Excerpt from Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko’s interview with TheNEWS’ team of ADEMOLA ADEGBAMIGBE, TOKUNBO OLAJIDE and IDOWU OGUNLEYE
What is your current relationship with the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria, especially given your history with some its leaders?
The disagreement we have is that the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, said I should leave the Labour Party and join ACN, and I have insisted that there is no reason I should leave the Labour Party. I have been very fortunate; I have changed party twice. And yet I’ve not lost the people. It is because there were reasons for me to change party. When I was leaving the Alliance for Democracy, it was clear to everybody in Ondo State why I had to leave.
When I left, some people left with me. When I was leaving the PDP, it was clear to everybody that I had to leave and look for another platform. I have no reason now to leave Labour Party for ACN. That is the point of disagreement.
And I have always pointed out that if there are areas where we share same values, we can collaborate. I believe in state police for example. Whatever coloration of party you are in, if you believe in state police, I would be able to collaborate with you for us to be able to actualise it in the course of constitutional amendment. I believe that we must decentralise power to a very large extent in Nigeria.
I believe the smaller, the better. I believe that the resources of the federal government can be devolved to the states and local governments for better and effective utilisation.
And when we talk of economic integration, the point I have always made is absolutely clear. When we talk of integration, what are you talking about? The sub-structure. The sub-structure in the integration is that we are all Yoruba people, we speak the same language. Because of common history and heritage, our worldview and value system are the same. The aspirations of an Ekiti, an Ondo and an Ogun man are the same. They are ready to give everything they have to educate their children, so they can be greater than them.
Then we have geography. Because of these common features that integrate us, we can create an economy of scale in some of our economic endeavours that would improve our fortunes. But it’s not the same thing as political integration. And this must be made clear. Even if there is going to be any political aspect of this integration, it must be a recognition of the fact that the people must be given the right to determine who leads them at any point in time. Once we agree on all of these, then we can collaborate. But when people say, willy-nilly, they are going to capture a state, I think that belongs in the realm of the past. We should develop the democratic mindset and let the will of the people prevail.