Oshiomhole’s dwindling political career


By Anayo Ezugwu

THIS is not the best of times for Adams Oshiomhole, former national chairman, All Progressives Congress, APC. In just three months, his political career has suffered a huge setback with the defeat of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, his anointed son to Governor Godwin Obaseki in the just concluded Edo State Governorship Election.

Ironically, the men rolling Oshiomhole in the mud today were the boys he used in retiring the godfathers of the past in Edo State. Many political analysts believe that Oshiomhole is the biggest loser of 2020, following his sacking as the national chairman of APC and now lost to Obaseki, who he helped to become governor in 2016. Many are on the opinion that the tussle with Obaseki is one of his greatest undoing as he has not just lost political relevance in Edo State, but suffered a heavy blow.

After Oshiomhole fell out with Obaseki, the APC executive committee in his ward in Etsako west local government suspended him. The APC chairmen in the 18 local government areas of the state also passed a vote of no confidence on him, accusing him of working against the party’s interest.

Oshiomhole dismissed the suspension as a child’s play, but it would later cost him his position as the national chairman of the party as a Federal High Court in Abuja suspended him on that basis. Justice Danlami Senchi had ruled in March that it was wrong of the APC to have kept Oshiomhole as chairman after he was suspended by the state chapter of the party.

The final attempt to get him back into the party’s hierarchy failed in June after the appellate court ruled there was no justifiable basis for an appeal against the court ruling suspending him. In the heat of the crisis, the national working committee of the APC was dissolved and his loyalists lost control of the party.

While it appeared as if Obaseki was losing grounds ahead of the governorship election, considering how popular the APC had been in the state, Oshiomhole relocated to Benin where he became the face of the APC governorship campaign, with Ize-Iyamu as a spectator in his own game. He boasted of how the APC will defeat Obaseki in the election and even apologised for “selling him” to Edo people as the best fit for governor in 2016.

But Governor Obaseki, riding on the “Edo No be Lagos” mantra, boasted to his supporters in Oredo local government in the closing days of his campaign that having dealt with Oshiomhole at the national level of APC, the next target was to bury him politically. He also said during the governorship debate that Oshiomhole wanted him out because he refused to share the state resources with him.

“Having become governor, Oshiomhole had his own personal agenda and thought that I’d be so subservient, but didn’t realise I’ll be as independent as I’ve become. That may have angered him to now feel that he’s a godfather that can stop me,” he said.

Apart from the issues arising from the Edo State election, stakeholders in APC believed that Oshiomhole’s style of leadership did more harm than good to the party. For instance, before APC under the Comrade lost states like Adamawa, Bauchi, Oyo, Edo, Bayelsa and Zamfara to the PDP. Another accusation against him was that he ran the party like his private fiefdom without recourse to the party’s organs and structures.

Following the outcome of the governorship election, the Edo State chapter of the APC has blamed Oshiomhole for losing in the recent election. In congratulatory message to Governor Obaseki, Anselm Ojezua, state chairman, APC, said the party’s fortune at the election stemmed from the needless and avoidable crisis foisted on the party by a selfish, insensitive, arrogant and irresponsible leadership.

“While we begin to take steps to try and salvage the wellbeing of our party in the state, we call on the governor to be magnanimous in victory, while we urge all those who contested to sheathe their swords and put the elections behind us. We must all close ranks with the government in order to ensure a seamless transition to the final lap of governance in the state without being subjected to any further needless distraction and rancor,” he said.

Likewise, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, chieftain of the APC, attributed the party’s defeat in the Edo State governorship election to what he called “the unpleasant carriage and incoherent disposition” of Oshiomhole. He regretted that Edo State has been added to the league of states like Zamafara, Rivers, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Sokoto, Adamawa, and Oyo that Oshiomhole willingly gave to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Eze in a statement claimed that it was Oshiomhole’s “self-styled and kooky steering model” that scuttled APC’s electoral chances and deprived the majority of having their way. He said Oshiomhole must apologise to President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the APC for the serial embarrassments and heavy damages occasioned by his hanky and very quirky carriage.

But Oshiomhole said he was not affected by the party’s defeat in the September 19 governorship election. He said life was not all about winning. The former APC national chairman, who spoke for the first time on the outcome of governorship election, said that losing was also part of life.

In a video recorded in his personal gymnasium, the former governor of Edo State was philosophical as he posited that life was about winning some and losing some. “In life, you work hard and leave God for the outcome. You do your best and trust God to bless your efforts. I feel good, I feel strong, thank God. In life, you win some and you lose some but life goes on.

“I’m aware that a lot of people will be thinking now, ‘oh, Comrade must be down’. But I’m not down. When God says you are not down, you are not down and I am not down,” he said.

As Oshiomhole strategizes for the next political move, one of the few lessons he can learn from Edo governorship election is that nobody is God except God Himself.

– Sept. 26, 2020 @ 11:37 GMT |

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