IF you allow a lamb unfettered freedom to jump as he likes, he might end up breaking his tender legs. These were the words my grandfather used when he once remonstrated with a young, freedom-seeking me. It felt very picturesquely different and was piercing in a new way because I had just relocated from Ibadan. The language was beautiful. I later saw what he meant, both literally and figuratively. My grandfather’s words brought me into the realism of what erstwhile Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is currently doing with the state.
I watched a video of Comrade Oshiomhole on his knees, pleading with the people of Edo State through their chiefs and elders. It got me thinking what these politicians take the people for?! If Oshiomhole had any shame or integrity, he should be convalescing quietly in Iyamho and keep away from things that would further make the world see us as unserious people! To me, his jejune apology is more like effrontery than a genuine, heartfelt repentance.
After he was disgraced out of office as the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), many Nigerians had thought he would keep a really low profile and allow his wrongdoings fade in the normal Nigerian way before he begins public appearances and speeches. But, he must have been advised that he must remain “in the picture” in the state by “showing” himself and making himself “relevant”.
He did not see his being shot down from the office of the national chairman of a party like the APC by a ward chairman, as a disgrace. He has taken it in his strides and has carried on as if nothing happened. “No be Nigerians? Them go soon forget! Carry go jo Oshiobaba, no shaking!” And off to Edo State, home sweet home, he has jumped to.
Four years ago, at the denouement of his tenure as the governor of Edo State, he was cruising and was in the seventh heaven because of many things he achieved both politically and in governance. Among those remarkable achievements was his verbose rile of the “godfather”, Chief Tony Anenih and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He held that his election twice as Edo governor without the support of the godfather or godfathers, signalled the death and burial of godfathers in Edo politics. It was a searing troll of the PDP and its candidate, Major General Charles Airhiavbere.
Just before he dropped the anchor on his eventful eight years, Oshiomhole presented Mr. Godwin Obaseki as the next best thing after GSM. While the campaign for Obaseki raged, it seemed like he had listened to Alaga Ibile, Reminisce’s “Daddy” in which he featured Davido (Omo Baba Olowo, OBO). The duo sang “Everything is nice, the band is banging, the time is right… Ibile, OBO, o dun l’enu bi kopiko… etc” (Ibile, OBO, it’s sweet in the mouth like kopiko…)
However, while they stomped the stages in near reckless campaigns and serenaded in sweet melodies, it now appears like Oshiomhole wouldn’t have wanted to hear Obaseki sing the refrain of that musical collaboration: “Mo fe l’owo ju daddy mi o ooo, mo fe na’wo ju Baba mi….” (I want to be richer than my daddy, I want to outspend my father) That seemed a dark area. Interestingly, in the same song Reminisce rapped thus: “Inu la ò mò, ojulari, jungle la wa, no paddy ni… (No one knows the contents of another’s thoughts; we’re in the jungle where there’s no true friendship).
While Oshiomhole cuddled Obaseki, he made mincemeat of Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the PDP. He buried Ize-Iyamu’s ambition so deep that his rescuers could not grab its grappling hands. Oshiomhole simply killed and dissected the political carcass of both PDP and Ize-Iyamu in Edo State in 2016.
For instance, it was he that told the world that his new love was a fake pastor. Oshiomhole also called Ize-Iyamu a rapist, a cultist, a thief and a certificate forger. And he worked really very hard to prove these contentions everywhere he went except in the court of law. Interestingly, these are criminal offences that carry severe penalties. Imagine if Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu had been properly charged to court and these allegations pleaded and pursued. Imagine if Ize-Iyamu had been convicted of one or all of those allegations!
Edo people agreed with Oshiomhole and elected Obaseki as their governor. It is not in doubt that his remorseless diatribe against PDP and Ize-Iyamu poisoned the political pool for them in 2016. Today, the same Oshiomhole has turned around to say that he was wrong and has commenced the process of launching yet another bitter campaign to pick nits in the Obaseki administration.
In Nigeria, political parties and the politicians that fill them are crude realists. APC and PDP were designed to thrive by insidious spread of influence and control. Their tentacles reach every nook and cranny of people’s lives. An d they preach exactly the same thing: Realism. Realism is the view that the subject matter of politics is political power, not matters of principle. Some political philosophers say “political realism is the oldest approach to global politics.” One school of thought simplifies realism as “accuracy of simulation: the simulation of something in a way that accurately resembles real things.”
That, to me, is Oshiomhole’s force. That is why, after ruining his party’s party in some states in 2019 and falling from Abuja, he has landed in Edo to continue his shameless quest. Rather than stay quiet and reflect on his beleaguered tenure as APC national chairman, he has chosen to do something to undo what he did in Edo four years ago. He has chosen to return to Edo to eat his gross vomit; to ‘toast’ the people again.
If Oshiomhole thinks penance, I think Zamfara, Rivers, Imo and now, Ekiti states are where to start. Many APC members in those states and elsewhere still see him as a spoilsport.
Oshiomhole worked hard to dismantle the grip of godfathers in Edo State politics but has reassembled the same in himself. He intensely denigrated and eventually destroyed “point and kill politics”, which is what godfathers mostly are, why should he now revive it and suck unwitting Edo citizens in by installing whoever pleases him in the state? Shouldn’t we now see that the politicians are taking us for a ride? I think he is taking Nigerians in Edo State for a ride.
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