The Panama Canal, a 77-kilometre Ship Canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, is one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. From what I read recently, the builders of the canal faced enormous obstacles of geography, climate and disease.
Most of the construction work was supervised by Colonel George Washington Goethals. He had to endure severe criticisms from many back home who predicted that he would never complete the “impossible’task”. But the great engineer was resolute and pressed steadily forward in his work without responding to those who opposed him.
“Aren’t you going to answer your critics?”, a subordinate inquired. “In time,” Goethals replied. “How?” the man asked, “with the canal”. And his answer came on August 15, 1914, when the canal opened to traffic for the first time. The canal has since been named as one of the seven modern wonders of the world by the American Society of Engineers.
As it was then with Goethals as regards conditions and circumstances’, so it is now with Mimiko, the governor of Ondo State. Just as the waves buffet the shores of the sea repeatedly and often rhythmically, criticisms of different dimensions are being hurled at Mimiko and his government incessantly.
Issues, from the mundane to the critical and highly sensitive, are being politicized by the opposition without considering or reflecting on them carefully before coming up with a position, all in a desperate bid to discredit the governor and subsequently disloge a bourgeoning government.
But, based on extensive interactive sessions and in-depth research, it has been discovered that the majority of the citizenry, who form the bulk of the electorate, seem to know better. There is, indeed, a general consensus, based on their convictions, that these phantom criticisms are mere propaganda that contain no kernel of truth.
Furthermore, they are of the opinion that the opposition parties should try to employ critical thinking with a discerning quality that combines knowledge, historical antecedents and balanced judgment with facts and figures as against balderdash criticisms, so that their views may be respected by their target audience, in this case the electorate.
Deep in their consciousness therefore, the dictates are very obvious, they want Olusegun Mimiko back in the saddle for a second term in continuation of a purposeful and beneficial leadership.
The various communities, their leaders, the youths, artisans, farmers, market women and especially the down-trodden who are now able to achieve personal growth, develop social skills and self-awareness which hitherto eluded them are already yearning for an encore, passionately demanding for a seamless continuity of the Mimiko administration.
This is why no amount of propaganda or mudslinging can sway the people from making the right choices whenever the situation arises. Infact, to the majority of Ondo people, whoever criticizes Mimiko of under-performance must either be blind, deaf and dumb at the same time, playing politics of bitterness or needs help with his or her state of mind.
This position of the greater number of the people is well corroborated by the continuous outburst of emotions and outpouring of accolades by appreciative well meaning non-political Nigerians, elder statesmen, reputable local and international organizations, the consequence of which has been a harvest of laurels. One after the other they eulogise and reward Mimiko for his sterling leadership qualities and outstanding achievements in office to date.
For example, the superlative success of the Abiye (safe motherhood) project, a health initiative in tackling infant mortality has not only been publicly applauded by the World Bank but also recommended it as a solution to African health challenges.
*Gbenga Ogunremi is a public affairs analyst.