Hon. Ifedayo Olugbenga Akinsoyinu is of the Labour Party extraction representing Ondo West Constituency II at the Ondo State House of Assembly for a record of third term, where he holds the position of Majority Leader.
Having won election under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 1999 and later contested under the platform of Labour Party in 2007 and 2011 also winning on both occasion, he is one of the most experienced in the hallowed legislative chamber of Ondo State House of Assembly and in this special encounter with Olusiji Balogun and Egbodofo Olu Johnson, he spoke on several issues surrounding the 2nd term of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, declaring that the people will be better for it.
- From your experience as a third term legislator under different administrations in Ondo State briefly do an analysis of the administrations in Ondo State since 1999.
Well, from 1999, you will agree with me that we were coming from a badly and highly militarized background and that impinged so much on the performances of those in administration between 1999 and 2003. At that time we were still adjusting we were just acclimatizing to new democratic environment, democratic values and all the rest.
2003 was a major improvement on that of 1999 dispensation, 2007 further improvement and 2011 better and further improvement and accomplishment.
What I am saying in essence is that our democracy can only be pictured using a scenario of an aircraft trying to take off in 1999, gathering momentum to take a flight. In 2003, it took that flight and tried to reach its highest altitude in 2007, and in 2011 it tried to stabilize and go for its full cruise to its destination.
Taking generally especially in Ondo State here, we have come of age. We have tried to learn fast, tried to adjust fast, regardless of the fact that our psyche was badly militarized in the past. I think we have not faired badly at all. We are progressing democratically.
- What is your overview assessment of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko’s first four years in office as governor of Ondo State?
Thank you so much. Let me put it the way lawyers will put it in legal parlance “Res Ipsa Loquitur” meaning “the thing itself speaks”. For someone like me to assess the administration of Dr. Mimiko would look like pontification but the truth of the matter is that when something is good it has no other name than good and when something is bad it has no other name than bad.
Come to think of it, the present government in Ondo State emplaced a lot of transformational policies to attract unprecedented achievements in the area of health, in the area of education, in the area of sports, in agriculture and in the area of community development. Just think of it.
Taking for example the issue of maternal and infant mortality was very high and the government came up with the idea of Abiye safe motherhood programme which culminated into the construction of Mother and Child Hospital. Since then people have been visiting this facility. Since then we have not had casualties arisen from child birth to such an extent that Mr. Governor was invited by the UN to address that August gathering on how he was able to come up with the idea and he was able to run the programme successfully.
As a matter of fact the programme is taking the form of global benchmark in reducing maternal mortality. I remembered vividly when the governor was talking to us about the programme, he said one of his professors back then in school told them that the shortest distance to the grave is the distance between the navel and the pelvic of a woman during pregnancy and that was what informed the successful Abiye programme. So far, in this area of health he’s been able to reposition Ondo State even on the world map in such a way that people all over the world are asking where is Ondo State? because miracles are happening here and for your information the good things that have been happening in Ondo State within the last four years have no historical antecedent in the state and I can authoritatively say this because I have been involved in government since 1990 in this State when I started my career in politics as a councilor under SDP.
So I have been part of every successive administration since then, so I am in a vantage position to assess this government. In the last four years, this government has been able to take Ondo State to a greater height beyond the imagination of the voters.
Do we talk about education? It is during this government that students of the State started excelling in national examinations both WAEC and NECO a result of the activities of the newly established outfit called QEAD, Quality Education Assurance Agency with inspectors going round the schools to monitor and even encourage both students and teachers. Talk about community development that adopted the bottom top approach in taking development to the grassroots. A departure from what obtains in the past when government decides which project a community gets or not. This time around the governor commissioned his commissioner, Engr. Faboyede to go to far flunged communities within the nooks and crannies of Ondo State, assemble the people of the community and ask them what they need from government based on their priority. That is democracy because this government in the last four years is what people call ‘our government not their government.’
The man had a vision before becoming the governor and this he has demonstrated through his leadership in the past four years and in simple word it has been fantastic. What we are witnessing now in this State has never happened before when it comes to development and peaceful coexistence.
- What has been the contribution of the House of Assembly to all these positive and giant strides?
The primary duty of the House of Assembly is to make laws and so far we have been able to make so many laws to support the present administration like the issue of maternal mortality we passed a law brought by the executive that for every death that occurs while a pregnant woman tries to deliver a baby must be recorded for every death that occurs in any maternity home, in any church, in any traditionalist house, in any maternity centre be it private or public it must be recorded. It doesn’t have to do with prosecution but with the objective to have a database for proper planning.
- How many times have the assembly attempted to impeach the governor. A practice which has almost become a norm in our democracy?
