Oyebanji’ ll Check mate Entrenched Patriarchy in Ekiti, tackle Youth Unemployment says Deputy Gov, Afuye


The Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Mrs. Monisade Afuye, is a public servant with respect for gender equality and good governance. In this interview with News here and there Magazine, she described Governor Biodun Oyebanji as a staunch and ardent promoter of gender equality and protection of women’s rights. Excerpts:

Do you think the current Governor, Biodun Oyebanji can win the war against the well entrenched partriachy in Ekiti?

Yes, I am very hopeful that we are going to win the war. It is not gainsaying the fact that the issue of patriarchy has eaten deep into our fabrics in Africa, but we have a government in Ekiti that has the political will to break all the barriers, so that our women and girl child can breathe a sigh of relief in our dear state. Our government is a government of continuity. We started laying solid foundation about gender advocacy and child’s rights since 2010 when the former Governor Kayode Fayemi came on board. Knowing that our women are politically, socially, economically and emotionally deprived of their rights and wellbeing, the government then promulgated a law called Gender Based Violence Prohibition Law to defend the rights of womenfolk and other gender. It yielded a lot of results and our dear state benefitted alot.

However, there was a setback when our party lost the 2014 governorship election, but a ray of hope came when former Governor Fayemi came back again in 2018, where a lot of amendments were done to the laws on ground upon realising that domestic violence against women, female genital mutilation, child’s trafficking and slavery, rape and defilement of girl child were on the increase.

In fact, they were assuming an alarming rate and something urgent needed to be done and that accounted for the amendments of the laws and their stringent implementation. So, it was on that solid foundation that this government began and that was why they are calling this government a government of continuity. Just like we assured our people when Governor Oyebanji came on board, we are going to sustain the wars against these social oppression as related to all genders in our dear state.


We are not going to rest until we see that rapists, defilers, female genital mutilators and wife beaters no longer have a field day to operate in Ekiti that is our target.

How can you rate Ekiti government in terms of implementation of these laws?

The rating has been high and impressive. Don’t forget that several global organisations like the World Health Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund, had rated Ekiti as one of the most serious states in the fight against gender inequality and oppression in Nigeria. If you check our records, hundreds of GBV offenders had been tried and jailed, punished and fined to serve as deterrent to others. Don’t also forget that Ekiti was the first state to adopt the concept of naming and shaming of sex offenders in Nigeria and the first to build Sexual Assault Referral Centre inside the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital to give treatments to victims. We have also signed into law, the Sexual Violence Against Children (Compulsory treatment and care) for victims of sexual harassment. Governor Oyebanji inherited all these and he is well determined about the state’s policy on zero tolerance to all forms of sexual violence against women and children. He has reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to support effective prosecution of sex offenders as well as present an opportunity for child victims to enjoy necessary treatments that will make them emotionally stable.

To what extent has Governor Oyebanji been able to demonstrate his love for the vulnerables?

Well, our governor, Hon. Biodun Oyebanji is walking the talk in this regard. You could all remember that when he was meeting with the critical stakeholders across Ekiti immediately he was sworn in, People Living with Disabilities, widows, weak and sick people, were part of those he met and he there promised to prioritise their needs. Recently, Governor Biodun Oyebanji started fulfilling his promises by distributing a huge sum of N28 million to scores of sick and weak individuals to take care of their health needs. This amount covers those seeking treatments for chronic diabetes, visual impairment, cancer , kidney failure, stroke and other killer diseases. This was apart from helps rendered to individuals to make them economically and medically stable in the society, that is what we are here to do and we will ultimately achieve our aim by the grace of God.

You said the governor was helping individuals. Can you buttress this claim further?

Yes, I can. I think you are all aware of the help the governor rendered to an Ikere Ekiti based musician popularly known as Mr. Saka. This hard-working man was lucky to meet Governor Oyebanji last year November during the annual Scholarship and empowerment programme organised by Chief Wole Olanipekun in Ikere Ekiti. When he was singing, he solicited help, that people should raise him up by purchasing musical instruments for him. Later after he performed, the governor took the microphone and promised that he would purchase the equipment. By January, the governor delivered multi-million Naira musical instrument to Mr Saka. I was the one who handed over the instruments to him at Ikere Ekiti. So, Mr Governor has proved that he is a man of the people. Again, look at the complementary roles the first lady, Dr Olayemi Oyebanji has been playing. Just recently, our mother-general empowered some women at her office in Ado Ekiti as part of the ways to prove that no section of Ekiti will be sidelined under the current government. Cash gift and various valuable materials were distributed to the beneficiaries, so that they can be relevant under the current economic situation. We have a policy to give hope to the vulnerable and we are determined to get this done.
Youths are gradually joining the league of the vulnerables because of this rising unemployment.

