Hon. Kayode Akinmade, a journalist of 30 years’ experience, was the immediate past Commissioner for Information in Ondo State under Governor Olusegun Mimiko. Akinmade also served as Special Adviser (Media) to a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji
Bankole. A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the House of Representatives consensus candidate of the party for Ifedore/Idanre federal constituency in the 2019 general elections, he speaks, in this interview, on his aspiration.Kayode Akinmade
How do you describe the eight years administration of Mimiko where you were privileged to serve as the Commissioner for Information?
The era of Mimiko was full of monumental achievements. He was able to fulfil most, if not all of his electioneering campaign promises. Governor Mimiko changed the face of governance in Ondo. In the area of education, he built schools in virtually all communities and towns in the state and equipped them with modern facilities. Mimiko invested so much in the education sector because he saw education as a catalyst that can bring development. He built mega schools and the impacts are visible for all to see today. And parents did not have to pay high school fees.
Students of the state owned Adekunle Ajasin University paid as low as N20, 000 during his time. It was the lowest fee paid by any government owned university. That shows the value he placed on education.
Mimiko left a great legacy in the education sector. Also, the administration constructed and rehabilitated many roads across the state and brought facelift to many infrastructures. His government dualized Arakale
Road in Akure, the state capital, under his urban renewal programme and major roads within the town. He did the same thing in Owo and other towns in the state.
The administration achieved remarkable success in the health sector. The governor built Primary Health Care centres in virtually all towns and communities in the state. He established Mother and Child Hospitals in the state and these modest achievements in the health sector earned the state several awards including Bill and Melinda Gate award which earned the state millions of dollars. Mimiko built Kidney Centre and Trauma
Centre in the state to save the peolpe the trouble of travelling abroad for treatment of kidney related problems. Welfare of workers was paramount in the mind of Mimiko and this showed in his prompt payment of salaries until the allocation to the state from the federation account went down. Above all, there was unprecedented peace, harmony and tranquility in all parts of the state during the Mimiko’s administration. However, there were few challenges we had during the administration occasioned by poor allocation from the federation account, but the rest is history today.
The present government in Ondo led by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has spent one and a half years in office. How do you assess the government?
The people of Ondo and, indeed, history are there to judge. But l believe that the people have seen the difference between the two governments. I know the present government may have financial challenges like we had. At that time, those in government today were criticizing us and now they are facing the same challenges that we faced. Mimiko commissioned roads, hospitals and schools while marking his first100 days in office. Mimiko went about his government methodically by creating neighbourhood markets, creating employment and empowering the people. The two governments are incomparable.
Your former principal (Mimiko) has left the PDP for his former political party (Labour Party). Why did you not leave the PDP with him?
Mimiko is my political father and brother and he will remain my political father and brother. At a time in my life, God used him to showcase my potentials. I was privileged to be appointed twice as commissioner and for that I will forever be grateful to him. I respect his political decision and disposition. Here is a man who doesn’t force his political decision on people. I am in PDP to further serve my people. I must add that my federal constituency of Ifedore/Idanre decided that we should remain in the PDP and I abide by that decision. This has really paid off for me because I have been nominated as the sole candidate of the party for the House of Representatives election, and I am to slug it out with the candidates of other political parties in the 2019 elections.
How did you emerge as the PDP’s sole candidate and what are your programmes if you eventually emerge the member representing Ifedore/Idanre federal constituency?
I am not the best person among those who signified intention to contest for the position under the platform of our party.
There were others who showed interest and these people are also qualified like me, but in order to reduce acrimony and crisis, the people threw their weight behind my aspiration and they collectively nominated me as the party’s candidate for the post. I must therefore appreciate every other aspirant who stepped down for me and I promise never to let them down by the grace of God. My decision to contest is borne out of my desire to serve the people of my federal constituency. Some federal constituencies including my own have been treated badly. Our people have been reduced to motorcycle riders because that is the only thing they enjoy from their representatives before now. There is no federal presence in the federal constituency. There is no federal road or infrastructure as well.
These must change and it will change by the grace of God.
We are among the highest producers of cocoa in the country and the Federal Government collects tax through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), yet nothing to show for this. We contribute so much to the federation account, yet nothing to show for it. Therefore, it is the responsibility of our people to elect a worthy representative. We want equity and fairness in the distribution of Federal Government’s infrastructures. By the grace of God, if I emerge the member representing my federal constituency in the House of Representatives, our case will be presented in a fair manner, and if need be, there will be appropriate lobby and negotiations.Related