To me, Governor's Mimiko's enduring legacies will be written in the next twelve months.
It may be legacies that automatically entitles him to another four years at Alagbaka as Chief Executive, or it may promise a roller-coaster ride that will be rough for him, by the cheer shenanigans of so-called political forces that are aligning against his own.
But the central problem facing Governor Mimiko's tenure will not be that of the political forces. The people of Ondo state are no fools as they have proven time and time again. They know how and when to separate chaff from the real deal.
The problem of governor Mimiko will be himself.
Already, on the official website of the Ondo state government (which reads more or less like OSRC in its glowing sycophancy ), a so-called Iroko 2013 group has already proclaimed Mimiko's achievements as unprecedented in Ondo state. With the report (http://yrn.me/k74dl) you can immediately sense what Mimiko's innermost circle of men are telling him..
Word to the effect that "the only former governor that could be compared to Mimiko in terms of performance was the late Adekunle Ajasin" is quite frankly nonsensical. To think such is being published on the state's official website is unnerving to the appropriately informed mind.
It is nonsensical because, it exposes a frightening misunderstanding on the pact, impact and visionary leadership that the era of Pa Ajasin represents in the political history of Ondo state.
It only takes living in Ondo state to recognise that the state, right from Alagbaka through to Ogbese, to Ibule is a living portrait of stagnation. The quotient of development that is in Ondo state is exactly at the level Pa Ajasin's leadership class of glorios yesteryears left it.
If the people milling around Governor Mimiko and the people responsible for the official website, do not realise that you cannot be the student, be the judge and then be the writer of history all at once, then Alagbaka is in serious trouble.
Here are few simple but telling realities:
Today, If you write an official letter today for-the-attention of governor Mimiko, there are no guarantees you would have any response, nor acknowledgements. What exactly therefore, are the responsibilities of the hundreds of men who mill around the governor day and night?
What guarantees you will receive any response, let alone positive treatment were you to write an official letter to someone in a ministry somewhere? And there are at least twenty three government ministries in Ondo state.
During the era of Pa Ajasin as I learn, it is standard procedure just as it is elsewhere in the world where governance is not about smokescreens, to expect a reply back if you write any letter to any department of state.
As a matter of fact, most government department have minimum service-level-assurances on how quickly they will deal with your correspondence. And you are pretty much entitled to sue if they fail on such service levels assurances.
It is not open to debate further therefore the quality of the leadership that obtains at Alagbaka if official letters, from citizens do not get the appropriate degree of treatment, starting with a due and diligently dispatched response.
Governor Mimiko’s premiership is more than three years old. It beggars the question, how hard can it be to reform the civil service?
Two, there is a feeling that Alagbaka has substituted the launching, or as as they say commissioning of project X and project Y for the notion of development in itself.
To think that a government that cannot connect the dots, and link the chains of interdependent growth in all sectors of her immediate society that actually drive development - true development, is letting herself be compared to the other ones, is quite frankly tragic. It’s bizarre.
Last year, governor Mimiko announced that a 'dome' building project is to be completed to the tune of N1.5B on 34 hectares of land somewhere in Akure. The governor added the project will be completed in five months at the time. (http://yrn.me/qt2e8). It should be time someone asked, where is the dome ?
And in the wider scheme of things, how much sense is it to invest N1.5B in a construction job where most of the raw materials are likely to be imported?
Alagbaka perennially organises one conference or the other in relentless and constant search for the economic blueprint of the state but there are no extractive industries in the state that may reduce the extreme unemployment in the land. Oluwa glass Company remains a proposition of seemingly distant history; And Governor Mimiko's people are busy trumping him as the next best thing since Pa Ajasin?
Perhaps more importantly, why is it inherently hard for the trappings of power in Ondo state - post the golden years of Pa Ajasin, to understand that Ondo state's strongest and most potent assets lies in the vast agricultural bases that underline the state's underbelly and apply more and focused mental thought towards redefining the enterprise and economic model of the state, based on these assets?
To me, it’s either insincerity, laziness or a combination of both. But Ondo state people will always figure that out. And in the case of Governor Mimiko, it will be soon enough.
