SIR: Ekiti State was carved out of the old Ondo State on October 1, 1996 alongside five others by the military dictatorship of the late General Sani Abacha. Before the creation, it had about twelve local governments under the old Ondo State. Upon creation, it took off with sixteen (16) Local Government Areas and the status quo is still being maintained.
Though, lacking in industrial development, the state is reputed to have produced the highest number of professors in Nigeria. Among several renowned academics from the state were Professors Adegoke Olubummo (the 1st Nigerian Professor of Mathematics), Adeyinka Adeyemi (1st Professor of Architecture in West Africa). Others include renowned academics like Profs J.F. Ade-Ajayi, Niyi Osundare, Sam Aluko and others too numerous to mention.
From the foregoing, it is lucid that the sobriquet FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE, now LAND OF HONOUR, is not misplaced. Ekiti is historically, culturally, geographically, religiously and linguistically homogeneous. This homogeneity reflected in every son and daughter of Ekiti in their stand for industry, honesty, uprightness and justice. From the primitive history to this modern time, Ekiti people naturally loathe and always revolt against injustices and marginalisation being a socio-politically conscious race. It is on record that in the course of the struggle for the Nigeria’s independence, the position papers presented by the representatives and opinion leaders from Ekiti, were one of the adopted documents at the constitutional conference for the realisation of the Nigerian independence.
But for good governance, all the good virtues, attributes of real Ekiti persons and core value that had been deeply rooted in our customs soon became history. In August 4, 2009, Ekiti State Command of the National Drug Law
Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) rated the state as a leading producer of Marijuana a.k.a. Indian hemp in African continent, following the discovery of the largest single seizure of Indian hemp in the state by the Agency and had earlier In February 2008 discovered about 53.7metric tons of cannabis in a storey building at Ise-Ekiti among other seizures which nearly eroded our dignity and cast doubt on the much-touted acronym, Fountain of Knowledge.
Over time, education which was part of the prides of an Ekiti man was in shambles. More disheartening was the rating of Ekiti students as the 35th in WAEC, NECO and UTME in recent rating. Ekiti was fast losing her integrity, and were noted for election rigging. People no longer afraid or feel ashamed of being tagged election riggers. Ekiti became a state where truth was no longer the order of the day, no justice, no peace, the respect for individuals and elder became history.
No wonder the speed of development in the state became very slow because where there is no justice there cannot be peace and consequently there cannot be development. The state, therefore, became notorious for ‘one day one trouble’ as violence of all kinds including killings became entrenched in our body politic. Apparently troubled by this worrisome situation and in his desire to bring back the lost core values of Ekiti, Governor Fayemi, upon
assuming office, emphasized the need for Ekiti renaissance and put machinery in motion to actualize the objective.
Firstly, he changed the Fountain of Knowledge cognomen to Land of Honour through rebranding with orientation that re-established and re-awakened the people’s consciousness.
The Fayemi-led administration has done much more in ensuring that the culture of fairness, justice, hospitality, purposefulness and moral integrity are brought back. This was evident in the geometric increase in the rating of Ekiti from the abysmal 20 per cent recorded in 2012 to 70 per cent in Ekiti Senior Secondary School/West African Examination Council. It is noteworthy to conclude that Governor Fayemi’s three years in office, when he commissioned innumerable developmental projects had already eclipsed eight years of political upheavals, violence, uncertainty and anxiety that characterised the governments of his predecessors.
The peace that had long eluded us has returned to Ekiti and the much-needed justice and honour to really revamp our values followed.
By Gbenga Sodeinde
This article was first published in The Nation on Friday, 21st Feb, 2014.
Ekiti State Government Press Release
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