Written By Stephen Apata
The Ondo state governor, Dr. Segun Mimiko has become a political force and a pillar that has become impossible to uproot at least as far as his primary constituent, Ondo State is concerned and the nation’s political landscape at large.
The medical doctor’s fame and influence has in recent time become stronger in the nation’s polity and this is evident in the role the governor who got his mandate restored about two years ago on the platform of Labour Party, played in ensuring that the President elect, Goodluck Jonathan emerged victorious in the recently held presidential election.
.Besides, the governor did the most desired for his party when he secured the confidence of the people of Ondo state with good and exemplary governance to ensure that the Labour Party take total control of the political structure in the state
This also became manifest in the complete excavation to irrelevance, of the People’s Democratic Party which hitherto held sway in the state and everything that it represents as shown in the results of the recently concluded general elections in the state.
Not oblivious of the influence and the hold of the governor on his state, the Presidency had to woo Mimiko, the only governor of the Labour party in the country and the leadership of his party for support and delivery of the votes of the Ondo people to ensure the President is elected. To further affirm his hold on the state, governor Mimiko delivered the state for President Jonathan.
That victory did not come on a platter of gold however as the leadership of the PDP in the state launched a last minute campaign to ensure that Mimiko did not deliver the state for Jonathan apparently to dent the governor’s all conquering image having ensured a week before the presidential election, that the Labour Party silenced the PDP and beat it to all available elective positions in the state.
The worst hit in that contest was the former governor of the state, Olusegun Agagu, who came out of retirement to wrestle for a Senatorial seat in the state but was soundly whipped by the Labour Party’s candidate. Another casuality is Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim also of the PDP, whose ambition to rule Ondo state under the PDP has successfully been confined to the dreamer’s world with the Labour party’s firm grip of the state.
Going into the Presidential election with the wound of the defeat still fresh, the PDP’s leadership according to an influential member had reasoned that it will be suicidal for its leadership in the state to allow the governor deliver the votes for President Jonathan in the presidential election, the outcome of which it was reasoned, will make the leadership irrelevant in the scheme of things both in the presidency and the PDP larger family.
The report which filtered out the night preceding the Presidential election quoting the leadership of the PDP in the state, instructing members of the party not to go out to vote for the PDP only made governor Mimiko work more and proof with the result of the election that the voting population in Ondo state are members of the Labour Party controlled by governor Mimiko.
No wonder, all efforts made by the PDP leadership in the state to claim responsibility for the Goodluck victory failed, thus making it obvious that governor Segun Mimiko, who is first a working governor has moved a step further to becoming a political godfather in the state.
Proof of this also is the way every conscious and important political element in Ondo state currently falls over one another to pitch tent with the ruling Labour party. But how did governor Mimiko achieved this larger than life stature and the new political leader of Ondo state politics?
A noted grassroots politician, Governor Segun Mimiko did not just become the political mind of the informed people of Ondo State overnight. He indeed worked to earn their support and respect even since his days as a student activist in the University hence, the accolades he has won as a performing governor did not come to many as a surprise because of his pedigree.
Not a few will be quick to remember that governor Olusegun Mimiko was the Commissioner for Health in the old Ondo state during the reign of Governor Bamidele Olumilua.
He held the same position in the cabinet of the Alliance for Democracy government led Adefarati. Mimiko had to defect from the Alliance for Democracy to the PDP when, against initial agreement, Adefarati worked against the agreement that he will support the ambition of Mimiko to run for the governorship of the state.
His grassroots popularity was enough to earn him the position of the Secretary to the Ondo State government under the leadership of Olusegun Agagu after which Mimiko also became a Minister under the leadership of Ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In all of the offices he has served, his integrity was never called to question.
Popularly called Iroko because of being formidable politically as well as his deep-rooted political sagacity, Mimiko had a public understanding with the then governor Agagu to contest the governorship seat after his (Agagu) term, only for Agagu renege on his agreement also and it became apparent that he could not use the PDP platform to realise his ambition despite his popularity and his very formidable structure.
-By Stephen Apata