‘Most governments do have inbuilt biases in favour of the rich and powerful, and most do contain plenty of manipulators who love intrigue, who have lost whatever moral compass they may once have had and who protect themselves with steely cynicism.” –Geoff Mulgan
At last, the embattled National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole may have survived the political intrigues by some leaders of the party to sack him.
It was a battle royale that saw the suspension of the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawan Shuaibu, and National Vice Chairman (Northwest), Inuwa Abdulkadir.
There was also the master strategist, Chief Victor Giadom, acting national secretary, in the gang-up. The trio were hell-bent to uproot Oshiomhole whose fight with his god-son and successor in Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has gone so dirty that he was declared suspended from his home base.
His traducers vowed to sustain their dissent unless he was thrown out. But the entire script has failed as Oshiomhole, the comeback kid, survived the political intrigues.
Oshiomhole, on Tuesday, March 17, resumed duties at the party’s national secretariat in deference to the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
Amid tight security, the ex-labour leader, according to reports, was received by no fewer than 17 state chairmen and expectedly, a horde of supporters.
The decision to call for truce and reconciliation was part of decisions reached at the NWC meeting at the party’s National Secretariat, Abuja, that Tuesday.
It has been a torturous moment for Oshiomhole as the supremacy legal battle for the soul of APC between him and some top chieftains of the party, no doubt threw the party into confusion, regarding his status in the party.
Of course, the crisis got to its crescendo on March 4, when the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Jabi, Abuja, ordered an interim suspension of Oshiomhole as the national chairman of APC.
Expected to put up a good fight, Oshiomhole also got another Court of Appeal judgment granting a stay of execution of the March 4 order in the Abuja High Court that suspended him.
Moving forward, the party has resolved that they were going to withdraw all the cases in court that any member of the NEC is involved in.
The dilemma of Oshiomhole, according to some political observers, is that he seems to be fighting from all cylinders.
He is believed to be hugely combative in his leadership approach and this may have become his greatest undoing. Some commentators have accused him of arrogance and lacking the skill to handle members, colleagues, particularly former governors and some serving ones.
He has had a crunch one way or the other with some of them. Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, former Governor Ibikunle Amosun and ex-Governor Rochas Okorocha, now senator, were suspended for anti-party activities during the last elections and they appear not to have forgiven Oshiomhole.
Also, at different times, both the Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu and his Kaduna counterpart, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai, among their other recruits, are said to have been deeply aggrieved with Oshiomhole’s actions as they schemed to get the authority of the national party leader, President Mohammadu Buhari, to get rid of him.
The labour comrade burst into the national consciousness in 1999 when he was elected the numero uno Nigerian Labour Leader as the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress. If anything, struggle has been his life, so he seems to be walking on familiar terrain.
Recall, he confronted the then President Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration with so much gusto and held it accountable with regards to the rights of the public sector workers.
He ensured a better deal for his primary constituents by ensuring a 25 per cent increase in their emoluments and battled the demons of the frequent increase in the pump price of petroleum products by that government.
Social commentator, Tony Ademiluyi said that there is need for Oshiomhole to thread with caution from now bearing in mind he is at the twilight of his life.
“Oshiomhole is in the evening or twilight of his mortal life and should for now be more concerned with the legacies he would live than merely being in power for its sake.
“He should thoroughly reflect on what he wants to be remembered for and it’s not too late to begin to make amends starting from the home front. There is the need for complete peace in the APC in his ward as it makes no sense to be a National Chairman without a sturdy base,” he said.
Admitting that he was fallible, the former Edo governor said the disagreement among chieftains should not be seen as a surprising development in view of the “progressive antecedents of the APC.”
Perhaps Oshiomhole has learnt not only to forgive, but also to guide his shortcomings to avert being caught up again in the web of another future conspiracy mess.
After deep reflection, he said recently: “I have asked everyone and they have accepted, whatever they consider to be my own shortcomings, I have asked for forgiveness and they have forgiven and whatever I considered to be anyone’s shortcomings that irritated me, I have also forgiven. This is the way it should be. It can only be abnormal if people know how to fight and they do not know how to settle.” Whether he will keep to this new philosophy is in the womb of time.
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.