BY PETER S. AMINU
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole needs no introduction in the current political dispensation in the country. He started cutting his political teeth as a labour activist until he ascended to the position of President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), from where he took effective advantage to negotiate his way through to the national political arena. He later contested the governorship position in Edo State in 2007 but was denied his election victory by some powerful political forces in his state, whom he dubbed as god-fathers. As expected, Oshiomhole headed to the Election Tribunal where his victory at the polls was restored. It was a sweet victory and justice gained. Since then, the former governor is used to preaching and wearing the toga of a progressive before the eyes of members of the public.
However, an x-ray of Oshiomhole has revealed that he is in practice completely the opposite of what he sermonizes, as he demonstrates at all times the real ADAMS OSHIOMHOLE, who is a crude and brash Authoritarian Emperor that believes in cornering every and anything to himself and relations.
While it is true that godfathers have emerged at different levels and time, others left the scene of influence owing to change in positions just as some others voluntarily threw in the towel or forced out by political knockouts occasioned by protests from within or stiff opposition from their followers and supporters.
But since he became governor, Oshiomhole, who was an apostle of “No to godfatherism” “One Man One Vote” and “Let the people lead” and one who was known to be a pursuer of justice, equity and fair play, suddenly assumed the same obnoxious position of a godfather that wants to determine who gets what, when, where and how and everything in the state even after leaving office.
Pointedly put, Oshiomhole has turned into a very deadly authoritarian godfather, who does not believe in a second opinion from other political actors in Edo State. As far as he is concerned, he remains the only determinant of every political decision that must be made in the state. Whereas, when he was governor, he never agreed to concede a dime to the former National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun neither did any former governor could get near him.
Curiously, while fighting the godfathers in his days as governor, Oshiomhole accused them of turning government patronage into their personal estates by using same to enrich themselves and family members to the detriment of their constituents, but sadly, the same Oshiomhole, who is presently the National Chairman of the APC, has become worse than those he hitherto mobilized Edo people to demonstrate against.
Interestingly, it is now so clear and obvious to party members and keen political observers that behind all the shenanigans, there lurked a carefully planned hidden agenda by Oshiomhole purely aimed at overthrowing the former godfathers to enable him assume the role as the sole Edo State political godfather.
It is important to state here that while in office, Oshiomhole single handedly anointed candidates for every elective positions just as he appointed whoever he felt could kiss his ass without raising an eyebrow.
In November 2016 when he was leaving office as governor of Edo State, he imposed on the party and Edo People, a governor, whom he believed would best protect his interest as well as cover his tracks of fraudulent and illicit transactions with an added hefty pension to keep him liquid in order to maintain the luxurious life he acquired lately, which to him is more paramount and not necessarily for the interest of Edo People.
These were aside the contracts he awarded at ridiculous amounts to his cronies shortly before leaving, who were actually fronts and conduits through which he drained the state coffers for the eight years he ruled and ruined Edo State as governor. The unfortunate development has turned to a serious handicap and an albatross tied round the neck of his godson, the incumbent governor who is finding it pretty difficult to fund projects as well as meet other needed financial obligations.
Sadly, it is now an open secret that Governor Godwin Obaseki is finding it difficult to effectively run his administration as he is totally helpless in his mission to deliver on his election promises and at the same time, cover up the bottomless and deep economic gulf created by the Oshiomhole shortly before he left the Edo State.
For instance, before Oshiomhole left office as governor, pension, gratuity and salary arrears rose to an unacceptable and unmanageable crescendo as in some cases, the arrears were more than six years or even more just as retirees’ gratuities were stock piled and not given any attention.
But, while the same Comrade governor was leaving office, he used the instrumentality of the Edo State House of Assembly to approve for himself a whooping two hundred million Naira (N200, 000,000) as severance allowance and went further and approved packages for cronies and family members who were either recommended by him or his mother in Iyamho, but refused same for a large number of others who served the state in different capacities or the other.
With the present administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki in place, and his insistence on doing things differently, members of Oshiomhole’s constituency are not finding it easy with him, as every appointment or contract zoned to the area is usually hijacked by the Comrade ex-governor and his immediate family members.
A case in point was the insistence of Auchi Kingdom axis in Etsako West Local Government Area to produce the chairman of the council when the Secretary to the council was zoned to Ibie Clan and Uzairue Clan, yet, Oshiomhole still refused to allow the people to lead and choose among themselves who to represent and or govern them, but went ahead to carry out what he used to accuse Chief Gabriel Igbinedion of doing by imposing his nephew (his sister’s son) Abbas Yakubu, who once doubled as SSA Domestic Affairs to the Governor and a member of EDSOGPADEC Oil Commission in the previous administration as his choice even as his imposed decision did not go down well with key stakeholders and members of the party in the area.
Similarly, when the Edo State Government recently constituted the EDSOGPADEC oil commission board and called for recommendation of nominees from the party, the mother of Comrade turned godfather, Mrs. Aishetu Oshiomhole mounted pressure on her Comrade son to submit the name of his immediate younger brother, Alhaji Riliwanu Oshiomole as the Edo North representative on the Board. The decision which did not go down well with the people and party faithful was obviously greeted with loud murmurs, displeasure and condemnation.
As if that was not enough, a few days ago, a group of elders in Uzairue Clan, at the instance of the mother of the National Chairman of the APC, were directed to adopt one of the younger siblings of the former governor, in the person of Saeed Oshiomhole, as candidate of the APC in the forth coming 2019 general elections to represent Etsako West State constituency II. Surprisingly, when the elders met the former Comrade Governor at his Iyamho palatial home to discuss the matter with the hope that he may reverse the request of his mother as a democrat who preached against imposition and godfatherism in the past, Oshiomhole arm twisted the elders by thanking them for accepting the choice of his brother as well as praised them for their cooperation. To permanently keep their mouth closed, he rewarded the delegation with N500,000 each for a job well done.
Going by the political equation in Edo State, the Oshiomhole dynasty has completely taken over every available position zoned to his area. A look at the positions showed that while Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), his younger brother Rilwanu Oshiomhole is Edo North representative in EDSOGPADEC Oil Commission, while his cousin serves as the Secretary to Etsako West Local Government Council and now wants to add the seat of the Edo State House of Assembly zoned to his constituency as the icing on the cake of political harvest of the Oshomhole family dynasty.
Interestingly, while Oshiomhole is preaching and insisting on Direct Party primary at the national level, he is dishing out contrary directives to his home State.
It is time to tell Comrade Oshiomhole to practice what he preaches! Power must not be abused always and it is worse when a holder of a public office misuses his power by rubbing it on the people’s faces owing to his new position of being the sole godfather in Edo State.
Find below a list of politicians the new godfather of Edo politics, His Highness Comrade Adams Oshiomhole imposed on the people.
1: Hon Philip Shiabu, Edo state Deputy Governor, who is always disrespectful to the Otaru of Auchi as well as disrespects his boss, the Governor.
2: Mr. Mika Aiwnokha, Edo State Commissioner for Youth.
3: Mr Rilwanu Oshiomhole, Member Edo state (EDSOPADEC)
4: Mr Said Oshiomhole, APC Candidate, Etsako West Constituency
5: Mr Abass Oshiomhole, Secretary to Etsako West Local Government Council.
6: Mr Chris Derisu, Oshiomhole nephew is a Federal Board member of two boards.
7: All Federal appointment are crowded in Etsako West LGA – Edo State, Oshiomhole LGA.
Unfortunately, the two populated Akoko Edo and Owan Local Government Areas are left bare and abandoned in appointments and amenities.
Philip S. Aminu, a political activist based in Auchi, Edo State can be reached on 08059061001