By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ekiti State has been in the news for several reasons since the second coming of Mr Ayodele Fayose as the governor of the state in October 16, 2014. Ekiti, like every other state in the federation depends on federal allocation for survival and as a matter of fact, eighty percent of its revenue is derived from the federal allocation, thus if the federal allocation sneezes, Ekiti would definitely catch cold and in-truth since the major Nigeria revenue earner, which is oil started experiencing dwindling fortunes, from the olympian height of $140 per barrela few years ago to its present low of $34, the effects on Ekiti has been very profound.
Presently, the state is owing its workers two month arrears of salaries, pensioners three months and four years of arrears of gratuities Ekiti, which occupies 33rd position in the Federal allocation table, for several years oscillate between N3bn and N2.5bn, but is now dangling between N1.4bn and N1.9bn.
2016 Budget size and tax war
The 2016 appropriation of the state stands at N67bn and its source of financing rests solely on the Federal allocation with little support from the internally generated revenue but with the deep in Federal allocation, focus is now on internally generated revenue. Already, taxes imposed by the government have been drawing the ire of the public, from the traders in the market, tipper owners, landlords, butchers, sawmillers to private schools owners have had cause within the past year to agitate against what they described as arbitrary and unjust taxation.
Some of the tax laws and levies are expected to take effect from the very first month of the new year. Despite, the dwindling revenue profile of the state, Governor Fayose, at every fora, has always impressed it on the people his inviolable commitment to the payment of the N18,000 minimum wage and his aversion to workforce downsizing is common knowledge to all.
But the Governor may need more than this to pacify the angry workforce, who like their colleagues every where are not ready to listen to excuses when it comes to the payment of their salaries. With the government two months arrears into the new year, the Governor would need more than its usual mass appeal to address workers’ restiveness in the new year.
Military probe into Ekiti Governorship election
Another issue that may cause ripples in Ekiti in the new year is the much expected report of the military’s panel on the involvement of his men in Ekiti June 21 2014 Governorship election. The signs emanating from the probe are ominous. The former Secretary of the party and a confidant of the Governor, Dr Tope Aluko, who has since parted ways with him, was one of the principal witnesses at the probe panel.
Perhaps the Governor coming and this may have informed his recent outburst, when he alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was plotting his removal through the military probe.
Possible implosion in Ekiti PDP
Another thorny issue that cannot be brushed aside is the imminent implosion in the state PDP. There is a groundswell of discontent among party members, who are not happy at what they described as a one man show of Governor Ayo Fayose.
Today, the party is a ghost of its old self, its Secretariat deserted, as every party activity emanates from the Governor’s office. Also, many members of the party are seething with anger over sharing of appointments. Their complain is that only those in Fayose group, who had returned with him from Labour party were largely favoured in the sharing of appointments than those who have remained in the party.
There is also discontent among members of the state executive councils over running grants and usurpation of their duties, which rendered them mere figure heads in their various establishments. In March, the state congress of the PDP would take place and the outcome would determine who would fly the flag of the party in 2018 governorship election. It is instructive to note that the congress may not be smooth sail for the governor because of the deep seated discontent.
Alignment and re-alignment of forces
The current alignment and re-alignment of political forces, especially among members of the APC which is the major opposition party in the state would definitely set Governor Ayo Fayose on his toes. Most of the time he would have to watch his back, the rumoured defection of the former Secretary of the party to APC would definitely affect the succession plan of the apostle of stomach infrastructures.