By Ejike Ikele
The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole is used to public shows.
He lives as if every situation in life is a piece of drama that must be acted out.
Even at that, he does not respect the rules of the stage and stay within his role.
For no clear reason, he loves to be the lead actor always, even if the director casts him to merely play a supporting role.
As president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it seemed Nigeria had two presidents.
Then, if a man or woman only mentioned the ‘President’ in describing the head of state and number one citizen of Nigeria, he or she would be required to give further details so that it would be known if the description applied to Obasanjo or Oshiomhole.
Both men issued directives to the citizens and at a time of sporadic labour crises as a result of the determination of the former to increase the fuel pump price almost on a monthly basis, Nigerians had actually listened more to Oshiomhole, hoping he was sincere and committed to improving the plight of the common people.
But as it turned out, President Oshiomhole was only building the social capital to catapult himself to be the next governor of Edo State after Mr. Lucky Igbinedion.
As soon as that feat was achieved and Oshiomhole downgraded from being NLC President, or more appropriately upgraded from a unionist to an executive governor, the same man who would not hear anything about pump price hike to meet the commitments of government, became the chief campaigner of fuel price increase.
He said the anti-hike campaigners could not claim to be holier than the Pope and that if he, Oshiomhole, who had fought successive governments on the same issue was mounting the podium to say he had seen the light and pump price hike was the only way to go, it should be understood there was merit in the government’s argument.
It was perhaps the only instance he and former President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP came on the same page because it meant more money would come to him as governor.
There is so much others do not know about Oshiomhole. While his capacity to create real value is suspect, his capacity to convert noise to music is almost infinite.
With this, he gets the undiscerning crowd to allocate him underserved value.
He is like the radical elements in chemical formations whose real value is not in their contribution to the process, but in offsetting the balance in order to be noticed and appeased.
He is a disrupter! He loves to be called the undertaker!
For instance, whereas he cannot be substantively traced beyond First School Leaving Certificate or at best Secondary School Certificate, he has through sheer posturing and baseless pedantry brought so much air of intellectualism around himself that he is today seen as one of the most educated Nigerians around.
He speaks more grammar and proposes more logic than all the professors in government, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, put together.
It is like he is in such a great hurry to conceal a deficiency and feels the only way to do so is to appear efficient, fearless and even reckless.
This is what has created the vaulting sense of superiority in him.
He does not like playing subordinate role and he is most times pushed into thinking none could be better in any given context.
After running Edo State at a cost that is much higher than the substance, he sees himself as the best thing that has happened in governance at the state level.
It is a complex that is driving him to the extreme of taking on just anything and anybody without risk assessment.
When he was the chairman of the APC, he said he was not going to tolerate indiscipline as President Buhari had been doing in the Federal cabinet.
In effect, he said President Buhari is incompetent.
Given his person, if he was to be reminded of that costly slip now, he would’ve still seek some way to explain it in confounding sophistry and walk away unscathed because he thinks others are incapable of contextual and even textual interpretations.
In less than three months that he became the APC chairman, it was difficult to situate where, between the Presidency and the APC headquarters, lies the limelight.
It was like the Presidency had outsourced the supervision of the cabinet, and perhaps, the civil service to Chairman Oshiomhole.
And in furtherance of that all-important assignment, Oshiomhole had drawn a line onto which all serving ministers and civil servants in the federal bureaucracy must fall and has actually gone ahead to threaten consequences for defaulters like Labour Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige.
The added task was the political liquidation of Senate President Bukola Saraki and targeted former APC members, including Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, which must be achieved by hook or crook.
The collective crime of these former allies was their defection from the APC to the opposition PDP. Oshiomhole was so obsessed with this task that he talked as if the National Assembly was a unit in the office of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress.
He addressed APC senators in unending conferences to plot the impeachment of Bukola Saraki as then President of the Senate.
He made that a fundamental duty and may had actually listed it, that is, the impeachment of the then Senate President in addition to his being NLC president and state governor, as key achievements and the things that should qualify him to bid for the presidency in 2023.
In other words, the noise that was sounding like music was not for nothing. It is all part of Oshiomhole’s larger strategy to remain inevitable in the calculations ahead.
Oshiomhole was more in the news than President Buhari. In fact, but for the few stunts pulled by the vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as at that time, had looked as if Oshiomhole was the one running the APC-constituted Federal Government.
His voice rang and was still ringing louder than any other voice in Abuja.
I wouldn’t know about his current state of finances after being governor for eight years, but I can say for sure that prior to his becoming Governor of Edo, the only dependable asset of Mr. Oshiomhole was propaganda, otherwise defined as a tendency towards overstatement of abilities and understatement of weaknesses in order to mislead.
Consequently, the likes of Lucky Igbinedion and his political heritage, which included Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who is now been projected to be APC candidate in the forthcoming Edo gubernatorial election were actually misled.
They moved against the PDP on one hand and on the other gave Oshiomhole a heavy push in all ramifications that made him Edo State Governor.
Yet in manifestation, there is little difference between a propagandist and a Machiavellian.
Both are emotionally cold and detached. The commitment is to the end not the means.
It was therefore fine for Oshiomhole to create new conspiracies outside the conspiracy of his ascendance as soon as he became crowned.
Lucky Igbinedion, his father, the Esama of Benin and the PDP establishment that had cut their noses to spite their faces for the sake of Oshiomhole had salt rubbed into their injury.
Like the Frankenstein monster, Oshiomhole had turned around to consume his creators.
Ridiculing the Igbinedion Household at every slight opportunity became a policy of government in Edo State in eight years under Oshiomhole
Also, it didn’t matter that as President and C-in-C, Goodluck Jonathan had made the ground level and soft for Oshiomhole’s mandate renewal bid in Edo State in 2012.
Superior forces, which included Chief Tony Anenih had had him encircled and bent on terminating his hegemony.
Soon after he was assisted to cross that difficult bridge and he could breathe well and talk anyhow again, Oshiomhole returned to his character.
Jonathan, in and out of office, became just another content for Oshiomhole’s favourite sports – abuse and character assassination.
He woke up one morning and named billions in pounds and dollars totalling to about thrice the national budget that only former petroleum minister; Mrs. Diezani Madueke stole from the national treasury.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, one of world’s best in macro-economic management meant nothing to Oshiomhole.
She ran the economy aground, Oshiomhole had decreed a thousand times over.
His antics border on con artistry. He pulls stunts just to get by.
It seems any statement that psychologically boosts his diminutive size and makes him feel like a conqueror of the British Empire is good to utter.
But underlying his fearless façade is a chronic deficiency in character, intellect and spirituality.
To make up, he has become plastic and merely doing and saying things to impress.
He truly wants to belong but he is fired by instincts that do not altogether place him in the class he seeks desperately to enter.
All said, Adams Oshiomhole remains the dismissed chairman of the ruling party, APC.
While it may not matter who the chairmen of the Republican and Democratic Parties in the US are, in Nigeria, a party chairman is a very important personality (VIP).
He owns the party and allocates privileges in a manner that can either make or mar democracy.
I am saying in effect that from what we know, what has been demonstrated and what is probably hidden, Adams Oshiomhole was a potential danger to his party and democracy.
He seems given to the rule of might and gangsterism and apparently one of the few powerful Nigerians across the divides that can truly mar this democracy.