How do you intend to tackle this challenge?

Youth joblessness has become a serious albatross to all of us in this country. Youth restiveness and other associated crimes like banditry, robbery, kidnapping, ICT fraud and ritual killings are those social maladies that the governments at all levels are now grappling with. Governor Oyebanji was aware of all these and he started rising to the occasion and that was why Human Capital Development was made a whole pillar in our policy thrust. Immediately we came on board, Governor Oyebanji declared education free at the primary and secondary cadres of education in Ekiti in line with our progressive policy. No child is paying school fee in our primary and secondary schools. Of recent, the government distributed free JAMB forms to thousands of Ekiti’s admission seekers, that is the level we wanted to start from. It is part of the ways to reduce school dropouts estimated at about 15m in Nigeria. The government has also strengthened the Ekiti State Scholarship Scheme to be able to help the children of the poor, whose parents cannot afford payable tuition fees in higher institutions. Several undergraduate and post graduate students are now to benefit from various scholarships to further their education up to the PhD level. In less than three months we came into office, Governor Oyebanji also declared vacancies in primary school and those interested to be primary school teachers had written the prescribed examination and merit is going to be the basis for employment. Those who can distinguish themselves will be given employments without knowing anybody, no chance for mediocrity again. This will also happen in our secondary schools and the core civil service very soon, so that our youths can be engaged gainfully. The government is also planning to give financial assistance to some of our youths to be business owners while those who are interested in farming will be encouraged to do so. Farming now has become highly profitable venture that our youths must be interested in.

Recently, some people suffered a lot of losses due to flooding and fire incidents. What is their fate? Is the government giving any helping hand?

Yes, we are responding positively to their plights. Governor Oyebanji’s government in partnership with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) distributed relief materials to victims of fire and flood disasters recently and there, we gave that assurance that no one will be neglected after suffering devastation from natural disasters of any kind in the state. It was an assurance we gave at the official flag off of the second phase of the distribution of relief materials to victims of various forms of disasters in the state on February 21,2023. Some of the Material distributed to victims included : bags of cement, bangs of rice, consumables, clothing materials , asbestos , roofing nails, among others. Before this second phase, a total of 1000 victims benefitted relief packages during the first phase of the programme last year November, so we appeal that taking of cautious steps by residents would help the state mitigate the occurrence of disasters in Ekiti. We know that the intervention from government cannot be commensurate with whatever they have lost to disasters. However, we hope the materials will go a long way to ameliorate their sufferings. We acknowledge the resilience and strength that the affected communities and people have demonstrated in the face of this disaster. It takes immense courage to keep going in the face of such devastation, and we admire and respect the determination of victims to rebuild their lives.

What is your government devising to tackle the root cause of some of these disasters?

Let me emphasize the need for all the citizens of this state to guide against actions that can cause flood and fire disasters in their homes, offices, working places, markets and farms. They should ensure that their environments are clean and drainages are cleared of wastes. They should always switch off electrical appliances while leaving their homes. They must resist every temptation to store petrol in their homes or other vulnerable places. Indiscriminate bush burning should be avoided, especially with the current unpleasant temperature. Let me appreciate Governor Oyebanji for his love and support for Ekiti people, particularly the vulnerables. The governor has been responding promptly to every request made in respect to intervention needed by disaster victims. I urge the management of State Emergency Management Agency(SEMA) to do their parts by ensuring that the relief materials provided by government reach the intended beneficiaries. Let us all work together to ensure that no one is left behind and that the materials are distributed fairly and equitably. But we are warning the residents against indiscriminate blocking of waterways, reckless bush burning and laxity in handling of electrical appliances in homes, to avert occurrences that could trigger flooding and fire that is capable of destroying property. If you go round Ado Ekiti capital city, you will see the dredging of some of our waterways to give way for free flow of water during raining season, so our people should also support us by not flouting environmental laws. People shouldn’t build their houses on waterways or block them. This is in their own interest and the interest of all of us.
Civil service is the engine room of Ekiti’s economy.


