Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, completed his constitutional term limits yesterday with a strong note that only dispassionate restructuring of the country’s governance structure could guarantee national security and fiscal stability.
Fayemi, who is also the immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), bemoaned the deplorable state of federal roads connecting Ekiti State to all of its neighboring states, but revealed how the federal government paid states over N1 trillion for federal roads rehabilitated between 1999 and 2015.
He made the remarks during a session with journalists in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, as part of the weeklong valedictory activities to mark the successful completion of his constitutional term limit as governor of the state.
A two-day international valedictory conference titled “JKF: A Journey in Leadership” will be held, with attendees including the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Senator Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, and former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
During the press conference, Fayemi stated that restructuring is “an idea whose time has come,” and that the country will not be able to avoid it.
“It will be a major issue in the 2023 election campaign,” he said. It is already becoming a problem. I’ve heard the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, talk about restructuring.
“I saw the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, say he wants to talk to all the agitators. Of course, as you stated, it has always been on the All Progressives Congress (APC) agenda.”
He also described how the APC presented the Nasir el Rufai Committee on True Federalism’s report to the National Assembly, which is statutorily empowered to amend the 1999 Constitution.
Furthermore, Fayemi revealed that the APC had engaged the National Assembly’s principal officers when the Nasir el Rufai Committee submitted its report.
“I have also seen the change in my capacity as Chairman of NGF,” he said. It had been sent to the Houses of Assembly after the National Assembly had completed its part. The NGF met with 36 governors and speakers to decide what we will support and what we will oppose.
“If 24 of the 36 states do not approve it, it is dead in the water and will not be pursued again.” That exercise was completed three weeks ago. However, we insisted on including state policing in the proposal because we were able to rally all governors behind state policing.
Despite some reservations, they had called a meeting of Emirs and governors to approve state policing. We then returned it to the National Assembly. The process is underway, though not as quickly as the people would like. It could take some time. We can’t be against restructuring.”
According to Fayemi, restructuring is necessary because the revenue allocation formula favors the federal government. Our position at the NGF is that you cannot give me responsibility without also providing me with the resources to carry out that responsibility.
“That is the tyranny of an unfunded mandate.” We have argued that the revenue allocation formula must be rearranged in favor of state and local governments. In retrospect, the former governor stated, “We have proposed that the federal government retain a lower share while state and local governments retain a higher share.”
On the deplorable state of federal roads in Ekiti State, Fayemi explained how his administration obtained funds from AfDB to repair and dualize the Akure-Ado-Ekiti road.
“We got over $100 million for road reconstruction,” he said. However, the road’s owner flatly refused our proposal to take it over. It is not spoken. The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing requested that I vacate the roads. You cannot toll it if you rebuild it, and we will not refund you.”
He did, however, explain the federal government’s decision to reject his administration’s plan to reconstruct the Akure-Ado-Ekiti road.
“I happened to know that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) took the position that no state should now reconstruct or rehab federal roads within its territory,” he said.
“This was after the federal government paid nearly N1 trillion for federal roads that the state governments either rebuilt or rehabilitated.” The FEC insisted on building federal roads and insisted on not having to pay any government refunds.
“To be fair, only President Buhari has paid refunds for federal roads that have been rebuilt or rehabilitated since 1999.” He was excellent in every way. He was not picky. He was unaffected by it.
“Governor Wike is the governor who received the greatest share of the refunds.” He collected N78 billion in refunds for federal roads repaired by previous administrations in Rivers State. You can see why the FEC took that stance