By Isaiah Osifo
The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC),Adams Oshiomhole, is a factor in the politics of Nigeria and Edo State in particular. The classification of his political factor – positive or negative – will naturally be dependent upon the orientation, interest of the participant or the observer of Edo politics.
Politics in any part of the world is broadly categorised into Idealism or Realism. Some of the greatest African scholars and politicians, such as late Kwame Nkrumah (former president of Ghana) and late Nelson Mandela (former president of South Africa) have taught the world the gains of the admixture of political idealism and political realism. The dynamics of politics is understood and defined on the basis of the admixture of political idealism and political realism.
Oshiomhole’s political factor in the dynamics of Edo State politics is positive. The dynamics of Edo State politics share in the universal framework of the admixture of political idealism and political realism. Oshiomhole should be commended for his ability to separate the good aspects of political idealism and political realism and combine the good sides of both in Edo politics.
Late Chief Humphrey Omo-Osagie(B2) and Late Chief Tony Anenih are other illustrious sons of Edo land that were reputed for positive political factors in the dynamics of politics in Nigeria and Edo State in particular. An objective study of the political behavior of Humphrey Omo-Osagie, Tony Anenih and Adams Oshiomhole will show glaring similarity in defending the interest of their people and working hard to extend their influence beyond their immediate community, Senatorial District and the State.
This piece is aimed at contributing to the literature in Political Socialisation in Nigeria and to particularly bring to the attention of some politicians of Benin origin (Edo South Senatorial District) the ridiculous fallacy in the job of castigating Adams Oshiomhole on the pretext of defending their son, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State. My advice for these job seekers or relevance seekers from Governor Obaseki should be to devote their time and resources in search of another political B2 from Edo South Senatorial District of Edo State. Adams Oshiomhole is not the cause of the political and administrative failures of Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki.
Late Chief a Humphrey Omo-Osagie (B2) was a patriotic Benin politician. He had time for Benin people, defended their individual and collective interest, and worked hard to extend his political influence beyond Benin. Late Chief Tony Anenih, was a patriotic Esan politician. He had time for his people, defended their individual and collective interest, and worked so hard to extend his influence beyond Esan (Edo Central Senatorial Distinct). Adams Oshiomhole is doing so well in his patriotic actions to identify and defend the individual and collective interest of his people-Afemai (Edo North Senatorial District), spreading his political influence to other Senatorial Districts in Edo State and Nigeria in general.
It is laughable and political ‘infantilisation’ for any Benin man or woman to blame Adams Oshiomhole over the inability of a sitting governor, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, to have influence over the House of Assembly members elected on the platform of his political party and with majority of them from his own Senatorial District. Where was these “Benin Patriots” when the same sitting governor – Godwin Obaseki failed to deliver his Ward 04 in the last 2019 general election to his political party? The un-ending political character of some Benin people blaming others for incompetence and political failure of a leader from their Senatorial District should discontinue. Before now, it was Late Chief Anenih that was responsible for all the political problems in Benin ( Edo South Senatorial District ). Now, it is Adams Oshiomhole that is the political distraction to Governor Godwin Obaseki, and he is the problem of Edo South Senatorial District. The Benin people should not forget to realise that the offices that have been held by late Chief Anenih, the one held and currently being held by Adams Oshiomhole had equally been occupied by Benin sons. The performance in any office depend on the character of the office holder, not the tribe or the Senatorial District.
I have personally had disagreement with Adams Oshiomhole on certain politics and policies. I will not forget a meeting of Benin Sons and daughters at the residence of a Benin son and a leader, Rtd . Col. Paul Ogbebor (PAULOSA),where I was told by Col. Ogbebor that l should reconcile my differences with former governor Adams Oshiomhole before l can participate in the Benin meeting. Opportunistic politics, envy and selfishness will not help Benin people. The calls by some Benin politicians for a support for the illegal inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly because a Benin man, Governor Obaseki, is the governor of Edo State and the new efforts to shut out the intervention of Adams Oshiomhole on the illegal and immoral inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly can only qualify for opportunistic and selfish politics. These opportunists refuse to understand that majority of the elected members prevented from the inauguration are equally from Benin, (Edo South Senatorial district).
Political influence is a permanent feature in politics all over the world. Former President Bill Clinton of USA and former President Barrack Obama of USA are not godfathers, but their influences are still pervasive in the USA Democratic Party and in the politics and policies of USA. Efforts to deceitfully erase the political influence of Adams Oshiomhole from Edo State politics and government policies will end up in futility. It is only a failed leader that has no capacity to intervene in the politics or policies of government of his state or country on behalf of the rights of the people after leaving office.
Former governor Adams Oshiomhole, typical of a dynamic and positive politician was influential and pivotal in the mobilisation and support for the emergence of Godwin Obaseki as the governor of Edo State in 2016. Adams Oshiomhole is continuously involved in the internal politics of APC and active relationship with the political actors in Edo State, while governor Godwin Obaseki prefer the role of “Mr Technocrat”, distancing himself from the actors and internal politics of APC. You can’t influence people without active and mutual connection. The sustainable support these new ” Benin Patriots” can give to Godwin Obaseki is to organise a closer relationship of the governor with his people and get him to be active in the internal politics of his political party .
Adams Oshiomhole position against the illegal and immoral inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly should be praised by all reasonable Benin sons and daughters in particular and Nigerians in general. For Nigeria to have a sustainable democracy, the principles of Internal Democracy, Free and Fair General Election and Rule of Law must be embraced by all.
The inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly failed the principle of Internal Democracy because the elected members that were excluded from the inauguration are members of the same All Progressives Congress, (APC). The inauguration violated principles of free and fair elections because you cannot have a Speaker with a minority vote of the total members elected into the House of Assembly. The inauguration violated the Rule of Law because the midnight inauguration is alien to the House of Assembly Rules and a clear violation of the procedures outlined by the Constitution for the inauguration of a State House of Assembly.
Adams Oshiomhole condemnation of the illegal inauguration is defending the interest of the majority of Edo people, his actions explain the dynamics of politics in Edo State, he is focused on protecting the image of his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Rule Law in Nigeria. It is not a conflict between him and Governor Godwin Obaseki, it is not a conflict between Adams Oshiomhole and John Odigie-Oyegun and it is not a conflict between the Afemai people and Benin people. The questions of Benin, Esan, Afemai and reference to godfatherism will not substitute the relevance of the Rule of Law in a Democracy. There should be a proper and legal inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly because the parliament is not the property of the governor or the APC, but an institution that is collectively owned by the people of Edo State.
* Dr.Isaiah Osifo is a University Teacher and Coordinator, Nigeria Grassroots Patriots