By Basil Okoh
Adams Oshiomhole is perhaps one of the world’s last kind of iconoclast. He is an enduring wrecking ball, destroying institutions and personalities he cannot control or subdue. Godwin Obaseki is his present serving for dinner. He has “eaten” and finally retired Chief Anthony Anenih and Chief John Oyegun from politics in Edo state.
He was one of those whose treachery and betrayal made Goodluck Jonathan lose in the presidential election of 2015, even after Jonathan secured and fairly protected him in his own second term Governorship election earlier.
He betrayed the entire Southern Nigeria in the politics of the National Conference which forced the audience to throw stones at him during the conference at Imaguero College, Sapele road, Benin City and forced retired Colonel Tony Nyiam to seize the microphone from him.
His true record in the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC, describes a deep hollowing out of the finances and structure of the National Labour Union. At the worst of times during the Abacha rule, he was cruising around with three SUV’s, against the impoverished life of his Union members, fighting vehemently against the audit of accounts of the NLC. One of his favourite responses then and now is to call every Challenger a poor man or “subversive element”.
Even though he appears clever and knowledgeable, he really has very little formal education and so his cleverness is not well grounded or deeply structured, neither does it have a philosophical foundation. So while you can take Oshiomhole out of illiteracy with his rigorous labour Union trainings, you really cannot call him an educated man, an attribute which is nurtured by a structured school system. The school system confers education with a philosophical grounding.
It showed when out of delusional bravado, he chose to personally audit the accounts of the NNPC and ended up not understanding what was written on the very first page of the audit report.
So Oshiomhole has to resort to demagoguery and nihilism to win acceptance and ascend the political hierarchy in Nigeria and further achieve his twin ambitions of public recognition and using this to live off the public purse. In the absence of any other skills, this has served Oshiomhole well.
Oshiomhole is gregarious and garrulous and suffers from an unending capacity for talk. If anything, he wears down his friends and opponents alike with talk. He overwhelms every audience with an unceasing verbal barrage that shows his mastery of words which in the end mean nothing.
It is no wonder he has been friends and co-political traveler with the other loquacious noisemaker and false denizen in Benin, Obahiagbon, who likes to impress his audience with high sounding words that communicate nothing. (In communication, words that convey no meaning is called noise). Oshiomhole cannot be part of a public function without the compulsion to talk. It would appear that he deploys talk and the sound of his voice to make up for what he lost in looks and size.
He also applies a sure bet “scorched Earth” tactic to gain public attention and notoriety particularly in Edo state politics as he is doing now in the disqualification of Godwin Obaseki for the coming Governorship election. So if you are wondering what qualified Obaseki to the Governorship election the first term and disqualified him now for the second term, you will have to ask Oshiomhole and his gang of fixers.
Recall how he hounded Chief Tony Anenih out of Edo State politics and on to death. Oshiomhole is ready, always, to burn down the house to get at the rat. His instinctual resort to necromantic atavism is what people believe gets him what he wants. Always, he knows that his opponents are bound by the dictates of decency which he does not respect and does not believe in. Whatever it takes to destroy his enemy, Oshiomhole would do, no matter that the entire state goes down. You sure cannot take the native atavism or the death wish out of Adam Oshiomhole.
Oshiomhole thrives in disruption and making gains out of dissonance. It is in the social conditions of anomie and anarchy that his true predatory nature emerges and his atavistic pursuits prosper.
When the social equilibrium is disrupted and anarchy rules, you do not need brains to survive, you need brawn and wiles. And these are the qualities that the predatory Oshiomhole has in unmatched quantities. So Oshiomhole does not like good order or normality. It does not bring opportunities for the diabolic powers that dissonance and mayhem offers him.
It must be remembered that Oshiomhole’s disruptive efforts has kept the APC in Delta and so many other States in dissonance throughout the federation. The interference and disruption in Delta state rendered it unable to effectively contest for power against the PDP in the last state election.
With his immense disruptive capacity, Oshiomhole created chaos in Delta state APC primaries to give an opportunity to Great Ogboru to emerge. Beyond the money, this was rendered as payback to his friend and former co-anarchist in the Labour movement, Frank Kokori.
Frank Kokori it was who as president of NUPENG, the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union in the nineties, held the entire nation by the jugular and beat the Abacha Junta down so hard that in a full month, no vehicle moved in Nigeria.
Frank Kokori was the strongest ally of Adamu Oshiomhole in their labour movement days and the one who bestowed national recognition and popularity to Oshiomhole. Frank Kokori was the strategist and the true anarchist in the labour movement of the time.
As they say in Nigerian parlance, he was the one with the “mind”. Oshiomhole would just take a handsome bribe and move on.
But you see, Oshiomhole has another side to him, possibly more sinister. He chooses the wars he fights, making sure to have the big battalions behind him, always. He uses the establishment for self promotion and to advance his contrived causes.
As it is now with the ruling party APC on his side, Oshiomhole will never take a fight without the establishment in his corner. As an activist in the labour movement, he used the labour establishment for personal promotion and advancement. And to settle scores.
There is not a doubt that Oshiomhole, having dropped out of secondary school early and gaining employment in UNTL Kaduna as a tailor, benefitted immensely from the top class trainings offered by the Labour establishment, particularly the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and thereafter used the labour movement and his deep sense of entitlement to launch himself into national prominence and politics.
His grandstanding’s and pretensions to rascality therefore, was anchored on a well crafted method to the madness.
When he was making his transition from the labour movement to politics, he made sure to have both establishments of Government and Labour on his side. He refused vehemently to join the Labour Party, the natural platform on which a trade unionist should have contested for political power.
The Labour Party had no power base in Government and no source of the big money required in Nigerian political contest for power. So Oshiomhole ran to other political platforms, making sure to split the NLC before his leap into politics.
The ACN, the original party on which he ran for the Governorship of Edo State, controlled the rich state of Lagos but he made sure not to antagonize the PDP controlled Federal Government, focusing his unceasing verbal attacks on the person of Tony Anenih who was not really liked in the PDP and not the PDP party itself. On his second attempt, he became almost a begger and a permanent resident of Aso Villa, the presidential seat of power held by the PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan and a ruling party that his ACN was opposed to. President Jonathan, God bless him, showed Oshiomhole the humanity and decency which he himself lacks and helped protect Oshiomhole and his party during the Governorship election in Edo state.
By taking in Ize Iyamu, a man he once scorned, Oshiomhole shows the farcical limitations of his labour education and his misunderstanding of men and issues. He proves yet again, the enduring fact that you cannot take the village out of the boy.
He bets that he can divide the Bini people and voters, the dominant population in Edo State. But Oshiomhole is no friend of the Bini or Ize Iyamu and of course Ize Iyamu will also spurn him in the end as Obaseki has just done.
Oshiomhole is fighting to prove his supremacy, secure his base and prove his invincibility in Edo politics while maintaining his “godfather” status, a principle against which he fought so hard to ride to political power. These are what he believes will secure his claim to the national chairmanship of the APC. Oshiomhole may turn out too small to play the Bini people and may in the end be played himself.
Unfortunately for all of us and for politics in Nigeria, the unlikeable truth is that in the combat zone of Nigerian elections, the battles and the war will be won by the bigger and better armed battalions. You will have to bet on the armed forces and the police being fully engaged to “enforce peace in the election to secure our democracy”.
Infusing the theatre of warfare with confusing smoke, guns and cash, APC will take the day. But we await the fallout. Aha, the fallout! @basilokoh.