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.
“Only Aketi can defeat Aketi in the coming election”
Who’s Abayomi Ale?
My name is Ale Abayomi Abiodun. I am a lawyer, a transaction advisor, sustainability champion, workplace culture expert, and a politician. I am a family man. I am a proud Owo son and an indigene of Ondo State. I am debonair and conservative by nature. I may be a polymath too. I’m also a health enthusiast.
The Governorship election in Ondo State is approaching, what’s your view about the election?
It’s just another defined term for evaluation of performance. In the overview, we are lucky that Ondo State election won’t be going the rowdy way like Edo States’. Most times when too much emotions get invested in any particular election, it’s the masses and the State’s economy that suffers it the most. Such are usually violent; very expensive, as politicians may be spurred to spend ten naira where they ought to have spent five naira; and its usually difficult to recover from such battles when a winner eventually emerges. Such victories are usually pyrrhic and attended with enormous court battles.
We would have fall into same labyrinth if the estranged deputy governor of Ondo State had won the PDP ticket of the State. Its obvious God has favoured us for peace and prosperity with the way the Primary elections of the two mainstream political parties in the State turned out.
Who is your preferred candidate?
Oh… you can see that from every shade of my body language.
To be frank with you, I am of the believe that this administration has not only performed creditably well in so many sectors, but has set the economic quadrants of the State towards achieving financial sustainability. The latter is one of the reasons I preach that Arakunrin Akeredolu be allowed a second term to consolidate the foundation he has laid before handing over to another illustrious son of the State. This administration has positioned the state on a tripod stand of Industrial Opportunities; Security and Exit Strategy Seaport that will help export value-added produce and products.
This is a diversion that leads to financial independence of Ondo State. It’s a redirection that will gradually reduce our dependency on FAAC droppings from the Federal table. I strongly believe such a vision should be supported for another four years.
Are you supporting Aketi because he is your kinsman?
(Laughs)…..That’s not true. As a fact, I worked for another candidate in 2016 and didn’t support him then. This wasn’t because I didn’t trust his capacity and character then, but because I had the burden of political loyalty. My political teacher and master then supported Olusola Oke….he was even the Director-General of his campaign. There was no way I would switch loyalty midstream. I don’t give less than 100% loyalty to whomever or whatever I believe.
So you are back now with Barr. Olusola Oke to support the governor?
I have been back to support and respect Aketi as the leader of the party in the State right from when everyone returned to APC. I never supported the Unity Group. I returned to corporate practice of Law in Abuja since 2018…… I have learnt that to hold on to an ideology in Nigeria’s polity, you may need to retain and develop your second address; else the only alternative will be to become an apple-polish. I am not very good in bootlicking.
Do you think Aketi will win, or which of the candidates do you think will win the October 10 election in Ondo State?
Aketi will win! Part of my training is to be objective in analyzing products, projects, challenges and service. On this one, I reached the verdict that only Aketi can defeat Aketi in the coming election. In the scale of balances, Aketi is a strong candidate with the advantage of incumbency in the ruling party at both the central and the State. One of his contenders is a weak candidate, but with a good political party structure. The other is a good grassroot mobiliser in a political party that less than 2% of the voters in Ondo State presently can recognize its party logo. This is apart from that the latter has been labeled a turncoat with a vaulting ambition.
All Factors and Indicators point to Aketi’s win. The man is an example of what God meant in Psalm 23:5.
What is your dream for Ondo State?
That we eventually exploit our potentials to maximized benefits. Ondo State is strategically positioned with both land mineral resources and seaport advantage. If the first white man’s ship had berth at our shores, we would have been ten times greater than what Lagos is today. I believe that with the right balanced heads and economic advisers in Alagbaka for a continued period of terms, Ondo state will grow in leaps and bounds. Hopefully, the exclusive list of our federal constitution would be devolved soon. It has been a stone in the wheels of progress to many States in Nigeria.
MIMIKO HAS JUST STARTED THE GOOD WORKS
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.
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
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