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When David Mark lauded Mimiko in Ondo

By The Citizen
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It was a rare gathering in Ondo town last weekend, as the nation's decision makers joined the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo, in marking his 7th year on the throne and his 60th birthday.

The combined celebration was spiced up with the launch of a book by the royal father, titled 'An evolution of Ondo Kingdom over 500 years' and it had in attendance,  Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko who incidentally is a subject of the celebrator Oba, and many other distinguished Nigerians including the Senate President, David Mark, who did not hide his admiration for the traditional ruler, the people of Ondo and what he called the monumental achievements of Dr Mimiko as the administrator of the state.

Before the commencement of the celebration, the Senate President saw some of the projects of the  administration of Dr Mimiko in Ondo town. Among the projects he visited was the Medical village which accommodates, among others, the Trauma Centre, Kidney care centre, Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic centre, Mother and Child hospital and the soon to be commissioned first public Solar powered house in Nigeria.

Apparently overwhelmed by what he saw on ground, the Senate President announced to guests at the event ground later that day that he had had a benumbing experience at the Medical village,and said whoever would take over from Dr Mimiko as governor of the state 'must continue to build on the monumental achievements of the Mimiko administration.'

'I was at the hospital built by the governor today and one thing that I observed is that the common smell that is characteristic of hospitals is not there. When I was walking round the hospital, there was no odour. I find it difficult to call it a medical village; I thought we'd been going round some hotel accommodation or five-star hotel accommodation. Other people should come here and see how much the governor and his team have put together to change the healthcare system in this state and by extension in the country. Whoever succeeds you must build on the solid foundation you have laid,' Senator Mark declared.

To keen watchers of the Nigerian political scenario, Mark's comments would not come as a surprise. The hospital that he had just visited is unparalleled anywhere in the country. The hospital averages between 24 and 25 deliveries daily, and the mortality rate is near zero. From pregnancy to delivery, health care is free and, in fact, health rangers are assigned to each pregnant woman in the state, who is provided a phone to communicate with the health ranger, who visits her at home for check-ups throughout the duration of the pregnancy. It was therefore no surprise that, as Mark noted, the range of programmes aptly underscore the value that the Mimiko administration attaches to human life.

It is in fact, the consensus among analysts that the OndoState government is in the habit of rolling out greater projects even when people are celebrating extant ones. In identifying with the monumental strides of the Mimiko administration, the Senate President adumbrated the Hausa saying:Gani yafi ji (Seeing something outclasses mere hearing about it).

Just last Monday, Bill Gates Foundation scored the OndoState government high on polio eradication and routine immunisation, saying it had been consistently committed to polio eradication as it was also among the first set of states in Nigeria to introduce pentavalent vaccine for immunisation. Last year, speaking on why the state had retained its lead in the quarterly performance assessment score sheet on immunisation against polio, Governor Mimiko noted that the routine immunisation coverage in Ondo State had reached 85 per cent going by the third quarter of 2012 assessment released by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in October when the state ranked first in the federation.

Last year, in celebration of his unparalleled urban renewal strategy, Dr Mimiko was decorated in Naples, Italy by the United Nations as winner of its 2012 Habitat Scroll of Honour award during the 6th edition of the World Urban Forum, in recognition of his contributions to sustainable human settlement development in OndoState. The 2012 event had over 5,000 participants from 114 countries and, in the context of the fact that the Abiye health programme of the Ondo State government has already been adopted by the World Bank as the benchmark for mother and child health in Africa, it reinforced the fact of the Mimiko administration being a global brand, setting benchmarks for the African continent in different sectors of the economy. The UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour is the most prestigious human settlement award in the world which aims to acknowledge initiatives which have made outstanding contributions in various fields such as shelter provision, leadership in developing and improving the human settlements and general enhancement in overall quality of urban life.

*In building world class motor parks with greenery for members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the Mimiko government conceptualises the plants as indoctrinating the people on how to re-culture, redesign and reposition themselves and, of course, the human beings are now taking to the dictates of the environment.

Noted for creating ultramodern neighbourhood markets out of slums, the OndoState government also has the distinction of being the only government in the world with a zero-cost philosophy. The neighbourhood markets which the state government has vowed that it would not stop building, are another study in revolutionary governance, but perhaps the most unique contribution of the Mimiko administration is the conceptualisation of education as a tool not only for urban renewal but also for social leveraging, for class revolution through world standard facilities. Equipped with world class facilities, the schools are open to all so that the credo that all human beings are created equal is given a practical application. Schools uniforms, bags, sandals and transportation are all free.

In inviting the Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, to deliver a lecture on his Abiye model in Washington DC, United States,  on January 16, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies observed pointedly: ' In Ondo State, the Abiye (Safe Motherhood) programme is winning praise as a promising model, creating incentives for expectant mothers to seek care and for health providers to deliver quality services. Abiye model is a work in progress, and the initiative's leadership is cognizant of the challenges associated with scale-up and sustainability over time. But the programme does provide a  positive preliminary model of how data collection, technology and innovation, efficient use of resources and mechanisms of accountability - backed by sustained political will - can come together in a comprehensive strategy.'

Unlike the many apostles of bitter politicking who disparage the Ondo programmes while frantically trying to replicate them in their own states, Senator Mark chose to put politics aside and appreciate the good works of a fellow compatriot, with whom he does not share the same political platform. A golden fish obviously has no hiding place.

Femi Adepoju