Olusegun Mimiko: A Truly Unforgettable Leader

Olusegun Mimiko: A Truly Unforgettable Leader [MUST READ]

By Opinions | The Trent on February 15, 2019
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Olusegun Mimiko, Brian Dennis, Ephraim Adiele, Boma Williams
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, immediate past governor of Ondo State returns to Labour Party on Thursday, June 14, 2018

If there is one man among the few good men who sacrificially serve their people and generations unborn through their words and actions, thereby leaving indelible marks of growth and development in the lives of the people, that man is Dr Olusegun Mimiko, the immediate past Governor of Ondo State.

In his time as Governor of our dear State, Dr Mimiko ensured that his government was peopled by young and vibrant minds with great ideas for the future, hence, there were Commissioners in his government that were in their 30s and early 40s, who joined in formulating human capacity improving policies that were christened “The Caring Heart”. Surely, with all that Mimiko did for the people of Ondo State under “The Caring Heart” mandate, they will not forget him in a hurry as one who built ultramodern schools for their children and also provided free school shuttle buses that conveyed students of both public and private schools to and fro their respective schools thereby saving their parents a good percentage of their income that would have been spent daily on transportation for the children.

In addition to this, Iroko as he is fondly called, established the Medical Village in Ondo Town, which is a one-stop shop for many medical needs including the one for which Nigerians go abroad to pay ridiculous bills. The Village consist a Mother & Child Hospital, a Trauma Centre, University of Medical Sciences, Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre and the Kidney and Dialysis Centre, all equipped with modern facilities manned by young, enthusiastic, responsive and friendly staff and an unusual cosy ambience devoid of any odour usually associated with hospitals.

In order to drastically reduce the high infant and mortality rates in the State, Mimiko went a step further to introduce a policy where pregnant women were attended to and delivered of their babies free of charge, and the children from age 0 – 5, given access to free medical care. This was a big relief to people of the State as those who used to patronise quacks and traditional midwifes because of cost returned to the hospitals for adequate care thereby reducing significantly the State’s infant and mortality rates. An achivement that attracted the attention of globally renowned health organisations including the WHO.

As a well read man himself, Mimiko did not toy with the education of the people. Apart from what he did at the primary and secondary school levels, he ensured that there was equal and easy access to tertiary education by all qualified indigenes and residents of the state by pegging the fees of the state owned Adekunle Ajasin University (AAU), Akungba Akoko, to between N25,000 and N30,000 depending on the course of study.

And Mimiko achieved all these and more despite lean resources available to the State. A lot of us in the State have always wondered how he was able to sustain those lofty programmes for the citizens in those tough circumstances. As if to confirm that it can only take a genius to run and sustain such a programme, the people oriented policies and facilities have since crumbled after he left office.

Today, since Mimiko left the seat of power in Ondo State, pregnant women have taken to the streets in protest against the introduction of high fees, which are now as high as N25,000, for normal delivery by pregnant women. Those who get delivered through the caesarian section pay through their noses as well.

The school shuttle buses which operated uninterrupted between 2012 when it was introduced and 2016 when Mimiko left power, have taken a turn for the worst to the extent that that necessity for our pupils/students is now almost non-existent.

As if that was not enough, fees were increased astronomically at state owned institutions of learning which led to protests by students of some of these institutions. For example, fees in Adekunle Ajasin University were increased from between N25,000 – N30,000, to a whopping N120,000 – N250,000 depending on the course of study. Since Mimiko left, things have not remained the same, and that is why the people of Ondo State will never forget a man who gave them more in the midst of little, a man who gave their lives meaning in spite of daunting challenges.

Surely, Mimiko is a man of history, one that will remain in the consciousness of the people for a very long time to come.

Balogun Michael sends this piece from Ondo Town in Ondo State.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors.

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