To what extent have you gone to motivate your workers to give their best?

No one can deny the fact that our economy rests heavily on the civil service structure and that is why Governor Oyebanji is not leaving anything to chances to motivate our workers and this we have been doing through timely payment of salaries and pension of retirees. The February salary was paid on 21st day across board. Within this short time we came on board, Governor Oyebanji had paid a month arrears owed the civil servants and secondary school teachers and two for the local government workers. When we were campaigning, we interfaced with the civil servants severally and what we found reverberating on their lips was the issue of deductions, so that they can have access to loans. Go and check your records, the deductions are now being paid alongside their salaries. This is one motivation that has endeared Governor Oyebanji to our workers. He has promised that all the outstanding debt will be paid and efforts are being intensified by Mr Governor to fulfill the promise and our workers are seeing that ray of hope that all will be well. Though, several billions of naira was owed as arrears of gratuities to our pensioners before we came, but recently, Mr. Governor paid a huge sum of N130 million to 69 retirees. How I wish you were there to see how those who had lost hope started dancing and rejoicing, some in their seventies. This goes a long way to show that we have a government that is committed to making our workers and pensioners comfortable and ensure that they reap the fruits of the labour in sound and good health and when alive.

How is your government responding to some of the challenges coming from our communities for the sake of peace?

Peace and good governance are very paramount to this government. But you can’t get and feel the impact of good governance when your communities are in turmoil. That was why we are treating communal issues with great attention that they are required. Our government is fostering strong relationship with our traditional rulers, who are the custodians of tradition and stabilizing factors in their respective domains. They hold the ace as far as communal issues are concerned. We started this by letting them know that we value and respect them. You could all attest to the fact that there has been a downward trend in the rate of kidnapping in Ekiti compared to what we witnessed last year, this was as a result of the deft moves we have made to ensure that we use our traditional rulers as agents of stability. Immediately we came on board, the government through my office quickly set machinery in motion to intervene in some of the communal issues on ground we felt could cause a lot of crises for us to bring resolution and peace. We have mediated in Ilomu/Esure land dispute, Omuo/Ahan chieftaincy tussle, Ikere/Hausa Community crisis in Shasha market, among other disputes we felt could destabilise our communities if not carefully handled. The government is also mediating in the land dispute between Ilasa Ekiti and Alu in Kogi State. We have gone a mileage in all the cases and we are seeing that ray of hope that all shall be resolved amicably. That of Ilasa/Alu is very dear to us because it is only when we have robust relationships with our neighbours that we can fight and win the wars against cross border banditry and kidnapping. We are also mediating in the raging obaship crisis in Ipao Ekiti. The town has been for long without a monarch. We are on top of the situation and the kingmakers and critical stake holders are cooperating with us to end this crisis and get the town a new monarch very soon. By and large, our utmost intention is to ensure that all Ekiti communities are living peacefully and the government will be acting as impartial arbiter in all the cases we are going to handle, no vested interest.
Governor Oyebanji seems to be gaining tremendous popularity at the grassroots.

What is accounted for this?

Experience of course. He understand the nitty gritty of power, governance and politics. He has been active in politics and governance since 1999. He had spent 11 years of his life serving Ekiti before eyeing governorship seat. No governor has ever had such experience. He was a Special Assistant in 1999 to Otunba Niyi Adebayo and later Special Adviser on Parliamentary Matters. In 2010 when Dr Kayode Fayemi was installed through appeal Court’s verdict, Governor Oyebanji was appointed a Commissioner and he superintended over three key offices before the end of that tenure. In 2018 when Dr Fayemi returned, he was appointed the Secretary to the State Government. With these solid credentials, you should know that Governor Oyebanji is well equipped. He knows the peculiarities of Ekiti politics. He understands that all politics is local. Ekiti residents are one of the best in the country. They are not demanding for too much from their governor than for him to make himself available, so that they can lodge their complaints for necessary actions. It was on this basis that Mr Governor has adopted as a matter of state policy for this government to interact with the people every 100 days about the state of the state. We have done that of 100 days and the same will be done when we clock 200 days in the saddle for this government and Ekiti people to be on the same page. That is the essence of democracy, it is about the people.

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