Home The Trent Voices Elite Blogs Olusegun Mimiko: The Labour Party Experience In Ondo State, And Beyond
Olusegun Mimiko, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, on Thursday, June 14, 2018 officially rejoined the Labour Party. In his speech, which was well received, he cited the quest for an ideological platform which places inclusive political engagement. Below is the text of his remarks at the Ondo Town Civic Centre, where a huge crowd attended his official return to the Labour Party.
IDEOLOGICAL PLATFORM FOR INCISIVE POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT: THE LABOUR PARTY (LP) EXPERIENCE IN ONDO STATE, AND BEYOND
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
I most humbly announce to Nigerians today my decision to quit the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), and return to Labour Party (LP), my true political family.
I have taken this decision out of the conviction on the need to catalyze a greater focus on the ideological content of the Nigerian political firmament. Recall that I was of the LP, and had won my two gubernatorial elections on the platform of the Party prior my decision to move over to the PDP in 2014. The implication of this is that there was practically no personal gain in focus for us in moving over to PDP as at that date. The decision was also not borne out of any disagreement with LP, either ideologically or operationally. It was simply a decision that we needed to take in the higher interest of our country. We particularly had in focus the agenda of restructuring, which frontier the then president had extended a bit by convoking the National Conference. We thus felt compelled to work with his party, hoping that his victory in the 2015 election, would translate the vision of restructuring the Nigerian federation into reality.
Recall also that INEC had tweaked the order of the 2015 election, joining the presidential and National Assembly elections – to hold on the same day. It posed a huge practical challenge to get our supporters to vote a PDP presidential candidate, and LP legislative candidates, in the same election, on the same day. We thought helping to elect a presidential candidate that had demonstrated this commitment to restructuring of the country was well worth the risk associated with our having to step out of our LP platform onto PDP, on which the former president was running. Even now, restructuring remains for us the critical plank without which the much needed stability and functionality of our country cannot be procured.
We have also come with the conviction, consequent upon several years of practical involvement in the nation’s political process, that the need for ideologically focused political engagement is now more pressing than ever before. Virtually all the existing political parties in Nigeria today belong to the right of the centre, ensconced as it were in a neo-liberal mental construct, the name or mantra they choose to enrobe themselves in notwithstanding. This is evident not in terms of the pretentious claims they make to ideological purity, but in the way and manner they have used power; including the extent to which they have mainstreamed the interest and welfare of the weak and poor in our society. This ideological fluidity, within which the nation’s extant democracy has evolved since 1999, deserves now to be fully interrogated, with a view to engendering a transition to a more ideologically defined system of engagement. This will at once allow for a nuanced examination of the context and content of governance, provide the Nigerian people with real alternatives, and help the electorate in making informed decisions as to which individual or platform to invest with power; and how to hold such to account at all times.
We have come to the conclusion that these are the missing links in our political process, which have tended to make an all comers game of it, and one in which the interest of the mass of the people has been greatly marginalized in several of our governance spaces, since 1999. To be sure, our thought here is not a mere theoretical exposition. It is one that is consequent upon years of active participation in the political process, at the local, state, and federal levels, since the early 1980s, and especially these past two decades.
LP, and its few ideological soul mates among the legion of parties in the country today, provide the requisite platform for this type of deep ideological introspection. Without doubt, this social democratic mantra, which LP and its soul mates represent, remains the best possible outlet for leading Nigeria into a new era of progressive governance. By the grace of God, using the platform of LP, we demonstrated for eight years in Ondo State (2009 – 2017), what it means for government to be pro-people. It is our hope moving forward, that working within LP, and hand-in-hand with other Nigerians of like minds, we would begin to sharpen the ideological divide in Nigerian politics, with a view to mainstreaming the welfare and interest of the mass of our people.
It is for the foregoing reasons that I, and Nigerians across the country, and in the Diaspora, who admire what we represent, as demonstrated in our varied accomplishments in government, have elected to have us return to LP. This is a decision we consider as correct, reasonable, and patriotic. With this, we are no more restrained from offering to the Nigerian people a pristine, truly ideologically driven, well-thought-out, and historically valid alternative for repositioning our country.
Let me just add, for the purpose of clarification, that while it is the goal of every political party in a democracy to win the next election, and form the next government, our formation considers it perhaps more important to have a platform with which we can begin to sensitize the Nigerian people to the requisite ideological clarity without which governance in the country will continue to operate at the mundane level – serving only the interest of the few, while marginalizing that of the many.
I thank you for listening to me.