62 Candles for Mimiko

62 Candles for Mimiko

Monday, October 3, 2016 1:30 pm

Governor Mimiko

Governor Mimiko

By Kayode Akinmade

Governor Olusegun Otaibayomi Mimiko is 62 years old today. Language deconstructionists will agree with our matching of Mimiko’s names (Olusegun Otaibayomi or “ God given victory to shame ill will”) with his persona, struggles and achievements.

The Ondo governor is not your typical sissy of a public officer. In other words, he is a veteran of many wars, victor in uncountable fracas and survivor of many titanic political skirmishes. Whenever he fought his battles, not a few of his loyalists would think that it was all over for him.

It was at the point when he was given up for dead that an invisible hand would come to his rescue and he would rise to send a jab, cross, hook and upper cut to the solar plexus of his enemy who would land on the canvass, panting like a beached whale. A man whose philosophy of altruism comes from a pure heart cannot but enjoy the intervention of God. Thus, an opponent underrates Mimiko, whose seemingly fragile physique and harmless mien, arbor a steely core, at his own peril.

When Dr. Olusegun Mimiko competed in the gubernatorial election on April 14, 2007, former President Olusegun Obasanjo threatened to set the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission loose on him. A politician who has skeleton in his wardrobe would have run away like a scared hound with its tail between its hind quarters. With nose thumping determination, he contested against the incumbent Olusegun Agagu but was rigged out. Not a man to say die, Mimiko contested this decision at the election tribunal. When the verdict was given at last, Agagu lost office on February 23, 2009. He was replaced by Mimiko as governor.

And in the October 20, 2012 election, Mimiko contested on the platform of the Labour Party against Rotimi Akeredolu of Action Congress of Nigeria (supported by many party bigwigs from outside the state); the candidate of the PDP, Olusola Alexander Oke; and the candidate of the CPC, Olusoji Ehinlanwo. Mimiko won and became governor for a second term. The medical doctor turned politician is not called Iroko, king of trees in the forest, for the fun of it! Meanwhile, he, on Thursday, October 2, 2014, officially decamped to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from the Labour Party.

The good thing is that Mimiko’s life struggles are not just ends in themselves but means of providing service, comfort and happiness for the greatest number. Suffice it to state that he is a socialist to the core operating though within a political party comprising legions of conservative elements.

This leftist orientation has a long ancestry. In other words, selflessness runs in Mimiko’s blood. His great grandfather, Chief Akinmeji was the famous Runsawe of Ondo; his grandfather, Pa Famimikomi, was also successful, brave and kind. His son, Atiku Bamidele Mimiko, the governor’s father, also inherited the virtues. No wonder Olusegun Mimiko, the son, adopted the progressive ideas and sharpened them at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in the 1970s.

On campus, he was a member of the Pan-African and Socialist Student Organisation, the “Wantu Wazuri” and the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Young Socialist Movement. No wonder the welfarism philosophy he gathered from his leftist orientation blossomed when he became a medical doctor and later as governor.

Kayode Akinmade

Kayode Akinmade

First, when he established his MONA MEDICLINIC in Ondo town in 1985, his charges were so low that he sustained that institution on shoe string. It is safe to say that Mimiko is service, sympathy and empathy walking on two legs! And he has demonstrated this in the last eight years of governing Ondo State.

True. Since 2007, Mimiko has used the instrumentality of government to help the poor. In the area of health, the Abiye programme is one of the cardinal programmes of Mimiko who conceived it so that pregnancy would no longer be like signing one’s own death warrant. Through it, government provides free and qualitative healthcare for pregnant women and children of zero to five years of age.

According to the government: The programme was designed to take care of four major factors predisposing pregnant women to death, namely; delay in seeking care when complications arise; delay in reaching care when decisions are made; delay in accessing care on arrival at healthcare facilities; and delay in referring care from where it is initiated to where it can be completed. To ensure its effectiveness, the Mimiko government assigns Health Rangers to pregnant women for proper monitoring from conception to birth; provides mobile phones for the women for them to contact their Healthcare Providers.

Moreover, government provided (and still does) four-wheel and tricycle ambulances; renovated existing basic health centres, constructed new ones and provides drugs and other consumables. It was for these reasons that the World Bank officially listed Ondo State Abiye programme on its website as, according to a writer, “one of the success stories coming out of Africa.”

Mimiko did not stop at that. There is the Mother and Child Hospital, Akure, the Medical Village, Ondo, comprising the Trauma Centre, Kidney Care Centre, Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre and Mother and Child Hospital. People come from outside the state to avail themselves of the opportunities provided at the centres. Dr Mimiko has made a statement in the area of education that everybody irrespective of social or economic status has a right to quality education with his Mega School initiative. It is not only the monstrous structures that are mind-boggling; the standard of teaching is also high, there is quality control while the service is literally free.

It is not for nothing that even the well-to-do in the society have been withdrawing their children from the so-called high profile private schools and putting them in public schools. With about 54 of the Mega Schools already built across the state and more in the pipeline, every community is soon to have one. What is more, the Mimiko administration provided 100 buses for student to ride to and fro their schools free and also established a specialized medical university (Ondo State University of Medical Sciences), first in Nigeria and the second in Africa.

True to his promise, Mimiko has been able to make the state an event destination through its much sought after International Cultural and Event Centre, christened ‘The Dome’, and sited on a large expanse of about 34,000 hectares of land in Akure. A product of great thinking, the initiative is as a result of the drive to reposition the state for core investments and tourism attraction. Kayode Akinmade Akinmade is the Commissioner for Information in Ondo State.

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