Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State on Thursday formally dumped the Labour Party and returned to the Peoples Democratic Party, saying his decision was taken in the interest of the nation.
He made the formal declaration at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at an event presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo and witnessed by the President of the Senate, David Mark, as well as the PDP leaders from the South West.
“I, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, following extensive consultations across the land, today finally announce the decision of members of the National Assembly from the LP in Ondo State, members of the LP in Ondo State, members of the LP in the Ondo State House of Assembly, members of the State Executive Council, and indeed, all those who share our aspirations to join the PDP,” Mimiko told the gathering that included Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and former Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State.
He said he took the decision to return to the PDP in the overall interest of his people and the nation, as well as its democracy which is now mortally endangered by a constellation of forces, which must be confronted.
Mimiko, in his declaration speech tagged, “The Imperative of a New, Broader Platforms,” said his immediate target was to help the process of getting President Goodluck Jonathan re-elected in 2015.
He said, “I must confess that it surely was tempting and perhaps more fulfilling to continue as a national leader in our smaller, calmer and quite promising ocean represented by the Labour Party.
“But this decision to return to the PDP we have taken in the overall interest of our people and our nation, and its democracy which for those who are perceptive enough to notice, is now mortally endangered by a constellation of forces which must be confronted.
“May I then add that we take this epochal decision conscious of the fact that no political party in Nigeria today is anywhere near the point of perfection. But we are persuaded that joining hands with other Nigerians, committed as they are at repositioning the PDP on a continual basis, is the appropriate thing to do today.
“And considering that it was under this same PDP that I was privileged to serve, first as Secretary to the Government of Ondo State and later as Minister of Housing and Urban Development from July 2005 – December 2006, this is for us a homecoming of sort.”
Mimiko said he would remain committed to Jonathan’s re-election because the President had been faithful to his promise to ensure free and fair electoral process.
He said the current administration’s successes in the areas of agriculture, power, health, education, housing and economy, among others, had further endeared the President to him.
Mimiko said he had always supported the Jonathan Presidency, adding that even from the LP platform, he and his loyalists endorsed, worked for the and voted massively for the President in 2011.
This, he said, did not prevent them from working for the LP candidates where it fielded candidates and in subsequent polls.
“With the 2015 INEC time-table which put Presidential and National Assembly elections on the same day, it has become obvious that the type of support we need to give President Jonathan without creating conflict of interest is better canalised through the President’s political party, the PDP.
“Our support for the President will, in the light of the above, not jeopardise the legitimate electoral aspirations of our teeming supporters and associates,” he declared.
Mimiko observed that Nigeria’s political history had demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that the nation had always moved in the direction of a two-party system.
While saying that the current dispensation had thrown up the PDP and what he called “the fledgling APC,” the governor added that smaller parties were thus constrained at operating only at the fringe of the political process with all the restrictions thereto for greater political involvement and action.
Historically, Mimiko said every attempt to build a third force in the bipolar environment had not only been quite expensive but had met with muted success.
He said the tendency at democratic governance was one reason that made the PDP attractive and accounted for his reason to take its membership in 2003.
Sambo, who represented the President, said Mimiko had returned to the PDP to raise the party to higher level in the state and South-West.
He directed the party’s National Deputy Chairman, Uche Secondus, and the National Secretary, Wale Oladipo, to immediately organised a rally during which the governor would be formally received in Akure.
“Iroko, Kaabo. Eku ise (Iroko, welcome and well done,” he said as he presented the PDP flag to Mimiko.