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Being the Text of the 2024 New Year State Broadcast by His Excellency, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji Governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria

Government House| Ado-Ekiti | Monday, January 1, 2024

Ekiti kete, it is with a heart of thanksgiving that I address you today on the celebration of the New Year 2024 and my second broadcast on a day like this. We all are grateful to God for making us to see last year to its dusk and to witness the dawn of a new one.

I want to joyfully congratulate you on witnessing another promising year in spite of the numerous challenges and threats that daily face us as human beings. Each year comes with its foreseeable and unforeseeable challenges, we have to thank God for seeing us through year 2023 with its many economic challenges that nearly stretched us thin.

Let me also express my profound appreciations to you, the good people of Ekiti State, for the overwhelming support we have continued to received from you since we assumed office in October 2022. In spite of the challenges that come with being a leader, your enthusiastic support, fervent prayers and remarkable cooperation have made the task easy for us. I therefore want to thank you most sincerely, for standing with us at all times.

Many appreciations to our leaders at all levels, especially President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governors, former deputy governors, former and current members of National Assembly, former and current leaders of the state’s legislative and judicial arms of government, leaders of thought, party leaders, traditional rulers, labour leaders, religious leaders and leaders of other segments of the State too numerous to mention.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to the federal government and its agencies that are in Ekiti for their cooperation. Many appreciations to our development and financial partners for their continuous support to us.

I want to sincerely register my profound appreciation to our people both home and abroad for their enthusiasm and cooperation since we assumed office. We are deeply touched by your show of love and solidarity through advice, prayers, suggestions and constructive criticisms.

Ekiti kete, since we assumed duty, we have focused on our promises to you as contained in our campaign manifesto. Of course, we have continued to present the stewardship of our administration at every given opportunity. Indeed, we recently gave the comprehensive details of our activities in the first year of office on October 16, 2023 during the State of the State Address at the Ekiti State Assembly Complex as part of the activities to mark our one year in office.

This day last year, I addressed you in a speech I entitled, Strong Beginning and Giant Lift, I am glad to report that indeed, it has been a giant lift for us in Ekiti in the last one year. We began the administration on a strong footing of continuity and shared prosperity. We therefore had a clear direction without having to waste time. Accordingly, development in the last one year has been phenomenally exciting, a fact which many have acknowledged and generously commended us for.

In the course of the last year, we have completed and inaugurated a considerable number of inherited and new projects which include: the Ado Central Bus Terminal, Governor’s Office Extension Remodeling, and the Ekiti Traditional Rulers’ Chambers. We have also completed major channelization and erosion control projects in Ado-Ekiti, Efon Alaaye and Ikere Local Government.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we commissioned the 3.6MW Independent Power Plant which will add to the stock of power supply to the State and further guarantee more power availability in our rapidly expanding capital. Also, we have reconnected communities in Ekiti East LGA, Gboyin/Aiyekire LGA/LCDA , Ekameta LCDA to the national grid after many years of being in blackout. In the state capital here, we have lighted up many streets with solar powered streetlights facility that has positively impacted the night life of the city. We have also awarded the contract to reconnect Ijesa-Isu and Ikole through Ilumoba and Iyemero through Eruku to service our Special Agric Processing Zone.

In conjunction with World Bank’s AGILE programme, all our secondary school infrastructures are being rehabilitated and the system being overhauled. So far, about 3000 laptop computers have been distributed to our schools. We have also increased the personnel strength of our teaching staff at both primary and secondary school levels. So far, 1500 and 500 teachers have been recruited into the primary and secondary schools respectively. We have also awarded contract for the renovation of our secondary schools through SUBEB-UBEC intervention programmes.

Similarly, we have completed the construction of new buildings at the State Specialist Hospitals at Ijero, Ikole and Ikere-Ekiti. In order to expand medical services to the paediatric section of the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, (EKSUTH), we have just completed the building of a new neo-natal intensive care facility at the hospital. In addition, we have completed the construction of new buildings at the General Hospital, Emure-Ekiti among others. We have also extended the Health Insurance services to many local governments, just as Ulera Wa Health programme has helped to guarantee access to basic health services to our people at no cost. Our public health policy and effective surveillance system has ensured that we did not experience any break out of epidemic disease in the State in the course of last year.

To cater for the welfare of the health workers, our administration has implemented different salary and allowance structures which were hitherto sources of industrial face-off between government and health unions. Similarly, government has made the welfare of workers and pensioners in general a priority. Not only has the Government been prompt in the payment of salaries, salaries arrears dating back to 2016 and unpaid deductions have been considerably defrayed. We have just paid July 2018 salary arrear to Local Government workers.

In line with my promise to workers and pensioners, we remain committed to the prompt payment of salaries and pension, And by God’s grace, in the new year, we will work harder to double up on the liquidation of the outstanding gratuity obligation to our senior citizens.

