18th September, 2012
BY JOE IGBOKWE
Southwest Nigeria is well known for progressive politics and it did not start today. It dates back to early 40s and 50s in the days of Zik of Africa and Chief Obafemi Awolowo until the unfortunate event on the floor of the Western House in 1951. Time and space will not permit me to tell the full story of the events of 1951 that rendered nugatory our progressive politics and struggles to build a Nigeria of our dream. Even though the great Zik returned to Enugu to join his kiths and kin, progressive politics continued in Southwest Nigeria.
Today, no one ethnic group or zone will say that it is better than Southwest Nigeria. Is it in terms of education? Is it in terms of wealth? Is it economy? Is it religious tolerance? Is it market? Is it in terms of good schools or hospitals? Is it good roads? Is it politics? Is it in terms of management of anything? Is it in terms of the press in Nigeria (both print and electronic)? Is it commerce and industry? 80 percent of the nation’s industry are based in the Southwest. Is it the growth of churches? 80 percent of founders of the great churches in Nigeria are from the Southwest.90 percent of the nation’s imports come through Southwest. I can go on and on but there is no need to continue to do so. The point I am making is that Southwest has led the opposition in Nigeria since independence and yet they are far better than other zones in Nigeria in terms of anything. If I wanted to be strict, I would say that the economy of all other zones in Nigeria put together may not surpass the economy of Southwest Nigeria. I stand to be proved wrong with empirical evidences.
This is the reason why the forthcoming elections in Ondo State is very crucial and very strategic to Southwest Nigeria and to the Action Congress of Nigeria. It is difficult if not impossible to talk about regional integration in the Southwest without the late Chief Michael Adukunle Ajasin’s Ondo State – the symbol of progressive politics in the days of the locusts.
For record purposes, the late Chief Ajasins, the former civilian governor of Ondo State, was the Chairman of NADECO, the opposition platform that chased IBB, Shonekan, Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar out of power to make way for this current civilian dispensation. Many may have forgotten how the late General Abacha deployed the late Commander Onyearugbulem, the then Military Administrator of Ondo to bulldoze his way to Ajasin’s home to harass and intimidate the old man. Onyearughulem led a contingent of military personel to Ajasin’s peaceful home unannounced to repress, oppress and suppress the leader of the opposition as a way of bringing down the entire opposition. Did Abacha succeed? The rest is now history!
It is on record that our own Chief AJasin never recovered from this onslaught. He died as a result of
shock from Onyearugbulem’s brigandage. I am telling this story today just to remind those who are key players in Ondo politics of the events of yesteryears. For the 13 years a combination of IBB,Shonekan,A bacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar declared war against the Yoruba nation, nobody heard the voice of Segun Mimiko, the governor of Ondo State today. He saw but he kept quiet. He did not join his kinsmen to fight the commom enemy. He did not join his kith and kin to cry against the injustice being metted out to his people. He maintained the culture of silence. But a story that must be told never forgives silence.
Southwest or Yoruba nation is too important than the ambition of one man called Segun Mimiko. Southwest Regional Integration is far more important than the ambition of one man called Governor Segun MImiko. Segun may be pretending to be in the Labour Party but in actions, and deeds and in body language, he is PDP. Dan Wanyanwu, the Chairman of LP, has just received a National Honour from President Goodluck Jonathan and as political historians we in ACN understand the game very well. The PDP has purchased Chief Dan Wanyanwu with National Award and as events unfold in Nigeria very soon, Nigerians will appreciate what we are saying. Mimiko betrayed our leaders in ACN by biting the fingers that fed him. He will pay for this in the fullness of time.
Come October 20, 2012 I urge the wise people of Ondo State to vote out Segun Mimiko and usher in Mr Rotimi Akeredolu(SAN) as governor. Ondo State must be returned to the great family where they belonged originally. Regional Integration in Southwest Nigeria is one of the biggest projects in Nigeria today and Ondo State cannot afford to be in isolation. Like every other good thing in Nigeria, the regional integration going on in the South West is being copied by other zones in NIgeria. Ondo State cannot afford to be left behind in this serious business, Mimiko or no Mimiko.
•Igbokwe wrote in from Lagos.