution in the agricultural sector; focus on tourism and infrastructural development; optimize education & knowledge production, restore teachers to their pride of place as nurturers of society; place emphasis on technical education and knowledge-based learning; and develop strategic and innovative models with a focus on energy and infrastructure. In addition, there are programmes to support micro small and medium enterprises in core areas of competitive advantage; promote start ups and make Ekiti the hub of production, knowledge and creativity; develop one agro-allied park powered by renewable energy and housing various processing industries for key cash crops in each of the 3 senatorial districts; and facilitate the connection of investors (national & foreign) to local businesses.

Furthermore, government will provide free healthcare to senior citizens and other vulnerable groups; launch a state-wide Basic Micro-Insurance Health Scheme; battle drug abuse; provide equipment and necessary infrastructure for PHCs – water, power, access roads, standard emergency (ambulances and fire trucks) response capacity; eliminate gender-based violence; empower women and young people; absorb the energy and talents of young people through sports; provide decent homes for citizens and improve the construction industry, among others.

With the promise of an open, transparent, honest and unpretentious government, Ojudu and his team of committed, passionate, experienced, energetic and exposed Ekiti sons and daughters will dedicate themselves to SERVICE and LOYALTY to the PEOPLE.

It is expected that with the cooperation of all stakeholders, the implementation of the F-I-N-E Agenda will move the economy from a public-centric one to a private-centric economy that is market driven; creates jobs; and fosters self-reliance and dignity. Furthermore, it will contribute in no small measure to Nigeria’s achievement of the seventeen (17) global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, aimed at ending poverty; protecting the planet; and ensuring that people enjoy peace and prosperity.

My Agenda For Life More Meaningful for Ekiti People

MANIFESTO FOR 2018 GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION

By

Senator Babafemi OJUDU
February 2018

A. Why is this important?
In the last couple of years, the development of Ekiti State, that beautiful State on the rolling hills and her people, known for hard work, dedication to duty, integrity, honesty, contentment among other positive values, has been put on hold due to poor governance. The hopes and dreams of many, men and women, girls and boys have been shattered. The economy has nose-dived; the infrastructural and physical development of the land as well as the wellbeing of the people are at a standstill; social services are almost non-existent; the values that made Ekiti the pride of the South-West have been eroded. Today, service has taken flight and Ekiti is plagued by a serious and endemic case of disillusionment and hopelessness. All these are traceable to a myriad of causative and consequential factors bordering on lack of capacity for public governance; endemic poverty; neglect; culture of entitlement, etc.

Ekiti State, a society with a rich history, with sons and daughters who have excelled and continue to excel in all fields of endeavor within the country and in many parts of the world; an agrarian state with huge economic potential, has become a shadow of herself. A State well respected in the country and beyond because of her contribution to national development has now become the butt of jokes everywhere, described as banal and egregious, due to the leadership choices made over the years.

Most people, young and old, now wake up daily and sit around waiting for handouts, instead of how to earn a living. At present, there are already two generations of people who do not believe in the sanctity of labour. This sad situation has led to endemic poverty, crime, indolence, hate, disease, squalor, drug addictions, illiteracy, sexual abuse, lying, back biting, and all other vices and attitudes that stifle growth and development.

Throughout my adult life, I have strived to uplift my society. I have contributed to national development by fighting oppressive governments to a standstill. I can say without being immodest that I have dedicated my life, whether as a private or public citizen, to making the lives of people more abundant. Ekiti Is Where My Heart Lies and this is the time to restore the dignity of Ekiti people, the time to put her back on the path to greatness, it is the time to take the lead, it is time to ACT.

B. What is My Vision?

A prosperous State where life is more meaningful for the people.

C. What will happen when we get there?
Ekiti will become a shinning example of what governance should be about at all levels. Ours shall be a government dedicated to SERVICE. Our PARTNERSHIP with the people shall be engendered by TRUST. We shall be open, transparent, honest and unpretentious.

D. What is the formula?
KNOWLEDGE + ENTERPRISE = DEVELOPMENT & PROSPERITY

E. What is The Strategy Thrust?
We will work around Four (4) interrelated Pillars:
1. Foster Economic Growth
2. Invest in the People
3. Nurture Enterprise & Innovation
4. Ensure Wellbeing

It is expected that the operationalization of these Pillars would bring about a reduction of poverty, an improvement in living standards, a boost in employment creation, and personal motivation for a productive economy.

