The Ekiti State Government has been advised to hands off sponsorship of intending pilgrims on holy pilgrimage and channel the funds to the development of critical sectors of the economy.
The Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaiye, who gave the advise on Sunday at a special thanksgiving service commemorating the first anniversary of the Dr Kayode Fayemi second term administration, opined that sponsoring pilgrimage was a sheer waste of government money.
Top government functionaries and dignitaries from different walks of life were present at the occasion held at St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Ado-Ekiti, where Bishop Ajakaiye also urged indigenes at home and in diaspora to come together and support the people-oriented policies of the Dr Fayemi administration in the state in order to encourage him to do more to lift the state.
While commending the governor for the recent relaunch of the Social Security Scheme , popularly called “Owo Arugbo”, Bishop Ajakaiye advised that the scheme should be strictly for the indigent elderly citizens who do not have children to take care of them.
He noted that many of the beneficiaries of the social security scheme , during the first term of the administration, had children who could still take care of them. He added that priority should be given to those category of elderly citizens who neither have any means of livelihood nor children that could tale care of them.
His words: “The feedback we get is that your people-oriented programmes are having great impact on the lives of the people. We congratulate you on this as we believe that your second coming is for a purpose. We are praying for you and the government and believe that all will be well with our state and country.
“I see you have resuscitated Social Security Benefit Scheme, I appreciated it but I will be happy if you can grant certain consideration that we should start with those who do not have children to care for them. Let us give the money to those who really need it, especially those who do not have children to take care of them.
He advised Ekiti people to live in peace with one another especially during the forthcoming local government election so as to have a rancour free and credible election, that would be a catalyst for development at the grassroots.
According to Bishop Ajakaiye, “Ekiti state is the only homogeneous state in the country, why should we be quarreling or fighting over nothing, if somebody is doing good, let us tell and if he is not doing it right, he should be told.”
Governor Fayemi who read the first lesson of the service, also expressed his appreciation to the people of Ekiti State for their unflinching support for him and his government in the last one year. He added that the people remained the centre of his developmental agenda.
Governor Fayemi, who said the last one year has been glorious mainly because of the grace of God and the support of the people, promised to make the state a reference point in terms of service delivery, human capital development as well as infrastructure development, among others.
The thanksgiving service was attended by the Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, Wife of Osun State Governor, Alhaja Kafayat Oyetola; Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Otunba Biyi Durojaiyet; Afenifere leader, Senator Ayo Fasanmi; Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye; former Deputy Governors, Prof Modupe Adelabu and Surveyor Aluko among others.
Bishop Ajakaiye later presented gifts to the governor, his wife and some top government functionaries of the state on behalf of the church.