by Seunmanuel Faleye
After the June 2018 National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, where Comrade Adams Oshiomole became affirmed as the substantive National Chairman of the APC ‘unopposed’, rabble-rousers, the opposition party and some power blocs within the party hierarchy had predicted doom for the party in recently held February 2019 polls.
Howbeit, for political pundits who understood what a time-tested colossus like the vivacious comrade was bringing to the fore, they understood the subtext of those screaming blue-murder. The spoilers were only secretly afraid of the damage that Oshiomole was capable of doing to their self-serving agenda, as well as to the opposition.
As the whole nation and world eventually witnessed after the country’s general elections, not only did the gentleman comrade decimated the opposition, he also pummeled them into a quandary, leaving them to scamper for cover.
That is a reason wailers will always have a hard time forgiving him. But whether they like him or not, the 67-year-old former governor of Edo State is a gladiator that has sealed his place in history.
One major take home for his critic after the general elections were simple; you can only ignore or underrate Oshiomole at your own political peril.
Although, much of the internal political booby trap that ruffled the APC hierarchy were laid before his ascendancy as national chairman, didactically, as a worthy leader, Oshiomole simply objectively questioned status-quo and set a clear-cut agenda for the party move forward.
Prior to his emergence, the state governors had turned demi-gods, creating a serious crisis between themselves and National Assembly members in their state, whom most of these governors were scheming to take their jobs.
Oshiomole simply dislodged the self-serving agendas of these demi-gods and handed over the party gracefully to the ‘people’. Thereby deepening intra-party democracy. He brought the party back to life, by making it all-inclusive.
He introduced Direct Primary election, as against the Indirect Primary election, shrouded in secrecy and was prone to maneuver.
His adoption of Direct Primary deepened internal democracy and ensured that candidates that emerged were truly popular among the masses, and not just choices of a select bloc who wear the cape of ‘godfathers’.
Apart from the fact that the direct primary election gave the party members a pride of place in the scheme of party affairs, it also helped in checking the numerous legal issues which arose during the congresses held by the National Working Committee before his. Indeed Oshiomole changed the narrative of the party.
Very pragmatic in his outlook, Oshiomole’s gung-ho leadership approach was highly precursory to victorious outing of APC and the emergence of the party’s candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari who clinched a second term in office, defeating former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in an election that pundits have described as one of the most keenly contested presidential election in the history of Nigeria.
On the occasion of his 67th birthday on April 5, 2019, President Buhari described Oshiomole as a purposeful and tenacious leader with unwavering courage in his convictions. The President’s statement furthers him in these words;
“After many years of serving as a labor leader, he brought a new dynamism into the collective effort to make democracy and development more inclusive in the country, recognizing his vibrant relationship with Nigerian workers and ordinary people,”
In his days of unionism as the former President of the Nigerian Labor Congress, NLC, Oshiomole was a vibrant and stubbornly willed unionist, who agitated for the good the common and the Nigerian workers.
Oshiomole’s voice reverberated continually in the presidency of then president, Olusegun Obasanjo to the point that he was blatantly accused of running a parallel government against the government in the center.
As the former governor of Edo State, between November 12, 2008, and November 12, 2016, his exploit in infrastructure in his state still remains unbeaten.
During his administration, there was hardly a ward in all the 18 Local Government Areas of the state that didn’t experience government presence, especially through infrastructure. Be it roads, schools, Health Centers, and water.
Tested and trusted, Oshiomole by every standard is a performer. While he is yet to reach the zenith of his achievement yet, this gladiator is worth celebrating.
The onions are on us in this generation to crystallize Oshiomole’s acts, such that in years to come, when the name Adams Aliyu Oshiomole is mentioned in history, a genius who defended democracy and gave unionism his all comes to mind.