In their numbers, they dot every nook and cranny of the hilly enclave. Wherever you turn in virtually every part of Ekiti State, you are greeted by well-conceived, uncompleted projects that have suffered years of abandonment.
Over the years in this state, which flaunts the moniker, ‘Fountain of Knowledge,’ different administrations in the state were apparently convinced that completing a project commenced by a previous government was a socially-demeaning mission. So, most former administrations preferred to begin their own projects (which would most likely end up as uncompleted projects) while forsaking those started but not completed by their predecessors. The result is that scores of abandoned projects, many in different stages of dilapidation, have become an eyesore from one end of the Ekiti landscape to the other.
And such infrastructural projects, which would have added much value to the state, are many. Schools, health centres, roads, community projects, industries, complexes and more are left to rot away in different parts of the state. A few of such projects were the Eyiyato Enterprises Development Centre, Ilupeju-Ekiti; Diary Farm, Ikun-Ekiti; Road Materials Construction Company (ROMACO), Igbemo-Ekiti; and market structures for each of the 16 local governments. Others were Oba Adejugbe Hospital, Ado-Ekiti; Civic Centre, Fajuyi Park, Ado-Ekiti; Ado-Ekiti Water Works; and an asphalt plant also in the state capital.
Several rural roads that had been abandoned became death traps, harvesting souls in tragic accidents.
“I am persuaded it is an ego thing,” a school principal in the state informed the reporter.
“Each governor wants to take all the glory for the construction of a particular project. So, if you complete Segun Oni’s project, some would say it’s not your project. If you complete a project started by Ayo Fayose, some people would claim it’s not your project. So, the governors would abandon the projects they meet on ground while labouring hard to start and complete new projects.
“Unfortunately, they would still leave many projects uncompleted. And the unending cycle goes on perpetually.”
But right now, some of those long-abandoned projects are coming back to life. The present administration of Dr. Kayode Fayemi does not seem to share the sentiments of some of his predecessors. He has returned to some of those abandoned projects and a number of them have now been completed.
On the second anniversary of his administration, utter relief was the expression on the faces of many as Fayemi unveiled some of the projects that have been abandoned by previous administrations. A number of new ones were also inaugurated
Among the abandoned projects were new secretariat buildings in Ado-Ekiti, which were launched. It was learnt that the project was started by the Segun Oni administration but was abandoned following that administration’s sack by the courts in October 2010. Two phases of the secretariat have been completed. A few other uncompleted buildings conceived by that administration as part of the Government Secretariat Complex still litter the bushes around the secretariat.
While inaugurating the edifice, Governor Fayemi noted: “This event signifies our avowed commitment to our policy of zero tolerance for abandoned projects in Ekiti State. We do not believe in squandering taxpayers’ money on white elephant projects, hence we embarked on resuscitation of all the abandoned, uncompleted and moribund projects that littered the state before our assumption of office on October 16, 2018.
“This Secretariat Complex, Phase-V project, was inherited by our administration. It was uncompleted. However, we resuscitated and completed it because we believe that our people deserve the very best with comfortable and convenient office accommodation to implement government policies and programmes.”
It was gathered that Lot I of Phase-V of the building has 65 offices, while Lot II building of the same phase consists of 75 offices
Also unveiled was the ultra-modern Oja Oba Market situated in the centre of the state capital. The exquisite structure, the reporter learnt, was conceived by the present administration in its first tenure. The project was subsequently started by the Ayo Fayose government, and substantial work had been done on it when the administration completed its term. The project was subsequently resuscitated, completed and launched by the Fayemi administration.
At the event, Fayemi asserted that: “Our government conceptualised this project as part of our urban regeneration programme for the state capital during our first tenure. The project, however, experienced initial delay due to unresolved issues during community consultations with traditional institutions.
“I want to particularly commend the Ayo Fayose administration for starting the construction of the ultra-modern market, which was at 55 per cent completion when we assumed office on October 16, 2018.
