GOING FOR THE THROAT

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Adams Oshiomhole

Joe Adiorho writes that the chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, should be circumspect in his criticisms

The ex- Governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole’s verbal wars of attrition during the campaigns for the just concluded presidential election appear to be enjoying a truce of a sort.

The Almighty God had adequately endowed him with power of oratory, but some of it has not been put to good use.

His battle fields are many and varied and he is widening them every passing day. Oshiomhole is emboldened to forge ahead with the wars because it appears that he is winning in all fronts. For instance, as a labour leader he took on President Olusegun Obasanjo in the fuel price imbroglio and helped to manoeuvre the pump price from N15 of Abacha era to over N64 per litre. He fought his predecessors in office, Mr Lucky Igbinedion and Professor Oserheimen Osunbo and he took on the former Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Board of Trustee Chairman, Mr Tony Anenih. Of course those were old wars.

Of current are fields he opened in Zamfara, Imo and Ogun States, against Governors Abdulaziz Yari, Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun respectively. He told Nigerians that some of them were trying to establish dynasties and another was an emperor seeking to create an empire, and that he would not help them to establish such in the entity called Nigeria. He became brave because almost all those he took on were not rolling out tanks and opening their war chests for epic wars. They tried to maintain decorum.

At the moment he is focusing on institutions and he has picked on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a start and as far as he is concerned INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, is a very incompetent person. He announced to the world during the All Progressives Congress (APC) emergency council meeting in Abuja that Yakubu had sold out. Standing beside the nation’s president, he said that the INEC chairman has joined the PDP for it was not within the realm of his imagination that the electoral body could postpone an election in the country and the president of the nation was not aware of it. He demanded that the president must wield the hammer over INEC and on Yakubu.

He then turned his attention to the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners and he picked on one Michael Igini, the Akwa-Ibom REC, accusing him of collaborating with PDP to rig the state election and calling for his either removal or redeployment. It was a move I know he is regretting right now because Igini’s integrity spoke and the whole world including some elements in the APC rose up in his defence. Everyone in one voice stated that Igini’s integrity is unimpeachable.

The Vice Chairman of APC and the former chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in Cross River State, Mr. Cletus Obun, in what sounded like a testimonial, averred that “Igini is one of the most honest and transparent public servants in the country.” He added that those accusing him must have probably tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate and induce him only to come up with the unsubstantiated allegation to impugn on his integrity. “He is one of those who are like the brain box in INEC.”

Painfully, Oshiomhole does not study his targets in his quest to denigrate them. If he does, he would have realized that some of them possess background and credentials that are unassailable. For instance Mahmood Yakubu he thinks is incompetent holds a first class degree from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and a doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree of the prestigious Oxford University at aged 29. On scholarship, he studied at both the Cambridge and Oxford Universities in England and his outstanding intellectual artistry at the Cambridge further earned him the scholarship of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust.

A former lecturer in the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna and a winner of the Overseas Research Studies (ORS) Award by the London-based committee of Vice Chancellor of the United Kingdom (UK) Universities, Yakubu is a professor of Political History and International Studies and an expert in guerrilla warfare, terrorism and counter-terrorism. He had delivered in all other numerous positions he had held in Nigeria.

On his part, Michael Igini is a brilliant lawyer and holds a Master’s Degree in law. He does not flaunt it and he had never hung it in his office or at home and not even pasted it in the internet.

During MKO Abiola’s political era, while Adams Oshiomhole was trying to set up a Mass Transit Bus Company for Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that was later mired in controversies, Igini was standing tall with Nigerians in an active activism aimed at creating acceptable political identity for the country. He contributed immensely to restoring today’s democracy.

He was the only REC in 2015 that was honoured with valedictory party for a job well done by all the parties in Edo State where Oshiomhole was the governor. And in his reply to Adams, he stated that, “my devotion to free, fair and credible elections has not waned or diminished hence I cannot deny the people of Akwa Ibom the service I had faithfully rendered to Edo people.”

How true!

Adiorho wrote from Lagos