In a new book to be launched this Wednesday, outgoing governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, said former President Olusegun Obasanjo threatened him and also pleaded with him not to resign from his government as a minister. He said the ex-president did this to dissuade him from running against Olusegun Agagu, the PDP governor who ruled Ondo state at the time.
Mimiko also denied accusations which has dogged his political career that he is a betrayer, especially with the way he broke away from APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, who was reported to have supported him during his election petition tribunal case against Agagu.
The book titled, “Mimiko’s Odyssey: A Biographer of Revelations” will be presented in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Wednesday, but The Punch newspaper published an excerpt on Tuesday.
Here is how the paper reported it:
In the book, the Ondo State Governor equally denied betraying the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; and two former governors of Ondo State, the late Adebayo Adefarati and the late Olusegun Agagu.
He stated that Obasanjo equally promised to change his ministry and also hand him over to the President that would succeed him, who he said, would retain him.
Mimiko stressed that Obasanjo promised to do these when he knew that he (Mimiko) was going to contest against the former Governor of the state, Agagu.
He added that some close associates of the late Agagu, who were in government at the time, also begged him not to leave the cabinet.
Mimiko said when he told Obasanjo that he was leaving his cabinet, he said the ex-President said he should not leave.
Others, who he said asked him not to leave the government of Obasanjo, included Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and Mr. Akin Osuntokun.
Mimiko stated that he did not only leave the cabinet, he also resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party and pitched his tent with the Labour Party.
Although there was no money to run the new party, he added that he was determined to forge ahead.
He said, “You don’t know the situation I was in then. Look, you don’t know Obasanjo. I worked with him. In history, go and check it out. There are not too many people who were able to resign from Obasanjo’s government.
“In fact, you can’t do it. Sir, you can’t just do it. I did not only resign, when I came to the Federal Executive Council after resignation, everybody thought they were seeing a ghost.
“Obasanjo hounded me out of Abuja, virtually. We came out with a new party.
“Anybody that gave N1m then, you can’t imagine how we would celebrate him or her. Four months to election, we were raising money in hundreds of thousands: N100,000; N50,000; N20,000
“I still remember one architect, who sent us a cheque for N1m; we celebrated it. I did not have N1m when I decided to run and challenge Agagu. I did not have N1m anywhere.
“You may not believe it; that is the gospel truth. You get what I am talking about? I was ready to lose. I didn’t care. the people wanted me. I could feel it. I just could touch it. Ask from anybody who served in the cabinet then.
“Yayale Ahmed was Head of Service, Ufot Ekaette was the SGF, General Mohammed was there, Nweke Junior was there. Even people who were not in government: Ask from Akin Osuntokun; ask from Femi Fani-Kayode. They were begging me not to go, saying, ‘Baba threatened you publicly and you still want to go?’ They begged me.
“Baba called me. He said, ‘I will change your ministry, I will hand you over to the incoming President. Can’t you understand?’ I said, ‘Thank you, Baba. It is a privilege but I am going’. He said, ‘You dare not’. I said, ‘I am going’. He said, ‘Okay. Try me’. Do you understand the circumstance?”
When he left the PDP, he said the best thing he could have done was to join the camp of the then Governor of Lagos State, Tinubu, who he said, would have given him the ticket to run in Ondo State; but he said he refused.
“That time, I did not run to Tinubu. They were the two power brokers (Obasanjo and Tinubu) then. The natural thing to do was to go and hide behind these people. Tinubu would give me the ticket and give me money to run and I would be more immune from Baba’s bullets. I didn’t go to him; I stood on my own,” he said.
He added that four months to the election, he decided to form and run the LP.
Mimiko added, “Four months to the election – four months, December 14, 2006 – was when we inaugurated the Labour Party in Ondo State and election was April 2007. Four months and we formed a new party. We set up the structure, set up candidates.
“We won all elections and we were going with our bare knuckles. I didn’t go to Tinubu then. “
He denied the claim that he promised to join the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria after winning the legal battle that removed Agagu.
Mimiko, who will hand over on February 24, 2017, insisted that he didn’t betray Tinubu, admitting that the former governor of Lagos State contributed money towards his success at the election tribunal.
He said the claim made by Tinubu during the governorship campaign of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who was the candidate of the defunct ACN in 2012 that he (Tinubu) spent millions on his election petition tribunal case was not true at all.
Mimiko described “the technical assistance” offered by Tinubu as insignificant, adding that the assistance was not instrumental in the favourable outcome of the judgement.
Mimiko added, “I did not take any money from Tinubu. He offered technical and logistic assistance, which I appreciated and which I have had occasions to reciprocate in the course of similar litigation in which he had interest when I was opportune to do so.
“It is not even important now but it was also a fact that the result of the forensic expert was not part of the evidence that the judges relied upon to give me judgment.”
He also denied allegations that he had a history of betrayal, saying there was no iota of truth in the allegations that he once betrayed former Ondo State Governors, the late Adebayo Adefarati and Agagu.
The governor explained that he fell out with the two former governors when they reneged on their promises to be in office for a single term and also support his (Mimiko’s) own governorship aspiration.
He stated, “I have no history of either betrayal or treachery. It is unfortunate that both Adefarati and Agagu are dead; they separately prevailed upon me to support their governorship bid election. I supported them on condition of reciprocity during my own governorship aspiration, which they did not fulfil and over which I bore no grudge.”