You only try to impeach a governor that has committed an impeachable offence or offences but with what I’ve been talking about that kind of situation is far from us. Somebody came to government to ensure the well being of his subjects, to inject transformational agenda, to elevate the state, to make the state a cynosure of all eyes and also make his policies and achievements benchmark for the entire world and some people will think of impeachment. It is not possible. Is that how to reward hard work? He is doing more than enough, as a matter of fact, if the constitution has given the House of Assembly the power to amend the law, in such a way that the governor should go for third term we should give him. It is not flattery, things are speaking for themselves.
- How sure are you that after securing the second term mandate, the good works would be sustained?
They would be definitely sustained. For people who don’t have a particular mission, people who are not driven by mission to serve, after first four years they mess up the next four years which is their last tenure. That is for those without mission and vision.
But for someone driven by passion to serve, driven by that passion of patriotism to make the state one of the best as a matter of fact his vision is not to make Ondo State the best administered state in Nigeria, he wants to make Ondo State one of the best administered states in Africa and the world in general. All I have to say is that for someone who has this type of patriotic vision like Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, we have just started. The people of the state have just started witnessing giant developmental strides. I can assure you that the next four years would be a remarkable improvement on the previous four years.
He has a long way to go. He is not ending his career as a governor after the next four years. No! He is still moving higher. For someone who still has more than four years in his career as a politician, he is bound to do more for his people.
- Given any opportunity to serve at the national level after his four years, do you see him making any positive contribution at that level with the present political situation?
If you remember the parable of the master who gave talents to his workers, then you will agree with the judgement of the master that “for you have been faithful with a little you should be given more”. The analogy is very simple for him to have done well at this micro level, he will surely do well at the national level which is macro once given the opportunity. He is not new to the national politics or national service in the first instance; don’t forget he once served meritoriously as a minister of the Federal Republic. Based on his antecedents if given higher assignments I’m confident he will excel.
Dr. TUNJI ABAYOMI DISCONNECT WITH REALITIES
“Dr. Tunji Abayomi has failed to see the paradigm shift in governance in Ondo State and he has a total disconnect from the realities on ground in the state. Dr. Abayomi will like to play up the outcome of the 2011 elections that ushered in the ACN into all Government Houses in the South-West, except Ondo State that voted solidly for the Labour Party”
DR. TUNJI ABAYOMI DISCONNECT WITH REALITIES – Ranti Akerele
Ranti Akerele, a former broadcaster and media practitioner, is the present Commissioner for Information in Ondo State. He bares his mind in this chat on issues on ground in the sunshine state and Dr. Olusegun Mimiko’s led administration in the state. Excerpts:
On the magic behind the overwhelming victory of Labour Party in Ondo State in the last general elections:
– The fact that Labour Party (LP) continues to be the overwhelming choice of the Ondo State people is because the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ruled them for four wasted years and another two illegal years and they neither saw changes in their circumstances nor improvement in their lot.
They voted out the PDP and after two illegal years of occupation by Dr. Olusegun Agagu, the people’s mandate was restored and today, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has in just two years, given to Ondo State arguably the most progressive government in Nigeria today.
The general verdict now is that Olusegun Mimiko’s two years are more productive than Agagu’s six years.
On the remark by Dr. Tunji Abayomi, a chieftain of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, that Dr. Mimiko’s led administration lacks control of public resources and that the governor is a financial dictator…:
– Dr. Tunji Abayomi has failed to see the paradigm shift in governance in Ondo State and he has a total disconnect from the realities on ground in the state. Dr. Abayomi will like to play up the outcome of the 2011 elections that ushered in the ACN into all Government Houses in the South-West, except Ondo State that voted solidly for the Labour Party.
What his likes fail to realize is that, his reductionist approach to the uniqueness of the Ondo State result will continue to expose his lack of knowledge of a typical Ondo State man. He does not know the Ondo State man does not suffer fools; you cannot lead the people by the nose. The government of Ondo State is so prudently run that there are no rooms for budget deficit as there is absolute fiscal discipline.
Every procurement is subjected to the Pricing and Project Monitoring Unit (PPMU), which scrutinizes and compares market prices and contracts awarded after advertisement in National dailies through competitive bidding done by the Executive Council on the recommendation of the State’s Tenders Board. I serve under this man and he treats my files.
I know Dr. Mimiko is prudent and meticulous to a fault when it comes to fiscal matters. So, definitely he is no dictator of any kind.
On some achievements of the present administration within the last two years:
– They are numerous. Take a look at the Mother and Child Hospital, the first of four others that are in various stages of completion in the three senatorial zones. Today, they are giving people first class medical services free of charge, inclusive of caesarean and other surgeries.
