Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi on Tuesday brought smiles to the faces of people living in the grassroots as he splashed a total sum of N497 million on communities to assist them complete various ongoing self-help projects.
Speaking while distributing cheques to the representatives of the communities in the 16 Local Governments and 19 Local Council Development Areas, the Governor said the gesture was in fulfillment of his promise not to leave abandoned or uncompleted projects at the end of his tenure in October 2022.
The Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, at the ceremony held at the Ekiti State Civic and Convention Centre in Ado Ekiti, urged the benefiting communities to make the best use of the grants-in-aid to complete the projects for the benefit of the people.
The communities who were represented by their traditional rulers and officials of their community development associations and town unions hailed the Fayemi Administration for coming to their aid on the projects when all hopes seemed to have been lost on the projects.
The community projects the state government is supporting with cash backing include palaces, palace halls and fencing, town halls, civic centres, drainages, market stalls, boreholes, among others. A total 70 communities benefited from the latest batch of grants-in-aid exercise.
Apart from the Deputy Governor, other dignitaries who helped distribute the cheques were the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Funminiyi Afuye; Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji; Head of Service, Peju Babafemi; Chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers/Onisan of Isan Ekiti, Oba Ayodele Adejuwon and the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe.
Dr. Fayemi recalled that the projects which were initiated by the communities but financed with funds from the World Bank-assisted Ekiti State Community and Social Development Agency (EKSCDA) were abandoned by the last administration. He said his administration was determined to complete them to aid community development.
The Governor explained that the need to fund and complete the abandoned projects was fuelled by his going round the state on an inspection visit and the report of a Committee to reassess the projects which led to the inauguration of 37 projects last year out of 82 identified uncompleted projects.
He said the involvement of the people in development efforts stems from the fact that community development has over the years remained the major bedrock upon which a solid grassroots foundation for a self-reliant and self-sustaining development process can be built.
Dr. Fayemi said his administration defied the economic challenges confronting the state to ensure that the financial support to the communities see the light of the day and that the government which he heads was determined not to cut off the feedback channel and was not elected to complain but for service delivery.
He said: “Ekiti State relies majorly on the monthly Federal Allocation and our Internally Generated Revenue which have not met our target as expected.
“We have, therefore, decoded to release these grants-in-aid assistance fund for completion of the projects in batches. Let me assure you that the interval for the release shall not take long period and it shall be a continuous process until all projects are completed.
“I congratulate members of the various community development associations/town unions who are beneficiaries of this four hundred and ninety seven million naira (N497,000,000) grants-in-aid assistance.
“Your scope of activities should not be limited to the promotion of communal self-help activities alone, but more importantly taking security, growth and development to the nooks and crannies of Ekiti State.”
Speaking earlier, Special Adviser on Community and Rural Development, Chief Folorunso Olabode, explained that assisting communities to execute projects started during the first tenure of Governor Fayemi which he continued barely a year in office in 2019 when cheques were first distributed to communities after returning to office.
Chief Olabode explained that all the projects being supported are community-driven as the administration encourages “bottom to the top approach” of governance urging the people in the grassroots to reciprocate the gesture by supporting the Governor to do more.
Appreciating the government on behalf of the benefiting communities, the Attah of Ayede Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Orisagbemi and the Alaaye of Oke Ayedun Ekiti, Oba Olufemi Aribisala, hailed the Governor for keeping the hope of the people in the grassroots alive with the financial assistance.
Oba Orisagbemi said: “We thank this government for not forgetting us, we pray that this government will not collapse and the party (APC) will not fail. When they come to ask for our votes again, we will vote for you again to continue the good work.”
Oba Aribisala said: “What Governor Fayemi and his government has done for us is great. They have gladdened our hearts and all our forbears appreciate you and we pray that you will continue to succeed.
“The amount of money distributed is quite substantial and we are giving you a promise to judiciously utilise the money for the projects we all intended to execute. We are grateful to you.”