For its exceptional performance in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector, Ekiti State Government has received the ICT State of the Year Award in the 2012 edition of the Nigerian Telecoms Award.
The award is principally premised on "the overwhelming, genuine, development oriented ICT projects on-going in Ekiti State", and according to the award organisers, the decision was an outcome of the assessment of a team of experts who assessed the efforts of the State alongside other States from August 2011 to date.
The honour was received on behalf of the state government by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Mr. Kayode Jegede, who stood in for Governor Kayode Fayemi at the event.
Congratulating the Government and the people of Ekiti State, the organisers of the award said they had observed with keen interest "the forward thinking and creative attitude with which the leadership of Ekiti State Government had embraced ICT".
They expressed confidence that the effort would have more impact on the future of the people of Ekiti than its present benefits.
Lauding the State's ICT Education programme, the organisers said Ekiti State is the only State in Nigeria to procure and distribute the first-ever Samsung solar-powered laptops to teachers and students with the vision of distributing 100,000 laptops to students by 2014. The state has already distributed 33,000 laptop computers to students in the first phase of the scheme.
The gesture was aimed at exposing Ekiti students to the best e-teaching and learning facilities in the world, and to make them compete favourably with their colleagues anywhere else.
Further to the distribution of the laptops, the State Government also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Samsung to connect Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti and the State College of Education, Ikere Ekiti to the on-going wireless community project as hundreds of computers have been procured ahead of their connection; even as Samsung is set to establish a service centre in the State.
In a bid to ensure citizens participation through e-governance, the State Government also developed a web 3.0 digital media platform with 8 digital channels through which citizens can access documents, information, comment and get immediate feedbacks on issues of governance in the state.
The State digital media platform, according to a world web ranking agency, alexa.com, is the best Nigerian State Government website in world ranking, followed by Lagos State.
Aside establishing an ICT data centre, the Dr. Fayemi-led administration introduced the e-payment system, which has not only helped in plugging loopholes in the finances of the State government, but has also boosted the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State from N109 million to over N600 million since the introduction of the system.
The e-payment system was extended to workers as the biometric payroll system has changed the face of salary payment from the traditional means of payment to electronic means. This has helped to identify "ghost workers" and those who collect salaries from more than one point.
The e-pay system is now being introduced in the Social Security Scheme of the state government where elderly citizens aged 65 years and above receive monthly stipend of N5,000.