By Idede Oseyande
About a decade ago when I graduated from the university, like most young school leaver, I applied my knowledge of creating personalized curriculum vitae (CV) for the very first time. This was after a thorough comparison of various styles and contents that characterizes an ideal CV. A particular aspect of that CV always creates curiosity in the minds of those who were opportune to see it. In the section where I described myself, I added this sentence: “I am that employee you will not want your competitor to have”. I was asked once by a potential employer to explain what I meant by that statement. I am dedicated to what I have accepted to do, and in doing that I give my competitors a run for their money. Invariably if you employ me, your competitors become mine. I still recall vividly the look on his face as he was not convinced that the statement should have been included. Interestingly, after working with him for a year, he christened me his ‘lawyer’.
What is the correlation of the above story with the descriptive title of this article? You might want to ask. Haven observed closely, the political intrigues in Edo State in recent past, and the present electioneering process for the forthcoming governorship elections, vis-a-viz, the political involvement of Com. Adams Oshiomhole, I am of the opinion that the likes of Com Oshiomhole need to include that sentence in their CVs!
Adams Oshiomhole is that kind of loyal and committed friend anyone will pray to have. Take it or leave it, he gives his all to you once he has called you a friend. No price is too heavy to pay for his friends. Ironically, he reciprocates the same venom to you if you give him reasons to declare you an enemy.
His ability to stand with guts for what he believes in became of public knowledge during his hay days as a labour leader. His bravery, power of oratory, and faithfulness in fighting for the common good of the masses brought him to limelight. And as someone who knows his foundation, he has within his capacity as a human endeavour to maintain that pro-masses position. This has in no small measure, kept him relevant in the political permutations across the country.
For the benefit of posterity, it was under his leadership that the Royal Palace in Benin got the respect, recognition, and rights befitting the stool, after suffering neglect by the People’s Democratic Party for good eight solid years, under the leadership of a Benin Son, Chief Lucky Igbinedion. With due respect to my Benin brothers, it is quite shameful that it is another Benin Son that would ignore the plea of the Oba in suing for peace between the incumbent Governor and his predecessor, even after the Oba travelled all the way to Abuja to plead with the President to intervene in the matter.
When governance of the state was purely an elite affair, it was Adams, who again deployed his ferociousness in prosecuting a pro-masses battle in returning governance back to the people through the ‘one-man, one-vote’ initiative.
He was the one who made the people to know that there was money to do major projects in the state only if the leakages are plugged. And he did not only say it but demonstrated it by the numerous state of the art projects he executed during his time.
Social and political pundits in the state who knows their onions would attest to the fact that Adams Oshiomhole’s ability to be a formidable foe is an open secret. He makes the war expensive for his enemies to the extent that if they emerge victorious at the end, the cost of the battle and the collateral damage would be so severe to make the victory pyrrhic.
A clear case study is the war to remove him from the office of the national chairman of the party, which was ably led by Governor Godwin Obaseki with Victor Giadom from Rivers State as the frontline soldier. The Governor, who obviously had undermined the fighting spirit of his predecessor, launched an attack with his naïve political calculation that within a short time, he will boot the national chairman out of the office and if possible out of the party. While addressing his aides masking as party members before the press, he threatened in unequivocal terms in these words: “I give instructions, if anybody in the name of our party tries to do anything that is contrary to what we have agreed as a party, we will deal with that person ruthlessly no matter who he is. I am the governor of Edo State and I have so authorized it. If anyone comes to your ward to do any anti-party activities, I authorize you to deal with the person”.
At the end, the Governor was the one who left the party, with Victor Giadom is still loafing not knowing where he belongs in the political scheme of things within the party; while all the hidden hands who tried to use smokescreens to cover their involvements in the war had been purged out. This had made their supposed victory in unseating the national chairman a mere academic exercise. That is Oshiomhole for you! You can’t draw the battle line against him and walk with both hands in your pocket, nor sleep comfortably at night; he will give you a run for your money.
