By Ezeocha Nzeh
Former Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, on Thursday, joined the 2019 presidential race on the platform of the Labour Party, with security, restructuring and youth empowerment topping the agenda.
In his declaration speech, which he tagged “Because We Care” the former governor said that time has come in the life of a nation for every patriotic Nigerian to stand up to be counted.
“At such a moment, no person worthy of a place in history can afford to remain ensconced in their comfort zone. When the totality of our being, and the very essence of our humanity are in violation, patriots must advance to recapture the present; and commit to re-defining the future. For our country, Nigeria, the moment is now!”, Mimiko told a gathering of party leaders and stakeholders at his declaration at the Labour Party National Secretariat, in Abuja.
“It is time to all march out and recall our past, take charge of the present, and launch out into greatness, as one inclusive, cohesive family. It is within the foregoing context that I situate myself. It is the reason why I find it so compelling to humbly declare today, my decision to seek election into the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2019.”
Mimiko had earlier served as a Minister under the Obasanjo administration, Secretary to Ondo State Government and a two time Commissioner for Health in Ondo State.
The Medical Doctor turned politician said: “I am running because like many Nigerians, I am sick and tired of seeing our country become the butt of jokes everywhere you travel to around the world. I am running because I know we can do better; and we will do better. I know this because anywhere Nigerians find themselves, no matter the situation, we always rise above adversity. We don’t just survive, we thrive. It is high time we replicated over our country, that indomitable spirit of Nigerians, that spirit of accomplishment, which has made stars of individual Nigerians all over the world. The only way to do this is by electing capable hands. It is by electing a great President, that can drive this national vehicle to greatness.”
He highlighted some of his major achievements in health, education, agriculture and security as Ondo Governor, which earned his said government laurels across the world.
Mimiko maintained his position on restructuring, when he said “I once again, hereby commit wholeheartedly to leading the process of restructuring Nigeria. I say this not as a cliché. Rather, this is a commitment that derives from a deep conviction that there is really not much we, as a people, can do even in the best of times, to place our country on the global cutting edge of development, for as long as it remains shackled and ensnared by a centralized governance structure that is the 1999 Constitution. It is indeed only in the context of a restructured system that the hope for a strong, stable and functional Nigeria lies.”
“As governor of Ondo State for eight years, I saw firsthand what limitations the federating units are confronted with, in the unitary system of government that we operate, which we wrongfully refer to as federalism. From security administration, through taxation, to investment in infrastructure, many of the things taken for granted in several federal climes, the basis of their vitality, are denied under our 1999 Constitution (as amended).” He added.
“This makes it practically impossible for state governments to be anything other than pitiable adjuncts of an overbearing central government. It is from the anvil of such practical experience that my commitment to Restructuring was further sharpened. It is noteworthy that the redeeming cry now is, restructure and safe the nation!”
On insecurity and wanton killings across the nation, Mimiko said “there is also no denying the fact the centrifugal forces that seek to tear our nation apart have been greatly strengthened in the past few years. One cannot but mention in this regard, ongoing killings all over the country, but especially in the Middle Belt. The attendant devaluation of life is constantly expressed in unmistakable cheapening of human life in our cities, towns, and villages.
“Nigerians have now almost completely lost their sense of outrage over the taking of human lives, as we can see in the heightened but evil commitment to ritual killings, kidnapping-related killings, unprecedentedly violent robberies, and sundry activities of emergent street gangs. We must also fully interrogate the nature of the ongoing massacres in the Middle Belt and elsewhere across the country. It is particularly worrisome that a systematic demographical reconfiguration is underway in our country. The class content of the massacres must also not be lost on us.”
He said he joined the race to become Nigeria President because he believes that working together, “we can restructure and redesign our country in such a way that it would mean for all of us, young and old, male and female, North and South, Christians and Muslims, farmers and herders, a golden door to lasting individual and collective prosperity.”
In his reaction to the declaration, National Chairman, Labour Party, Abdulkadir Abdusalam, said Nigeria can restore its glory and reclaim its greatness if Mimiko is given the opportunity to lead Nigeria.