As the October 10 governorship election approaches, members of the Ondo State Artisans Group (OSAG) have called on the state Deputy Governor and flagbearer of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Hon Agboola Ajayi, to come to their rescue and save their means of livelihood that has suffered economic downturn since the emergence of the present government in the state.
The group, at an interactive session with former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, in Akure, on Tuesday, said since Mimiko left office in 2017, artisans in the state have been neglected by the state government as they no longer get government patronage crucial to boosting the local economy of the state.
President General of OSAG, Comrade Daisi Akomolafe, appealed to the ZLP and its candidate to “come to the rescue of artisans in the state and provide the needed direction”.
He said Mimiko is the first governor in Nigeria to recognise artisans and traders by patronising them either through associations or on individual basis.
“He started the artisans day, first of its kind which is what other states across the country are now emulating. He empowered us by giving us loans. Agboola, Gboye and Mimiko we know, the have lived among us” he said.
Chairman of Ondo Caterers Association, Edith Olowosile, said under the Mimiko government, “the jobs meant for artisans were never outsourced, but now reverse is the case”
Olowosile said local artisans have been neglected and jobs that should have contributed to the local economy are now being outsourced to other people who are mostly from other states.
“Yet local artisans have been stiffened by different forms of taxation that have sent many out of business.” She lamented
In his remarks, Mimiko assured the artisans that, when elected, the ZLP governorship candidate, Hon. Agboola Ajayi and his running mate, Engr. Gboye Adegbenro, will establish an Artisans Welfare Board that will give utmost priority to the welfare of artisans in the state.
“Under the Mimiko-led government, we built the first of its kind automart for car dealers, mechanic village, semi-mechanised abbatoir, loans in billions of naira was disbursed to artisans, market women and men and I am sure Agboola Ajayi and Engr Gboye Adegbenro will continue this trajectory of great and life-enriching programmes when elected to ensure the masses live a better life.”
“I know without the artisans there is no nation. You are the driver of the economy. There is no household in Ondo state without an artisan either as landlord and tenant. “Any leader who doesn’t care about artisans and prioritise their welfare and empowerment is running a purposeless government.” Mimiko said.
On the entourage of Dr. Mimiko are Hon. Joseph Akinlaja, Ondo ZLP Chairman, Arc. Jide Adejuyigbe, former commissioner for education in Ondo state, Mrs Taiye Afilaka, former Senior Special Assistant to former Governor Mimiko on appointments, Mrs Funmilola Oluwadare (Alhaja Wey), former Special Assistant to former Governor Mimiko on Maternal and Child Health, Comrade Femi Bosede, former Special Assistant to former Governor Mimiko on Union Matters, Mr. Fatukasi Banji (Ololo), former Special Assistant to former Governor Mimiko on Project Monitoring, among other diginitaries