Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the western Nigerian state of Ondo was today sworn in for a second term of four years.
The event took place at the Democracy Park, Oja Oba, behind the Central Mosque, Oba Adesida Road, Akure, the capital.
First to be sworn in at 12.35 pm was Alhaji Ali Olanusi, the Deputy Governor, who appeared in white agabada. His two wives were also present to give him support.After the session, there was a music interlude, with LKT (he sang the fuji track in Olu Maintain’s Yahuuze) and Tu Face entertaining the audience.
At 1.10 pm, Mimiko, wearing his trademark starched batik grey and blue striped buba and sokoto, with a black Pandit Nehru cap, was sworn in.
After a firm handshake with the Chief Judge, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi who administered the oath of office, Mimiko did a thumbs-up to the audience and proceeded to the podium to deliver, extempore, his second inaugural speech, an address that was “interpreted”, to the deaf and dumb in the audience through gesticulation, by a lady.
Mimiko thanked God for making the event possible and the electorate who, as the agents of change, made it possible for him to be sworn in for a second term.
He appreciated President Goodluck Jonathan, for ensuring a free and fair election on 20 October 2012; Barrister Dan Iwuayanwu, the Labour Party Chairman for standing by him; the Afenifere, Yoruba Forum and others.
First, Mimiko reminded the people what his administration achieved in the past four years. In the realm of education, he was happy that his government put in place an education policy that could make Ondo indigenes compete at the global stage. In his words, “Without our kind of education policy, we might be multiplying the tribe of hooligans, bombers and kidnappers…” In the health sector, Mimiko reminded the people that his administration was able to declare and act on the concept that pregnancy “will no longer be death sentence in the state.” He was referring to his Abiye/Mother and Child Care programme.He talked on his agricultural policy, urban renewal, the 644 community nominated projects, the security measures in the state, Arigidi tomatoes factory and the Olokola Free Zone.
He particularly appreciated the presence of Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the “expected investments he will bring to the state”, where the second largest bitumen deposits in the world (after Venezuela) abounds.
Mimiko charted a path for the future by quoting Frantz Fanon: “Our generation must discover its mission, fulfill or betray it.”
The Governor decided that, for the second term, he would fulfill his own mission.Thus, Mimiko promised that in the next four years, he would bring government closer to the people. Apart from driving job creation, Mimiko vowed to complete the 30 megawatts power project in Ore, complete the international conference centre, distribute the Residency Card, otherwise known as Kaadi Igbe Ayo (a biometric card through which, apart from its demographic/census usage, will give carriers access to health and other welfare services) and others.
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, he fulfilled that promise. Mimiko maintained that his job would be unfinished until “every child has access to quality education, quality health, food security, villages are well organised, Ondo’s sandy shores become tourist centres and others.
Present at the occasion were a former General Abudusalami Abubakar; Governors Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Theodore Orji, Abia; Peter Obi, Anambra; former Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun; Dangote; Chief Ade Ojo of Elizade; Chief Olu Falae; Professor Dora Akunyili, a former Information Minister; Mrs Ganiat Fawehinmi, wife of the late human right lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi and others.
When he stood for election in April 2007, he was rigged out by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP after which Olusegun Agagu was declared governor. Mimiko challenged this in a long drawn court battle at the election petitions tribunal.In the end, Agagu lost office on 23 February 2009 after the verdict of the Appeal Court, based on irregularities in the 2007 election. He was replaced by Mimiko as governor on the platform of the Labour Party. In fact, he became the first and remains the only Labour Party governor.On his road to becoming the only governor in Ondo to rule for a second term, Mimiko contested election again in on 20 October 2012. When the results were released for all the 18 local government areas, Mimiko garnered 260, 199 votes, winning majority of the total valid votes in 13 local government areas of the state. Olusola Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu of the Action Congress Party of Nigeria scored 155, 961 and 143,512 votes respectively.When he was sworn in on 24 January 2009, Governor Rahman Olusegun Mimiko told the people of Ondo State: “I will strive at all times to make decisions that will benefit the greatest number of our people…At all times, in all seasons, I will work for you.”
Photo Credit: Emmanuel Osodi