Archive for October, 2012


October 21, 2012


New Robes For Ekiti Schools As Govt Embarks On Operation Renovate All Schools

Renovatedd Corpus Christi College, Ilawe-Ekiti

They sat around in groups, their faces a palpable picture of downright disbelief, enthusing about the incredible transformation that had taken place in their school. Some others loitered here and there, idling about in ones and twos, conversing in soft, measured tones. They were students of Ola Oluwa Muslim Grammar School, one of the first generation secondary schools situated along Ilawe Road in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

On Monday, October 2, students of public primary and secondary schools resumed across Ekiti State for the 2012/2013 academic session. While a few of the students went about their normal duties, many were those that could not hide their excitement as they stared, with mouths agape, at the changes that their schools had undergone during the eight-week school break.

“When we came back from the long vacation, we were surprised that our school had been totally transformed,” Adebayo Ojo, a Form Two student of the school, informed the reporter last week. “Although we had been told that the government would renovate our school, we are still surprised at the way they have touched everything here. We are very, very happy. Even though somebody had told me during the break that our school was being renovated, I did not know that it was something of this nature. We are very happy with Governor Fayemi. We have been praying for him and we are also assuring him that we will not do anything to damage the new facilities here.”

Ojo is not alone; neither are the prayers and the excitement restricted to the Ado-Ekiti based school. In many towns and villages in the three senatorial districts in Ekiti State, not a few are those that daily go on bended knees to seek divine blessings for the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi over the renovations that his administration is carrying out in the state-owned schools.

In truth, hardly will you resist the urge to join the applauding crowd, unless you’re ignorant of the pitiable state of public schools in Ekiti before Fayemi’s intervention.

Along Ilawe Road in Ado-Ekiti, a new Ola Oluwa Grammar School smiles at you. The school wears a refreshing robe, with its new and renovated buildings radiating in yellow and red even as the red aluminium roofing sparkles in the afternoon sun.

Ten kilometres away, at the Corpus Christi College, Ilawe-Ekiti, a similar situation obtains. From the road, the school buildings look palatial, covered by a neat line of gangling trees, with the smiles on the pupils’ faces betraying the joy in their souls.

In Ijero, Ilejemeje, Moba, Ise, Ido-Osi and all the local government areas in Ekiti, many schools are wearing new looks, as the government concludes the first phase of the Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE) scheme, an initiative of the Kayode Fayemi administration.

Right now in Ekiti, public schools are undergoing massive renovation. Of the 183 public secondary schools in the state, about 100 have just been renovated under the ORASE scheme. The remaining 83 have been scheduled to benefit from the programme during the first term holidays in December.

Yet, just a few weeks back, most schools in the state were in a sorry state. The buildings were dilapidated, while many of the roofs had already caved in. Many classrooms had neither doors nor windows, and water flooded the classrooms and staff rooms at the slightest drop of rain. Naturally, coming from such decayed environment, many students recorded abysmal grades in the local examinations as well as in the national SSCE and NECO examinations. A state that had always prided itself as one inhabited by a people of high intellect with a passion for scholarship suddenly metamorphosed into an abode of half-baked, barely literate men and women.

When Fayemi mounted the saddle as governor two years ago, the activist-politician wasted no time before convening an education summit in the state. Various experts and stakeholders converged on the state capital to ruminate over and propose solutions to the crisis that had enveloped the education sector in the state once celebrated for its knack for academic excellence. Over the years, education in the place nicknamed the Fountain of Knowledge had been buffeted by a surfeit of problems. Participants at the summit came up with a number of recommendations to upgrade the quality of basic, secondary and tertiary education in the state.

According to the experts, one of the major causes of the woes in the secondary education system in Ekiti was the dilapidated infrastructure in public schools. The summit noted that excellence had taken a flight from the public school system since the schools lacked good buildings, access roads, functional libraries and laboratories and other basic amenities. The summit recommended that the government should embark on a number of projects and processes, including the renovation of existing structures, perimeter fencing of schools, rehabilitation of access/intra-premises road network, employment of retired, seasoned teachers as neighbourhood inspectors and in-service training, seminars and conferences for school teachers.