The Mother and Child Hospital at Oke Aro in Akure boasts of 100 bed facilities dedicated to the care of pregnant women and children of less than five years of age. It also offers tertiary health services free of charge. The vision is to reduce maternal and child mortality by 50% and 30% respectively by the year 2013.
The hospital has state of the art training mannequins including electronic force monitoring births. Airway management simulators for life like practical demonstrations and applications are there. The Mother and Child Hospital is collaborating with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on the Management of postpartum hemorrhage using tranexamic acid. As at May 2, 2011, amounting to about 15months of operations, over 10, 315 pregnant women and 14,216 children to include 2,574 as pediatric in-patients have been registered and treated. About 20% among them are non-residents of Ondo State.
In addition, over 5,499 safe deliveries have been conducted there, as the hospital is now the busiest in Ondo State and one of the busiest in Nigeria. Ambassador Moshe Ram, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, described it as “the most impressive hospital I have ever visited in Nigeria”. Cheryl Igiri, another diplomat with US Embassy, wrote in the visitors’ register “Professionals are dedicated to service”. Prof. O. Akinkugbe, Emeritus Professor of Medicine said “This is revolutionary, well-thought-out and a glowing testimony to team work” Dr. Ogunbayo of Nigeria’s Governors Forum called the hospital “Highly functional and impressive hospital, clearly well thought out”.
Not to mention the very successful urban renewal programme with its components of Auto-Mart, Car parks, modern markets, new roads, reclamation of flooded communities through channelization. Educational renewal initiatives are there for all to see Maybe Dr. Abayomi has never visited or seen any of these before condemning, which will prove to you that critics of the present administration like Dr. Abayomi are rabble rousers, who want to flaunt their so called human rights activism.
On the possibility of re-election of Dr. Mimiko for 2nd term:
– As an Ondo State man who have lived in Ondo State since 1984, working as a teacher, civil servant, broadcast journalist, now politician, we have not had a committed governor than Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.
I say without equivocation, that what he is doing today in Ondo State is no magic. He is today the most experienced politician in active service in government in the South-west. Starting with his first appointment as Commissioner for Health in 1992, following it up with the same portfolio in 1999, and later in 2003 when he was appointed Secretary to the State Government. He was later appointed Minister for Housing and Urban Development in year 2005 and resigned voluntarily in year 2006 to run for the position of governor against Agagu of the ruling PDP, to eventually become Governor.
On assumption of office, he hits the ground running, leading by example. In two years, he has been able to connect with grassroots, the ordinary man on the streets, artisans, the professionals, the students and all through a series of people oriented programmes. These are the reasons the Labour party is winning elections.
Given the realities on ground, he is the most suitable for Ondo State. Dr. Mimiko is winning elections because some of those who are opposing him are doing so because they couldn’t perform better, or because they have not done anything in the area of public management that makes them electable.
CORRUPTION HAS REDUCED IN NIGERIA – Bode Olawoye
“We have been trying to make the country a better place for Nigerians especially the youth and generations yet to come, because the way corruption has been ravaging the country. If noting specifically is not done at least to stem it down we will be speaking a different tune in the next three to five years, especially the fall out effect on our youth”
Caxton Bode Olawoye is an extrovert, a Seasoned Security Officer and now the Ondo State Director, Anti-Corruption Awareness Organisation in Nigeria (ACAO). He shares his views:
About Anti-Corruption Awareness Organisation:
Anti Corruption Awareness Organisation in Nigeria has been around since 1969 working with all registered law enforcement agencies in detecting both minor and major crime and total eradication of corruption in Nigeria.
In actual fact, we are even suppose to call our-self the father of all anti-graft agencies because we’ve been around since 1969 and we’ve done such a lot for people to appreciate that we are existing.
Assessment of level of Corruption in the Country:
Corruption has been in Nigeria for over 30 years and talking about a 30 years old virus, it can’t be taken with levity. One needs to put everything into it in order to eradicate it.
Corruption is not something you can eradicate just like that. I would categorically say corruption has been reducing a little bit in Nigeria, thanks to the two major anti-graft agencies, ICPC and EFCC, alongside efforts of several other voluntary agencies like ours.
We have been trying to make the country a better place for Nigerians especially the youth and generations yet to come, because the way corruption has been ravaging the country. If noting specifically is not done at least to stem it down we will be speaking a different tune in the next three to five years, especially the fall out effect on our youth. Though, corruption is reducing a little bit because of the double edge hammer the anti-graft agencies have adopted in fighting the scourge.
