By Kunle Oyebode
AFTER months of heightened expectations, the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Thursday, April 4 approved a list of 14 nominees sent to it by Governor Kayode Fayemi for screening and appointment as commissioners. The wait had been full of suspense, but when the list came, it surely gladdened the hearts of all genuine stakeholders as it captivated the essence of the second administration of the governor to finish triumphantly.
The list comprising politicos and technocrats underlined the governor’s determination to finish the positive things he had started before the forced intervention that came the way of the state. Before the dispatch of the 14 names, the governor had shortly after he was inaugurated last October forwarded two nominees, Mr. Dapo Kolawole and Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, to the state House of Assembly for screening. The two were subsequently appointed as commissioner for finance and attorney general/commissioner for justice, respectively.
The appointment of the two immediately Fayemi took office was undoubtedly to underline his adherence to due process in the administration and financing of the state. That adherence to due process was what could have helped him after he left office in the first term when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, did not bother to call him to account despite the desperation of his successor to frame all manners of charges against him. The appointment of Fapohunda was also indicative of the governor’s proclivity to enhancing the rule of law and walking the correct path. Not to talk of the governor’s place of honour in the civil rights community where he and his wife, Erelu Bisi, had sufficiently acquitted themselves with honours across tribe and political barriers. The 14 new commissioners are Dr. Adio Afolayan; Dr. (Mrs.) Moji Yaya Kolade; Chief (Mrs.) Moji Fafure; Mr. Emmanuel Foluso Daramola; Mr. Folorunso Olabode; Engr. Dele Faparusi and Mr. Gbenga Agbeyo. Others are Mr. Olusoga Davies; Mr. Sola Adebayo; Mr. Michael Awopetu; Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua; Mr. Femi Ajayi; Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu and Mr. Febisola Adewale.
The nomination of Dr. (Mrs.) Yaya-Kolade who contested the governorship primaries on the banner of the APC must have shocked and at the same time impressed many. In reaching out to a fellow contestant for the governor in the primaries, Dr. Fayemi may have shocked some people. He would also have impressed those sufficiently appraised of Dr. Yaya-Kolade’s more than bagful of experience in health and business.
A nurse, pharmacist and medical doctor, Mrs. Yaya-Kolade packs a bagful of experience in health that is bound to intimidate anyone and not least with the fact that she had before her relocation to Nigeria also established a health facility in the United States. Even more, since her relocation she has also established herself as a business person thus putting the governor in dilemma over what portfolio between health and economic to assign her if she passes the screening. Dr. Adio Afolayan would also be serving for the second time in the cabinet having served as Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development in Dr. Fayemi’s first term between 2010 and 2014.
In that period he especially delighted stakeholders in agriculture with his enthusiasm to upgrade their capacities, especially in mechanised farming. He was instrumental to the purchase of 12 tractors for the sector in that period. Another person returning to the cabinet is Sola Adebayo, a junior brother of a former governor of the state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo. Adebayo served as Commissioner for Works in the first Fayemi administration and was a key participant in many of the infrastructure development during that time, especially the remodeling of Ado Ekiti.
Another old hand in the list is Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu who served as special political adviser to the governor in his first term. Others are Mr. Gbenga Agbeyo, former chairman of Idi-Osi Local Government Area and member of the inauguration committee; Dele Fapurusi, former member of the House of Representatives who served as deputy director general of the campaign and was crucial in those frightful days after the director-general, Opeyemi Bamidele was shot is also on the list.
Another notable nomination is Muyiwa Olumilua. Though known as the son of the first civilian governor of the state, however, his antecedents have since nurtured beyond that. He drew commendations to himself last year when ahead of the APC party primaries to choose a candidate for the Ekiti South Federal Constituency he withdrew in favour of the erstwhile chairman of the Ekiti South Senatorial chairman, Kayode Babade, saying that the withdrawal was to support the election of someone from Ikere Ekiti which had been denied the seat over the years.
Also on the list is Chief Mrs. Foji Fafure, Senatorial Woman leader, who is expected to add verve to the cabinet with her passion for mobilisaiton. The nomination of Dr. Folorunsho Olaode who served as the state Commissioner for Rural Development and Community Empowerment in the first term is revealing in the opinion of some stakeholders. It could be a determination of Dr. Fayemi to reenergise the spate of community development in the state. Dr. Fayemi created the ministry in his first term in 2013.
It was Olabode’s turf to ginger development of the rural areas, especially given that 70% of the population of Ekiti people live in the 131 rural communities in the state. He used the community development associations at that time as a link between the rural communities and the government.
The combination of technocrats, purposeful politicos and entrepreneurs gathered by Dr. Fayemi is expected to restore the verve that was once characteristic of cabinet meetings in Ekiti State. With much expectation on the new commissioners, it is expected that they would work to put their names on the positive side of history.
- Oyebode, a civil servant, wrote from Ado Ekiti