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By Wole Olujobi

Buffeted by the pains of back to back succession failures since the creation of Ekiti State in 1996 that distorted real growth in the state’s development initiatives,  Ekiti people broke succession jinx on the June 18, 2022 crunch governorship election to elect Mr Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji as Governor of Ekiti State to key into his party’s (All Progressives Congress) development scheme anchored on continuity agenda initiated by the immediate past Governor Kayode Fayemi.

It was indeed a deft and masterful political choreography by a determined people in their quest for a development model that will put Ekiti State on the path of sustainable growth as Oyebanji mounts the saddle after taking the oath of office yesterday October 16, 2022.

Amid grandeur and sense of fulfilment of a dream come true, tranquility overwhelmed Ekiti landscape Sunday October 16, 2022, in a blaze of pomp and glory as Governor  Oyebanji took the oath of office in a memorable transfer of power within the same political party in Ekiti State noted for episodic and convoluted succession history.

On the day of Ekiti glory and Oyebanji’s prime place in history, Phoebus, the god of the Sun,  shone brightly across Ado-Ekiti silver skyline to complement the convivial ambience of the Ekitiparapo Pavilion inauguration grounds that symbolically forboded the dialectic content of this threshold of history, for as early as 7 am, even though vehicular and human traffic had choked life out of the state capital enroute the inauguration grounds,  unprecedented crowds of Ekiti people as well as well-wishers across the country in their bright attires thronged the inauguration grounds and sweated it out in joyous ecstasy to be part of history of continuity-inspired succession scheme to grow Ekiti State.

Seated in the expansive 12,000-seater Ekitiparapo Pavilion were joyous crowds of Ekiti people who had come to honour a man they dub “Mr Solution” on account of his generous heart and earnest desire to assist the needy. With them were national and state leaders of APC, including party members from neighbouring states, who came to honour Oyebanji, the new helmsman in Ekiti State.

In grandeur, pomp and power, the convoy of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, rolled in to the Ekitiparapo Pavilion inauguration grounds at exactly 12.20pm as party supporters and huge crowds surged and cheered, trying to catch a glimpse of the Jagaban in his splendour and grace among the array of party leaders in his entourage.

In his entourage were Governor Babajide  Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, among top leaders of APC in solidarity with the man of the moment in Ekiti State.

Oyebanji’s arrival at the inauguration grounds sent the huge crowds into a frenzy, as he was practically mobbed by supporters as he went around the inauguration grounds greeting supporters and spectators in the 12,000-seater Ekitiparapo Pavilion.

At the event anchored by veteran broadcasters Kunle Olofin, Yemisi Ayokunle and Chief Akinlade Ojo Erugale,  the outgoing Governor Kayode Fayemi and his wife, Erelu Bisi-Adeleye Fayemi, were ushered into the venue by a huge array of party supporters and appreciative Ekiti people.

At the event were Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu; Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Osun Deputy Governor, Benedict Adegboyega Alabi; Plateau Governor Solomon Bako Lalong, Kebbi Governor Atiku Bagudu, former Ekiti State Governor Adeniyi Adebayo and his wife Angela, former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, Chief Bisi Akande, Jigawa Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki and Sokoto Governor Aminu Tambuwal, among other top national leaders of APC.
Others included APC Chairman in Ondo State, Ade Adetimehin; Chief Biodun Akin-Fasae, Senator Femi Ojudu, Kayode Afolabi, Charles Fasuba, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Hon Bamidele Faparusi, Rt Hon Dapo Karounwi, Remi Oguntuase, Tade Aluko, Cyril Fasuyi, Deji Ajayi, Gbenga Agbeyo,  Hon Yemi Adaramodu,  Ambassador Eniola Ajayi and her spouse, Chief Jide Awe,  Remi Oguntuase,  Rt Hon Taiwo Olatunbosun, members of the National and state Assemblies  and the royalty led by the Chairman of Ekiti State Council of Obas, the Onisan of Isan-Ekiti, Oba Adejuwon,  market and union leaders, and members of the State Executive Council.

Notable leaders also present included the former Ekiti State governorship candidate of ADC, Erelu Kemi Elebute-Halle; Prince Akin Olayisade, Hon Akinloye Akinyemi, Femi Awe, Remi Osabusua, Chief Mrs Kemi Olaleye, Yemi Afolabi, Bola Solanke, Oluremi Babinton Ajayi,  Funmilola Adeyemo, Fola Richie-Adewusi, Hon Wumi Ogunlola, Femi Ajayi, Kayode Jimlas Fasae, Oluwole Ariyo, Sanya Aladeyelu and Prince Omowumi Adebayo,  including leaders of students groups, who were at the occasion to add colour to the event.

In his welcome address, former Head of Service and Federal Commissioner in the National Population Commission, Deji Ajayi, representing the chairperson of the Inauguration Committee, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, noted that APC and Oyebanji had made history in Ekiti in the back to back election victory that returned Oyebanji as elected governor, noting, however, that the feat was consequent upon sterling performance by the outgoing Governor Fayemi.

