Special Report:

Special Report: Oshiomhole, Akpakomiza And APC In Edo 2024, By Sebastine Ebhuomhan

Special Report

OpenLife Nigeria reproduces a piece by Sebastine Ebhuomhan, an Abuja based award-winning journalist and media consultant, who deconstructs the emerging developments in the All Progressives Congress, APC in the Edo 2024 governorship contest

“Hypocrisy is the mother of all evil and racial prejudice is still her favourite child,” according to Donald King, an American boxing promoter known for his involvement in several historic boxing matchups.
According to the Wikipedia, his career highlights include, among multiple other enterprises, promoting “The Rumble in the Jungle” and the “Thriller in Manila.”

Popularly known as ‘Don King’, the maverick businessman is famous for his condemnation of racial discrimination against black boxers, who at that time, get peanuts for fights.

But Don King would later become liable for the same offence resulting to multiple law suits from black fighters, making him a bad example. The bitter lesson from Don King’s America for Edo State is Adams Oshiomhole’s racial prejudice against Esan people of Edo Central Senatorial District, one of the state’s three.

Popularly known as Comrade, a sobriquet from his two-term presidency of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Oshiomhole, the serving Senator of Edo North Senatorial District, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Internal Affairs, former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and former two-term Governor of Edo State, hardly conceal his hatred for Esan people, despite the people’s reverence for him like a god. Keen observers of Edo politics say Oshiomhole’s body language evokes pity, mockery and hypocrisy for Esan people.

Unlike Don King’s, Howard Dean’s lamentation is more relatable. “Hypocrisy is a value that I think has been embraced… We get lectured by people all day long about moral values by people who have their own moral shortcomings,” he criticized. Speaking in 2005, the American physician, author, 79th Governor of Vermont, ex-Head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former presidential aspirant lashed at deficient people who makes careers of criticizing, belittling and joking about others.

Going by Dean’s admonition, Oshiomhole’s role in Edo APC primary crisis was hypocritic. It belittled his public lectures on moral values, when properly interrogated.

How Tinubu Resolved Edo APC Storm

Thanks to the outstanding, admirable and unparalleled leadership of APC’s National Leader, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the post-primary crisis that threatened to sabotage Senator Monday Okpebholo’s governorship campaign has been resolved.

Tinubu, Oshiomhole, and Okpebholo were credibly and proudly elected on APC’s platform last year. But Tinubu would be fondly remembered for rejecting Oshiomhole’s attempt to turn the primary results against Okpebholo.

It is not debatable Oshiomhole created and fueled Edo APC post-primary crisis for his personal interest.

Edo people profoundly acknowledge Tinubu and APC NWC for the true reconciliation.

Tinubu reconciled the dramatis personae in an enlarged Abuja meeting, where APC announced Ovia South West/Ovia North East Federal Constituency Representative, Hon. Dennis Idahosa alias Denco, as Okpebholo’s running mate.

He presented APC flag to Okpebholo.

Despite earlier reports that ex-Oredo Representative and arrowhead of Legacy faction of Edo People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, was set to become Okpebholo’s running mate, the united voice that announced Denco sparked fears, uncertainty and disarray in opposition camps.

Okpebhole, alias Akpakomiza, said the crisis has unified APC for September 21st 2024. He recalled how he became the ‘government’ in Edo Central before his election: providing free transportation, borehole water, education scholarships, security logistics and citizen empowerment in the absence of PDP’s Asue Ighodalo and Godwin Obaseki’s government. Akpakomiza commended Tinubu and promised to be the servant-governor of all Edo State.

At the Beginning…

On November 11th 2023, the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki held its Alaghodaro Summit, the 7th edition of an annual ritual that celebrates hollow achievements. Last year’s event marked the presentation of state awards to past and present governors of Edo State.

Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Senator Adams Oshiomhole and Mr. Godwin Obaseki were honoured. At that time, when preparation for party primary elections had not begun, following the terrible blows that were dealt on Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, it was clear as daylight that Obaseki’s puppet, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, would become PDP candidate.

At that time too, the relationship between Oshiomhole and his Edo Central colleague, Akpakomiza, was undeniably cordial. It was so strong that both APC-elected lawmakers jointly moved a motion on the deathtraps that have become the Benin—Ekpoma—Auchi—Okene Highway.

The news that emanated from the summit was an alleged secret meeting between Messrs. Obaseki, Oshiomhole and Ighodalo, where an agreement was alleged to have been sealed behind closed doors for PDP’s Ighodalo.

How the plan was going to be hatched remained a mystery the promoters did not explain. Until today, none of the men mentioned confirmed or denied the rumour that believably laid the foundation for Edo APC’s disputed primary election. Compared to the alacrity that denied the Shaibu impeachment permission, the silence made supporters and observers confused.

