- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
Mimiko: A history of firsts
And what shall we say of Dr Olusegun Mimiko, the Ondo State governor?
What? Before you finish saying that he has done one beautiful thing, he goes ahead to do ten better things, the hallmark of a true statesman and lover of the people, unarguably and unquestionably the new Awo. Of course, those who celebrate the bad and condemn the good are ever engaged in their subversive activities against the people’s governor but I am not bothered because such activities are headed for the dustbin of history.
It was Mimiko who recently built black Africa’s first court in prison, a powerful machine for prison decongestion and a novel idea in the administration of justice. It is rare for inmates, who will by Nigerian law, not be voting in any election to take up buckets and tins and make soul-lifting music about the good works of one who remembered them in their hour of need. That singular action has carved for Mimiko a name written in gold wherever governance issues are discussed. Mimiko chose to abandon the frivolities with which governance is often associated in this clime and identify with the underprivileged, the poor and the down-trodden, in their hour of need. The Yoruba say you only know your true friends at your hour of need: igba iponju la n mo ore, what the English present as “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” On a lighter note, friends are rare: somebody collected money from me for a specific purpose on my special day and then disappeared, claiming to have been stuck in the traffic on Iwo Road. Till today, he is still stuck in the traffic and he has not returned the money. A lot of governors/senators are like this: they are stuck in the traffic, toying with the people’s mandate.
The only Quality Education Assurance Agency in the country ( an agency which, as the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, pointed out, ensures quality control in education through the inspectorate division which would also synergise with local communities in meeting local educational needs) is another first by Mimiko, but so is the driver’s airport, the ultramodern motor park in Akure. The ticketing office, the restrooms tagged ‘conveniences’ boasting unbelievable facilities, the green area, are all a beauty to behold.
Indeed, the arrival/departure lounge at the park, with the same facilities that you have at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja or Murtala Mohammed in Lagos, is a wonder only a uniquely people-centred and visionary administration can engineer. I walked into the park in company with my wife recently and saw well dressed drivers doing their business in a climate of tranquillity. The familiar smell of marijuana which you contend with at motor parks anywhere in the country, the hard drinks and sweaty, pig-arrayed touts were gone and in their place were controlled verdure, a classy restaurant, duty-free lock-up shops dispensing confectioneries and other provisions, and a happy community of passengers watching DSTV while waiting for their taxi or bus flight. And perhaps for the first time in their lives, the transport managers were in classy offices with befitting facilities. I noticed the masterful interior decor, particularly the curtains. And the irredeemable criminals who set the future on fire through their present theft of the commonwealth!
If you have been to Akure recently, you have probably seen school children going to school in state-of-the-art luxury buses, free of charge. Even the bus stops are a beauty to behold. Some of the children are going to the new mega schools, mega in conceptualisation and mega in facilities, without a parallel anywhere in the world. Not even in England do you find such schools, and British education is far better than Nigeria’s. School uniforms are free, no tuition fees are paid, the e-libraries are classy and even the chalkboards are electromagnetic. And taking a drive around town, you would find recreation centres where you can dissipate energy, again free of charge.
The concept of mechanic village was initiated by Governor Olusegun Mimiko to concentrate all the mechanics that littered Akure into a camp where facilities will be provided for them and those who want to patronise them can have a direction of patronage. At the mechanic village, members of the National Association of Automobile Mechanics ply their trade in a top-of-the-world environment. There are 80 bush bars. A bush bar is a concentration of five NATA professionals (mechanic, electrician, rewire, panel beater, sprayer) working together in each workshop, a comprehensive team to work on your vehicle.’
What it costs the auto workers to be in the mechanic village? It is N40 only per day, yes N40. There is of course the Caring Heart International Auto Mart, described as “Nigeria’s own Cotonou” where you can get any ride of your choice.
In yet another novel move which outclasses any effort by any other governor in the country, Dr Mimiko, through the instrumentality of the Ondo State Wealth Creation Agency (WECA inaugurated three farms settlements in Epe, (Ondo Central), Auga (Ondo North) and Ore (Ondo South Senatorial districts), with each catering for the agricultural peculiarities of its district. In no time, the WECA had cleared about 10 thousands hectares of land in the thick jungle of Ore along Ore–Ijebu Ode–Lagos expressway, with three major agricultural pursuits; fishery; poultry and arable farming. Dr Mimiko, as noted by the quintessential tours and travel editor, Wale Ojo-Lanre, “Dr Mimiko ensured that super chalets built to taste were constructed for the accommodation of the participants with provision of a bore hole, DSTV, with two sets of plasma TVs, two generators, table tennis and other games facilities for recreation. The participants have been able to plant over 6000 hectares of maize, over 1million palm seedlings and also over 1000 hectares of cassava. The poultry section has about 30 large pens made up of three cubicles each, with over 700 layers and breeders, while the fishery has over 2000 large fish ponds with the least harbouring 2500 fingerlings.The farm has a large man-made dam which the participant christened Iroko Dam, the appellation of Dr Mimiko.”
The uniqueness: the farmers are pooled from the sea of hitherto unemployed graduates who applied through the WECA. As many as 1087 graduates engaged were being trained to acquire entrepreneurial skills in agro-related businesses of their interest with a view to becoming job creators and millionaires in no distant time. The trainees are participants and co-owners of the farm.
How? The government having provided the land, the inputs, accommodation in the village and monthly stipends for the participants’ upkeep, the participants tend their farms, nurture their birds and ensure the survival of their fingerlings.
During the harvest, the participants will go home with the profits, while the capital is injected back into the business.
There is really no end to documenting Dr Mimiko’s monumental firsts in education, urbanisation, health, science and technology, power, sports or even culture. The governor recently constructed the first dew-spewing roundabout in the country, and continues to build state-of-the-art neighbourhood markets in every nook and cranny of the state, at virtually no cost to the users.
Awolaja is on the Politics Desk of the Nigerian TribuneShare