Like our organisation, apart from chasing the corrupts we are also into enlightenment and with special focus on the youths to make them grow corrupt free. With what we are doing and efforts of other NGO’s I would say it is reducing. Within the next few years we will be able to say it loud that corruption is reducing.
Fighting Corruption through change in orientation and on get rich quick syndrome:
In Nigeria, nobody wants to die but we all want to go to heaven and that has brought about this get rich quick Syndrome. People want to get rich quick at the expense of the general populace even without education and work.
In the last ten years or thereabout, education has nosedive because of corruption. Nobody wants to work but we all want to make money. Hence, our organisation conceptualise an idea to promote integrity in our system by encouraging our youth to embrace education so that with proper education they will have everything to become wealthy legally and genuinely. So we came up with the idea of Operation Catch Them Young.
Catching them young so that our children will know and understand that corruption is a monster, a disease and a virus and they must not go close to it.
We are erecting over 500 billboards, covering all the 18 local governments in this state with an inscription that says “NO TO CORRUPTION, YES To GOOD EDUCATION, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND GOOD HEALTH.” It is a nationwide project.
These billboards are being erected in the front of schools, so that as children comes into the school they read day in day out. We are using the power of outdoor advertising with beautiful colours, static medium and big illustrations. They are eye catching and appealing. Every academic term, at least once if not more, we are visiting these schools to lecture the students thereby preparing them for the big day. As they progress in their academics and life they would have been aware of the nitty gritty and adverse effects of corruption, making it difficult for their peer groups to influence or lure them into corruption or any of these societal vices.
On 2011 elections and possibility of electing corrupt politicians:
You will agree with me that nobody is perfect and in Nigeria we are still down with the Nigeria factor and that cannot be totally eradicated now.
We are praying and psychologically we have seen that at least 75% of those that are going for elective position today would be corrupt free. This is based on the premises of the level of work done by the anti-graft agencies through the screening some of these politicians. Even before hand, EFCC has been running campaign on television and radio, warning some of these money bags who have made their money through nefavious activities to stay away from politics. So they are scared stiff, knowing that if they venture into politics, the agencies will go after them and they would be disqualified because of the structure EFCC has put in place.
But at that, you can’t rule out the fact that some, one way or the other, will stind find their way, that’s why I said maybe about 75% of them would be corrupt free but few ones will still bambooze their way and that is left for the electorate to be vigilant.
On free and fair election:
Though the recent cancellation of the National Assembly Election was very unfortunate and an embarrassment but I’m still of the opinion that we will have a free and fair election.
Jega is a man of integrity, he has been around for so long that we all know him as a tested and resolute man and he knows that if he derails it would have adverse effect on his own person.
Most of the things he has done since he came on board has given us indications that with God’s help Nigeria might witness a second free and fair election the first being the 1993 election, supposedly won by MKO, which is still the freest in the history of Nigeria so far.
Involvement of ACAO in the electoral process:
We are having a feeling that some of our members will be injected on a monitoring level by INEC but that notwithstanding we are also prepared and working at our own end to ensure a corrupt free election
Olusegun Mimiko and Ondo Labour Party
“Let me state it clearly that at no time, either as a party or an individual did I enter into agreement with anybody to change party. We are happy with the way we are.
I once moved from Alliance for Democracy (AD) to People’s Democratic Party (PDP), people moved with me because they understood the circumstances and why I had to move. When they shut the door on me and they shot it too arrogantly. People saw why we had to move.”
NO AGREEMENT TO CHANGE PARTY,
WE ARE HAPPY WHERE WE ARE – MIMIKO
Against the accusation that he betrayed the Action Congress of Nigeria by not campaigning for the Party in the forthcoming general elections, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has declared that neither he nor his party had any agreement with anybody or party and also expressing his determination to serve the people more. This assertion was made during the monthly interactive programme, The Governor Speaks aired on media stations across the state and anchored by Ladi Akeredolu Ale, Director General, Ondo State Radiovision Corporation (OSRC). Excerpts:
On his administration’s achievements and celebration of 2 years in office:
Over the last three weeks or so of going round to commission projects, the reaction of our people is so exciting. The type of feelings I get from the people, I can’t exchange it for anything. I can see people who are joyful and happy, showing that their expectations of good governance and for responsive governance had not been dashed. People now see government as their own in terms of execution of projects that have direct impact on the lives of the people.
The other exciting part of my tour across the state is that we have also taken time to commission some local governments executed projects. It is exciting that there is a paradigm shift in quality of projects executed by these local governments. The local governments have keyed into our own new job efforts in terms of quality of job in the aspect of quality delivery. Projects executed by local governments in the state are now of international standards.