“As a responsible government that has zero tolerance for abandoned projects in Ekiti State, upon assumption of office, we recommenced work immediately to ensure its completion for the use of our people, using the same contractors.”
Another long-abandoned but major public facility resuscitated by the Fayemi government is the Ikun Dairy Farm, located in Ikun-Ekiti, in Moba Local Government Area of the state. The dairy farm was established in 1987, but it has since fallen into bad times, as many of the subsequent administrations lacked the foresight to make the farm a productive venture.
Last December, Fayemi stated that his government was revamping the farm with N2 billion. He said ailing industries in the state were being rejuvenated to provide more employment opportunities for youths. He stated that the Ikun farm was being revived n partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited and the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that the dairy farm would soon be producing about 10,000 litres of milk daily.
In July, it was announced that the farm had commenced milk production for the first time since its establishment.
Another major project was the asphalt plant set up by the state government. Fayemi started the plant in 2013, with the necessary equipment procured. Unfortunately, the plant was abandoned by the succeeding administration between 2014 and 2018.
Already, the plant has started operations. The reporter was told that, besides producing material to maintain roads in Ekiti, the plant would also run commercial services selling asphalt to other states.
Other abandoned and new projects being done or already completed by the state government are: Comprehensive Health Centre in Ikole-Ekiti, Oye-Ekiti, Isan-Ekiti, Igogo-Ekiti, Otun-Ekiti, Kota Araromi Ekiti, Ijurin Ekiti and Ipoti Ekiti; Ilupeju-Ire-Igbemo-Ijan Road, College of Agriculture, Isan-Ekiti; Oye-Ayede-Ikun Road; Basic Health Centre, Agbado-Ekiti; Agbado-Ode-Isinbode-Omuo Road; Igbara Odo-Ibuji Road; Aramoko-Erinjiyan-Ikogosi Road; Knowledge Zone, Ado-Ekiti; Water Corporation headquarters, Ado-Ekiti; the Civic Centre, Ado-Ekiti; Ado-Iyin dual carriageway; and the Fajuyi Water Booster Station, among others.
The state government said work on the Agro-Cargo Airport at Ago-Aduloju in Ado-Ekiti was in progress, adding that perimeter fence of the facility had been achieved.
In Ekiti, education has always been a major passion for the people. Over the years, facilities in public schools have become overwhelmed by overpopulation, but no new school was being added to the ones in existence. Little wonder thousands of people applauded the recent establishment of four new model secondary schools in different parts of the state capital by the Fayemi administration.
Each of the four new schools is named after an eminent indigene of the state. They are Ayo Fasanmi Model School, Ilokun, Ado Ekiti; David Oke Model School, IkereRroad, Ado Ekiti; Banji Akintoye Model School, Polytechnic Road, Ado Ekiti, and Deji Fasuan Model School, Afao Road, Ado Ekiti.
At the inauguration of the Banji Akintoye Model School, Governor Fayemi regretted that some bad policies initiated by the immediate past administration in the state, especially the introduction of education tax, coupled with the general neglect of the entire education sector, eroded the gains made in his first tenure.
“One is, therefore, not surprised that our state, which had one of the highest enrolment figures in Nigeria in 2014, had slid to the one with the least enrolment in the South-West zone by the time my administration came back to office two years ago,” he said.
The governor noted that the model schools were designed to decongest secondary schools around and within Ado Ekiti, the state capital, as well as open up the areas for urban development. He said most schools on the outskirts of the state capital were established in the early 1980s and as such could no longer cope with the current population growth.
He added: “The four schools which we named after prominent leaders of the state are designed as one-storey 18 classrooms edifices each with 32 toilets with a chemistry, biology and physics laboratories, as well as an ICT/ laboratory and home economics laboratory. Other facilities provided in the one storey edifices include: a large examination hall, Staffrooms, Administrative offices, perimeter fencing, a football pitch, a basketball court, parking space and water treatment plant, among others.”