THE clarion call from the mountains, plains and the valleys of Ekiti State is, we want Segun Oni back as Governor. It has even been reduced to the hatch tag format of #BringSegunOniBack. That is how strong, effective and vociferous, the desires and wishes of Ekiti people from all strata, nukes and cranes of Ekitiland as they want Chief Segun Oni back as the next Governor of Ekiti State. The feelings are palpable.
A good name, is better than gold and silver, my father told me growing up. Segun Oni has carved a good name for himself that not even his greatest opponents can deny or rubbish. Mentioned Segun Oni in any part of Ekiti and in Nigeria, even without his physical presence, the name is received with deserved respect, honor and admiration. He is seen as an epitome of humility, dignity, integrity, transparency and incorruptibility. His other Yoruba name is OMOLUABI. It is not because of any other things but his godliness, politeness and contentment to service.
Let me share some of the traits, values and virtues of Segun Oni that stands him out as unique and incomparable to his peers. Chief Segun Oni, please excuse my not taking permission from you before writing my testimonial of you. Knowing you as I know you, your humility and low profile nature and characteristics, you may not have granted me the permission I desire to write this piece about you. I know very well, you have never liked blowing your own trumpet and always don’t want others to blow it for you because of your humility. Some of what am going to write here are what others should know and either imbibe in their own lives or sow into the lives of their children. Chief Olusegun Oni exhibits quality leadership. He is simple yet, strategic; disciplined and visionary, progressive-minded and a bridge-builder. Above all, a godly man with a consummate and exemplary personality.
Chief Segun Oni is A Good Christian
He is not just a Christian but the Baba Egbe Ijo Methodist Church Ifaki Ekiti, his home town. He is one of the very pillars that hold the church in all ramifications.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10). Anybody who has ever come face to face with Chief Segun Oni will see the palpability of humility around him. He breaths it. He exhumes it. You perceives it all around him. It doesn’t matter if you’re entering his home for the first time and it’s time for food – breakfast, lunch or dinner, you will eat with him, serving yourself and sitting on the same table. No wonder, he is always lifted up.
Godly and Contented
When Segun Oni was asked to vacate his office as Governor in 2010, he called everyone in his office to prayer, thanking God for the privilege and opportunity to serve the people and asking God to help those succeeding him. After that, he led his officials to the government chapel for a praise, worship and prayers before moving to his lodge to move out his belongings. Before leaving his office for the chapel for prayers, his attention was drawn to more than N100 million security vote money he was leaving behind in cash. Segun Oni said, “It is not my money, its government’s money. What will Governor Kayode Fayemi spend when he resumes?” That is Segun Oni for you, an exceptional gem.
As at that point in time, Segun Oni did not have more than N5million in his bank account as governor. But like apostle Paul says:” Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11). Chief Segun Oni has always been a contented man.
In 2009, when the court asked for a re-election in some local governments, the opposition chastised him as the only Governor they know that did not have a house after two years in office. Only in Nigeria will that not be a compliment but a negative campaign issue. Yet, after three and half years in office, Segun Oni did not mold a single block or laid a foundation for a house. He did not steal a kobo or illegally corrupted himself. Since leaving office in 2010, he has not been invited by EFCC, ICPC or any investigation agency to answer corruption questions or misgovernment.
In 2009, some good friends who were not happy that their friend was ridiculed for not having a house of his own, came together and started making donations and contributions to Governor Oni thinking, he would start a building project from there. When he realized the money has become sizeable enough, he bought four buses and donated them personally, to the schools for physically challenged in the state.
The friends were surprised and almost disappointed at his action but decided another way around. It is the same group of friends that built the house he currently leaves in his home town of Ifaki today. I am almost sure that Chief Segun Oni didn’t know about the project until it was almost 80% completed. He didn’t have a plot of land in Abuja but leaves in a rented home there, unlike his peers or even some local government chairmen who have mansions. That is Segun Oni for you.