I give all glory to God that 2 years after, people are still excited with this administration the way they were at inauguration.
I cannot get tired working with the kind of response I get from the people. It energises me and keep me going on and on and on. You cannot imagine how much our people appreciate the little you do for them
Reasons why his administration is investing in market construction:
Markets in most Yoruba settings are next to the palace of traditional rulers. The market is the centre of commerce. It is central to the lives of our people. If there is any place that is being visited daily by everybody, it is the market. Then, why should we leave our market as if they are meant for animals and not humans? Why is it that during the raining season, you have to think twice to muster the courage to go to the market? Why is it that the woman that is more or less the engine room of the activities of the society are already disadvantaged by reason of their gender and financial economic control at home level? Why must we confine them to those so called dirty markets?
On efforts to revive ailing industries and creation of new ones:
The problem faced in the efforts to revive the industries is generating of power. Without electricity or power no industry can be competitive. Our poised to building our own gas plant to generate our own power as part of efforts to industrialise the state. We are already signing agreement with foreign companies to build our own gas plant to generate power for all the industries in the state to be competitive and not run on generators.
On the accusation by oppositions that projects executed are high in cost and amount to waste:
We are focusing on deliverables and we are deploying our resources very efficiently. I’m always on the street monitoring the projects. So, what we have is efficient management of resources.
Some people may have miniature or micro-vision but I have said it clearly, everything we are doing, we are benchmarking Ondo State for Africa. The Mother and Child hospital has been declared by the world body as the best practice adoptable, if maternal and infant mortality must be tackled. By the time our mega schools are ready, they would be like no other school in Nigeria. And when we must have leave the stage, no one will come and build anything less.
The people voted for me because of the vision I sold them. I said I want to run Ondo State as the ‘Best Run State’ in Nigeria. I want to make it the cynosure of all eyes. I don’t want the state to be a cynosure of all eyes by building bush rats schools. I want to build a new generation of schools and expand the horizon of our people.
On the forthcoming general elections:
For my party, Labour Party, the campaign has been made easy for us. The people of Ondo State are enlightened. You cannot deceive them. Our major opposition has been there for 6 years and placing us side by side with them, the people can judge themselves. The electorates are better and smarter than what most politicians think they were. Let your work speak for you.
You cannot cow our people anymore through brigandage. Let me appeal to politicians across party lines, ‘Let us have a free and fair election”. The people don’t want to go back to Egypt. We have had peace for the past two years in Ondo State and the people don’t want to go back to the old days of violence and thuggery. What they want is a free and fair election.
And on the role of money in politics, the more you have good governance the less the role of money. I speak for myself and for my party. If you go to NEPA market, will you bribe the women their to let them know their lives have changed? A woman that went to Mother and child and deliver safely in a healthy and safe environment cannot be bribed to think otherwise.
The more you have good governance, the more people see the nexus between their interest and governance, the less the role of money in politics. The role of money in Ondo State politics is diminishing over time.
On political alignment at State and national level and the accusation of betrayal:
Let me state it clearly that at no time, either as a party or an individual did I enter into agreement with anybody to change party. We are happy with the way we are.
I once moved from Alliance for Democracy (AD) to People’s Democratic Party (PDP), people moved with me because they understood the circumstances and why I had to move. When they shut the door on me and they shot it too arrogantly. People saw why we had to move.
Then I moved from PDP to Labour Party again when everybody knew the circumstances that the owners of the party, those I refer to ‘Emperors’, said on their dead body will I become governor and I say look, you can have your party, fortunately there are over 50 political parties. And now I’ll just wake up again and say I want to move. It is just like I’m taking the people for granted. We are happy where we are as Labour Party and we are not going anywhere.
Still on Election 2011 and voters:
It is absolutely clear that INEC has adopted the modified open ballot system. The procedure states that accreditation takes place between 8am and 12noon. At 12 after the last voter has been accredited, we all queue up and proceed to vote in secret. Secret meaning no other person will be able to see what you are marking but it will be in the open.
At the end of that exercise we all wait and the votes will be counted and result read out to us. And even a copy of the result is supposed to be posted on the wall. Then we can go home. Some may even decide, from a decent distance from INEC officials to escort the result to collation centre.
I also think it is ill advice that you cannot use camera phone on Election Day. That is an instrument of transparency. It is an anti-rigging device; and I’m sure this issue will be taking up with the Inspector General of Police. Even, information reaching me says that INEC is not happy about that pronouncement. It is not illegal to use camera phone. It will only promote transparency. And we have said it before, there should be a limit to the number of policemen attached to National assembly members or any public office holders on election day.
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