By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Moved by increasing media attacks from a retooled Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN media office in Ondo State, the ruling Labour Party, LP mounts a fight back. Is the ACN doing or not doing its work?
The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN had promised after losing the recent Ondo State gubernatorial election to raise the party’s profile in the state and act as a check for the victorious incumbent, Dr. Segun Mimiko of the Labour Party, LP.
It is perhaps in that direction that the party has continued to monitor the actions of the Mimiko administration. The incumbent government has to a large degree refrained from offering a retort. Well that was until last Wednesday following the harsh criticism of the ACN of what many have considered as one of the major legacies from Mimiko’s first tenure, the Mother and Child Hospital.
The hospital project popularly known as the Abiye Programme which has won accolades for the governor from across the globe is the pet project of the Mimiko administration.
Under the safe motherhood programme, pregnant women are monitored from when they report to the hospital to the point of delivery. A unique point of the project is that pregnant women are given free telephones allowing them to talk to their health care providers free of charge.
Perhaps buoyed by the enthusiasm that has followed the programme Governor Mimiko had during the recent commissioning of the project given his determination to replicate the Mother and Child Hospital in the three senatorial zones assuring that the programme would be able to cater for as much as 30,000 new born babies within the next three years.
It was a claim that immediately provoked the ACN which responding through its newly appointed spokesman, Idowu Ajanaku said: “What does it hold for the people, if not the multiplication of poverty or is he saying that his government would also take over the responsibilities of caring for these children from cradle to adulthood?”
Continuing, Ajanaku said: “For us in ACN, what we are saying is that government should be providing holistic healthcare solution for all the members of the society and generate employment through the provision of an enabling environment for private sector investment. Mimiko should open up the riverine areas of the state for serious business with global impact like what is happening in Ajah, Lagos under Governor Babatunde Fashola,” the party said.
The LP in a raging denunciation of the claim immediately fired back accusing the ACN of unguided media provocation.
The party in a statement expressed shock that the ACN would sidetrack what it claimed were its internal problems to create negative impressions on the activities of the LP led administration in the state.
The LP statement issued by the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Femi Okunjemiruwa followed an earlier statement issued by the ACN criticizing last week’s commissioning of the Mother and Child Hospital by Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
The LP dismissed the assertions as the “symptom of an idle publicity seeking party.” LP said: “it is ridiculous that weeks after coming a distant third in an election they so much boasted to win, the ACN in Ondo state, its former governorship candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu and its jobless megaphone of falsehood is yet to come to terms with their defeat and face other serious challenges tearing apart whatever is left of their credibility in the public domain.
“We find it strange and diversionary the attempt by the party in the state to divert public attention from the ripples and open show of shame by members and leaders of the party who are after one another over the theft and misappropriation of huge funds deployed to manipulate the last governorship polls in Ondo state. Today, the party members are either fighting their leaders in public places for pocketing election funds or leaders chasing party officials around with security agents to recover part of the diverted funds.”
“These are serious reputation damaging issues that should be of concern to sensible party officials rather than a vain attempt by a jobless campaign spokesman to remain relevant through undue media attention by casting aspersion on a course as noble as providing good and modern health care delivery system to the people of Ondo state by Governor Mimiko.
“Let it be known that if Governor Mimiko could not be distracted during the electioneering campaigns, it is not possible to think that mere statements from rabble-rousers will stop him from commissioning people oriented projects he has initiated and completed in the state.” the statement concluded.