Angry Youths Stone Mimiko At Akure Gas Explosion Site, Accuses Him of Corruption
Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and his entourage having
descended the hills of the circuit city of Idanre where a Gala night was
held to mark the grand finale of the annual tourist Mare festival nearly
got lynched at Arakale in Akure, the state capital on Saturday night.
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko had allegedly gone with siren blaring escorts to
sympathize and join in efforts to rescue trapped victims and put out the
raging inferno at a cooking gas depot on the busy Arakale road in the
state capital. Irate civilian rescuers had allegedly been worked up by
the lack of quick response from the fire service department. Fire
fighters were said to have told first responders when the gas explosion
that triggered huge fire balls first started that they could not come as
they were poorly funded as a result of which they had no fuel in their
trucks or hydrants and other firefighting equipment.
Apart from the poor response and cold shoulder from confused officials,
angry youths and centres of the landmark city also said that they were
holding Dr. Mimiko responsible for deliberately closing his eyes to the
way in which a culture of corruption and nepotism has now destroyed
whatever the state used to boost of in terms of proper urban and
The gas depot ought not to have been sited along a residential area
such as Arakale. But in furtherance of the evil sectional agenda of
weakening and destroying Akure, the administration continues to pack
ajeles into positions for which they are not skilled or competent, said
Olu Aladenusi, who claimed to have narrowly escaped being hit by the
canisters and cylinders that first flew to the air moments after the
Olaniran Obe, a young University graduate said that he did not know that
the explosions had not stopped when he joined other sympathizers to put
in effort at rescuing victims.
According to Mr. Obe: no sooner did we begin to assist that cylinders
began to lift into the air with fatal consequences, my brother, I ran. I
lost my shoes. I thought I had been caught or killed, but the moment I
found out that I was still running, I knew I had not died.
The people of Akure who charged after Governor Mimiko also threw objects
at fire fighters who later came. Whatever had the symbol or look of
government was our target, said a youth who said that his name must not
be printed because of the suspicion that agents of the administration
may want to launch reprisal attack.
The youth explained that the vehicles, properties and officials of the
state and federal administration have become icons of corruption. The
people at the scene of the tragedy accused Governor Mimiko of
squandering resources on a wild dream of trying to relocate the capital
of Ondo state to Ondo town. He has perfected an agenda of selecting and
anointing idiots and buffoons as jelese over Akure people.
Lately, he moved from the political turf to threatening to impose an
Adesida whose mother came from Ondo as the monarch of Akure. That would
be resisted. Everyone knows that it is the turn of Osupa ruling house to
produce the next Deji, said one of the youths who claimed to have
derived pleasure from joining to chase Governor Mimiko away.
Soldiers were later said to have been drafted in from the 323 Brigade of
the Nigerian Army before things could be brought under control. The
youths said that the soldiers did not shoot at any defenseless citizen.
Oh if they did, then we shall defy them and chase Mimiko out of Akure,
said another youth.
The casualty figure from the explosion which allegedly started at about
6.45pm was not yet clear. But an eye witness claimed that more than
twenty bodies must have been removed early Sunday morning. Another
independent source said he only saw one body late Saturday night. The
injured were also said to have been taken to hospitals which are poorly
equipped as Mimiko has strategically taken everything that would have
assisted in managing trauma to Ondo, his native town.
Notwithstanding, the Arakale fire is likely going to affect the future
of city planning around Ondo State. A popular debate programme on the
local OSRC channel had drawn attention to the danger inherent in the
location of gas stations around residential buildings. While the
government reacted swiftly by X-marking some structures for possible
demolition, many people sent messages to the host of the programme
accusing him of being meddlesome.
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