‘Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savouring the journey.”
–Roy T. Bennett
The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, has remained in the eye of the storm, facing political battles from all fronts.
There seems to be no end in sight as his traducers have vowed to sustain their dissent unless he is thrown out.
The heat of the squall was much on him to an extent that by the end of last year, he cried out to Nigerians to pray for his survival and for peace in the crisis-ridden party.
His critics then never gave him any breathing space either as they also swooped on him when he made the call for prayers, insisting that instead of calling for prayers, he should simply resign for a more temperate party-man to pilot the affairs of the party.
The dilemma of Oshiomhole, according to political observers, is that he seems to be fighting from all cylinders.
Oshiomhole is believed to be hugely combative in his leadership approach and this may have become his greatest undoing. Some have accused him of arrogance and lacking the skill to handle members of his party, colleagues, particularly those, who are governors and former governors.
For instance, Governors Rotimi Akeredolu, Ibikunle Amosun and, Owelle Rochas Okorocha (governor before he won the Senate seat) were suspended for anti-party activities during the last elections.
Expectedly, they allegedly sponsored candidates on the platforms of opposition parties against the APC standard bearers, which affected the fortunes of the party in the various states to an extent.
Both the Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu and his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai, among their other recruits, are said to be deeply aggrieved with Oshiomhole’s actions as they schemed to get the permission of the national party leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, in order to oust the comrade party chair.
Aside from governors, some members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Working Committee (NWC) want him out for what they also described as his high-handedness.
Some critics accused him of running a one-man show, sometimes, not even from the party secretariat, but from his private office.
He is said to also be under fire for not calling meetings regularly and the avoidable delay in filling vacant positions of Deputy National Chairman (South) vacated by Minister of Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo and National Secretary vacated by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni.
During the last NEC meeting of the party, for instance, the majority of the chairmen of state chapters saved him from being booted out as they foiled a plot to rusticate him. Contrary to the intention of the “game-plotters” he was given a clean bill of office amid the tension that engulfed the meeting.
The governors as gathered are inching very close to ensure they removed him on grounds of high-handedness, sabotage and tyrannical approach to running the party.
In Edo State, he is accused of fighting dirty to entrench himself as a godfather, which he stood against in the past.
His fight with his successor, Governor Godwin Obaseki, has gone so dirty that he was declared suspended and could only be re-admitted if he apologizes to the party.
“If he comes back remorseful and apologetic, we will consider taking him back. If you cannot be a disciplined member of the party, you will leave the party, whether you are a national chairman or not,” Governor Obaseki had noted.
But despite all allegations against him, Oshiomhole has continued to swank that there is no cause for alarm, as his stellar performance is the reason he has been under undue attacks and scheme to remove him from office.
Justifying the barrage of criticisms against him recently during a chat with newsmen, he quipped: “You hardly see people throwing stones at a dry palm tree. But if you see a mango tree when it is its season, people throw stones at it when passing. I think that is my lot. You my comrades (newsmen) should also help in interrogating the process, how a performance of a National Working Committee of a political party should be evaluated.
“So, in every aspect of life, you will have supporters, you will have opponents. Even God our creator, even those that He created in heaven and earth, haven’t you seen people lamenting that how can God give us this little and give this man so much even as we are encouraged not to jealous?”
The recent removal of David Lyon by the Supreme Court just 24 hours to his inauguration as the governor of Bayelsa State again put a question mark on the ability and diplomacy of Oshiomhole in piloting the affairs of his party.
Though seen as having helped to ensure the party won at the federal level in the last general elections, the dominant argument now is that Lyon would today have been governor of Bayelsa if only Oshiomhole and his team had done enough due diligence on Degi-Eremienyo, who was the APC deputy governorship candidate in the November election.
As the Ondo and Edo elections draw closer, political observers say, he should try to put his house in order, pacify the aggrieved, pursue reconciliation and stop any unity group from protesting for him. Above all, convince critical stakeholders that his actions are geared towards party’s interest.
Oshiomhole was born on April 4, 1952. After his primary and secondary education in Edo State, he ventured into trading and began as a part-time shop steward.
He attended Ruskin College, Oxford, UK, where he studied Labour, Economics and Industrial Relations. He also attended the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
He served two terms as the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, thereafter; he served as the Governor of Edo State from 2008 to 2016.
He is known to have shown grit in all the leadership positions he served in.