#Ekiti2022: ”Inspired by Special Economic Zones in Dubai, I articulated the vision for Ekiti Knowledge Zone (EKZ)” – Debo Ranti Ajayi

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debo ranti ajayi

In an open declaration of intent to contest the 2022 governorship election in Ekiti, a south senatorial district proponent, Hon Debo Ranti Ajayi laid claim to being the idea initiator of the much-celebrated ”Knowledge Zone Concept” latched on to by the Dr. John Kayode Fayemi administration.

The totality of the open letter goes thus:

Dear Ekiti APC Stakeholders

RE: INTRODUCTION & REQUEST FOR SUPPORT OF DRA

debo ranti ajayi

We are at a crucial junction in the political history of Ekiti State. Our decision of governorship candidate will determine if Ekiti will remain within the governance of the same party in 2022. That decision will also determine if the solid foundation for socio-economic development being laid by Dr. John Kayode Fayemi (JKF) will be protected and developed further. As a stakeholder, you have a vital contribution to make in the making of this decision. It is in this connection that I, Debo Ranti Ajayi (DRA), am writing to present myself for your consideration to be the next Governor of Ekiti State in 2022. By God’s grace, I have the vision and passion, the experience and track record, and the capacity to be your chosen candidate. Please refer to DRA Brochure for more information on me and my vision for Ekiti. May the Almighty God help us to make the right choice in the interest of APC and of our beloved Ekiti people.

By divine orchestration, Dr. Fayemi was used of God to bring me from my international post to Ekiti in late 2011 to start the journey of service to Ekiti people. I joined his first term of administration, first to serve as pioneer Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning and later as Commissioner for Trade, Investments, and Innovations. I played leading role in the development and implementation of several JKF initiatives such as a robust and functional budgeting system and the Medium-term Sectoral Strategy (MTSS) framework for planning. Inspired by Special Economic Zones in Dubai, I articulated the vision for Ekiti Knowledge Zone (EKZ). Ekiti people have been credited for high intellectual assets around the world. And knowledge is known to rule the world. But there is no observable evidence of this intellectualism on the ground in Ekiti. Except for Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), no platform has ever been created for these intellectual assets to contribute to the socio-economic development of Ekiti. EKZ was conceived to provide such a platform that will attract and commercialize the knowledge asset associated with Ekiti people around the world and in various fields of endeavors. The EKZ became top priority to JKF2 agenda for Knowledge Economy. The airport also became a key infrastructure to realize the EKZ vision as well as attract investors to landlocked Ekiti.

This December 2021 will mark ten (10) years of my return and service to Ekiti. This means I would have prolonged adult working experience in Ekiti and in building of homegrown relationships prior to becoming Governor. In those 10 years, I have become sufficiently aware of the issues, challenges, and untapped opportunities of Ekiti. With decades of international experience and exposures in various countries, I am in position to articulate solutions and develop concepts inspired by how peoples around the world respond to overcome similar issues and challenges as confronting Ekiti.

Ekiti requires complete socio-economic transformation to confront high youth unemployment, to attract equity (not debt) capital, to develop and support a vibrant private sector, and to restore the dignity and honor of Ekiti people. On several legacy fronts, JKF2 has been laying the foundation for this transformation. Ekiti cannot afford the abortion of this development stride. The momentum must be maintained and sustained. JKF2 is set to deliver an international cargo airport in Ekiti. DRA’s job will be to facilitate and promote economic activities to keep the airport busy and to add passenger flights that will support the EKZ and the hosting of major events. JKF2 has established the EKZ. It will be great for Ekiti to have the same DRA who conceived the EKZ to take it further to actualize the vision. JKF2 gave us the Ekiti Civic Center and DRA will put the facility into good socio-economic use to realize the vision of hosting major events, showcase the history of Ekiti, and attract top-brand shopping outlets to Ekiti. JKF created LCDA’s and DRA will make them functional to bring governance closer to the people, and champion the cause for them to become recognized as full local governments. JKF2 started the Health Insurance Scheme and DRA (an actuary) will expand the coverage and introduce financial sustainability factors. JKF1 and JKF2 established a Social Security Scheme and DRA will protect and strengthen the scheme by adding financial sustainability factors. In general, DRA will ensure that gains and investments made under JKF, and past administrations are not lost to Ekiti. DRA will be that leader who can mobilize the creation of wealth and not just to manage scarce resources. May the Lord help me not to fail you!

I have been faithful to the party and ever ready to make my contributions whenever called upon or the need arises. I respect party structure and believe that the structure can be relied upon by the government to reach the people and by the people to reach the government. This will strengthen the impact and relevance of the party. This will energize party members, increase the appeal of the party and attract massive membership growth of the party. We have a golden opportunity to entrench APC as the party for the people in Ekiti and endear ourselves to the hearts of Ekiti people. I will work faithfully and respectfully with and through the party to ensure good governance and improvement in the lives of Ekiti people. The key to sustaining the reign of the party is to exist for the people and to place their interests above personal ambitions and agenda. As it has been in Lagos for decades, so shall it be that APC will retain governance of Ekiti for decades to come. But that must be a shared goal and objective of every party member that put the party above personal interests.

Your support means a lot to me and together we can work to showcase Ekiti as the “go-to” State in Nigeria. Our testimony of socio-economic transformation will inspire peer states in Nigeria to believe in possibilities under good and godly leaders. I look forward to meeting you in person to further discuss my aspiration to be the next Governor of Ekiti State in 2022 and to answer any specific questions you may have for me. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me on the phone number at 0700 DRA-4-GOV (0700 372-4-468) and I will be glad to take your call personally.

May APC retain the governance of Ekiti in 2022 and may God Almighty give us the heart and wisdom to use that opportunity for the good and betterment of our beloved people of Ekiti.

I remain loyal and available to serve APC in Ekiti and beyond.

Yours sincerely,
Debo Ranti Ajayi (DRA)

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