No sooner was the summit concluded than Fayemi commenced implementing the recommendations with a view to permanently arresting the rot in the secondary education system. The renovation of schools could not commence immediately though, as the schools were in session. But as soon as students went on holidays in July, Fayemi flagged off the Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE), and massive rehabilitation work started in 100 of the 183 schools.

“Yes, we are very educated, but we lack skills,” Fayemi said in an interview at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti. “The people we’re producing from our university system, yes, they carry the paper degree and the certificate, but they cannot function in the work environment competently. These are challenges that are long-term, that our people do not see in the immediate, but that we must address. For me, leadership is about that. Leadership is not just about physical projects that people can see now. It is what we make of those physical projects.”

At the flag-off of the programme, Fayemi had declared: “Our resolve to ensure that this impartation of functional educational is done under a conducive atmosphere informed the Operation Renovation All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE). We cannot afford to live on past glory or allow our education system to continue to produce half baked products neither good for higher education nor for job creation and wealth generation which are our focus.”

Under ORASE, government set aside the sum of N2.2 billion for the renovation of the schools even as contracts for their renovation were awarded to competent firms. The government also set up a Bureau of Special Projects in the Office of the Governor, headed by a Special Adviser, Mr. Bayo Kelekun. The contractors were directed to hand over the renovated schools before the commencement of the new academic calendar in September.

They were mandated to pull down the ramshackle school buildings and replace them with new ones. They were to also cover the buildings with new, state-of-the-art aluminium roofs. To ensure compliance with government specifications, Fayemi traversed the entire state, inspecting the handiwork of the contractors.

At Ola-Oluwa, the contractors were putting finishing touches to the buildings when The Sun team called. The project manager, Mr. Akeem Momodu, said his firm’s mandate was to deliver 24 totally renovated schools in Ekiti Central Senatorial District to the state government. The schools being renovated by his company were virtually ready, he said.

“As you can see, the job is 80 per cent completed. We are rounding off on the issue of aluminium roofing and the rest. We’re putting windows and doors and painting the rooms.”

Besides renovating schools, the governor also came up with the idea of putting a laptop on the desk of every child in the state. When he mooted the idea, not a few people were unconvinced. Many were even suspicious of the governor’s intentions. But Fayemi, a product of the esteemed Christ’s School located in the state capital, was determined. He said by 2014, no fewer than 100, 000 children would have benefitted from the computers. Already, 33, 000 laptops have been distributed free of charge to students. The governor said the importance of the distribution of the laptops could not be exaggerated, saying they would assist the students get introduced to the modern trends in information technology.

“The laptop initiative is not an end in itself,” the governor explained. “It’s a means to a better end in which our children would be competing in a world that they do not make, in a world in which the children that they are dealing with globally are also playing in that field or in a much more sophisticated field. And we started this before WAEC introduced ICT into the curriculum, which is now a compulsory subject. If you want to do some national exams now, you must do it online, via the computer. So, it’s like we anticipated this.”



October 21, 2012


You are here: Home » Featured » Fayemi Kindles Joy In Old People’s Hearts
Fayemi Kindles Joy In Old People’s Hearts

Gov. Fayemi with a senior citizen.

A revolution of some sorts is sweeping through Ekiti State, and it is kindling the kiln of joy in the hearts of senior citizens. Their lives have been set aglow by what the Governor Kayode Fayemi administration calls the Social Security Scheme. How does it work?

Every aged person without a pension, and without support from either accomplished children or relations, is registered, and paid the sum of five thousand naira monthly. Yes, every month. And they do not go through the indignities you see with government pensioners, who are made to queue monthly in the scorching sun to collect their stipends, with some of them collapsing and dying in the process. The old people in Ekiti, in excess of 20,000, who have been duly registered, stay in their homes, and are paid by local government officials. Miracle? Well, that is how the old people describe it. And they pray daily for their governor, asking that God will continue to bless him, “and he will never beg for food in his old age.”

Daily Sun spoke with some beneficiaries of the scheme, and their joy can only be imagined:

Chief Olatunbosun Falana (85 years old herbalist): ‘They pay me, though I used to be PDP member’

I used to be a member of the Peoples Democratic Party when I was still strong enough to participate in politics, but I thank God for Governor Fayemi, that he did not consider my political affiliation but registered my name, and since five months ago, I have been collecting the five thousand naira monthly allowance.

