The Oshiomole/Obaseki Saga: Matters arising, By Bernard Balogun

Posted by News Express | 15 June 2020 | 1,629 times

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•Bernard Balogun (BenPino)

The big story in the media space, in the past week, was the disqualification of Mr. Godwin Obaseki, current Governor of Edo State for a second term ticket on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Mr. Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole is the current National Chairman of the party. Before now, Adams had been a two-term Governor of the State. Before his entry into politics, Adams had been 'a no-nonsense National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). His presidency as the number one labour man fought the Obasanjo Presidency to a standstill on several occasions on many national issues.

Incidentally, this narrative is not about Adams per se, but it is essentially an attempt to catalogue the various layers of insubordination that culminated to the denial of Obaseki's second term ticket. My function here is not to judge. You, the reader, is the judge.

Now, back to the specifics. In my intro, l had hinted that Adams had been a national figure before his foray into partisan politics. On the other hand, Godwin Obaseki was not. In fact, Adams first brought Godwin to national limelight by appointing him, the Chief of Staff to the Edo State Governor. Adams was that Governor. Please understand me. I have not come to condemn Godwin Obaseki; neither have l come to praise Adams Oshiomole. As the second term tenure of Adams was coming to an end, some party members of Edo extraction showed interest to take over from Adams. Godwin was one of them. Of all the lot, Adams showed favour to Godwin (God-win true, true). It was in public domain that Adams deployed the instrumentality of his executive office to ensure that Godwin succeeded him as the Governor. And that happened. Adams was not the first to do so.

In recent political history, Jagaban Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the Executive Governor of Lagos State handed the reins of governance to Babatunde Fashola, who was then his Chief of Staff. Just for the records, Fashola is the current Minister of Works & Housing. It is on record that Fashola at no time treated Bola Ahmed Tinubu with disdain or displayed any grandstanding before Tinubu. Consequently, Lagos enjoyed stability in governance, the populace enjoyed the dividends of democracy. Today, Fashola is a Federal Minister. Let us profit from history, from something like this had happened before.

Let us go to Ondo State, between 1979 and 1983. It was in the days of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). It was a case between Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin and his deputy at that time, Chief Victor Akinwole Omoboriowo. In Yoruba mythology, the word Omoboriowo means “a child is superior to money”. At the time in question in 1979, Papa Michael Ajasin was aged 71, while Chief Akin Omoboriowo, Ajasin’s deputy was 47. Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo, GCFR, was the Presidential Candidate/National Chairman of the Unity Party of Nigeria. Abi nitio, Chief Akin Omoboriowo never liked or wanted Chief Ajasin to be the Governor for the simple reason of old age. Chief Obafemi Awolowo never shared in that myopic sentiment. Papa Awolowo believed, rightly so, that papa Ajasin was an astute politician/administrator. To shorten the story, Papa Ajasin won the Governorship race on the platform of UPN with Chief Omoboriowo as his deputy. Their relationship was constantly frosty, in spite of Chief Awolowo’s personal intervention. Chief Omoboriowo remained disrespectful to his boss cum leader at the state level. It is on record that in 1983, Chief Akin Omoboriowo, during the political upheaval of that time, escaped death by the whiskers. Anyway, enough of Ajasin/Omoboriowo disloyalty.

Just as Omoboriowo did not display political maturity so also Obaseki. Briefly, here are some sins of Obaseki.

© Obaseki in the early part of 2019 threatened Hon. Chris Okaeben and vowed that he (Obaseki) would not inaugurate Chris into the Edo State House of Assembly.

© Around June 5, 2019 or so, Obaseki blackmailed and maliciously accused Edo APC leaders of fighting him for access to the state treasury to share Edo State's money.

© Obaseki, in July 2019, fragrantly refused to inaugurate 14 APC members elect into the Edo State House of Assembly. He accused Oshiomhole of conniving to impeach him as Governor.