The major recipient of his fierce pangs where the People’s Democratic Party; who before his arrival on the political stage in the State were fleecing the State without conscience. They were the major culprit of his numerous initiatives, as he exposed their wickedness and heartlessness when they held sway in the state.
With the damage the PDP wrecked in the state, they became sworn enemies to Adams Oshiomhole, as he was convinced that nothing good can come out of that party. Did the Bible not say; “when the foundation is destroyed what can the righteous do?”
It was on this personal conviction that made him go all out against the governorship ambition of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, when he ran under the umbrella of “tax collectors”, and not because he did not believe in the personal competence and character of the candidate. He has made it clear in several fora, where he eulogized the sterling leadership and people management qualities of the Pastor cum politician. And the ease with which he gave his support to the candidacy of Osagie Ize-Iyamu, speaks volume of his respect for the man.
Prior to this time, the handlers of Governor Godwin Obaseki campaign organisation, have projected that Comrade Adams will not be able to come out openly to campaign for the candidate of his choice, considering the way he has ferociously fought against his emergence only four years ago. They had hoped to lapped on the absence of the dogged Comrade in the campaign train and thereby deceive the electorates that the man pushing the product is even ashamed to stand and display it in public. They had gone around the city touting about it and boasting of how Comrade Adams has already made their work easier by gifting them campaign materials.
They were quaking in their knees and their legs unable to carry them when they saw him arrive in the state to be visible and audible in the campaign for his party’s flag-bearer. At first they said he entered in the night because he was ashamed to show face, claiming that his popularity has been dwarfed in the state. Then he came into Benin City in broad daylight amidst numerous supporters too many to count. They started consoling themselves again that he is just one vote and that he has been cut to size. These persons have failed to come to terms with the fact the person comrade Adams campaigned to bring to office has since turned out to be the most ungrateful individual in town, who without shame or second thought had jumped to the same party that Edo people have rejected thrice for Osadebey Avenue. History will repeat itself soon.
Then the last Sunday of July 26th, 2020 became epic as he led the party candidate in the full glare of the public to solicit the support of all the ‘Enigies’ in Benin. While pleading with them, he did not only beg for their support, but also knelt down openly to ask for their forgiveness for selling to them what he described as ‘fake product’ in 2016.
With the endorsement of these traditional rulers, coming a day after the Governor was booed and chased away from the Oba Palace where he had gone to seek for support, they knew it was all over. They launched another attack on the Comrade, calling him shameless for knelling down before royal fathers.
It is obvious that these aides are part of Godwin Obaseki’s problem, as they have succeeded in amplifying the ego of the Governor, making him feel he is superhuman and cannot be humble enough to beg and sue for peace. That is where Comrade Adams dwarfs him. While the former cannot accept his mistakes due to ego, the latter knows how to stoop and conquer even if it means accepting his errors, which is actually a leadership virtue.
If the handlers of Godwin Obaseki’s campaign organisation had known that Adams Oshiomhole is a faithful friend, they would not have been surprised seeing him kneel down to plead for support for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. If it will take the kneeling down of Adams for all Edo electorates to help correct the wrong of 2016 and boot out Obaseki, the Comrade that I know will go all out to do it.
In case they don’t know who they are up against, let me remind them by quoting a tweet from a chieftain of their party, the PDP.
“I have known Oshiomhole for years. He is a formidable adversary, a skillful fighter and a tough cookie. Obaseki could never have outmaneuvered him”~ Femi Fani-Kayode, June 12, 2020.
The Kungfu master always keeps one skill to himself. No matter how loyal a student might be, he keeps a skill that will be the difference between them. For those who think Philip Shaibu, the prodigal godson of Comrade Adams has learned enough to be able to wrestle power with his father and mentor; they will be up for the shock of their lives. Absalom once thought he knew so much about his father, David, but his end remains a good tale on how backstabbing children end up. Again, history beckons.
As the campaign intensifies, we will see more of Adams Oshiomhole: the faithful friend, a committed party-man and a dogged fighter who is committed to retake Edo as the only APC state in South-South Nigeria.
Idede Oseyande is the Organizing Secretary, Edo Central Conservative