1) Foster Economic Growth
Presently, the economy of Ekiti State is public-centric as government remains at the centre. The unemployment rate of 20.60% for Ekiti state is above the national average of 19.7%. It is also higher than the rate in the other South-West states. We shall therefore direct energy towards evolving a private-centric economy that is market-driven; creates jobs; guarantee self-reliance and dignity.

We shall foster a nationally and globally competitive economy by doing the following:

1.1). Trigger a Revolution in the Agricultural Sector (Àt??l?w?? ?ni kì í tan ni’j?)
Ekiti is an agrarian society. Thus, Agriculture shall be a veritable engine of growth. We shall work aggressively to get Ekiti back to reckoning by creating wealth and new jobs within the sector. We shall assist farmers to overcome the challenges of assets, training, infrastructure, financing and access to markets through the following:
• Large-scale mechanized commercial farming, the wider application of modern technology, and the production of high quality and value-added products;
• Guarantee food security by focusing on:
a) The complete value chain (cultivation, harvest, processing, packaging and marketing) of the following crops for export: (i) Palm produce (ii). Rice (iii). Cocoa (iv). Yam (v). Plantain (vi). Cassava
b) Partner with national agric development company to package and export Nigeria produce overseas on the back of strengthened agricultural value chains
c) Partner with private sector players to facilitate the sorting, processing and transportation of produce to market.
d) Support livestock farming
e) Build farming communities with necessary infrastructure – roads, water, power, healthcare, education etc – which would become resorts for tourism.
f) Launch a Back-To-Land Farm Settlement Initiative to clear and make available 25,000 hectares to organized cooperatives to farm food produces for sale directly into major cities in Nigeria.
g) Set up Ekiti Agro-Produce Company (EAPC) as a PLC to be an anchor borrower from FGN and land owner of farm settlements with leasehold of associated infrastructure
h) Support processing industries to set up in Ado-Ikole road axis anchored on private sector and development financing
i) Set Up Ekiti Joint Venture Company (EJVC) with private sector to take considerable share of daily food sales in Lagos. Explore MOU with Lagos Government to provide food market and to accept these on daily basis and market to Lagosians.
j) Launch a Commodities Exchange Portal linked to an outgrower programme with the Private Sector
k) Support women farmers with skills, inputs and communication devices to increase their capacity and enhance their growth in the sector.
1.2. Tourism Development
Ekiti state is a hotbed of beautiful landscape, arts and culture as well as unique tourism appeal. Developing this sector would enhance the hospitality industry in the State.

To maximize the tourism potential of Ekiti State, we shall:
a) Establish and promote an eco-tourism corridor/route from Efon-Alaaye to Omuo;
b) Establish a tourism & hospitality institute;
c) Promote Adopt-a-Mile initiative in our schools, beautifying Ekiti road passages and promoting community engagement in our tourism sector;
d) Develop a tourist attraction centre in each of the 3 senatorial districts;
e) Make Ikogosi Warm Springs a world-class tourists destination;
f) Develop historical sites at Okemesi, Ido-Ile etc;
g) Establish a Museum of Yoruba History and Culture;
h) Encourage the arts by providing land and structure for film shooting using the beautiful Ekiti scenery;
i) Invest in the security of lives and property on Ekiti roads.
1.3. Infrastructural Development
It has been established that investment in basic necessary structures and facilities fosters economic growth and enhances social development.

In this sector, we shall:
a) Enhance water access in major Ekiti towns. Review the State water Master plan and implement water schemes for target areas
b) Establish the Ekiti Independent Power Development Company (EIPDC) leveraging Solar, Hydro and CG resources of Ekiti to provide constant power to targeted public institutions, economic clusters and homes.
c) Connect key townships –farms- market roads to improve rural access and improve surveillance of Trunk C roads for access and maintenance by LGAs
d) Partner more aggressively with FGN in the planned SW rail corridor
e) Establish a Granite village to generate wealth from the abundant granite reserve
f) Build the Ekiti Causeway in partnership with construction firms to generate income for the state and take advantage of midway state geographical location of Ekiti
g) Establish the Near States Commission (NSM) to facilitate export of goods by road, air and sea.
h) Initiate a 3 Linked-LGs Renewal programme with focus on roads, water, power and beautification

2. Invest in the People
Human capital development is regarded as soft infrastructure. Being the Fountain of Knowledge that we are branded as, education shall become a means to an end and be deployed for economic growth ensure that it makes significant impact in the life of the society – facilitate prosperity, boost the self-esteem of teachers and learners as well as their families. We shall build a new Ekiti brand around knowledge production and enterprise.

