By Taiwo Akerele
I was at Ado just about three years ago with a large team of young persons from across South south Nigeria to participate in the electioneering campaign of my friend and senior Comrade in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria Dr Kayode Fayemi. It was a big fight between the ‘stomach infrastructure’ led regime of Fayose and the more enduring legacy of economic transformation led by Dr Kayode Fayemi. It was clear during the rallies that the people of Ekiti were tired of a shallow economic policy that only feeds the stomach but lacks depth on the future of the society. Today I am excited that the people of Ekiti made the right choice with the success that has been recorded by Dr Fayemi despite the lower than average performance of other states in so many sectors of the economy.
Yes, its three years after and when one looks back, I am able to congratulate JKF with pride and sense of satisfaction. On his 56th birthday this year at Ado, I was one of the privilege ‘outsiders’ so to speak to address the humble crowd gathered at the hilltop mansion of the governors lodge and I didn’t mince words in describing him as a rare gem who is doing things quietly and impactfully using his intellectual depth to touch the lives of the people of Ekiti state.
Ekiti is already well blessed in the area of education, yet Fayemi continues to expand the education base and expanding the existing infrastructure in the school system, same thing goes in the agricultural space and youth investment sectors.
One is able to eave a sigh of relief that as Nigeria gets nearer to 2023 all things been equal, we have in our political basket of choices quality men and women that we can always choose from and JKF is one of such choices owing to his experience, intellectual depth, training and exposure in both local and international issues. FAYEMI has also fought alot of battles both political and social in the Journey for a better Nigeria. In his capacity as chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) the voice of that organization has never been so loud and relevant on key national issues especially in economic management, COVID-19 response, debt management and security of lives and property. NGF has been very progressive in its partnership with relevant organs of government across all strata under the progressive leadership and direction of JKF, that is what a well grounded training and education gives to a society.
When I resigned as chief of staff in April 2020 on the basis of principles he was one of the few governors that reached out to me during the turbulent times encouraging me to stay safe and remain focused I am forever grateful to a legend and man of the youths with values.
As Ekiti people celebrate their leader, the only way we can tap from his bounty of knowledge and experience is for them to release him to the wider population of this west African giant to chat a better course for us, indeed Nigeria is blessed with an avalanche of quality men and women and Fayemi fortunately belongs to that few class of visionary class of leaders.
*Taiwo Akerele, former chief of staff, Edo state (2016-2020) is the Executive Director, Policy House International, Abuja and founder APC Policy Think Tank Forum (APC-PTTF)