Oshiomhole in the Eyes of Loyalists

By the time the preparation for party primaries began in December, Oshiomhole left no one in doubt about what he was doing. Nobody can query Oshiomhole for not being neutral as the apex leader of APC in Edo State, or for being a friend of Mr. President, or for promoting an aspirant, or for personally leading the aspirant’s campaign.

But his attempt to rewrite history, his disrespect for the rights of other aspirants, his disregard for the state party leadership, his move to foist his aspirant on the party at all costs, and his arrogant dropping of Mr. President’s name drew the ire of many APC leaders, members and supporters.

Oshiomhole’s former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Henry Idahagbon, a loyalist, openly tackled him for his overbearing arrogance. Mr. Idahagbon literarily exploded in a live interview by Channels Television’s Politics Today with Seun Okinbaloye, where he shredded Oshiomhole’s judgment on the guillotine.

“My biggest fear is that the leadership of the party under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is on the threshold of making a very bad decision that may lead us to continue on the path of opposition in the state. I am afraid because in 2016, he made a wrong judgement for us,” Idahagbon began.

“He has learnt nothing. His current disposition clearly shows he has learnt nothing. My fear is that he may not even be capable of learning from all these. He made the same mistake again in 2020. That is why I said his judgement, we can no longer rely on it in 2024.”

“In 2016, while trying to market Obaseki, he attributed to Obaseki, attributes that Obaseki didn’t possess. In the process, he demonized Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. And then in 2020, he now came back with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

All of us went to him to say: this guy, as good as he is, has been de-marketed; he has been demonized. Oshiomhole said: no problem; we spoke to the people with our mouth; we will speak to them again. Our people didn’t listen. He has made this mistake twice.”

Why Oshiomhole Led Idahosa’s Campaign

Viral reports, audios and videos showing Oshiomhole leading Denco’s campaign since 2023 were scandalous as his attempt to bury past issues was vexatious. Observers drew similarity to his campaign against Ize-Iyamu in 2016 and for Ize-Iyamu in 2020. An aspirant, Dr. Blessing Agbomhere, would later accuse Oshiomhole of trying to foist Denco on the party.

Why did Oshiomhole, a ranking federal lawmaker, personally spearhead the governorship campaign of the ex-Commissioner he harassed and demonized in his cabinet nine years ago? Loyalists of Oshiomhole, who craved anonymity, identified possible reasons.

Firstly, Oshiomhole hates Esan people. Judging from the composition of his two-term, eight-year administration, it is incontrovertible.

They cited this rabid hatred for his refusal to permit the presentation of this writer’s lauded biographical work on Oshiomhole as well as the withheld reward for his handbook that helped Oshiomhole and Obaseki to win the 2016 election. “Even if you die for Oshiomhole, he would rather empower a stranger,” they argued.

Secondly, it is believed Oshiomhole campaigned for Denco to empower the rumoured agreement with Obaseki and Ighodalo. Despite another ex-aide emerging PDP running mate, this claim remains unsubstantiated.

Thirdly, the nomination of Denco would have allowed Oshiomhole to clarify his government’s letter. Now that Denco is Akpakomiza’s running mate, Oshiomhole must illuminate the past between them.

Furthermore, they believed Oshiomhole promoted Denco to appease Edo South, which is grumbling that the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Hon. Abubakar Momoh, cited all his ministry’s projects for Edo State in Edo North.

On February 5th, Agbomhere raised another prophetic alarm. He accused Oshiomhole of plotting to foist Idahosa through undemocratic means.

He alleged that Oshiomhole had concluded plans to coerce the Ganduje-led APC NWC to appoint Imo Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, to chair Edo Governorship Primary Election Committee.

He further alleged Uzodinma would cook up votes for Idahosa to “pay back” Oshiomhole while a handful of votes would be allocated to the other aspirants. Days later, APC announced Uzodinma’s name; Uzodinma announced his results; the rest became history…

Imbibing a lesson from Chinua Achebe’s The Rat and The Diamond Ring Analogy, Things Fall Apart (1958), Oshiomhole must stop hating and avoiding Esan people, his in-laws, and work to deliver APC’s joint ticket.

Okpebholo must prepare for any eventuality, however. As for Idahosa, who remains a pride of Edo State, “Those whose kernels were cracked by benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.”

A Call for Unity and Focus

In: Internal Memo: Think, Rev. (Dr.) Peter Obadan said the election had no victor or vanquished. An Oshiomhole aspirant lost. Another won.

Obadan, Edo State’s first deputy governor counselled, “The primaries are now history.” “If you are APC, be the sportsman that embraces the winner after losing. A man who is ashamed of losing will never be a winner, not to forget that in this house match, we are all winners.”

Akpakomiza affirms Oshiomhole’s leadership. Oshiobaba has congratulated him for his nomination. Both have appealed for unity and focus to win the election.

“The road ahead will be rough and challenging. But with the unwavering support and contributions of every member of our great party and the goodwill of Edo people, we’ll certainly emerge victorious.”
Edo State,

Sebastine Ebhuomhan can be reached on: usie007@yahoo.com or 08037204620


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