By Elvis Asoro
The immediate-past governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, recently issued a statement denying that he plotted the removal of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to pave the way for him to occupy the position.
In the lead up to the recent APC National Caucus/National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings, Oshiomhole embarked on an elaborate lobbying scheme to remove and replace the APC National Chairman. A national Newspaper reported how Oshiomhole lobbied 17 APC governors to support his bid for the APC National Chairmanship. There was no denial from Oshiomhole of this report. However, Oshiomhole has been quick to deny a similar claim by, according to the ex-governor, an “unknown group”!
This is how his media aide explains the misadventure: “It is true that many observers and party faithful have voiced their preference for Oshiomhole to lead the APC, but that does not mean that they are sponsored by him or got his approval.” One may ask, who are these ‘many observers’ and ‘party faithful’ and why the choice of Oshiomhole and nobody else?
This is indeed the latest in the long string of Oshiomhole’s unending lies, which underscores the man’s appalling lack of integrity. When he went around party leaders and governors seeking their support to make him the APC National Chairman, he probably believed, in his naivety, that his manoeuvres would never become public knowledge. Now, he feels that denial is the cleverer thing to do because his plot to disgrace the APC National Chairman out of office and replace him had failed woefully. And he feels the public is gullible enough to believe him.
Oshiomhole may as well deny that he lobbied hard, with humiliating futility, for the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), which fell vacant with the suspension and eventual sack of Babachir Lawal. He may also deny that, on the strength of indications of an imminent cabinet reshuffle, he is frantically lobbying for a ministerial position, with the implication of dislodging the current Hon. Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, a respected son of Edo State. Meanwhile, Oshiomhole’s campaign posters are all over the place to become a Senator.
The APC tradition is that the governor of the state is the leader of the party in the state just as the president is the leader of the party in the country. However, the power-hungry Oshiomhole has bulldozed himself into the position of the de facto APC state leader for Edo, thereby usurping the legitimate position of H.E. Godwin Obaseki, the Governor of Edo State. Would Oshiomhole have accepted anyone else parading himself as leader of APC when he was governor? Is Oshiomhole trying to reduce or portray the Governor of Edo State as his puppet? Did he not fight the notion of godfatherism in our politics? By his self-confession as leader of the APC in Edo State, Oshiomhole has revealed himself to the world that he is a hypocrite of the highest order. He is a liar whose words should not be believed.
Oshiomhole is entitled to wave his flag on the number of schools his administration renovated; the Okpekpe road (marathon) race; the number of roads it constructed; as well as the university he used the resources of the state to establish right in front of his country home. However, time will tell if the processes for these “achievements” will pass the tests of transparency and accountability.
Oshiomhole should realize that there is more to leadership than these — the real creators of modern states are visionary leaders who focus on the overall development of their society and rise above pettiness and treachery. Again, posterity will judge whether the bitter divisions that the immediate-past government of Oshiomhole created among the constituent tribes, leaders of the APC in Edo state is deserving price to pay for these ”achievements”.
Nigerians will recall how Oshiomhole’s toxic governance of Edo state almost cost our great party the election of the incumbent APC governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, but for the last-ditch efforts of the President, APC governors, APC National Chairman and other party leaders that ultimately ensured the APC’s victory during the last Edo State governorship election.
A number of conclusions can be made from Oshiomhole’s posturing: he has an inflated sense of worth; he can only thrive when he is invested with government power; and he is unable to contribute as an ordinary citizen because he uses power to oppress and abuse others and many have observed that Oshiomhole’s hunger for power is more for evil than for good. The question is for how long the party can tolerate Oshiomhole, who claims to be a respected party leader, but hides in the shadows and schemes through charlatans to engage in political misadventures. We encourage Oshiomhole to come out of the shadows and openly pursue his political interests, however selfish and misguided. That is the honourable thing to do.
· Asoro is a Lawyer and an All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain. He sent in this piece from Lagos State, Nigeria.