Take the Gani Fawehinmi’s diagnostic centre [GFDC] inaugurated after a whopping $5.2M had been expended (http://yrn.me/8o8vz). Now, you cannot speak of Chief Fawenhimi without immediately transporting your brain cortex to the realms of extraordinary and greatest reverence. As such, whatever Ondo state chose to invest in his honour can only be ever so little.
At the commissioning of the centre in February, the Governor stated “This centre parades state of the art diagnostic equipment that can diagnose diseases of unimaginable kind and unbelievable accuracy because first class expertise has been deployed from design to operations”. You can only forgive the pomposity, if not scam of those words. Governor Mimiko is a well-trained medical doctor. There is no such thing as unimaginable disease and he knows it.
However, the real pertinent question is, what has the governor and his people at Alagbaka done in the last few months to ensure that the first-class expertise so deployed from design to operations in the construction of that facility, can replicate itself?
What are the governor’s development plan, for a new, perhaps University Teaching Hospital in Ondo state?
How are the ministries of Health to coordinate the potential for duplication of responsibilities between the GFDC and the rather disgraceful Ondo state central hospital?
The logical questions are limitless.
Development, the health and fate of the people is not a function of the number of mega schools or hospitala that you ostensibly build in itself. What it takes to develop the mind, soul and body of the people is much more than physical structure and the governor knows this.
Despite, having invested billions of Naira on a new healthcare centre, there is no doubt in my mind that if you ask my grandmother to compare the state of healthcare in Akure today, to what she experienced in 1980 – just her general perception - there can be only one winner. In 1980, I was not even in existence…
If you cannot begin to see the problems facing the people of Ondo state, from a holistic angle, and put the machinery of state towards constantly finding a way to solve them, day and night, then it would soon be immaterial the number of pages on the world-wide-web that you or your agent proclaim you as towering with the best of the past.
And in time, you would start to see intellectual jokers as Jimoh Ibrahim and his current PDP fool-mates as credible ‘opposition’ to your second term ambition.
The colour and nature of Governor Mimiko’s legacy, would depend on how well he is able to seize the urgency of now, to rediscover his mission and billing at Alagbaka.
He probably needs to decongest his office and mental space from the myriads of sycophants that surround and delude him daily.
There can be little doubt that he would like to gain a second term as the chief executive of Ondo state.
All he needs to do, between now and the next Gubernatorial election in Ondo state is discountenance the most of his team, most definitely disband the groupings comparing him to Ajasin, and focus on having a full return-on-investment on all those mushrooming projects that he has invested a lot of Ondo state’ petrodollars on. He surely can do more to redefine the concept of service delivery in his government’s civil service. This is so central to the successes, or otherwise of governance that it is key. People talk about Governor Fashola’s brilliance in Lagos – and I am yet to see it, but there is little contention in most quarters whatever trappings of positive impact Fashola’s government offers in Lagos can only be due to some of the structural organisation Mr. Bola Tinubu’s premiership facilitated previously.
The politics of Ondo state is one of the easiest to participate in Southwest Nigeria; Yet it is one that can be easily misunderstood: Act in the people’s greatest interests, and be seen to be so acting, and they will troop in time to validate your entitlement to continue. It took Late Governor Adeferati of then AD a lot of years, actually twenty-four hours to the guber elections in 2003, to realise that the people of Ondo state, do not mind to excise so called Awoists, in favour of the sons-and-daughter of Obasanjoism, if they have to go that far to prove they are no fools when contemplating the central management of their affairs. It was too late.
The governor may need to revisit his history books on just exactly why Ondo state ‘boiled’ in the defence of Pa Adekunle Ajasin’s mandate in 1983.
And when he so does, one can only hope he actually takes the lessons therein to heart. He will need a radical change of problem-definition-and-problem-onslaught. And above all, he needs to get the people around him to work for Ondo state, and no more.
Time is already running out and the preamble pages in Governor Mimiko’s legacy sheets are dangerously pointing to nothing but a colossal whitewash…