© Obaseki sacked eight Commissioners and Special Advisers suspected to be loyal to Adams Oshiomole

© Some characters loyal to Obaseki, in October 2019, attacked the Benin GRA residence of Adams Oshiomhole

© In November 2019, characters loyal to Obaseki and led by his deputy, Philip Shaibu, who rode on a bike booed Oshiomhole at Edo University Iyamoh. Obaseki further blamed the attack of Oshiomhole's guests, the Oba of Lagos and others on Oshiomhole just to embarrass him.

© Obaseki, in November 2019, encouraged one of his aides to sponsor a protest at the APC national party secretariat for the removal of Oshiomhole as APC national party chairman.

© Obaseki, around November 2019, lobbied APC NEC members to remove Adams Oshiomhole as APC national party chairman.

© December 3, 2019, Obaseki ordered Frank Okiye to illegally declare vacant the seats of 14 APC House of Assembly members-elect and asked INEC to conduct by-elections.

© In December 2019 – Oshiomhole’s convoy and NWC members attacked in Benin by thugs believed to be loyal to Obaseki. They caused mayhem, burnt vehicles, set bonfire on airport road and harassed innocent citizens

© Obaseki, in December 2019, placed a ban on all political rallies and gatherings in both public and private properties with a threat to revoke the C of O’s of such properties.

© Obaseki ordered, in December 2019 men of the Nigeria Police to seal up Garrick Memorial School to prevent the welcome rally of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu back to the APC.

© In an APC meeting at Oredo, sometime in December 2019, Obaseki accused Oshiomhole of godfatherism, breathing down on his neck in order to be in full control of his government. He had previously accused Oshiomhole of plans to have him (Obaseki) impeached as governor.

© December 23, 2019 – Thugs loyal to Obaseki attacked Prof. Julius Ihonvbere’s constituency office.

© Sometime in January 2020- The venue of APC Edo north rally in Auchi burnt down. Chairs, tables, canopies other equipment and materials destroyed.

© Obaseki publicly boasted on TV to deal with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of APC. This is seen by independent observers as organisational disrespect.

© In January, 2020- Obaseki set up a panel to probe Oshiomhole over the construction of the Benin Specialist Hospital whereas Obaseki was a member of the committee that saw to the award of the contract.

©  Obaseki, in February this year, through his deputy, Philip Shaibu, asked the IG of Police and Director of DSS to arrest Adams Oshiomhole.

© February 5, 2020 – Obaseki ordered the demolition of the hotel of Comrade Tony Kabaka Adun at Ugbor Benin City.

© Obaseki ordered the seal up of Comrade Osakpomwan Eriyo’s hotel for the second time.

© Obaseki celebrates the APC loss of Bayelsa State to the PDP at the Supreme Court.

© Obaseki blocked both the street entrance & exit to the Benin private residence of Oshiomhole with Edo State waste management garbage trucks. This was to prevent Oshiomhole from accessing his house or receiving visitors.

© Obaseki endorsed Victor Giadom from Rivers State in a South-South factional meeting in Abuja as APC National Chairman to replace Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from Edo State.

© Took the Party National Working Committee to Federal High Court in Benin City to reverse direct primary option.

© Took the Party National Working Committee to the Federal High Court in Benin City not to accept Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as a member of the Party and to challenge the waiver order by NWC. (Courtesy Today’s Politics platform)

Having enumerated some of the alleged numerous sins of Godwin Obaseki, has Adams Oshiomole, as National Chairman of the APC, demonstrated sufficient maturity and displayed the desired leadership quality on this matter?

Though l try to resist the temptation to pass judgment, l respectfully request, accommodate this thought of mine.

Candidly, the party as an institution is far greater than the interest of an individual, however influential the person may be within the party. Individual consideration should, in all sincerity be subordinate to the interest of the party.

What becomes the electoral success of the party in the September Governorship election? Should an individual interest threaten the overall interest of the party?

Has Godwin Obaseki as Governor protected the interest of the party?

Has Godwin Obaseki displayed the much needed loyalty to the party and its national leaders?

•Bernard Balogun (BenPino) writes from Wuse District of Abuja.

Source: News Express

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