Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji has lamented the poor state of federal roads in the state, urging the Federal Government to fix the roads.
The governor, who said this during his inaugural appearance at the monthly programme, ‘Meet Your Governor’, noted that the derelict condition of the federal roads was a source of concern to him.
He hoped that reconstruction of the roads would be realised in the 2024 budget of the Federal Government, having received assurance of the federal lawmakers.
Oyebanji noted that the state could not invest heavily in the federal roads because of the Federal Government’s no-refund-to states policy.
He said his administration had begun construction of alternative roads, including Ado-Ekiti Ring Road, to give commuters thoroughfare in and out of Ekiti.
I am indeed worried by the deplorable state of our federal roads. Our people must get this right, we can’t build these roads because there will be no refund. But I have sat with our federal lawmakers and they have included some of these roads in the 2024 budget. I have seen evidence that this has been done.
“Within the next few months, our people will start seeing changes. I have got the assurance of the leader of Ekiti caucus and Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele that efforts are being made to call attention to these roads.”
Speaking on the quantum of projects his government is undertaking simultaneously despite paucity of funds, Oyebanji said he had delivered this much because he was running an austerity government allergic to corruption and plundering of public funds.
“The little money we have, I make judicious use of it to get value for our money, besides that I am a highly spiritual person. We adopt the culture of financial engineering, no room for wastage. I pray to God always to provide more that can serve us. I am denying myself of so many perks. I am not here for enjoyment, but to serve the people and serve them well,” he said.
On the N15,000 wage award approval for workers, which critics branded as paltry in view of the parlous economic situation, Oyebanji said it was just a temporary measure to buffer the effect of economic crunch on workers, pending the final decision on minimum wage.
He said the N15,000 wage award had led to an additional N500million monthly expense for the government.
“Let me thank the workers for their understanding. But that amount was what the state can afford for now because we have to service other citizens who are not civil servants. But as small as the amount is, it costs the state N500million monthly. Let me also clarify this, it will only run for six months and anytime the new minimum wage is announced, Ekiti will be ready to follow suit.
I am sitting on this seat by the grace of God and support of all Ekiti people. I want the people to remember me as a governor that walks the talk. A governor that does whatever he promises. A governor who fears God and obeys his command.”
Oyebanji said although the removal of fuel subsidy had brought an exponential increase in the level of funds accruing to the state, that couldn’t solely and adequately fund the quantum of projects being prosecuted by his government.
Oyebanji, who saluted former Governor Kayode Fayemi for deeming it fit to build an International Cargo Airport in Ekiti, said the facility would be fully operational by July.
He said the high level of technicalities involved in certification by relevant authorities had delayed the usage of the facilities.
The airport is going to be a game changer in the running of our business and economy because it is the terminus for the Ekiti State Ring Road Phase One. What makes me happy is that the corridor through which the Phase one is located will be developed. Besides this, we are also thinking of setting up a new Ado- Ekiti town along that axis that can be properly developed,” he added.