Why Ondo State Prefers Mimiko Beyond 2013 —Emmanuel Ajibulu


The history of our great nation seems not to be complete without the exploits of Ondo people being written in gold; we’ve got a lot of great men and women from the state scattered all over the world, making remarkable contributions and recording key milestone in their respective field of endeavours. Besides, political consciousness/participation of this people typically makes the state’s politics appear sophisticated, and also availing the political landscape as a type worthy of emulation. Therefore the leadership of the state cannot be left in the hands of those who lack values, character, requisite-experience and integrity.

Despite the impressive display of representative and all inclusive style of government which is a hallmark of democracy, Governor Olusegun Mimiko has not only justified the revalidation of his stolen mandate as governor but has sufficiently and effectively demonstrated that he has the capacity and the wherewithal to lead, and making himself accountable to the people (the tax payers). It is instructive to note that great nations are built by great men of vision, not by men dolling out ‘worthless blue and brown papers’.

There is total turn around from old ways of doing things in the state. Since his inception in office on 23 February, 2009, Iroko (as he fondly called by his supporters), has distanced himself from praise-singers, and sycophants but prides in receiving good advisers, performers, and ultimately critics with constructive criticisms, which accordingly have helped to foster vibrancy and resourcefulness in governance. To buttress this, one can recall that the government of President Shehu Shagari (with due respect to my brothers from the North should pardon me for citing this example) was terminally derailed by sycophants and their masters in government. The dual activities of supposed powerful men in government and their praise singers substantially brought down that government even as some observers still see the then president as a man of integrity.

While I deem it necessary to detach myself from the work of a praise singer which is never the tradition of any Akoko man (flesh and blood); yet am more inspired to open up on a few things I have observed, which ostensibly avail Governor Mimiko as leader with high premium of value and purpose. Some leaders depend on godfathers, this gentleman solely depends on God that is why his records of success know no bounds. Those who described the legacies of Governor Olusegun Mimiko as fulcrum that would automatically catapult him to another four years at Alagbaka Government House as Chief Executive in February 2013 are simply spot on, while I strongly disagree with some paid hatchet men who have argued that 2013 may be rough for him, by the sheer shenanigans of so-called political forces that are aligning against him.

The Mimiko administration’s greatest achievement in office over the years is the connection of the people with government and ensuring peace and tranquillity among the populace. Amazingly, the efforts by the judiciary to deepen democracy in Nigeria and the challenge of consolidating the nation’s political gains remained the task of all stakeholders, the electorate, political parties, electoral umpire (INEC), and the media.

If I may swiftly react to the tantrums and vituperations of his detractors, I think I have this to say: If Governor Mimiko had not performed how come in the health sector the governor won a national award, and his efforts also recognised by the World Health Organisation? How come infant mortality ratio in Ondo state which was among the worst in the country turned out to be the most positive in the whole country within two years of his government? How come for the first time in the 35 years of the state’s existence, it won the National Productivity Award? How come, for the first time in many years, the state government ensured payment of all pensioners’ entitlements?

The criticisms that the Governor is only performing in areas where he won elections as claimed by some hatchet men is absolutely inconceivable and purely a political blackmail. The fact is that Mimiko won virtually in all local government areas of the state. The areas they claimed opposition won are where massive rigging took place in 2007. All sons and daughters of Ondo State are privy to the philosophy of previous administration which lacked people-oriented programmes, bogged down by betrayal, self-centredness, intimidation, embezzlement, deception, unfaithfulness to God and man, etc. Worse yet, the greatest electoral heist ever was committed in the state before our very eyes.

Putting the records straight once more, Governor Mimiko did great and novel things in the state; the people will never forget the Auto Mart which is his brainchild, a modern and organised structure open auto-trade zone, first of its kind in Nigeria. It has capacity of accommodating over 1,000 vehicles in the lot. Having empowered the state’s Direct Labour Agency optimally, the agency was given the opportunity to prove its worth in the construction of this ultra-modern Mart. Part of the benefits of the Mart is Central Computer Database of particulars of displayed vehicles for prevention of theft and other unforeseen constraints.

This laudable initiative was conceived in order to halt the menace of indiscriminate and disorganised auto trading by over 100 registered auto dealers along major roads in Akure metropolis. Following this noble breakthrough, an automobile merchant, Chairman of Elizade Nigeria Limited, Dr. Michael Adeojo described the project as a watershed in the annals of auto mart in Nigeria, saying that the N350 million Auto Mart put in place by the Mimiko administration was well thought out and remains the best and the first of its kind in Nigeria.