Deputy Governor Monisade Afuye, accompanied by her husband, Chief Lawrence Afuye, took her oath of office at exactly 12.45pm before Ekiti State Chief Judge, Mr Justice John Oyewole Adeyeye.

The Governor-elect accompanied by his wife, Dr (Mrs) Olayemi Oyebanji, took his oath of office at exactly 12.52pm after which a prayer was said by Bishop Clement Olu Abifade for God to guide Oyebanji and his deputy in their assignments in the state.

Governor Oyebanji inspected the guard of honour mounted by the officers and men of the Ekiti State Police Command in a colourful parade led by Superintendent Sharafadeen Issa Kolawole.

On the bandstand to entertain guests and spectators were Fuji sensation, Adewale Ayuba; Sese Alhaji Adeniyi Akayejo and Princess Jumai.

In his speech, Governor Biodun Oyebanji,  who called for a minute silence in memory of his late mother, bursted into songs of praise thanking God for His mercies in his life.
He noted that his inauguration was the first of its kind, even as he praised members of the Transition Committee for doing a great job for the success of the  programme.

He urged Ekiti people to remain united with him in the mission to deliver quality service to the state.

Oyebanji recalled with nostalgia his service to Ekiti State in the past  as a young man when he served as the Secretary of the Commmittee for the Creation of  Ekiti State.

He said his new job had placed on him a new responsibility to work harder to redirect Ekiti on the path of growth, explaining that his activities as a young man, who was interested in the progress of the state, propelled him to aspire to lend more hand in the development of the state.

The new governor assured that he would be faithful to his six-point development agenda, which includes youth development and job creation through micro, small and medium rnterprises (MSME) financing and support, digital skills, vocational skills, Ekiti Knowledge Zone and sports development, while human capital development will also be given a priority.

He explained that education, healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and social investment were the foundation for a productive workforce.

Other priority areas, according to him, are  education, water, sanitation and hygiene, healthcare, social investment, agriculture and rural development,  infrastructure and industrialisation, arts, culture and tourism and governance, while he would ensure completion of the ongoing projects.

He praised former  Governor Adeniyi Adebayo for charting the course of  development in Ekiti State, noting that his pioneering leadership created opportunities for whatever gains Ekiti people are celebrating today.

He praised the outgoing Governor Fayemi for taking Ekiti State through a trajectory of sustainable development, noting that posterity would remember him for his sterling performance while leading the state.

Listing many firsts in Fayemi’s records of achievements, he added that Fayemi as the Chairman of the Nigerian  Governors Forum provided him a national platform to fight the cause of Ekiti people, including lending support for his fellow governors.

He praised Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi for creating egalitarian society fighting for the rights of women and the less-privileged.

Noting that Nigeria is facing very challenging times fuelled by covid pandemic and collapse of the world economy,  he said Erelu Fayemi was able to marshal her wide connections to assist the vulnerable in the society.

Oyebanji added that the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, in his determined efforts to lift Nigerians out of poverty, was poised to redirect the national economy for the general good of all Nigerians.

Describing Ekiti State as a Land of prosperity, honour and integrity, Oyebanji  promised to channel his energies in the pursuit of his six-point agenda to create opportunities and conducive atmosphere for industrial growth and create jobs for the teeming youth populations.

He said with the support of the people, he would deliver on his people-centred agenda to achieve success in the most transparent manner.

He urged support for the candidate of the APC in the presidential election, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, stressing that the top politician is a tested and visionary administrator that would take Nigeria to the next level of development with uncommon commitment and integrity to build a new nation where prosperity will spread to all Nigerians.

Oyebanji thanked the national leadership of APC for their roles leading to his success at poll, even as he praised the leadership of the party in the state led by Paul Omotoso, for their wonderful roles in ensuring success for APC in Ekiti State in the June 18, 2022  governorship election.

Calling on private investors to establish businesses in Ekiti State, Oyebanji promised to provide a conducive atmosphere for private investments to thrive, even as he pledged to mobilise the various segments of Ekiti State for the task of building a prosperous society for the progress of all.

Tinubu, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the occasion, praised Ekiti people for electing Oyebanji in the June 18 governorship election, noting that their action represented the courage for which Ekiti people were renowned.

He urged Ekiti people to get ready for the February 2023 presidential election to post the same result for APC as the foremost party in Ekiti State.

Tinubu urged support for Oyebanji in his task to build prosperity in the state, even as he said that the presidential election next year should be used to consolidate gains for APC in national politics.

He urged Ekiti people to keep their voter cards  away from the opposition candidates mopping up voter cards across the nation.

He said APC is the party that can be trusted to protect the best interests of Nigerians, stressing that he represented the hope for the attainment of APC’s dream for a prosperous Nigeria.

As Oyebanji mounts the saddle, the task for him is to use his new position to build on the successes recorded so far in building a prosperous Ekiti State  to sustain the history of continuity in governance.

  • Olujobi lives in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State

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