I use some of the money to employ the service of laborers who work on my farm, since I can no longer do the work myself. I use the remaining to buy food to eat.

I advice the government not to ever stop this programme, but continue to extend the benefits to other elderly ones who have not been registered for the scheme, so that they can all benefit from it.

I pray that God will continue to bless our governor and give him more wisdom to continue to govern the state very well.

Mrs. Comfort Ogunyemi (70 years old petty trader): ‘Help me tell the governor he will never beg for food’

I’m a petty trader from Ijero-Ekiti. And I was registered along with the second batch of the scheme. I have collected money for about five months now. And I can tell you that since I was born, I have never seen a government in this country, which paid monthly allowance for the aged.

Each time, I buy garri and other food items to eat. In September, they did not pay us the August allowance, so we thought maybe they want to stop it, but the first week of this October, they paid us the two months together. In fact, when I received it I was so happy. I know this man Fayemi is keeping his promise. And God will honour him. Just help us tell him he should not stop it and God will continue to bless him in a miraculous way. He will not beg for food.

Mrs. Felicia Ishola (Over 105 years): ‘How can someone who does not know me send money to me?’

I’m from Odo-Ado area of Ado-Ekiti. I don’t know my age, but I know I’m over 105 years. I used to work on farm as a laborer and engaged in petty trading before I grew old. Fayemi is now sending money to me every month. He first said they should go and bring my name; that they want to put my name down in their register because he wants to be giving me money. I said, but he does not know me now? How can someone who does not know me be sending money to me? They said he is the governor. But (Chief Obafemi) Awolowo was not sending money to old people at home. He was doing free education, roads, free health, and so on when he was in government. I said, I hope this one is not only trying to deceive us?

Truly they gave me the money. And since then I’ve collected for five months now. I’m so happy. I pray that God will continue to be with him and his family. You can tell him he should try to see me. If not because I’m too old to start looking for him, I would have gone to see him. Help me thank him a lot and say I’m very grateful. Tell him also that I pray for him, that he will not cry in old age. He will not bury any of his children. He will get favour of people in this world and that of God.

Mrs. Ojuolape Oladimeji (85 years old): ‘I don’t beg for food again’

I should be around 85years old. I used to sell garri and yam before I stopped about 12 years ago when old age began to set in. I’m one of the first beneficiaries of the scheme. And the money has been very useful to me. I buy food and eat. I don’t lack food again. I don’t beg for food. I have been collecting the N5,000 monthly for about a year now.

Fayemi is wise because I don’t know the person who gave him that idea. He knows there are old people in the town, who will be suffering because of poverty. Tell him that we old people are praying for him. And it will be well with his government, he will not be implicated by wicked people. If only you can take me to him I will tell him he should ensure that he doesn’t stop it. God will continue to provide. I pray that in a miraculous way, God will continue to provide money for his government.

Mrs. Rachael Aina Ajiboye (About 90 years): ‘If they do anything to Fayemi, we elders will fight them’

Although I’m not really sure of my age because I didn’t go to school and there was no record that contains my age, I think I should be around 90 years now. I started benefiting from the scheme last year because I’m lucky to be one of the first that registered when the scheme began. With the money, I now eat regularly and take care of myself because I don’t work again. Once I eat, I pray that God will give our governor long life and sound health till old age.

Please, I want you to help me tell troublemakers that they should not come near Fayemi. If they try it, the elders in Ekiti will fight them. They should allow him to stay long there so that he can continue to take care of us. If they make arrangement for how the aged can vote, I will vote for him again during election. You know we are old, we cannot go and queue up among the young people, so that they will not push us down. But if we vote for him, tell those people that they should not do it the way they did that of (Chief M.K.O.) Abiola.

