Three gubernatorial candidates contesting in the Saturday, July 14 Ekiti State election, have unveiled their plans towards a better life for people of their state.
Akin Aiyegbusi of the Social Democratic Party, Segun Adewale of the Advanced Democratic Party and Abiodun Aluko of Accord Party participated in the second leg of the debate held at the state capital, Ado Ekiti on Thursday.
Though invited, the two major contenders, Kayode Fayemi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to show up at the debate.
The debate moderator said Mr Fayemi and Mr Olusola-Eleka were invited, but did not show up even though they did not say they will not be available.
Meanwhile, the three candidates who participated at the debate reeled out their plans in areas of security, cattle grazing, education, job creation and health care delivery.
Mr Aluko who hails from Ikere Ekiti said he would prioritise the welfare of the people if elected. He promised to advance the human capital of Ekiti people, create wealth through investment in agriculture, mining and tourism.
Mr Aiyegbusi, an investment banker, said he would, as a matter of urgency, attract investments to the state. He said the urge to eradicate poverty geared him to contest for the position.
“I am devastated by the level of poverty we have in the state. I am contesting to eradicate poverty. If I’m elected, my manifesto is simply to eradicate poverty as a matter of urgency,” he said.
Mr Adewale, an aviation executive, said the state is too reliant on federal allocations rather than generating income internally.
“The main reason why I came to Ekiti is to create a shift from living on federal government allocation by creating wealth,” Mr Adewale said.
Mr Aluko blamed the non-availability of job on the type of education Ekiti people receive.
“Ekiti has the highest concentration of PhD holders and professors but it has not translated to wealth. This is because of the type of education we receive (which) has been tailored towards government job.”
If elected, Mr Aluko said he would differentiate education for government jobs and technical education. Skill development will be well supported under his government, he said.
Segun Adewale said it is worrying that Ekiti has so many professors yet the state is poor. He said education for the sake of it is not enough. He called for a new syllabus.
Mr Aluko said insecurity is a fallout of dislocation in governance chain. He also said he supports state police. But first, a conducive environment must be ensured for businesses in order to increase economic prosperity and decrease runaway unemployment.
Mr Fayose’s policy against open grazing has been quite popular amongst people of the state, which is historically agrarian and still largely remains so.
Mr Aiyegbusi said of herdsmen, “if you give them an inch they take a marrow from you.”
“We will not give any of our land for ranching. We will not give our land for Fulani. I would not want to have a serious security issue at my hands,” he adds.
The Buhari administration has been pushing for a policy that will see vast expanse of lands allocated to cattle ranches to avoid their continuous roaming, a result of which they regularly come into contact with farmers.
Mr Adewale said Mr Fayose’s policy appears to have significantly reduced violence linked to herdsmen in Ekiti. He however calls for a better use of security votes earmarked for the governor, especially in the area of security agents’ mobilisation.
The candidates also promised to improve the power, health and other sectors of the state.