A New Covenant

Mimiko delivering his address

•Mimiko: swears in caretakers for councils

Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State seizes the opportunity of his second inauguration to appraise the past and renew his vow to the people

Democracy Park, Oja Oba, behind the Central Mosque, Oba Adesida Road, Akure, the Ondo State capital, was like a beehive on Sunday 24 February 2013. That was when dignitaries from all walks of life, indigenes of the state and other well wishers gathered to witness the inauguration of  Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as governor of the state for a second term of four years.

•Mimiko delivering his address
•Mimiko delivering his address

The Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, who wore a flowing white agbada, was the first to be sworn in by the Chief Judge, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi, at 12.35pm. This was followed by an interlude of music supplied by LKT and Tuface Idibia.

Then it was the turn of Mimiko at 1.10pm. Dressed in blue batik buba and sokoto with grey stripes, with a black Pandit Nehru cap, Mimiko, after taking the oath shook hands firmly with the Chief Judge and did a thumbs-up to the people, who responded with cheers. The governor then moved to the lectern and delivered his inaugural speech extempore. A lady was also on hand to interpret, in sign language, his message to those in the audience who might have hearing challenges.

Mimiko said that on 24 February 2009, God made it possible for him to stand in front of the electorate as the fifth elected governor of the Sunshine State. Four years after, he said, he felt most humbled by the honour and was gratified by the fortune of history, to stand before the people to be sworn in as Governor for a second term, “having been elected in the globally-adjudged free, fair and peaceful election of 20th October, 2012”. Mimiko particularly thanked people of the state for the impressive attendance and outpouring of emotions at his campaign rallies in every community he visited during the last electioneering campaign. As he put it: “I have profound appreciation for the action-packed support of the artisans, the massive support of the market women, the firmness of the farmers, the principled stand of public servants, the loyalty of labour leaders, the ruggedness of road transport workers, including the okada riders, the resolve of our royal fathers, the reassurances of our religious leaders, the resilience of our retirees, the commitment of our captains of industry and of course the staunchness and untiring energy of our students and our youths in general.”

He also thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for guaranteeing the ambience for a free, fair and peaceful election through the timely and most responsible deployment of security operatives.

After thanking the leadership of organised labour at the national and state levels for their decision to openly support good governance, Afenifere patriarchs, Yoruba Unity Forum members, media practitioners, Oodua youth groups, and others, Mimiko listed some of his achievements.

He reminded the people that in the past four years, his government had sought to re-engineer the education sector to be able to produce truly competitive and socio-economically relevant products who would be equipped to climb the social ladder. Education, according to Mimiko, must serve the present generation, like those before it, as a tool of social mobility, otherwise, “we shall be multiplying the tribe of hooligans, armed robbers, kidnappers and suicide bombers”.

•Mimiko signing the oath document before Justice Kumuyi
•Mimiko signing the oath document before Justice Kumuyi

Apart from building mega schools; schools that are, as he put it, truly 21st century-compliant to turn out products with requisite Information and Communications Technology, ICT and entrepreneurial skills, his government gave incentives to teachers and created the Quality Education Assurance Agency as a tool of effective monitoring, measurement and evaluation.

In the health sector, Mimiko reminisced that during his first term, his government’s home-grown initiatives were geared at removing all impediments to quality care for pregnant women and infants. In fact, his government, as he put it, made sure that “pregnancy will no longer be death sentence in our state”.

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Apart from increased access and input support for farmers, he said his administration also created modern agricultural villages – Agro Business Cities – to attract the youths and demonstrate that agriculture could truly be a business engagement worth their while. Government also constructed neighbourhood markets all over the state to replace the hitherto shanty and nondescript stalls that littered the streets.

“With more than 644 community-nominated projects across the state, we have through the 3Is initiatives rebuilt confidence in government and re-awakened the spirit of community participation and have, at the same time, re-established the bond between the government and the governed,” Mimiko said.

He mentioned the Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre, the Oba Ile Sunshine Gardens, the ongoing Ore Sunshine City project, the completion of the Alpha 3D factory in Ikare-Akoko and the ongoing revamp of the Arigidi Tomato factory.

In his second term, Mimiko promised to take governance closer to the people by posting greater achievements on all fronts. Besides ensuring the completion of all outstanding projects, he vowed that he would, over the next four years, unveil a new stream of programmes directed at enhancing the quality of life of the people.

Mimiko promised that his government’s major focus would be on an aggressive drive at job creation for the teeming youths through innovative and durable programmes that would engender sustainable livelihood. Therefore, government, as he put it, would undertake a 30MW Independent Power Project in Ore to provide independent power that would attract several industries to Ondo State. “When completed, Ore’s status, not only as a major national commercial centre but as well as an industrial hub, will be a reality,”  he said.

In 2013, the Governor said, the on-going International Events Centre, The Dome, in Akure, would be delivered  and it is expected to “open a new vista of turning Ondo State into a destination for international events”. He added that the biometric, residency card, Kaadi Igbe Ayo, will be launched, in March. In his words: “This will go a long way to strengthen government-people interface and as well be a veritable tool for planning and service delivery.”

In spite of political differences, Mimiko assured other South-west states of his administration’s “commitment to cooperation such that our region can benefit from the individual strengths of each state and possibilities of our aggregated potentials”.

He told the people: “There is nowhere to go but forward. Forward ever, backward never.” He added that four years ago, he promised to work for the people, and fulfilled that promise. Mimiko maintained that his job would be unfinished until, among others, every child has access to quality education, quality health and food security, villages are well organised, and Ondo’s sandy shores become tourist centres.

Present at the occasion were former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar; Governors Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Theodore Orji (Abia) and Peter Obi (Anambra); former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chief Ade Ojo, Chief Olu Falae, Professor Dora Akunyili, Mrs. Ganiat Fawehinmi and others.

—Ademola Adegbamigbe

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