Mr Adewoye Adeoti (pensioner, Okemesi): ‘Let Jonathan also pay the jobless every month’

I’m in my late 60s. I retired in 2007 as Head of Project Financial Management Unit in the Office of Ekiti Accountant General. I am not a beneficiary of the Fayemi Social Security Scheme because pensioners are not supposed to benefit from the scheme. You know pension is our own version of the scheme. But I want to talk. I want to commend Fayemi for that good initiative. It is a common thing in Europe and America. All those who are unemployed are also given, because that is how to have security. You know a hungry man is an angry man.

Let President Jonathan emulate our governor and start the social security scheme across the country. Let it not be for the aged alone but for youths who are unemployed as well. Let all the governors also embrace this and start it in their respective states as well. The real security problem in this country is that of poverty and lack.

I commend Gov Fayemi on this because it will make a lot of our old people whose children are not rich enough to take care of them to live longer.
This article was first published in The Sun on 15 October 2012.


October 1, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

The compassionate state
Compassionate Governor
By Sam Omatseye
Before he became governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola always let the world know that he was a communist. That is yesterday’s ideology, even if North Korea and Cuba still latch on to the fragile and terminal gasps of the idea.
Yet students of history know that communism saved capitalism after the Second World War. The welfare state enjoyed a rebirth when countries, especially those in Europe lying prostrate after the conflagrations, kindled a romance with the idea Marx and Lenin wrought. The liberal canons of democracy and free market became lost in the cloud when the ordinary citizen craved the heres and nows of food and shelter.
The West, including the United States, strengthened the social buoy of the poor and vulnerable although the idea dated back to the years of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the 19th century. That way, the countries kept the communists on the fringes while the Soviet Union glamorised the fantasy in the so-called Third world with champions like Cabral, Ortega, Lumumba and Castro.
Yet, the capitalists could not deny the idea of compassion for the poor. You cannot joy in the spoils of capitalism while the poor gnashed their teeth. In The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad observes that the condition for luxury and opulence is security.
Long before either capitalism or socialism became organized ideas, Shakespeare expressed the philosophy of compassion in his play, Coriolanus: “that distribution undo excess and each man have enough.”
What Ogbeni is practising in the State of Osun is not communism, but the beginnings of what the Western countries did to save their system: protecting the vulnerable.
In his world, the vulnerable are those in the underbelly of a rabid capitalist system. They are the old who cannot earn any more money, the young and old who cannot get healing, the children too poor to afford books and food at schools, the disenfranchised business person who cannot get seed money to pursue the dreams of independence. They are the people whom Abraham Lincoln referred to as the reason for government: those who cannot stand well on their own.
I had an opportunity to sit as an observer at the state of Osun’s executive council recently and observed the essence of his style. The meeting lasted about eight hours, and two main commissioners were asked to present their stewardships in the past two years. One of them impressed me: the deputy governor who also doubles as the commissioner for education, Titilayo Laoye-Tomori.
Its uniform and feeding projects in schools were the most telling. As Laoye-Tomori showed in her power-point presentation, in the past year the inflow into schools had leaped from between 25 percent and 30 percent. The students would now have school uniforms, spinning an industry and a jobs spur that locals are taking advantage of to tailor and provide the uniforms all over the state.
This narrative is touching in that education is perhaps the greatest driver of development in the modern world. American dominance has been attributed to education as the supreme driver. The world we know today is American, whether it is the car, airplane, the internet, the cell phone, the ipad, the movie, the suburb, the radio, television, the electric bulb, etc. They did it because they drove innovation. It is a country that makes things because it knows things. The thousands of children in Osun who are abandoning idleness at home and on the streets for school are witnessing the greatest liberation: of the human mind.
At one stage at the meeting, when he referred to the ambitious education programme, he burst into a Sunny Ade song “aiye nreti eleya mi o…”. He stood up in his characteristic soulfulness and some of his executives wafted along with him. It was a song of irony. It meant his detractors were waiting for his failure, but it was also a caution to his team not to disappoint. It costs N30 billion, the biggest project in the country.
The tablet of knowledge, a computer that would have all the lessons and books for the students is a new thing, and the deputy governor said it was close to readiness. I anticipate that as it combines modernity with the potential for commerce and jobs.
The other point of compassion is Agba Osun, and it is not its N10, 000 a month to elders that so touched me as the medical system that provides treatment to the vulnerable, especially the elderly and handicapped, in their homes. This cannot work without having all of them in a data base, and the young of the OYES programme built the data base. This is what the youth are doing but interlopers, in their willful ignorance, said they are militias for secession. The state has obviously a mobile medical system where communication between the deprived and the caregiver is streamlined. It is not perfect, and I am not sure everyone has enjoyed this even if the government is impressed with what it has done so far. I recall, too, that in the number of intakes in schools, the deputy governor’s figures were questioned in one of the districts, if for a negligible discrepancy.
What is being done for the elderly in terms of free healthcare in some states, like Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, will help improve life expectancy. But personalised care in Osun raises the stakes.
A peep into his style was his conversation with permanent secretary. Ogbeni had accused the ministry of not making an input into the education programme. It is a tribute to his open-mindedness that the permanent secretary was at ease to lash back in her courteous way. She said they actually offered their proposals but the governor did not implement. It turned out she was right. But ever the irrepressible Ogbeni with his tuft of beard, lean face, eyes alert, he asked the ministry to express the ideas and they were debated. I learnt that the Aregbesola administration in less than two years has convened more executive meetings than the seven and a half years of Oyinlola’s Gestapo era.
After the U.S. won the war of independence, Jefferson accused President Washington of apostasy for creating an elite society with Alexander Hamilton when he set up institutions for a strong federal state. This tension led to the birth of the two-party system with Jefferson breaking away from the Federalists to form the Republicans that protected the weak. That tension exists today with those who believe that anyone who is poor and fails is necessarily lazy. Philosopher Herbert Spencer says welfare institutionalises indolence. From the droves of children going to school in Osuns now, we know that is not true.
It takes an Ogbeni to prove that.
Culled From THE NATION newspaper
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Posted by admin on Sep 17 2012. Filed under AFRICA, EDITORIAL, FEATURE, FOR THE RECORDS, Front Page Story, NEWS, News Across Nigeria, PHOTO GALLERY, POLITICS, South West News, X-RAYS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

