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Governor Fayemi is making waves and succeeding against all odds because he is a listening leader. “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” (-Bernard Baruch). Last Tuesday, precisely on the 9th February, 2021, Governor John Kayode Fayemi, the pride of Ekiti-kete, celebrated his 56th birthday. As expected, encomia were showered from all walks of life to celebrate the Governor General of Nigeria. The icing on the cake for me was the gift JKF gave Ekiti-kete on the eve of his birthday. This is in tandem with the restoration agenda of the Fayemi-led government, paying key attention to and addressing what will serve the best interest of Ekiti-kete.

That JKF2.0 is a clear shift from the norm cannot be overemphasised. Governor Fayemi continues to redefine good governance with the way he is paying attention and acting positively to meet the yearnings of Ekiti people. “Of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable, and one of the least understood. Most captains of industries listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening. That’s how they get word before anyone else of unseen problems and opportunities.” (-Peter Nulty). Governor Fayemi has over the years proven himself not only as a listening leader but one with unequalled passion to learn and enshrine good governance.

Through years of watching, listening and reading, the emergent phenomenon of restorative leadership can best be described as a holistic approach to leadership that recognizes the interconnectedness of all life and acts for the highest benefit to all. The second coming of Governor Fayemi has witnessed the correction of all the perceived mistakes of his first term. All his appointees are now known in their hometowns and making meaningful impacts in their communities, while participatory government is currently being practised to the hilt in Ekiti State.

In its quest to make the government more accessible to the people and give them the sense of belonging, the Fayemi-led government created a hotline (GSM: 09011418415), attached to the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor. This, I understand was created to avail Ekiti people the opportunity of making constructive criticisms, insightful suggestions and collective requests, for the overall development of our dear state. This is very significant, as it is first of its kind in the history of governance in Ekiti State. Now the Governor and government of Ekiti State is just a dial away from those who genuinely have something meaningful to contribute, for us to jointly move our dear state forward.

Ekiti-kete, the era of “I cannot reach Governor Fayemi or his Chief of Staff” because of their tight and busy schedules is gone now. In the words of Karl A. Menniger, listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. This dedicated phone number, therefore, is not meant for people to start complaining or asking for help for ‘’headache or backache’’ but for the development of your community and Ekiti State in general. Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. (-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr). The development of your community and state should be your number one motive to use this number for criticisms, suggestions or requests at all time.

One of the attributes of restorative leadership is the ability to accept and embrace the interconnectedness of all life and acts for the highest benefit of all. The restoration agenda of the Fayemi-led government is all encompassing as evinced by the periodic community consultative engagements before the introduction of new projects, programmes or budgets. In the words of JKF, “the actualization of the Ekiti State of our dreams is our collective responsibility” and the opportunity for all to make meaningful contribution has just been expanded. Indeed, the Ekiti State of our dreams is in our hands, collectively. Let us make good use of this communication window and join hands with the Fayemi-led government to create the Ekiti State that will be the pride of all, once again. The creation of this opportunity is the best gift from JKF to Ekiti-kete for the celebration of his 56th birthday. God bless JKF! God bless Ekiti State, the land of honour!!

Olubayode Okeya, a former Council Chairman of Emure LGA, writes from Emure Ekiti, Ekiti State.

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