Also to his credit is the provision of second world class diagnostic health centre in the country. The projects include the Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre, the ‘Abiye’ health programme, and the ‘Mother and Child Hospital’. In Igbokoda Nigeria’s first beach soccer stadium will soon be completed. There is a new Olympic standard swimming pool in Akure; it’s second only to the one in Abuja national stadium. At the moment Governor Mimiko is simultaneously building five stadia to advance and aid sports development as well as to encourage effective participation from youths so that new talents can be discovered for the purpose of doing the state proud nationally and internationally. For the first time the state’s clubside Sunshine Stars, came third in the National league and won a continental ticket. Apart from this, the world class neighbourhood markets which have removed trading from the streets were also built. For the avoidance of doubt the Arakale road dualisation which is ongoing, when completed will be the best thing to happen to road networking in the history of the state.

Moreover, in order to actualise thorough information dissemination and to encourage practise of excellent journalism, which over the years was considered as a profession that is less attractive to the youths, the state owned newspaper, Owena News has gone daily for the first time in 21 years; the state has the Radio-vision Corporation with the Radio Complex (AM) at Oba-Ile near Akure and the Television and radio (FM) House at Orita-Obele, Akure and they are all functioning at their maximum capacity. Today the participation and acceptance by the youths into print and broadcast journalism has been quite tremendous. Presently the state is a major partner of the Daily Sketch Organisation. In addition, most newspapers and weekly magazines have distribution centres and agencies in all the towns of the state. The critics should continue with what they know how to do best, Governor Mimiko sees that as springboard for performance and not distraction.

In the aspect of employment, this dynamic administration led by Governor Mimiko is not found wanting at all; available facts speak volume. Apart from the normal employment into the administrative cadre of the state ministries when he assumed the mantle of leadership in the state, his volunteer project is one thing to behold. In the previous year the project employed about 1,500 unemployed school leavers of various levels. Last year the employment scheme was increased by another 500 school leavers while information has it that another 800 might be added to the figure this fiscal year.

The focus of the project is to train these unemployed youths in various vocational skills, paying them N10,000 while in training monthly and at the end provide the enabling financial succour that can make them to be self employed, self-reliant and contribute economically to the growth of the state. The state simply shows that it cannot afford to allow its young and able citizens to roam the streets and get lured into crimes. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. But for this proactive government instead of pulling every available limited resource to combat crimes it however provides avenues that can gainfully engage those that can turn to crime and hinge their energy on the hub of development in the state for economic prosperity.

I could recollect very vividly within 82 days of Dr Olusegun Mimiko’s administration in office, he kicked off construction of 350 units of 3-bedroom bungalows in one site of Oba Ile, and another 350 units at Oda road which is the second site of that road, and 700 housing units were equally placed under construction (pegged as first stage). Similarly on that first stage scheme another 350 units at Ilesha road site was put up, and its construction was running simultaneously within the first 100 days in office of Mimiko. The second phase of the scheme substantially witnessed upgrade of all the 350 units to 1000 each. At the end of the second phase the state successfully recorded 3000 housing units, which will soon be fully completed in spite of the meagre resources available to the state. No state ever met such mileage within such period in Nigeria. It’s a demonstration of a government that has human face and that has the interest of its people at heart.

It is important to note that housing is one of the key factors that sustain human survival apart from food and clothing and this government is not treating this with kid gloves at all. The current administration has also embarked on urban renewal, the master plan of that will help to absorb the renewal of six major urban centres of Akure, Ondo, Ikare, Owo, Okitipupa, and Ore to start with. These six urban centres would be redesigned, upgraded, and urban renewal would be implemented. The people of Ondo state are no fools as they have proven time and time again. They know how and when to separate chaff from the real deal and they are never displeased with this visionary governor who is consistently and dispassionately delivering his campaign promises.

No wonder some well-meaning Ondo State indigenes set up a group which is currently canvassing for a second term tenure for Mimiko. The group is known as “Iroko 2013 Platform”. The General Secretary of the group, Mr. Niran Onisile has publicly reaffirmed that Governor Mimiko had touched lives of the majority of the people in the state in every strata of life, and he would still do more even before the completion of his 4-year first term in office. Feelers revealed that this group is well rooted in the 18 local government areas of the state and its acceptance from the people has been described as huge and absolutely phenomenal.

Nations that assess situations as they unfolded without mercantilist intentions, according to Paul Mamza, do not fall into self-inflicted fatal accident of fate like Nigeria. Nigeria is the only country on planet earth that no impossibilities of contempt exist even in the latent cusps of absurdities; its citizens were rated the happiest in the entire world and yet the most corrupt in the universe and the same reason is responsible for why the cries of marginalization and oppression are mere smokescreen.

A country without the rudiments of rule of law like Nigeria would be vulnerable to perfidies and held hostage by power-mongers. Once again the good people of Ondo state have the final say when it comes to deciding who governs them in February 2013. This time around, Mimiko’s mandate in November 2012 governorship polls can never be subverted under any guise; it is empirically clear that Governor Olusegun Mimiko stands out as best man for the job beyond 2013 in the Sunshine State. His unwavering commitment and achievements remain intimidating to his detractors and forces from the opposing camp.

•Ajibulu is a social commentator. E-mail;[email protected]

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