olayiwola Tayo
September 17, 2012 – 4:04 pm
This is good omen for the state of Osun. But to make these program last, the State should establish all these in bill passed by the State Assemble and signed by the governor. The things that make other nation great is the laws and order. It will be difficult once the program is base on the law of the land for anyone to comeby abolish it.


October 1, 2012


Paralympic couple: Folashade, Tolulope pick Nov 3 wedding date
Our Reporter October 1, 2012 1 Comment »
Paralympic couple: Folashade, Tolulope pick Nov 3 wedding date

…Sports Minister, others to attend


It’s now official. Yes, the wedding bell is ringing loud for Paralympic Games stars, Folashade Oluwafemiayo and Tolulope Owolabi, as they have picked November 3 to tie their nuptial knot in Jos.

The much talked about wedding is expected to attract top officials in the sports circles, including the Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi; the Director of Sports, Dr Patrick Ekeji; Nigeria’s Paralympic Games Chief-de-mission, Dr Simon Ebhojiaye; the National Paralympic Secretary in Nigeria, Dr Frank Thorpe and all the coaches and officials who were among the Team Nigeria to the London 2012 Games.

According to the bride, Folashade, all her team mates are also warming up to be part of the history-making wedding as they have already bought uniform popularly known as ‘Aso Ebi’ with head ties for women and caps for men. “Everybody is excited about the date.We have been trying our best to put things in proper perspective towards a succeessful ceremony. My husband is in Lagos to tie-up things concerning our wedding. We believe God to ensure a hitch-free ceremony on November 3.

We thank God for the interest and support already shown by people so far and we are grateful for everything,”she said. Folashade disclosed that she could no longer wait for that day to come to pass as friends and family members are daily thronging her home for an update on the wedding.

“It is a thing of joy as everybody wants to participate in one way or the other. We are all involved in the project. My friends, relatives, in-laws are deeply in it and God has been so faithful,”she told Daily Sunsports on phone from Jos. Folashade and Tolulope had their traditional engagement in April, a few months before the London 2012 Games.

Although, Tolulope didn’t win anything at the Games, Folashade won a silver medal and set a new world record and Paralympic mark.

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