Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has hinted that he is currently appealing to the federal government to allow his government to fix the deplorable Ado-Akure roads.
The governor who admitted that he has been receiving a lot of bashing from members of the public over the issue said his government had been constrained by the new policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which forbids states from fixing federal roads.
Fayemi, who gave the clarification in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday at a colloquium tagged: ‘Building a Sustainable Economy Through Values Orientation and Innovative Thinking’, marking the first year of his second term in office, said he also requested that Ekiti should be allowed to toll the road.
He explained that his administration had accessed some funds from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to fund the project as soon as the federal government gives approval. He acknowledged that the shortage of funds had forced the federal government to stop states from rehabilitating federal roads.
The Governor said he would have loved to fix some of the federal roads in the state but for the stringent warning from the Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola that there won’t be refund on such interventions.
Speaking particularly about the collapsed Ureje bridge along Afe Babalola University, Fayemi said: ” I would have loved to do some of these roads but the Federal Government said to leave our roads alone. “They made it clear that if any state rehabilitates any road, there won’t be refunds and this is because there is no money.
“This year, FG budgeted around N250 billion for roads. If the government is to complete Lagos-Ibadan, Kaduna-Abuja and Kaduna-Kano expressways, it will cost a sum of N500 billion out of about 36,000 kilometres of roads waiting for rehabilitation”, he said.
Meanwhile, the senator representing Ekiti North Senatorial District, Mr Olubunmi Adetumbi and former Minister of Sports, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, have advised the country to redistribute its wealth and foster entrepreneurial education to reduce the gap between rich and poor citizens.
Adetumbi, who was one of the discussants, said states should be innovative and think of how to increase the internally generated revenues through a public-private partnership to build and sustain the economy under a corrupt-free atmosphere.
“In order to build a Sustainable economy, there must be a partnership between the government and the people. The major problem of our economy is poor environment and growing businesses, which Ekiti didn’t have in good numbers and once the business environment is bad, then the economy will continue to be repressed.
“Ekiti has a poverty rate of 57 per cent. This should be a concern to us all. Our unemployment rate is 14 per cent, the second-highest in the Southwest. Ekiti has no reason to be poor or has a high unemployment rate, because of good atmospheric and soil conditions it has.
“Governor Kayode Fayemi has started with youth entrepreneurship and we have to build on that to turn around the economy of this state and it has to be accompanied with value reorientation among our youths.
“Value reorientation is very important. But the greatest influencers now are politicians and that is why we as leaders must be careful and be good leaders. We must be careful with the ways we live our lives because we are the greatest influencers in society”.
Adetumbi advised Ekiti to key into the concept of digitised land registry, describing the initiative as the best way to generate revenues for any state.
Former Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, regretted that the wealth of Nigerians are concentrated in the hands of few people, which he said signposted the level of inequality in the system. “Even President Muhammadu Buhari while declaring open Nigeria’s Economic Council in Abuja recently emerged the first President in the country to bring the issue of inequality to the front burner of national discourse.
“The president said the wealth of the nation is concentrated in the hands of a few from five states of the federation. In inequality, Nigeria was ranked 157, making it the most unequalled country and the poverty capital of the world. The GDP does not show the reality of our state of the economy.
“The issue now is, when the rich people are flying around in private jets, which isn’t wrong, let us help the poor to be able to travel to their villages on good roads. “We are talking of education and our youths are going to schools, we must also ruminate on the kind of education that will make our youths relevant, which I believe is by embracing entrepreneurship, he said.
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