Although many had failed to realize early, that the disgraced former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole was a fitting example of a man that is too smart for his own britches, but few close allies discovered early that this deceptive smartness might be his achilles heel.
As it is popularly said, pride goes before a big fall, and so as it was, Oshiomhole’s rise from grass to grace and back to grass is squarely a reflection of his conceited overconfidence and unyielding self importance.
Right from his haydays when he was the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to his sudden position as the governor of Edo State, he succeeded with his attitude of ‘Mr’ know all. He soaked himself in full overclever notions, and this has finally brought colossal harm to his twisted ego and image.
Sadly, but fortunate for Edo people and Nigerians at large, any piece of advice now, is akin to pouring water into a basket. It just too late for the once upon a ‘maradona’ to relaunch himself as the ‘masses man’. A great opportunity had just slipped through his fingers!
For those that had the opportunity to work with Oshiomhole, they can attest to the fact that the ex governor resides inside inconsistency. He is the perfect example of ‘do what I say’ and ‘not what I do’.
Any leader, must always ask his or herself, “did I do what I said I would, and have I done it consistently?”
Reputation on the other hand is interconnected and related to truth. The underbelly of a poor reputation is that one become a co-conspirator in human failure because people who relied on you are damaged by your ethical breaches.
For those of us who were close to Oshiomhole when he first made political contact with Edo State, we gave ourselves the onerous assignment to groom him on the ethics of consistency with his make believe values.
We also resounded the need to guard his relationships with others. We coached him to speak truth (no matter the circumstances) and to leave a legacy of his truth through his teachings to us (his apostles).
When the malady called Edo People’s Movement (EPM) started, I boasted to political pundits that the promoters of the now defunct pressure group would be dumped by Oshiomhole who was their commander-in-chief. My thoughts were that the ex labour leader was too grounded in political maneuvering to know when to eject himself for safty. That was not to be!
Some of us watched in utter amazement how a seamingly smart diminutive strategist gradually traveled to the ‘land of no return’. In the end, Oshiomhole had suffered the worse political defeat, so much more than what he inflicted on his political rivals in ten years.
In the heat of battle between him and Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the octogenarian had hinted that, the APC would be enmeshed in crisis at various levels if Oshiomhole is allowed to have his way.
We all know how he managed to maneuver his way to become the national chairman and how he unsettled the party, mainly with absence of internal democracy, imposition of candidates at elections and opaque leadership.
With his advent, APC lost the primary stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which the party won under Oyegun. The APC had taken Adamawa, Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau, Benue, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi, Zamfara, among others from the PDP in 2014. He managed to keep Kano and Osun in very suspicious circumstances.
Majority of these states were lost on account of Oshiomhole’s highhandedness and dictatorial leadership style.
Some commentators had said that the “…Bayelsa episode was the last Oshiomole’s opponent in APC would take in his strings of misadventures.”
Despite all his failings, he refused to learn from the past, and embarked on his last fight and a very rancorous route, to fight his successor – Obaseki over the control of Edo politics.
He had his way and denied the governor a re-election ticket and forced him to join the PDP.
By this decision, Oshiomhole took his gambling habit too far, and the move incurred him more opposition from APC leaders.
In all his atrocities against Edo people, nay Nigerians, Oshiomhole’s major error was his orchestrated disqualification of Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki as candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the 2020 gubernatorial election.
Basking in his usual boisterous ‘nerveless’ attitude, he boasted the he was the ‘supreme court’ and that even if Obaseki was cleared by the screening committee he had handpicked and briefed, he was ready to annul their recommendation.
His naked threat came at the beehive of Obaseki’s high ratings, both at the national and local levels.
That decision put Edo State on reverse gear ignited the political flame that has already consumed many of his blind followers. Oshiomhole’s decision to show uncut political power brought redicle to Edo State and put a hitherto referenced ‘oshioquake’ to abysmal level.
Among his many sins that needs atonement is the palaver in Edo State House of Assembly. His hurried decision to control the assembly led to the refusal of 14 members elect to present themselves for inauguration on June 17, 2019.
Today, only 10 members of Edo State House of Assembly are deciding the fate of 24 Constituencies. Sadly, my Constituency (Ovia North East) is caught in Oshiomhole’s retrogressive decision.
Let us fast track to post election litigation – from the Federal High Court to Appeal Court and finally, the (REAL) Supreme Court.
We, his foot soldiers had waited and prayed that he will seize the opportunity of his final decimation by the justices to apologize to Edo people and ask for their forgiveness. Expectedly, Oshiomhole missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to rebound.
His handlers decided otherwise to construct a very half hazard letter of congratulation to his successor, Governor Godwin Obaseki.
What this simply means is that he has failed to accept his fault and appreciate the pain and retrogression he brought upon the people of Edo State.
The audacity of the so-called letter prompted this conversation. In his letter, he lauded the Supreme Court and also congratulated Obaseki. He said nothing to us, the common man that went through horrendous pain and stress when his onslaught lasted.
Oh my God! Certainly, this is the height of insensitivity and skewed bloated ego!!
Like a convict, Oshiomhole and his handlers failed to use the opportunity of allocutus, to plead for our leniency. His very unrepentant words that shot him to infamous fame, has eventually resigned him to the deplorable corner of history.
Sarcastically, Mr. Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole wrote: “…as I had repeatedly reminded you during our several meetings, our relationship has through the years developed beyond being friends to being brothers of different parents.
“Whatever happened is unfortunate and I believe God has reasons for everything.
“I have put all behind me and moved on. As I have consistently advised, please be magnanimous in victory. You are the Governor of all Edo people regardless of political leanings.”
There is so much impunity in this letter to warrant any forgiveness. The content is still replete with Oshiomhole’s tough talking stance that brought so much trouble to his party, the APC. Suffice to say that his latest blunder is a reflection of his new advisers.
Apart from Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu, former Deputy Governor to Oshiomhole, 99% of the EPM members are those that we defeated on April 14, 2007 on our way to form government in November 12, 2008.
He lost the services of majority of the planners and executors, or if you like, Oshiomhole’s foot soldiers when he sailed off to his political wilderness. The likes of Rt. Honourable Philip Shaibu who was the ground commander of our youthful volunteers, Osarodion Ogie Esq who was the planner-in-chief, my good self (Orobosa Omo-Ojo JP), late Prof Omo Omoruyi, Don Omorodion and others that were spread across the state are not around him to moderate his atrocities.
Being one of his (true) friends, I have restrained myself not to write him off but it is yet to be seen how our once beloved masses man will change his present definition of a metaphor of political failure to that of a labour leader who came, saw and conquered.4