James Sowole in Akure
The immediate past Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, thursday returned formally to the Labour Party (LP) with a declaration that lack of party with pro-masses oriented political ideology in the country informed his decision.
Mimiko made the declaration while addressing the mammoth crowd at the Civic Centre in his home town, Ondo, after he picked the LP membership card at Ward 7, Ondo West Local Government Area.
The former governor was elected on the platform of the LP in 2007 but was not sworn in until February 2009 due to the protracted court processes that terminated at the Court of Appeal, Benin City.
He was reelected in 2012 thus becoming the first person to serve out the constitutionally allowed two terms of eight years in the Sunshine State.
However, Mimiko during preparation for the 2014 general election moved to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and became the South West Coordinator of the President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation.
The declaration that lasted for several hours was attended by members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, including Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdusalam and the National Treasurer, Mrs. Oluchi Okpara
â€œI have taken this decision of returning to LP out of the conviction of the need to catalyze a greater focus on the ideological content of the Nigerian political firmamentâ€, he said.
He said the fact that he had won his second term as the governor of the state showed that the party was in control.
â€œThe implication of this is that there was practically no personal gain in focus for us in moving over to PDP as at that date.
â€œThe decision was also not borne out of any disagreement with LP, either ideologically or operational,â€ he said.
Mimiko added that he left the LP in the higher interest of the country particularly the issue of restructuring, which frontier the then president had extended a bit by convoking the National Conference.
â€œWe thus felt compelled to work with his party, hoping that his victory in the 2015 election would translate the vision of restructuring the Nigerian federation into reality,â€ he added.
According to him, ideologically focused political engagements are needed now more than ever before. â€œVirtually all the existing political parties in Nigeria today belong to the right of the centre, ensconced as it were in a neo-liberal mental construct, the name or mantra they choose to enrobe themselves in notwithstanding.
â€œThis is evident not in terms of the pretentious claims they make to ideological purity, but in the way and manner they have used power; including the extent to which they have mainstreamed the interest and welfare of the weak and poor in our society,â€ he said.
â€œThis ideological fluidity within which the nationâ€™s extant democracy has evolved since 1999, deserves now to be fully interrogated, with a view to engendering a transition to a more ideologically defined system of engagement,â€ he said.
Receiving the former governor, the LP National Chairman said Mimikoâ€™s people-oriented programmes in health, education, housing, rural development, urban renewal, youth and women empowerment attest to the value inherent in his return to the party.
â€œIn him, we have an example of what power could be used to achieve on the side of the people.
â€œTherefore, our hope and confidence is rekindled by his return to the party today to be part of the renaissance of the party and Nigeria.
â€œThe Labour Party is elated that a social democrat like Mimiko, who through his sterling performances as governor, mainstreamed pro-people and pro-poor people policies, programmes and projects, is returning to add value to the party. I assure you of our support and commitment at all timesâ€, he said.