Forgiving and Inclusive
When Segun Oni was removed from office as Governor, we all witnessed the way he was treated by the incoming government. He was never regarded as a former governor. His portrait was removed among the former governors’, even including a governor for few hours. Yet, Segun Oni before the 2014 Ekiti State election, joined the ACN (note, that was before the formation of the APC), campaigned openly for Governor Kayode Fayemi, who removed from office.
Selfless to the Core: Shortly after Governor Fayemi became a minister in PMB’s cabinet, I was a witness to another extra-ordinary behavior of this extra-ordinary man, Chief Segun Oni. I was the only one in the house with him at Ifaki one day. We stepped out of the house together and saw a group praying at his car park. He moved there to greet them. And they started to pray for him. Then, immediately, he stopped them and said: You know our son in Ekiti, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has just been appointed a minister in a new ministry nobody has ever been before. So, that is the person you will now be helping me to be praying for his success in the new ministry. He donated some money to them and we both moved away from them but not before they started praying for Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the new Minister.
His Qualifications and Cognate Experience
I have had the privilege of writing resumes and attending interviews in and outside Nigeria. Qualifications and work or cognate experience are very crucial factors used to short list, and grade an applicant for hiring. All our aspirants are currently applicants looking for job as a governor. We also need to consider their work or cognate experiences and qualifications before hiring the most qualified to be our next governor. In some jobs, one is expected to write an expression of interest on the position one is applying for, like “Why I want to be the Governor of Ekiti State.”
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The main reason I want Chief Segun Oni to be the next Governor of Ekiti State includes his personal attributes and characters stated above. But also his cognate or work experience, garnered as a former Governor of Ekiti State between 2006 and 2010. These, simply in my opinion, makes him the best of all the aspirants in the state today. He’s the most qualified and the most experienced in the state. If he was very good then, he will surely be better now. Please follow me on the memory lane.
Chief Segun Oni believes that all that is required to develop Ekiti State, is sincerity, integrity, prudence, honesty, transparency and inclusive leadership. These seven pillars of development, he once demonstrated in all spheres of live as Governor of Ekiti State. So, in 1235 days or 3 years, 4 months, 16 days, Segun Oni and his team achieved the following for Ekiti State and people:
• Roads: 342 Kilometers of roads traversing all LGAs were completed between May 29, 2007 and January 2010 while 444 kilometers were work-in-progress while he left office;
• Awarded and executed the following contracts under the program of “Water for ALL”
• 22 contracts for the supply and laying of pipes and rehabilitation covering more than 280Km;
• 7 contracts for the construction of booster stations and million liter reservoir;
• 2 contracts for the rehabilitation of booster stations;
• 2 contracts for the construction of 1 million liter reservoirs;
• 45 contracts for the construction of water fetching points;
• 2 contracts for the supply and installation of 7 generators;
• 1 contracts for the construction of 1 million liter reservoir.
• 132/33KVA Transmission Station was completed and commissioned to boost State share from the National Grid;
• Iro-Ayeteju and Ajegunle-Ise, two new rural communities, were connected to the National Grid.
• Financial allocation to tertiary institutions (monthly average) more than quadrupled (390% increase) during the life of the administration;
• Technical and Vocational Education was given special attention with:
• Two technical colleges were established, one each at Igbara-Odo and Iluomoba;
• Construction of standard workshops, hostels and staff quarters in Ado, Ijero, Otun, Ikole Technical Colleges;
• Construction and rehabilitation of workshops and classrooms, preparatory to accreditation of courses run in all Technical Colleges;
• Procurement of tools and equipment, training materials and books;
• Examination fees paid for final year students for NBC/NTC, FCTCE and Federal Labor Trade Test Certificate Examination;
• School Enterprise Program launched which covered Bakery, Block Making, Cassava Processing, Chalk Production, Custard & Beverages, Nylon Packaging, Palm Kernel Processing, Poultry, Printing, Sewing, Soap Making, Textile, Interlocking Blocks in Boarding secondary schools;
• Scholarships were awarded from Secondary School to PhD level including automatic Special Scholarships for the physically challenged;
• Other scholarship schemes included:
• Law School (automatic);
• Aviation and Maritime Schools;
• One year abroad for Foreign Language Proficiency (automatic);
• WAEC and NECO registration was made free for all SSS 3 Students
• Free textbooks were provided for all JSS students;
• Full furniture was provided to Primary, JSS, SSS and Teachers;
• Boarding was re-launched in secondary schools with major renovation carried out on hostels and dining halls;
• School feeding program (egg and chocolate beverage) was introduced and actively sustained – 52,273 JSS students and 146,955 Primary School pupils were covered;
• All schools were provided with fully equipped libraries;
• All JSS students were provided with free textbooks;
• Implementing the Ekiti Digital Project (EDEP), all 1,461 SS 1 students in the 22 boarding Secondary Schools were provided laptops with VSAT.
