Immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi has given reasons for his decision to build the State Governor’s lodge valued at N2.2 billion at the twilight of his career.
Fayemi has been under severe criticsm over the construction of the lodge, including a comment by the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), describing him as wasteful.
However, in a publication that pictorially showcased Fayemi’s exploit in Ekiti, titled: ‘Leapfrogging Ekiti from Obscurity to Prosperity’, the former governor defended his administration’s decision to embark on the project and the way it was funded.
“The administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State places much premium on infrastructure which it believes is a catalyst for modernizing the state. Infrastructural development is the second policy thrust of the 8-point agenda of the Fayemi administration otherwise known as the “Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery.”
According to the publication, “Ekiti State has lived with the challenge of having a befitting Government House since the state was created on October 1, 1996. The first Military Administrator, as he was designated, Col. Inua Bawa (rtd), was holed-up in a borrowed apartment before building an official residence with bricks sourced from Ire-Ekiti Burnt Bricks Factory.
“Successive administrations since then made do with some buildings in the Government House complex, including the present abode of the state’s number one citizen known as the Osuntokun Lodge. The fact that the Lodge lacked many facilities befitting of the residence of a governor and therefore “very inferior” to other Government Houses in the country, made the need for a new Government House in Ekiti very imperative.
“This inadequacy came even more to the fore at the death of the former Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, with guests pouring in from all over the country to commiserate with the government and people of the state on the monumental loss. To add to the state’s sorrow, the governor could not receive two sets of guests at the same time.
“But that rather embarrassing experience has become history with the construction of the new Government House situated on the Ayoba Hills in Ado-Ekiti, the new edifice, like the biblical “House on a Hill” can be seen from all parts of the city.
“While dismissing the claims of the opposition that the project is self-serving, Fayemi argued that the new Government House belongs to the people of Ekiti and not his personal property.
“He added that it would continue to serve as the official residence of all coming governors, long after he would have left office. The new Government House, will go down as an important statement of the New Ekiti that the Fayemi administration has always thought possible: It is an Ekiti State that plays second fiddle to none,” the publication stated.