Specifically, we shall focus on:

2.1. Optimizing Education & Knowledge Production

a) Make significant investment in education, skills training and research and development.
b) Infrastructure upgrade (including fiber optic and internet backbone infrastructure to drive technology) of universities and flagship schools..
c) Reestablish a new flagship teacher-training institute that provides mandatory refresher programmes for all primary and secondary school teachers and administrators.
d) Design a forward looking curriculum to renew thinking on pedagogy, delivery and school management while infusing methods with new thinking, patriotism and technology
e) Partner with the World Bank and other development partners to re-engage in the school reform process with vision of making Ekiti the best education state in Nigeria by 2020 with highest paid teachers
2.2. Repositioning of Teachers
Restore all cadres of teachers to their pride of place as nurturers of society-
a) Redesign teachers’ training and conditions of service to encourage influx of the best brains possible;
b) Involve teachers as major stakeholders when discussing and taking decisions on issues affecting the State;
c) Create new administrative units in the three senatorial districts;
d) Improve teacher-pupil ratio across our schools by leveraging existing social investment programmes of the federal government;
e) Auto-register teachers for nutrition support programme to augment their salaries;
f) Encourage agriculture development linkages and community self help & engagement for teachers and schools alike with new Back-to-Farm initiatives anchored on state universities and Flagship schools;

2.3. Emphasis on technical education and knowledge-based learning.
a) Establish specialised Institutions of learning that will get young people engaged and to create wealth – agricultural production and processing to artisanship in the areas of building and road construction, automotive, industrial design, tourism and hospitality, arts and performance, sports, fashion, photography, corporate security, nursing care for the elderly and disabled. Other areas are ICT, shoe making, fishery, weaving, architecture, movie production, distillery and brewing, packaging, legal drafting etc.
b) Partner with international Colleges/universities to mobilize young people for productive and safe trades
2.4. Provision of training & incentives to attract and retain skills
a) Set up a public service training college to enhance the capacity of various categories of public servants;
b) Provide inducements for retaining talented Ekiti people as well as for attracting highly skilled professionals from other parts of the country;
c) Create a talent pool of the best talents from across the sectors and provide them with mid-career training and retraining to refresh and renew them;
d) Provide local and international scholarship to generate a new corps of professionals and leaders.

2.5. Development of a Multi-stakeholder support strategy
a) Partner with private entrepreneurs who are in need of specialized labour to set up these specialised institutions.
b) Borrow hugely from the bank of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm available to our diaspora
c) Seek the assistance from development agencies and international financial institutions
a) Actively and programmatically source scholarship opportunities for our deserving students in areas of critical need.

3. Nurture Enterprise & Innovation
There is no doubt that the economy of Ekiti is on a low-level equilibrium. It is thus critical to jump-start growth by directing the energy necessary for entrepreneurship and investments.

Consequently, we shall:
3.1. Develop strategic and innovative models that help create and sustain viable businesses focusing on:
a) Energy and, Infrastructure;
b) Building a strong local financial system.

3.2. Partner with national and international development finance institutions to support small and medium enterprises in the core areas of competitive advantage for the state:
a) Agriculture & agro-allied industries;
b) Forestry & wood work;
c) Mining and mineral extraction
d) Light manufacturing.

3.3. Set up an Equity Fund in conjunction with the private sector to promote start ups and make Ekiti the hub of production, knowledge and creativity.

3.4. Partner with the private sector to develop one agro-allied park powered by renewable energy and housing various processing industries for key cash crops in each of the 3 senatorial districts.

3.5. Set up an Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies for short term training courses on:
a) How to manage businesses, investments, access to finance; and
b) Manage their portfolio with the goal of seeding 40,000 businesses in 4 years.

3.6. Build enterprise development into the education curriculum at all levels for self-reliance, and facilitate 100% teacher training in the subject.

3.7. Facilitate connection of investors (national & foreign) to local businesses
3.8. Partner with NIGCOMSAT and Telecom Majors to connect pilot schools online, unleashing the next level of innovation education in our communities.

3.9. Partner with the Federal Government led development institutions like Development Bank of Nigeria & Bank of Industry, to deploy much needed funds to MSMEs, Cottage Industries, Traders and Farmers, paying particular attention to women.