• College of Medicine and University Teaching Hospital were established;
• A total of 147,794 persons benefitted from various health intervention programs ranging from Eye camp, to Surgical Festival and others
• In the health survey of 2008, Ekiti State was highly rated (comparatively) in the Health Development Index;
• Several Blue Health Centers were constructed to bring health closer to the people;
• Ekiti State Central Medical Stores was awarded the NIS ISO 9001 in 2008;
• A modern, state of the art, world class Ophthalmological Hospital was commissioned.
• Audit of State and LG accounts of preceding year were concluded and published by March of each current year;
• Total IGR collected in THREE years was 40% more than total collected in previous EIGHT years – N9.08 billion (in three years) as against N6.49 billion (in the eight preceding years);
• Financial autonomy was guaranteed for the State House of Assembly, the Judiciary and the Local Governments;
• Chieftaincy and Culture – Traditional institution was accorded greater respect while their status enhanced; two-year limit placed on regency;
• Public Buildingso New office blocks were constructed in the secretariat;
• New House of Assembly Complex was constructed;
• Judges quarters was constructed;
• Several General Hospitals were renovated;
• BSES studio was rebuilt to modern standard;
• VIP Lodges were constructed in Government House;
• New Governor’s Lodge was acquired in Abuja.
• Gratuity and Pension
• Paid all pensions and gratuities dating back to 1994 by December 31st, 2007 and from then on, paid gratuity to all newly retired within 90 days after retirement;
• Salaries paid on schedule across the State and LG – Retirees were paid on 20th; Teachers on 21st; LG Staff on 22nd; Civil Servants on 23rd; Political Appointees on 24th; all before the end of each month.
• Loan: 11,690 employees benefitted between June 2007 and December 2009 (2½ years) in the amount of N3.27 billion compared to 7,295 beneficiaries between 1996 and May 2007 (over 10 years) in the amount of N696 million;
• Microcredit: total of N993,191,910 was disbursed to 24,621 beneficiaries;
• Fajuyi Park was designed, reconstructed and commissioned
• Actively promoted private sector as partners in the development of the State; enterprises such as Mutual Assurance, Tantalizers; Stanbic, Wema, FCMB and GTB banks were attracted to the State.
Why Chief Segun Oni wants to be Ekiti State Governor from October 2018 From the above we can all see that his characters, cognate experience as a former Governor is a great asset that would propel him to hit the ground running the very day he is sworn in as Governor. He has passed the stage of someone coming to learn on the job. He will continue with the good work he had started and because of the exigencies of the present economic realities, efforts would be made to vigorously pursue intensive drive to generate revenue without taxing pupils, students or over taxing the poor.
Water resources, aquaculture, agriculture, tourism and industrialisation particularly agro-business would be the major areas of focus to generate money. Manpower and human development especially youth-based and youth focused, will have the attention of his administration which shall last for only four years and lay a solid foundation for successive administrations to build on. The following areas shall be the areas of concentration:
i. Restoration of credibility and trust in government;
ii. Creation of jobs through strong Public-Private collaboration and security guarantee – for lives, properties and investments;
iii. Agriculture and aquaculture strong support for agro-allied cottage industry;
iv. Education and Health
v. Youth and Human Development
With the above, I humbly present Chief Segun Oni to you to be elected, first as the APC candidate in the Primary Election of May 5, 2018 and as the next Governor of Ekiti State on July 14, 2018 to complete the good work he started in July 2006.