Olusegun Mimiko: The Rootless ‘Iroko’…Recoils

Olusegun Mimiko

Into His Anonymous Cocoon
No vehicle can run indefinitely without a refuel, just as no tree can hope to remain sturdy without water and sunshine. The events of recent weeks have no doubt inscribed this truth deeply into the breasts of former Ondo Governor, Olusegun Mimiko. If he didn’t know before, he has surely now realized that the days when he could be considered the kingmaker in Ondo politics are well and truly in the past.

The renowned native of Ondo Town had the bitter-tasting concoction of a demoralizing defeat forced down his reluctant throat as he lost his bid to represent Ondo Central at the Senate. Contesting on the platform of a relative lightweight party, the Zenith Labour Party, the state’s former number one was handily trounced by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party Ayo Akinyelure.

Since then, the once acclaimed “Iroko” of Ondo politics has recoiled into his shell. He has realized too late that a good name and sound record in governance can get you only so far without the necessary strategic alliance with the powerbrokers that matter. Thus, he is forced to watch in helpless alarm as his grip on Ondo politics is erased, inch by painful inch. The landscape has changed and his influence has waned.

When the going was good, the fallen politician was one of the most powerful politicians in the south west. During his tenure he did so well with many laudable projects, especially in the health sector. Though he received a lot of knocks for paying lip service to certain issues, his tenure was on the whole remembered positively. Since he tried and failed to install his protégé as his successor, he had been in semi-retirement.

Unknown to him, leaving the scene had allowed several upstarts the chance to fill the political vacuum left by his absence. They consolidated their powers into several alliances while his declined, especially as he was perceived as someone who likes going it alone. Now, after suffering such an embarrassing loss in February, the one-time federal minister for housing and urban development is expected to retrace his steps back into retirement.