15 June 2018

Nigeria: Why I Returned to Labour Party - Mimiko

The immediate past governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, has officially returned to the Labour Party (LP), in a public declaration, held in Ondo, his home town.

He had on Wednesday, written to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, informing them of his resignation from the party.

In his declaration on Thursday at the Civic Centre in Ondo, Mr Mimiko, said he left the PDP out of the conviction to join forces with a political ideology relevant to the need of the present day Nigeria.

He appeared unperturbed by the declaration by a faction of the Labour Party that he was not wanted in the party.

According to him, all other parties, including his former party, the PDP, run on ideologies that would not serve the purpose of transforming the country.

Mr Mimiko was elected twice as governor of Ondo State on the platform of the LP, before he defected to the PDP and became the Chairman of the PDP Governors' forum.

The former governor captured the essence of his new move in a grandiose grammatical rendition in his address to herald his return to the LP.

He said returning to the LP was borne out of "the need to catalyse a greater focus on the ideological content of the Nigerian political firmament."

"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," he said.

"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.

"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."

labour party

He saidt the reasons stated above were the missing links in Nigeria's political process, which had made it an all comers' game and had marginalised the interest of the mass of the people in several governance spaces, since 1999.

He noted that his conclusions were as a result of his years of active participation in the political process at all levels since the early 1980s and not a mere theoretical exposition.

"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," Mr Mimiko added.

In his address, a factional National Chairman of the party, Abdukadir Abdusalam, said he was delighted to welcome back Mr Mimiko and his followers to the party as the nation approached the coming general elections.

"I feel highly delighted to preside over the return to Labour Party of His Excellency Dr Olusegun Mimiko, the immediate past Governor of Ondo State and all his followers," he said.

"His people oriented programmes in health, education, housing, rural development, urban renewal, youth and women empowerment attest to the value inherent in his return to the party.

"In him, we have an example of what power could be used to achieve on the side of the people.

"Therefore our hope and confidence is rekindled by his return to the party today to be part of the renaissance of the party and Nigeria.

"Today is indeed not a day for long speeches. We are here to welcome Dr. Mimiko to our party. By his history and achievements, he qualified pre-eminently to be a member of our great party.

"The Labour Party is elated that that a social democrat like Dr. Mimiko, who through his sterling performances as governor mainstreamed pro-people and pro-poor people policies, programmes and projects, is returning to add value to the party. I assure you of our support and commitment at all times."

PREMIUM TIMES reported how another faction of the Labour Party rejected the return of Mr Mimiko.

Mike Omotosho, who heads the Labour Party faction backed by the Nigeria Labour Congress, accused Mr Mimiko of attempting to destabilise the party.

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