Mimiko’s plan ahead of 2019
Again, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, is likely on his way out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Babatope Okeowo reports the cloud of uncertainty that pervades the political future of the man referred to as the Iroko of the state politics
Barring any last minute change of plan, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko will dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for either the Social Democratic Party (SDP) or another political party, making him one of the mobile politicians in the present democratic dispensation. Since 1999, when the present day democratic experience began, Mimiko had traversed the Alliance for Democracy (AD), PDP and Labour Party (LP).
He was also in and out of PDP within the period. Interestingly, he has always had valid excuse for jumping ship anytime he decides to move from one party to another. In 2002, Mimiko popularly known as Iroko dumped the then AD, while serving as Commissioner for Health in Ondo State for the PDP. The major reason he cited then was the zoning done by the party on the eve of the governorship primary.
However, Mimiko dumped the PDP for LP in order to contest the governorship election of 2007 against his former boss, Dr Olusegun Agagu. His reason this time was that the PDP was in the pocket of Agagu and that it would be a herculean task contesting the primary with him. After clinching the governorship, he became a beautiful bride that was struggled for between the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and PDP, but he opted for the latter in order to join the mainstream of Nigerian politics. In the run-up to the 2015 elections, Mimiko was made the South-West coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organisation and traversed the length and breadth of the zone preaching the gospel of the PDP and its candidates.
After the loss of the election and the exit of the PDP as ruling party at the centre, Mimiko was still visible in the national politics as he was made the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, the position he held until he left office in 2017.
However, there was a setback in Mimiko’s political carrier as he lost the battle to install his anointed, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), as his successor in office. The loss was the second time in his political carrier that he would be losing election.
The first being the time he contested for the chairman of the former Ondo Local Government iArea n 1990 under the defunct SDP. The first election he lost was a personal loss while the second was by proxy as his anointed candidate suffered a defeat in the election that brought Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the governorelect of the state. Akeredolu, of the APC was declared the winner of the governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) having scored 244, 457 votes.
The runner-up and the anointed candidate of Mimiko got 146,784, while Chief Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), who came third scored 107,124. Since the PDP was ousted both as ruling party at the national and the state levels, Mimiko has not been visible in the affairs of the party. In fact, an attempt to make him take his right position as the leader of the party in Ondo State by making him the chairman of the Elders’ Forum has not yielded any result as he has not summoned any meeting in that capacity.
Mimiko’s political experience
Undoubtedly, Mimiko is one of the few politicians with vast experience in local politics in the Sunshine State since he was appointed as Health commissioner in 1992.
By the time he left office in late 1993 as a result of the military coup d’etat that terminated that republic, Mimiko had left his mark as a performer. In that short period, he facilitated the establishment of the pharmacy shop system that provided a 24-hour pharmacy service in the main hospitals around the state. He also conceived and brought into reality the idea of what came to be known as Accident and Emergency Centre in some of the state hospitals in the then Ondo State (now Ondo and Ekiti states).
In recognition of his contribution to the victory of the then AD in the 1999 governorship election, Mimiko was appointed as the commissioner for Health in the state, making the second time he would hold that office. Before he resigned from that position on November 7, 2002, Mimiko had greatly enhanced the quality of health care delivery in the state. On November 7, 2002, he resigned his appointment as commissioner for Health over what he called “strictly personal reasons.”
In response to the call across the state to join the gubernatorial race, he formally announced his intention to contest the governorship election on the platform of AD on November 19, 2002, Mimiko had to leave the AD when the constitutionally prescribed primary election for picking gubernatorial candidate was not allowed to hold. He then adopted the PDP and was received by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
After the victory of the party in April 2003 polls, Dr. Mimiko was appointed Secretary to the State Government (SSG), a position he occupied till July 2005, when he was appointed by President Obasanjo as Minister of Housing and Urban Development.
He held the position till December 8, 2006, when he resigned to contest the 2007 governorship election on the platform of the Labour Party. Mimiko was declared the governor of the state by the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, Edo State. He was reelected as governor in the 2012 election after he defeated Akeredolu of ACN and Oke, the PDP’s candidate in the election.
With his vast experience in politics, many political parties would see him as asset, but not the PDP, which he has abandoned since he left office in 2017. While some party members said Mimiko should leave the party so as to reorganize before the next election, others were saying his defection from the party would spell doom for the party in the state.