As expected with every victory, the landslide success of Governor Olusegun Mimiko at the October 20, gubernatorial poll, triggered uncontrollable jubilation amongst the great people of Ondo State and even beyond.
Mimiko convincingly won at the polls no doubt, however one cannot forget so soon the campaign of calumny which preceded the election especially from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
The campaigns were based on denying the good works of Mimiko which were his qualification certificate before the people. Since the people of Ondo State despise deceptions, sadly the party failed to win the hearts of a majority of the principled Ondo people.
On the part of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which its candidate came third in the contest, the first miscalculation of the party was the alleged imposition of Rotimi Akeredolu as its candidate by the party’s leadership.
This, to indigenes of Ondo State meant that there was no internally democratic mechanisms that were fair to all in the party; the people also saw the party as cheating against those candidates who were not given equal treatments.
Akeredolu could be a very good candidate but the way he was selected was annoying and those who know the people of the state would not be surprised if a kinsman of Akeredolu opposed him for cheating others in the race.
In another token, it was obvious that the ACN did not take its time to study the people. Since they had been succeeding in the other South-West states, the leaders of the party concluded that the same tactics, strategies and weapons used in those states were enough to “capture” Ondo State.
At the time the ACN was campaigning, Mimiko was the governor of the state and the people would have wanted him to be treated as such. The people did not like some derogatory and uncomplimentary languages used and also the sheer arrogance and pride displayed against their incumbent Governor.
It was therefore true that some of those who had vowed to vote for the ACN actually changed their minds when they heard those disparaging words used against him by the party leaders. Even if money and materials were distributed, the people’s hearts had been fixed against the party.
Also another factor which was identified that worked against the ACN was the perception of Senator Bola Tinubu by the people of Ondo state who saw him as pillar and godfather of all the party’s appointed and elected men and women including the six state governors under ACN platform.
The truth is that an average indigene of Ondo State detests godfatherism and dictatorship. The people would rather like a governor whose administration cannot be hijacked by external interests.
It was a great joy for the good people of Ondo that the state did not experience the ‘Armageddon’ that actually hung in the air prior to the election of October 20. In place of doom, the state witnessed bliss, courtesy of a globally-acclaimed free and fair election.
In fact, many individuals and institutions that had, on account of the palpable fear occasioned by pre-election tension in Ondo, been at alert to outdo one another in sympathising with the state, in the event of the undesirable expected, were disappointed. And now that elections are over, we have a re-elected Governor that is competent, progressive, trusted, tested and reliable.
The resounding victory of Mimiko in the election is a product of good governance of his administration. Mimiko stood by the people all through the period, by embarking on various development projects that have direct bearing on them. Mimiko’s victory was not bought, but laboured for, and amazingly the governor would not let the people down even in his second term in office.
The applause that greeted the victory of Mimiko across the country, shortly after the announcement, especially from the president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan; leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), state governors, including the Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and a host of others was an indication that he was the popular choice of the people.
*Emmanuel Ajibulu wrote from 3 Arms Zone Abuja