Opinion

Ekiti: A toddler at 25 has nothing to celebrate

On 1 October in the year of our Lord, 2021, Ekiti State was 25 years old. We thank God for those of us who are still alive to witness the 25th year after the creation of our dear state relishly called “The Fountain of Knowledge” and the “The Land of Honour”.

However, for me, there is nothing to celebrate by engaging in any social gathering. As one of the active founders of our state, I confirm that our hope was that the state would be nurtured to become the showpiece among the comity of states in Nigeria.

Regretfully and up till now, Ekiti has not achieved the anticipated lofty objectives of the founding fathers. Twenty-five years after its creation, Ekiti state remains a land-locked, motorway-locked, airport-locked, rail-way locked, industry-locked and power-locked, a development which adversely affects economic development in the State.

Today, Ekiti State has the worst road network in the country, while the only industry in Ekiti, even before Ekiti State was created, the O’odua Textile Industry established during the Chief Obafemi Awolowo regime, has folded up.

Like their peers in other states of the federation, local governments in Ekiti State do not have the necessary funds to assist farmers with farm equipment like tractors, bulldozers, payloaders, low loaders and riggers which they used to rent out to farmers at subsidized rates as it was before the creation of the state.

Looking at the position of things in Ekiti today, I am beginning to doubt if those of us (dead and alive) who fought for the creation of Ekiti State were right in opting out of the bigger Ondo State.

Today, there are many villages in Ekiti without electricity for years, the roads are worse than ever before. The Airport which we thought would support Ikogosi Warm Spring remains a dream, industries that would have produced employment are non-existent, our highly qualified professionals are migrating to other states where they locate their businesses and pay their taxes.

It will interest you that Ekiti was contributing as much as 52% of the total revenue of the Old Western Region through the instrumentality of agricultural produce.

But all that would appear to have disappeared, no thanks to the advent of oil which drew people away from their otherwise lucrative pastime of farming which used to fetch them handsome income in the days of yore.

— Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, is the founder of Afe Babalola University

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