3.10. Spur a revolution in Land Tenureship to support unlocking credit as well as agriculture:
a) Deployment of new models including transparent registry
b) Rapid and electronic approvals of Certificate of Occupancy
c) Creation a Land Bank for Communal Land Management & Utilization.

3.11. Make Ekiti a focal state for automotive development:
a) In partnership with private sector, develop Hardware & Mechanic Villages in major urban centers;
b) Upgrade the State’s vocational skills training and acquisition programme

4. Ensure wellbeing

4.1. Health & Wellness
a) Provide free healthcare to Senior Citizens and other vulnerable groups by launching the “T’Ebi, T’Ara” Health Initiative.
b) Launch the first state-wide Basic Micro-Insurance Health Scheme linked to a strengthened primary healthcare network of clinics
c) Tackle the widespread incidences of rural prescription drug abuse in Ekiti, by developing the first state of the art rehabilitation and empowerment program in Nigeria working with health intervention organizations.
d) Access the un-utilized primary health care (PHC) Fund available at the federal level to renovate and equip the PHCs. They shall be fully linked to specialist and general hospitals, with functional diagnostic and pharmaceutical centers.
e) Provide equipment and necessary infrastructure for PHCs – water, power, access roads, standard emergency (ambulances and fire trucks) response capacity.
f) Further linking health and education, a PHC initiative that leverages the 705 public owned educational institutions as points of discharging much needed basic healthcare to the rural population leveraging on the school child and their families;
g) Develop the Master Plan for Ekiti Medical Corridor and secure 2 anchor projects from private sector & international partners for world class medical facilities;
h) Issue a Diaspora Bond to attract Ekiti’s best brains home back to a world class medical village to be built in the medical corridor with robust private sector participation;

4.2. Youth Mobilization & Engagement
In addition to providing solid education and job opportunities to earn an income, we shall engage young people in the following ways:
a) Encourage participation in a competition at regular intervals in different areas of life, for local and national competitors. These events will absorb their energy and talents as well as attract reasonable prizes.
b) Establish a sports institute as a feeder for needs of sportsmen and women to hone their competitive edge, build a positive brand for the state, build their leadership potentials and ultimately assist them to realize their potential and give vent to their God given talents.

4.3. Provision of Subsidized Housing
a) In partnership with private developers, provide decent homes equipped with modern amenities offered for sale at below the market price to about 10,000 people. This will be in tandem with enabling foundational concept for new cities development and urban renewal.
b) Raise home ownership among workers on a large scale and lift the construction industry by encouraging national mortgage institutions to co-invest in the state especially the National Housing Fund by working with developers by leveraging the land title approval scheme.

4.4. Social Welfare
a) Explore national and international safety net programmes for the improvement of the lives of our people in partnership with the Social Intervention Program office of the Federal Government among others.
b) Undertake a Nutrition Voucher Programme for vulnerable groups – senior residents, pregnant women, and poor households (linked to the agriculture programme).

How do we make sure this works?
We shall:
Provide an enabling environment for a better quality of life;
Sign a social contract that emphasizes openness to new learning and innovations, acceptance of others, efficient service, and readiness to work with the people;
Be with the people on the streets, on the farm, at construction sites, in the classrooms and in the laboratory of ideas;
Be driven by solution;
Set clear objectives as well as a realistic and achievable plan;
Ensure a just and equitable society, with equal attention paid to small and big matters, tangible and intangible, women and men, boys and girls, old & young;
Show example in modesty and prudence;
Undertake vigorous reorientation of our people to seek a kind of knowledge that will put emphasis on enterprise for the purpose of creating wealth;
Take quick and decisive actions;
Prioritize effectiveness over political considerations;
Assemble the best brains locally, nationally & internationally to drive the agenda;
Demonstrate commitment, seriousness, honesty of purpose and humility.
Prioritize the use of limited resources
Explore access to resources
Build an efficient and effective team and trust the capacity and dedication of members
Embark on sensitization tours to the 177 wards to share our picture of what a NEW Ekiti will look like if the government and the people worked together
Access & assess all development plans produced by the state till date and identify those policy recommendations that suit the current realities of the state
Campaign vigorously for attitudinal change and we shall no longer celebrate or romanticize poverty.
Take actions informed by knowledge from whoever has it and wherever it is available.
EKITI 2018… KNOWLEDGE + ENTERPRISE = DEVELOPMENT & PROSPERITY

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