Ekiti kete, while we are thankful to God for the modest achievements we have recorded in the year 2023, I want to assure you that we will consolidate on the current achievements and set higher bars in the current year.

Already, we have started some critical developmental projects that were launched for commencement during our first anniversary celebration. I am glad to let you know that work has begun on a frenetic level at the different sites of such infrastructures.

Already work has begun on the first phase of the Ring Road construction, we have also begun the construction of Ilawe to Ikere Road, Igbara-Odo to Ikere and Isinbode to Ikole Road. Also, rehabilitation of the dual carriage, Ado-Ifaki road is ongoing just as Igbara-Odo-Ikogosi, Ikere-Ise-Emure, Ajabandele-Deeper Life-Alasia-Omisanjana Road rehabilitation and GRA extension are ongoing.

In this year, we will begin in full force, the development of Ado-Ekiti Central Business District as part of our urban development plan. We will also begin the construction of Ekiti Cultural Center to meet our aspiration to create the enabling environment for the development of artistic and cultural industry of our people. We will also commence the construction of an Indoor Sport Complex to support sports development in the State.

The education sector will continue to receive priority attention in qualitative and quantitative terms. We will continue the ongoing total rehabilitation of schools, increase school and instructional material supply as well as enhance teachers’ capacity through continuous training. We are currently working on the deployment of technology as part of the modernization of instructional pedagogy in all schools.

I am glad to inform you that our vision for the actualization of Ekiti Knowledge Zone is getting closer to realization with the approval of an $80million funding by the Africa Development Bank, (ADB). The same Bank is providing funding support to us on the Agric Processing Zone (APZ) which is expected to catalyze Ekiti into a major agriculture value chain hub.

As Government, we understand the socioeconomic importance of Agriculture and Trade to the total economic profile of our State. Agriculture and Trade remain the mainstay of our economy contributing about 80% to our GDP. We are addressing critical challenges associated with poor yield, access to credit, land clearing, among others to make the sector more attractive.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in conjunction with the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry are working on a programme that will solve some of these challenges. They are currently talking to the stakeholders, including traditional rulers on the implementation of cluster farming arrangement that will guarantee access to resources and market. Our target is that by the end of this year, our farmers will have become richer and prosperous than they have ever been.

Availability of portable water remains a challenge in the State, in spite of our efforts in the rehabilitation of the our water dams and water infrastructure across the State. While a significant milage has been attained already, there is still a lot to be done to ensure the dividend of the investment in water assets gets to our people. Government has therefore allocated a significant sum of money to ensure that some of the challenges mitigating against constant supply of pipe-borne water is addressed in the current year. We will also collaborate with LGAs and LCDAs to ensure that rural communities are not left out.

In the meantime, interventions in form of borehole provision, are being undertaken across our LGAs/LCDAs to lessen the problem of access to water.

Let me specially appreciate Ekiti workers for their cooperation, dedication and understanding since the beginning of this administration. There is no doubt that things are tough for our workers with the hyperinflation that the economy has witnessed in the course of the last year.

As government, we are looking at the best way to ameliorate the impact of the erosion of the purchasing power of the naira; yet, we are very careful not to accost the challenge with emotional response that may become unsustainable.

Before I end this broadcast, let me appreciate all the Government officials who are working with me, especially members of the National Assembly, the executive council and the honourable members of the Ekiti State Assembly for their cooperation and support. I want to also congratulate all the new political appointees who have just joined us. As they assume duty from tomorrow, I want to charge them to see this as a privilege and a call to service.

And to the members of our great party, APC, I want to appeal to you to remain committed to the cause of our party, those who are yet to come in, should exercise more patience, as more will still be invited to serve in different capacities. Similarly, I want to assure you that all perceived imbalances will be looked into to the satisfaction of all.

Let me use this medium to commiserate with the family and victims of the recent violent bank robbery in Ikere-Ekiti. Rest assured you that we will not relent our hunting efforts until we have arrested the culprits and made them face the full wrath of justice. We also commiserate with the Government and people of Ondo State on the demise of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

As Government, we are very hopeful that the economic outlook of the nation will be stable and some of the macroeconomic policy will begin to yield the desired results. We are very optimistic that 2024 will be a year of positive economic resurgent for the country. Ekiti is going to witness massive improvement in security, infrastructure and government services than we have ever seen.

As I end this New Year address as your governor, I want to thank our traditional, religious, leaders of thoughts and community leaders for the critical roles they play at all times. I would like to continue to solicit your prayers, support and cooperation in the New Year. I thank everyone who has been of help in the past, just as we look forward to more opportunities for support and cooperation in year 2024.

Thank you. Happy and prosperous New Year for you all.
God bless Ekiti State!

Biodun Oyebanji
Executive Governor, Ekiti State

Posted in Ekiti State News Bulletin, Press Releases
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