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FOCUS: Mimiko’s Implications On Ondo And PDP Political Calculations

Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state, Nigeria

Oyewale Oyelola

Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko on Thursday dumped Labour Party for ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party ahead of 2015 general elections.

Mimiko in his return statement affirmed he returned to the PDP for national interest as well as to ensure the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in next year presidential election.

His defection came months after several denial of move to rejoin his old party, which he dumped in 2007 to pursue his governorship ambition.

It would be recalled Mimiko resigned his appointment as a Minister in the President Olusegun Obasanjo’s cabinet to challenge his former boss – Segun Agagu who was then seeking second term in office.

Mimiko popularly called ‘Iroko’ by his supporters joined Labour Party (LP) to pursue his governorship ambition. This marks the orange revolution in sunshine state as prominent politicians, civil servants and masses dumped Agagu to support Ondo town born politician.

Suddenly, Iroko became household name in Ondo state, with high expectations that he would take the state to the promise land.

Although, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Dr Agagu winner of the April 2007 governorship election in the state winner, Mimiko however reclaimed his mandate through the judgement of Appeal Court in 2009.

During his first term in office, Mimiko embarked on developmental projects cutting across various sectors in the state and his performance really endeared him to the masses.

This accounted for his re-election in 2012 despite defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and PDP crackdown on him.

The APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu tagged the only LP governor serial betrayer, alleging that Mimiko promised to joined ACN if he reclaimed his mandate which he eventually did with tacit support from the former Lagos state Governor.

Similarly, the Ondo state PDP described Iroko as a political prostitute who always moved from one party to another for his personal interest.

The Medical Doctor turned politician defeated PDP Candidate Olusola Oke, ACN flagbearer, Mr.Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and others in 2012 governorship election, to extend his rule till 2017.

Many political analysts said Mimiko’s return to PDP was not a surprise because he has been acting as PDP stalwart in Abuja and LP Governor in Ondo state. His body language since inception of Jonathan as President has been pro-ruling party. Early this year, the Deputy Chairman of Jonah Jang’s faction of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) accompanied Chairman, PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio to PDP cancus meeting in the House Representatives when APC was threatening to take over the leadership of the house.

With his defection, the end to and final burial of LP might just be around the corner. Many political observers have described LP as PDP annex where aggrieved PDP members hibernate but later return home. Ekiti state Governor-Elect, Ayo Fayose recently confirmed this assertion.

The National PDP would be the biggest winner with his defection as Fayose and Mimiko expectedly will work together to achieve the party’s dream of reclaiming South Western part of the country.

Another implication of Mimiko’s back home development is that South West Economic Integration proposed by APC governors in the region might also suffer a setback, as the rival PDP and APC would never agree on integration framework. Besides, their focus would be more on control of this part ( South West) of the country.

PDP members in Ondo state prior to return of Mimiko, under whom the partry  is in control might be the losers because he returned with his foot soldiers and followers, including members of the national assembly, state House of Assembly, State Executive council members and others Mimiko will definitely protect the interest of his supporters in PDP.

Only time would tell if Dr Olusegun Mimiko indeed returned to his old fold – PDP for national or personal interest, vis-à-vis his relevance in the political scheming beyond 2017.


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