It came as a rude shock that the same Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Mr. Peter Obi, the Executive Governors of Ondo State and Anambra State respectively, were counted among the proponents of the loser’s faction of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
You will recall that OluSegun Mimiko was the Secretary to the State Government (SGF) of Ondo State under the Administration of Olusegun Agagu. He was later nominated to the ministerial cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo and he became the Minister of Housing, Urban and Regional Planning. Leading to the 2007 general elections however, Mimiko who is popularly referred to as “Iroko”, decided to contest for the governorship of Ondo State against his principal and benefactor, the incumbent Olusegun Agagu. He was however persuaded first, and then pressured by President Olusegun Obasanjo to rescind the decision. One will easily recall the statement by the former President at a rally for Agagu in Akure that he (Mimiko) was corrupt and EFCC would soon go after him
However, Mimiko perceiving his own popularity, refused to bow to Presidential intimidation and when it was clear that he would not get a fair process in the primaries, decamped from the PDP to contest on
the platform of the Labour Party. When the election results were announced and it became clear again that Mimiko had been rigged out, he contested the election’s result and his famous victory at the electoral tribunal and the appeal court is well documented.
Peter Obi, like his counterpart in Ondo State was also rigged out of the of the 2003 governorship election in Anambra State. He also being an underdog, lacking presidential backing or any other political capital, relied solely on the electoral tribunal and the appeal court to help restore his stolen mandate. Peter Obi, in politics has indeed benefited tremendously on the “fairness” of our legal system, challenging the INEC on the longevity of his tenure in 2007 when he had served less than four years. It was the verdict of the courts that became the precedence that a Governor’s tenure starts to count from the day he is sworn in, and not from the date the election held. He also famously lost his seat to an illegal impeachment which he doggedly challenged again at the courts, and won. He has won all these victories, in spite of the leaning of Aso Rock, and sometimes at the expense of Aso Rock.
At each juncture of their own victories at the polls, and in the courts, the duo of Segun Mimiko and Peter Obi did not waste any time in going to town to shout their (we now know only when it’s convenient) mantra “victory for democracy”.
It is therefore shocking that these two men, who ordinarily should be champions-for-life for the tenets and principles of democracy, having benefited immensely from it, will stand up and be counted among those raising the hands of the minority against the majority. This is not just disgraceful but disheartening. I wonder if they still think what they are doing is victory for democracy?
How could they? Have they now forgotten how a presidential power was against them and yet they put themselves forward against all odds and rode on democracy to power, or is “the one with the president” now a majority?
How could they? Turn against their very own historical principles, and shamelessly trample on the principle of one man one vote in the process and for what?
Even if one chooses to indulge Jonah Jang (although there is no basis for it), who may find it hard to swallow the sting of the dummy he was sold at the level of the PDP-GF and also the Northern GF. What is the case for Peter Obi and Segun Mimiko, since they are members of neither of these forums? What is their basis for turning against the outcome of a voting process to which they freely submitted themselves?
To even imagine that Mimiko chose Democracy Day (May 29) to join his party chairman to publicly declare that the party is supreme is just distasteful. Did he believe in party supremacy when he refused all injunctions not to contest against Agagu in 2007?
These are the same people we are looking up to as the beacon of hope for our democracy. What does this say about their character? Isn’t it now believable that Mimiko is the traitor that betrayed Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu? What is it about African leaders that they cannot stand on integrity? Don’t they know it takes a leader to admit defeat? What a shame!