By Osa Director
The battle of ideas, ideologies, competencies and efficiency is usually fought by men. Therefore, it is not surprising that Senator Lawal Shaibu, Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has called on Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the party, to resign for gross incompetence, inefficiency and lack-lustre performance while in office.
In a letter widely circulated, Shaibu narrated the crises bedeviling the party, which was set up as a vehicle to give hope, succour and accelerated development to Nigerians.
Sadly, under Oshiomhole, the once ‘famous’ Khaki-wearing labour union leader, APC has become a shadow of himself, ruminating in the cesspool of indiscipline, corruption, and all the negative vibes it accused its predecessor, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of while in office.
Indeed, APC is fast becoming a mutant of PDP, especially under the leadership of the garrulous Oshiomhole.
“The APC has “ended up with severe injuries and is today badly fractured in virtually every constituency in this country, resulting in the erosion of the massive goodwill that you met the party with,” Shaibu lamented.
The deputy national chairman fired a salvo at the solar plexus of the ‘hyperactive’ erstwhile comrade Oshiomhole when he pointedly noted, “your ability to ensure this party flourishes is deficient as you lack the necessary composure and you also don’t possess the capabilities and the requisite experience to run a political party.”
For those who know Oshiomhole and have critically examined him and his style, Shaibu’s assertions hit the bull’s eye.
Truly, Oshiomhole is an over-hyped product of media creation, ideologically vacuous, at best noncommittal, devoid of tact and finesse. His legendary loquaciousness is a honed strategy to palliate his shallow knowledge and lack of verifiable academic credentials.
Edo people made the grave mistake of trusting Oshiomhole on his face value, believing in his doctored credentials of an activist/labour unionist.
Whereas, in fact, Oshiomhole was a trade unionist who mastered the art of putting NLC at the behest of the highest bidder at every workers’ strike, but always managed to clone such with the veneer of a people’s revolution.
At such moments while the people were in the streets getting killed and maimed, the clever comrade was in the confines of the cozy office of government officials cutting deals with the oppressors.
Such were also the tactics he applied in governing Edo State for eight years. The people hailed and praised him, only to suddenly discover the ruins they were plunged into after he left office. The same strategy he has brought to the ruling APC.
But for good reasons, the likes of Shaibu have seen through the smokescreen and now shouting at the rooftop. Also, for a man like Chief Odigie Oyegun former governor of Edo state and immediate past National Chairman of APC who has cultivated taciturnity, administrative urbanity and politicial diplomacyt o publicly rail at Oshiomhole and rightly describe him as a man who talks before he thinks is symptomatic of a red flag that truly Oshiomhole’s time is up if APC must move to the next level.But will the leaders of the party hearken to the voice of reason?
It will be in the interest of the party, especially the founding fathers to listen and act, in order to rescue the APC currently sliding into the abyss of irrelevance and historic political misadventure, largely occasioned by the actions of a puppeteer who was promoted beyond his competence level.
For those who foisted Oshiomhole on the party have the grand responsibility to correct this mistake of history. For the writer knows the sponsors of Oshiomhole are intelligent and politically savvy enough to know when to draw the curtain over a political loose canon before he takes the house (APC) down the path of debauchery and political irrelevance. At least, his sponsors once in private referred to and likened an Oshiomhole with political power to “a moving lorry without brakes and loaded with IEDs (explosives) which could ram into anywhere and anything and detonate the explosives, killing everyone in the process.” So, do they want Oshiomhole to kill APC now? Perhaps not.
If anyone thinks Oshiomhole will heed the advice of his deputy and toe the path of honour by resigning from his post as the national chairman to create room for rehabilitation, reconstruction and recreation of the party would be mistaken. Oshiomhole, by orientation and practice, does no wrong and sees no wrong in his actions anywhere and anytime, no matter how glaringly offensive and nauseating such actions might be. The records are there! History does not lie. Edo State is a glaring example, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, is another.
It is, therefore, not surprising that consistent with his character, he has decided to apply a scorch earth tactic against Shaibu, for daring to speak out.
Oshiomhole has been given a vote of confidence by a hurriedly convened National Working Committee, NWC, of the party. He took a step further by constituting a five-man committee filled with his cronies and acolytes for the ‘trial’ of Senator Shaibu.
From the terms of reference of the committee, it is obvious to the blind and audible to the deaf that they are working towards a predetermined answer. Part of its terms of reference and agenda urged the committee to investigate and make recommendations on, “the instigation of Senators/members of the House of Representatives by Senator Lawal Shaibu against the decision of the party on the choice of the presiding officers for both chambers (Senate and the House of Representatives) in the Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, even when these issues were all discussed and agreed by all members of the NWC.”
It went further to add, “Senator Lawal Shaibu’s action was particularly embarrassing by moving around senators/members of the House of Representatives to revolt while Mr. President was making his concluding remarks on the need for APC to present one candidate to avoid a divided house.”
In law, this statement is akin to a counsel asking a leading question. What happens to a man accused of embarrassing the President? If Oshiomhole and his co-travellers insist on the trial of Shaibu, they must subject themselves to the principles of openness, accountability and transparency.
Let the committee sit in the open with access granted to the media for the inconvenient truth to be told. That is the hallmark of democracy and open governance.
- Osa Director, a journalist and lawyer, writes from Lagos.