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

regional planning.
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

fire started.
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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