….kickstarts townhall meetings for 2024 budget presentations

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has said he would not impose any candidate on the people in the December local government election in the state, promising to be fair to all contestants.

In preparation for the 2024 Appropriation Bill, Oyebanji said his government will be strategic in execution of projects and that whatever would be undertaken will be based on collective requests from communities and local governments.

Governor Oyebanji stated this on Monday in Ido Ekiti, during a Town Hall Meeting With Stakeholders in Ekiti North Senatorial District, comprising Ido/Osi, Moba, Ilejemeje, Ikole and Oye local government areas in preparation for the 2024 Budget.

Despite encapsulating their demands and submitting same to the Governor, the Onisan of Isan Ekiti, Oba Gabriel Adejuwon; Obaleo of Erinmope, Oba Sunday Aniyi; Mr Ademola Owoeye; Hon Cecilia Dada; Mr Sola Ogunsina and Mr. Akin Obanise, spoke for Oye, Moba, Ikole, Ilejemeje, Ido/Osi local governments as well people living with disabilities respectively.

The aggregate of the demands that emanated from the five councils centred chiefly around road infrastructure, electrification, health facilities, school infrastructure.

Commenting on politival development in the state and the forthcoming local government election, Oyebanji warned all the contestants against desperation, or take steps to lobby him for possible imposition.

“I will be fair to all of you. I am a process person, so nobody should put me under pressure because the party has been handed into the hands of the leaders. They are the owners of the party, so all of you, particularly the contestants must cooperate with them. I am not going to impose anybody.

“Many of you are now scrambling for council positions because you now consider it juicier, even than Commissionership. Whoever doesn’t respect the leaders of the party will mismanage the councils if elected. I have instructed the leaders to take charge. Those running from pillar to post , I wish them well, but I am with the party”. He said.

Responding to the demands made by the representatives of each council areas, Governor Oyebanji said he promised during the electioneering that his government will be inclusive and be a replica of the immediate past Government of Governor Kayode Fayemi, which believed firmly in the people as powerhouse of any administration.

Oyebanji assured that his government has its eyes fixed on delivering on the promises made to the people and that he would not get distracted or derailed from actualising his dream for the state .

“I am going to deliver everything I promised Ekiti people. I am not going to be distracted. I have my plans and I will follow it to the letter. You are my employer and I owe it a duty to always come and feed you back.

He however told the gathering that Government might not have the financial muscle to actualise all the demands in the 2024 budget, stressing part of the reasons for the stakeholders meeting was to prioritise the demands.

“In every 100 days ,I have been doing a state of the state programme with you. It was a feedback mechanism. I have done in Ekiti North, Central and South districts. The next one will be in Central. Being a leader doesn’t mean I am the most brilliant or all-knowing. I don’t know it all, so I need your inputs in whatever I do.

“We have just spent a year in the saddle, you will see that by the time we will spend two or three years, you will start enjoying the fruits of what we have done”.

Besides placing high premium on road construction, Oyebanji stated that his government would make tremendous impact in electricity generation, job creation, economy, Information and Communication Technology and health facilities, describing them as also pivotal to the growth of any society.

On the abysmal states of some of the federal roads, Oyebanji clarified that it will be difficult to understake renovation of such roads without commitment that the money expended will be refunded to the state.

On the disquiet in town over the preponderance of trucks from the Northern part of the country plying Ekiti roads and destroying them, the Governor
said he won’t drive them away from Ekiti, but will contrive ways of making economic capital out of their presence.

“I won’t send any trailer out of Ekiti, they are doing their businesses and they can add their values. Trailer movement itself is an economy. We are looking at constructing a Trailer Pack here, so that these people can come here and do their businesses and also contribute to the growth of our economy”.

Oyebanji said though Ekiti is challenged financially, but he exuded confidence that the little money accruing to the state will be expended judiciously and prudently for the overall good of the populace.

“I will never deceive you, though we can’t do everything in a year. We have about three years MTEF, if what you sent this year was not done or captured in the 2024 budget, it will be captured in 2025 .

“I know I can’t disappoint because I am standing on a solid foundation laid by Governor Fayemi. We have started by attacking those challenges in place that are constituting obstacles to our mission to improve on the welfare and the prosperity to our people.

“I am assuring you that this your money that you and God have entrusted in my care, I will spend for you. I am not going to disappoint. But for me to be successful, I need your support,patience and advice all the times”.

As a way of actualising the foregoing, Oyebanji mandated the incoming local government chairmen that will be elected in December 2023 to consult widely and feel the pulses of the people before executing any project in any town, saying project siting must be based on demand by communities.

Resolute to checkmating capital flight, Oyebanji said the Local Government Chairmen should as a matter of compulsion patronise local contractors, so that the money belonging to government can circulate across all the strata of the state.

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