Why Olusegun Mimiko’s senatorial bid failed to fly
Mimiko had bestrode politics of Ondo State for over two decades like Colossus, but one of his political protégées, Ayo Akinyelure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the one who has brought Iroko’s admirable political career to a halt.
Some of his lieutenants who have followed him from his many political journeys from the Alliance for Democracy (AD) also lost massively, even when they had brighter chances in PDP.
A former Commissioner in his cabinet, Simidele Odunmbaku and his Chief Press Secretary, Eni Akinsola, who were ZLP candidates for the Senate in the North and South districts respectively lost the election, while Joseph Akinlaja, who ditched PDP to join Mimiko lost Ondo East/West Federal Constituency poll cheaply to African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Senator Akinyelure, who was denied a return ticket to the 8th Assembly in the APC and written off politically by the incumbent, Tayo Alasoadura, polled 67,994 to reclaim his mandate from the latter, who scored 58,092 votes. Mimiko was demystified as he polled 56,628 to come third.
According to INEC, a total of 117 candidates from 21 political parties vied for the 12 National Assembly seats in Ondo State under different political parties: 37 senatorial candidates and 80 House of Representatives candidates; none had ever imagined that Mimiko and Akinlaja, the ZLP candidate for Ondo East/West Federal Constituency, would not fly.
The Akure people in the Old Akure Division and Central Senatorial District – Akure South, Akure North, Idanre and Ifedore LGAs – had shown tremendous support for Mimiko during his electioneering campaigns across the district, creating an impression that the would be a pushover.
Even the incumbent Senator and major challenger, Alasoadura, had expressed worries when Mimiko suddenly appeared on the scene, after he changed his mind from pursuing presidential race.
Some political analysts described the defeat of Mimiko as a payback for what he did to his former boss and predecessor, late Agagu, whom he stopped from going to the Senate in the 2011National Assembly election.
A PDP chieftain, Julius Agbekoya, said, “it is purely law of karma at work. He raised Boluwaji Kunlere against Agagu then and deployed all the paraphernalia of office to ensure that his former boss lost the election after he disgraced him out of office.”
An Akure indigene, Moses Fayehunmi said “Akure people paid Mimiko back in his own coin.
He betrayed Akure by selling out against Eyitayo Jegede in the last election. Our people usually say he that passes faeces on the road when going would unavoidably meet flies on the spot when coming back.
“Iroko also betrayed one of our sons, Engr. Gboye Adegbenro, whom we are all ready to work for as a youth. He used his power and wealth to deprive him of the senatorial ticket, so, we had to deceive him to go ahead, promising him our support. We treated him like the proverbial tortoise, singing ‘Erin wa ile o wa jóba for him, erin yeye; erin yeye.”
The political vendetta could not be unconnected with the 22 months tribunal sitting, which on February 23, 2009 sacked Agagu and announced Mimiko as the winner of April 2007 election.
Mimiko’s political decline started when he picked his former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Eyitayo Jegede, an Akure indigene as PDP candidate to succeed him after eight years in office, without knowledge and support of many members of his State executive Council (SEC) and political think-tank.
The election was won and lost in the November 26, 2016 election and his close friend, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu emerged the governor.
Unlike in the past, majority of his foot soldiers refused to follow him after they prevailed on him to remain in PDP. The likes of Faboyede, Kayode Akinmade and others wanted him to stay back rebuild the PDP across the 18 councils.
Internal wrangling within the original LP made Mimiko decamp again to ZLP, where he finally dropped his presidential bid and snatched the senatorial dream from one of his loyal followers, Engr. Gboye Adegbenro, whom he had earlier given his blessings to run for Senate.
It was said that Adegbenro, a former commissioner for Works in Mimiko’s cabinet declined all entreaties from the PDP to vie for the senatorial seat a promising young politician. But he said he could not forsake his political mentor, Mimiko.
Recounting his losses, someone close to the ex-commissioner lamented thus: “loyalty killed Adegbenro; he would have become the PDP senator-elect by now. He started this senatorial bid since they left for Labour Party and Mimiko gave his blessing as the presidential candidate of the party.
“He allowed the young man to spend money and other logistics only for him to run for same office. We waited for a time like this to teach him a lesson in the state. Iroko’s game is over politically in this state.”
No comments yet