Former Federal parliamentarian who represented Ondo East and West Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives for two consecutive terms, Honourable Joseph Iranola Akinlaja, has been formally inaugurated as Ondo State Chairman of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
This latest political milestone was achieved on Saturday, January 25, after a successful state congress which held at the party’s secretariat in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
While delivering his inaugural victory and acceptance speech as chairman of the ZLP, the shout of “Ina Njo ogiri o sa” (Akinlaja’s nickname) rented the air in strong force by his supporters and the party faithful that cut across all the units and wards of the state.
Akinlaja commended everyone for the confidence reposed in him to lead the party and for being part of history to record the feat, using the event to extol the virtues of the former Governor of Ondo State and national leader of ZLP, Dr Olusegun Rahman Mimiko (CON).
The statement reads in full:
“It gladdens my heart to be part of this historic moment and epochal event. The occassion is significant in our annals of history as a party of progressives and social democrats because it heralds the beginning of a new dawn for politics and party politics in Ondo State and Nigeria at large.
“The peaceful election of the new state officials that will steer the affairs of our great party is a demonstration of our discipline, cohesion, doggedness, unity of purpose and strong ideological orientation as a party. It is also a further show of respect for and confidence in the National Leader of our party, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, CON, former Executive Governor of Ondo Stata (2009-2015), for his superlative and unequalled performance in office and sterling leadership qualities which has rubbed off positively on the party.
“Moving forward, yesterday is gone, today presents to us as a party and as a people new vista of opportunities-opportunity to re-unite because a tree cannot make a forest, opportunity to reaccess, opportunity to re-evaluate, opportunity to re-affirm our commitment, opportunity to review previous collaboration, opportunity to reach out, opportunity to re-learn, opportunity to rebrand, opportunity to research and a rear opportunity to relaunch into the political eco-system of Ondo State and Nigeria at large.
“May I seize this opportunity to comment on the raging national discourse on the South Western Nigeria Security Network community policing initiative code named: ” Operation Amotekun”, initiated by the Governors of the South Western states namely, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun and Lagos States respectively.
“Irrespective of our political beliefs and religious persuasions, these governors deserve to be commended for their proactiveness, responsiveness and ingenuity in handling the insecurity challenges i.e banditry, kidnapping, robbery, insurgency, et cetera ravaging the region.
“The initiative is timely and welcomed. It will complement the efforts of the conventional internal security agencies that appear to have been incapacitated by the absence of local intelligence gathering architecture’.
“Therefore, the perceived opposition in some quarters to the novel and brilliant initiative is misplaced, diversionary, insensitive, and a gross violation of the principles of federalism. By the way, what is the critical task of government? Is it not the security of lives and property?
“The outbreak of Lassa fever infection in Ondo State and Nigeria at large calls for grave concern by government and the citizens. Though, Lassa fever infection has been with us in Nigeria for some years. It is an infectious disease caused by an organism and contracted by man through rats.
“It should be noted that the outbreak has been occurring fairly regularly over many years but sadly in the last few years, it has increased in magnitude due to but not limited to the following reasons:
“1. Poor personal and domestic hygiene.
“2. Poor awareness and public enlightenment in affected communities.
“3. Poor and harmful food processing practices i.e sun-drying of garri flour and other products on the road or other not too clean places which lead to their contamination by rat droppings. Emballment of corpses at home as well as other harmful cultural practices’
“4. Poor management of waste which is a catalyst for a sharp increase in rat population (major causative agents) in many affected communities.
“5. Unwillingness of those affected to access health care in designated treatment centres on time.
“Frankly speaking, unless and until these habits and practices are stopped, it will amount to a sheer waste of time to completely eradicate the occurrence of Lassa fever.
“Our party, ZLP, that is rooted in the principle of social democracy, believes in the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Recalled when our leader, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, was the governor, the issues of health care, reduction of infant and maternal mortality rate to zero, health care for the aged and the people was the hallmark of his government.
“The ordinary citizens access education in primary, secondary and tertiary education was either free or easily affordable AAUA was an instant example where school fees were N25,000 for eight years, Shuttle Busses ran for five years non stop.
“I implore the state government to as a matter of humanity to implement the new minimum wage so as to increase productivity and rapid development
“In conclusion, I want to appreciate very specially the National Leader of our great party and the former Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, CON, and our committed party members and teeming supporters for the confidence reposed in me and my team. I would like to humbly solicit for your unflinching support in the days ahead so that we can make a success of the onerous task given to us.
“Let us hold forth. Let’s keep the flag flying. Better days are here.
“Zenith Labour Party!
“Greater Nigeria,!” the statement concluded.