(By Dimeji Daniels)
“The term ‘miracle centres’ has become non-existent in Ekiti with the advent of Fayemi, a man who can proudly, without doubts in any quarters, lay claim to education attainments and professional qualifications. Through the recommendations of an education summit chaired by late renown economist, Professor Sam Aluko, and peopled by eggheads like the Professor of International Law, Akin Oyebode, the education sector of Ekiti State began to witness a steady but sure-footed turn-around which would take several years of unfortunate retrogression to the days of half-baked governance to revert.“
When controversy-courting impeached governor and present candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, challenged incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi to a debate on education, not a few found it a suicidal mission for the PDP hireling who at the same venue he called for the debate used ‘grandson’ as the opposite of the word ‘godfather’.
Fayose has been boasting to no end that the success rate of Ekiti students in SSCE increased during his time, but this was due to no policy of the one-day one-trouble Fayose administration which left many dead, maimed and emotionally wounded before he was finally shown the door on 16 October, 2006. What many in Nigeria know as ‘miracle centres’ dotted the landscape of Ekiti at this time. These ‘miracle centres’ are where parents pay more to register their children for SSCE with the hope that mercenaries would help them write the exams or that the questions would have leaked before the exams. This was the success Fayose keeps attributing to his administration, a success deeply seeped in fraud like the man boasting about it.
The term ‘miracle centres’ has become non-existent in Ekiti with the advent of Fayemi, a man who can proudly, without doubts in any quarters, lay claim to education attainments and professional qualifications. Through the recommendations of an education summit chaired by late renown economist, Professor Sam Aluko, and peopled by eggheads like the Professor of International Law, Akin Oyebode, the education sector of Ekiti State began to witness a steady but sure-footed turn-around which would take several years of unfortunate retrogression to the days of half-baked governance to revert.
The first noticeable signs of this painstaking turn-around was the the increase in SSCE pass rate from a nauseating 20% to a heart-lifting 70%. To rubbish this success, Fayose and his PDP cronies who are riding on Nigerians’ nonchalant attitude towards data-gahering went to town with the lie that Ekiti now ranks 34th on WASSCE pass rate. The truth, however, is that there is no such ranking by WAEC. How Fayose was able to come up with this fable remains a mystery which he and his co-travellers in the vehicle of retrogression to drag Ekiti back to the backwaters may someday explain in their usual ‘je ki njayin si’ manner.
Part of the gains in the education sector under the truly certified educationist, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is the many reputable national awards now garnered by Ekiti students and teachers. What with the emergence of Ekiti State University (EKSU) Law graduates as the best at the Law School.
Unlike what obtained under the Fayose administration when students of EKSU needed not show up in school to graduate – a situtation that existed due to the forced sacking by Fayose of the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Akin Oyebode, who had restored sanity to the institution – EKSU has now been repositioned in terms of content and structure. The beauty that greets one on entering EKSU creates the necessary ambience for students to learn and be certified without any doubts, whether now or later.
The institution’s College of Medicine which was scrapped by the Fayose administration is now running smoothly. While Fayose who scrapped the College of Medicine now goes around pleading and pledging like the biblical serpent which deceived Eve with guile and vile to reverse the merger of EKSU which has brought more progress to the institution, students and alumni of the institution like me walk around with our heads high and our shoulders squared because Fayemi has given us something to be proud of, unlike the days employers hardly believed anything good could come from our ‘Jerusalem’.
During an interface of the staff of College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti – which students were mowed down during the Fayose administration – with Governor Kayode Fayemi, I listened with awe as they reeled out the progress made under the present administration such as the implementation of a new salary structure, payment of 21-month arrears of the salary incurred by the previous administration, resuscitation of capital grant to the institution, accreditation of courses, on-time payment of monthly subventions, a building masterplan for the institution, new structures, resuscitation of inaugural lectures, sponsoring lecturers to national and international conferences, consultancy job for the appointment of principals, recruitment and training of teachers.
What caught my attention most during the interface was an encounter with the governor narrated by a member of staff of the college, one Egunjobi Charles Afolabi:
“Dr. Fayemi is a blessing to this college. Before he got his mandate, we were in a struggle for a new salary structure. Immediately he became the governor, we presented our case and he promised to pay, and he has paid.
“I remember a time we went for another negotiation. He said something not many Nigerian leaders would say. He looked at us and said ‘It is your legitimate right. Government will pay’. And he has paid already.”
In that pregnant statement is the key to understanding the person of Fayemi – a leader who sees government’s welfarist programmes as the right of the citizens, which they should be, and not as privileges which some egomaniacs think they are.
John Kayode Fayemi and education are like siamese twins. For someone whose credentials are to say the least doubtful to challenge him to a debate on same is comic, but no doubt part of the comic relief the Ekiti electorate would witness in the run-up to the June 21 governorship poll when the victory of Dr. Fayemi as given by God and Ekiti people would send some permanently out of politics.
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