There is this world view in South West Nigeria that people from Ondo State are inherently stubborn. The belief received a boost at the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state. The affair is intensely three sided. There is a scenario of a party in power that wants to do more. Another party wanted to integrate. The third party wanted a feasible redemption.
The main contenders approached the issue with a consciousness of the history of the Old Ondo in the mid 70’s to early 80’s and recent events in the new democracy. The prominent isn’t the volatile nature and sensitivity of elections in the state. What is really at stake is that no governor has ever been returned elected after a first term from the polls. Papa Ajasin was returned by the tribunal. Adefarati tried to come back but was defeated by Agagu. Agagu forced his way in through mercenaries but was eased out by the rule of the law. Before last Saturday, every diligent student of history was contemplating the outcome. Will Iroko break the jinx? Will Ondo state be integrated? Can PDP govern in the State again?
The rest is now history but some things came to play that most outsiders can’t really understand. First, the electorate of Ondo state rejected imposition. They could have given ACN a chance if Olu Agunloye was their candidate but Akeredolu is seen as Tinubu’s pawn. Ondo’s resilience said no to ACN’s incursion and ‘fabled’ integration. However, this resilience came afore in the person of Mimiko. He dared the status quo and rebelled against the trend. In Nigeria’s context, the actual belief is ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. If he had joined ACN immediately when coming into power, the election wouldn’t have generated this order of contest and conquest. It would have been predictable, he could have lost and he would have under-delivered because of godfathers. Mimiko dared the drift and Iroko has evidently emerged as a force to reckon with not only in Ondo politics and South West but in the whole of Nigeria. He’s from Ondo, so also are some of us. When we are ready we will take over.
The lesson learnt is: It can never be too late to do what is right. You don’t have to join the multitude to make a difference. There is nothing impossible in Nigeria. We can say no to whatever we want to say no to. Therefore, if you ever come to a point where you can see a path, stand where you are and create a path. I’m from Ondo, Mimiko has left a trail for us to follow, let’s go there and see, if we don’t want to follow, let’s create another. I’m from Ondo, Ondo people don’t take twaddle!