By Erasmus Ikhide
Mr. Adams Oshiomhole being a crook should never have held any political office had Nigeria not been a self-deceiving country. One of the criteria of eligibility for being considered for elective or appointment into critical political office as a national hero is to be a bonafide crook.
For sure, the smell of elephantine decay is in the air. Oshiomhole, a known Wheeler-dealer who secretly wined and dinned with the late tyrannical General Sani Abacha while Senator Bola Tinubu and his fellow compatriots were being hounded and slaughtered by Abacha gones is set to seize the ruling APC by the storm. By this time next month, the corruption-prone former governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole should have mounted the saddle as the national chairman of the traumatized and blood-soaked ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Guess what: the proponents of Oshiomhole’s ascendancy to the throne of the APC — President Muhammadu Buhari and Senator Bola Tinubu — have deadened their minds to the litany of petitions before the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on how he plundered Edo patrimony as governor of the state and where Mr. Oshiomhole’s loots can be found or located.
So much deceit for a self-deceiving anti corruption administration that celebrates corruption within and left out those who furnished its electioneering with looted funds, while chasing imaginary corrupt folks! But Asiwaju must not forget that Oshiomhole with raw power is like the articulated vehicle loaded with inflammable substance without a break.
Asiwaju, don’t forget Oshiomhole did it to you in 2010 during the infamous One-Man, One-Vote gambit after assuring you that undemocratic elements like IBB who truncated June 12 mandate would not be on hand at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin on that fateful day. Typical of the deceptive Oshiomhole, he invited them and asked you and the progressive personalities who came with you to have a jump in the high sea!
Asiwaju can not feign ignorant of the fact that Mr. Oshiomhole left behind distabilizing record of divide-and-rule at the Nigeria Labour Congress that traumatizes the organization till date. As the NLC President, while Nigerians would be puring out on the streets to protests against President Olusegun Obasanjo’s obnoxious petroleum products hikes, Oshiomhole would been found lucked up with Obasanjo in caucuses of selfish bargains that often turned out to be detrimental to the plights of Nigerians.
Nearly two years after his exit from power, the EFCC has yet to invite Oshiomhole to account for all the looting that took place under his watch, which the Civil Society group in Edo State called “brazen”. At the twilight of Oshiomhole’s departure from power, Concerned Edo Non-Governmental Organisations and Stakeholders petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), calling for the immediate investigation of Adams Oshiomhole, over alleged diversion and misappropriation of state funds.
A part of the 11-page petition signed by Dr. Osadolor Ochei and Mr. Kola Edokpayi and addressed to Acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu reads thus: “On April 5, 2012, EFCC acknowledged receipt of a petition entitled: “A call to investigate Governor Adams Aliu Oshiomhole’s multi-billion naira mansion in Iyamho, Edo State,” which was signed by Matthew Edeghase Esq. “In addition to the said earlier petition, we add that the cost of the controversial mansion, that was designed and constructed by Verissimo (a South African Architect), is valued to be about N10 billion.
“The size and scope of the mansion completely negates all possible explanations for the source of Oshiomhole’s fund, which he had used for the construction. “In 2014, Oshiomhole paid N23 million, via an Access Bank cheque, to Edo State Government for a parcel of land he claimed to have seized from the Federal Government at Okoro Otun Avenue, GRA Benin City. “At present, he is erecting a multiple-floor Saddam Hussein style bunker on the land. “Our investigation also shows that Oshiomhole bought the Guinness Guest House located along Reservation Road, GRA Benin City, soon after he was sworn in as governor in 2009.
“The property was quickly converted to the office of HANI and ASSOCIATES, a consultancy firm that has supervised all civil construction works in Edo state since 2008. “We are reliably informed that Oshiomhole allegedly bought the building for over N100million. “A ship-like building is currently under construction along Golf Course Road, next door to Benin Club. Mr. Hamed Useni, the managing director of Hani and Associates, Oshiomhole’s business associate, is allegedly fronting as owner. It will interest the chairman to note that this company is the sole consultancy firm for all civil works in Edo state for which he allegedly charged over 10 percent of all contracts. “Apart from his current residence, which he built with his campaign funds in 2007 and the new Okoro Otun house, Oshiomhole is currently constructing another mansion in Abuja where he has planned to move to, after handing over on November 12, 2016…”, the petitioners wrote.
This is aside the fact that Oshiomhole plugged the state into irredeemable debt as the third most indebted state in Nigeria, after Lagos and Kaduna — as provided by the Debt Management Office (DMO) — that can’t be salvaged in the next 100-year! More also, it wasn’t a coincidence that Oshiomhole fought against casualisation and contract staffing by picketing governments and companies across the country as a union leader. The same Oshiomhole became governor of Edo State, casualised and sacked the same workers after 6-year of working for his government without benefits.
As Oshiomhole mutates into omnipotent political Caesar — a swift of genetic modification, sort of — the progressive flank of the nation’s political life has begun to fray at the edges and frazzle at the folds. It’s an elite spoil-sharing gambit that can never address the needs of the very ordinary Nigerians.
Oshiomhole’s possible chairmanship of the ruling APC as a moral brigand will amount to double jeopardy for the party and the nation. With his loquacious grandstanding, the APC can not secure emotional identification for legitimate endorsement at a trying time like this when the nation is facing relentless bloodbath visited on it by the Boko Haram militias, terrorists Fulani herders and primitive economic turmoil. He will bury the APC just the same way he ruined State of Edo for 8-year.
My counsel to Asiwaju to flee from Oshiomhole is predicated on the premise that the endemic crises of destruction that accomplish Oshiomhole’s leadership anywhere he finds himself will certainly plague whatever positive agenda the APC has for the country. Oshiomhole as APC chair will be a catastrophic miscue for the nation and the party.
In case Asiwaju forgets, Oshiomhole as the APC putative Commander in chief will thwart the little efforts the party made at restructuring the polity and Nigeria, because he earlier told Nigerians that he does not believe in it. That will not portray the APC as a party with sense of mission. Rather, the party will remains burnt-out — a case of moral leprosy without any possibility of redemption to the detriment of the country.
Understandable, Oshiomhole’s uncanny ability and opportunistic self-monumentalization is at place. In due course, Oshiomhole will hand down to the APC and the nation a glimpse of a society in deep political trauma; a nation slouching its way towards Apocalypse itself, merciless. Oshiomhole can not be ignored as a vexatious nuisance because the forthcoming election is about the national question of restructuring of the country in the interest of all Nigerians.
Oshiomhole can not give what he does not have. His prescription for the national malaise has shown him at his politically weakest and intellectually most vulnerable. It is like prescribing Aspirin for deep brains injury. Nation building is beyond his oratory theatrics and empty grandstanding.
Erasmus, A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos
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