Olusegun Mimiko, former governor of Ondo state, says Nigeria’s politics is monetised.
Mimiko spoke at the opening ceremony of the birthday celebration of Odia Ofeimun, a poet.
Themed “Taking Nigeria Seriously: A Conference In Honour of Odia Ofeimun”, the event held at the University of Lagos, on Monday.
Commenting on Ofeimun’s foray into politics, he said Nigeria’s politics is monetised and sadly, there are no hopes for people like the poet.
“Ordinarily, the volume of the work he has done should have had him enough.. even had enough resources to aspire.. but you know in this country, we do not reward scholarship,” he said.
“If Odia, with his cerebral and oral endowment had had the opportunity to demonstrate what intellectuals can do in governance, perhaps we’ll be getting closer to a Nigeria of our dreams.
“You know there are some poets in government, they do well in governance. If it were a serious nation, he (Odia) would have been a governor but you know our politics is monetised that there seems to be no hope for the Odias of this world.”
The former governor argued that restructuring is the only way forward for Nigeria’s “failed economy”.
“Nigeria will never move forward until it is restructured,” he said
He said though he believes in a big Nigeria but the “Nigeria that is centrally governed can not move forward”.
He noted that people like the celebrant, at their prime, really had dreams for the country and it reflected in their work.
“They were the revolutionaries and they spent a lot of their time putting their thoughts out, “he said.
“Where are we today? We thought that in a couple of years, the Nigeria of our dream will come to pass, a country that is progressing, a country that accurately addresses the fundamental needs of people.
“But we are not there yet. But we will keep striving, hoping. Some of us have rested our hope in a restructured Nigeria, perhaps, once it is restructured, we will be able to move forward.
“In a Nigeria that is restructured where merit will take its position, our country will move forward.”
On his part, Ofeimun said Nigeria is used to being a country that lacks planning.
He said if the country is taken seriously, things will change.
“Nigeria has gotten used to not planning. People who do not plan, like they say, are planning to fail. That is where we are, we seem to have been planning to fail for too long,”he said.
“We must learn how to organise. The societies that are successful are the ones who organise at every level. If you are professionals you organise properly and you do not allow non-professionals to command the value in a community they don’t belong to.
“We must make all Nigerians, ethnic groups free if we want the country to be free. Nigerians are largely unfree. Our people are generally oppressed, at traditional levels and that creates the basis for the freedom in modern society in general.”
Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and
Biodun Jeyifo, a retired professor of Comparative Literature and African and African American Studies at Harvard University were among the dignitaries in attendance.
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