At the governorship rally on Friday for APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi, the biggest (most sensational story) was about how minister of labour, Chris Ngige, mistakenly endorsed Gov. Ayo Fayose.
But, of course, other things happened, including a speech by President Muhammadu Buhari, in which he advised the people of the state to “grow beyond stomach infrastructure.” Though the president did not mention the incumbent governor, Ayodele Fayose, by name, the term “stomach infrastructure” was popularised by the governor and was clearly a jab by the president at one of his most virulent critics.
“Don’t allow yourself to be blackmailed by stomach infrastructure, your future is in your hand, you must grow beyond stomach infrastructure. Ekiti should do the right thing by voting APC and commence the journey to reclaim your land and restore your values. I recommend Fayemi to you, he served as Minister of Mines and Steel Development, he is experienced. Don’t waste your vote, vote Dr. Kayode Fayemi,” Buhari said.
What is “Stomach Infrastructure?
As the man who popularised the term, let’s allow Fayose to explain the meaning of stomach infrastructure. He said it is a concept that seeks to deliver a basic well being package to the citizens that ensures their existence and which creates the environment for development to thrive.
Fayose in a 2015 speech, touted his concept as one that will banish “poverty and hunger” from Ekiti State.
“The concept of my Stomach Infrastructure, which has given me fame and acceptability with the people of Ekiti State, remains an integral part of this administration. Physical infrastructure and urban renewal will continue to play its own role in the development of any nation. It is only the living who are hale and hearty that can enjoy such infrastructure,” he said. “Stomach infrastructure is not about food alone. It is also about the welfare of the people. Welfare of the people is also about health, provision of drugs, eradication of diseases, clothing and housing. All these are the basic essentials of life without which physical infrastructure will be meaningless.”
Is Stomach Infrastructure Working?
According to the Oxford Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2017 (Nigeria), Ekiti state has the fourth lowest level of poverty in Nigeria after states like Lagos, Osun and Anambra state. The state also records the lowest intensity of multidimensional poverty or depravity – meaning that the poor in Ekiti are well off compared to others in the country. If these results are placed against Governor Fayose’s definition of stomach infrastructure, then it is probable (although not sufficient to prove) that his concept works.