Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) – By Austen AKHAGBEME:
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was a quintessential Unionist; a nationally acclaimed Charismatic leader and a tactical mobilizer of people, especially in a cause he truly believes in.
He’s populism was hinged on a general perception of an only lonely voice on the side of the working class. From the days of the Jack boots to the early days of our nascent democracy, Oshiomhole was a whirlwind any government would love to avoid.
He could intelligently, correctly and copiously quote facts and figures on national television, exposing the hidden shenanigans of the government of the day vis-a-vis the demand by Labour on improve welfare of its people or holding government accountable to some vain promises and policies which were anti-people. Those were the days when Labour was an integral part of our collective social struggle to emacipate the suffering masses from the stronghold of a vicious ruling elite.
In those days when government toyed with petroleum pump prices at the slightest opportunity and made it swim up and down like a thermometer, Adams Oshiomhole was a delight to watch and a bride to woo by terrestrial Television stations in Nigeria.
But this was the good old days. His foray into the Nigeria murky waters of Partisan Politics is giving him and those who loves him a nightmare. Oshiomhole was a drugged and rugged fighter, a rebel with a cause. He is still a fighter ; he fought his way through and against all odds to become the executive governor of Edo state at the expense of a former University professor.
Up until now, he’s still fighting to remain glued to his highly contestable chair of the national chairman of the ruling party. Hardly had he settled down, then as the governor, than he went straight to work, making his impart felt even to the revered palaces of the royal fathers and inner-city villages, forgotten on the back side of civilization. This endeared him to the generality of the Edo people as he was seen, as a far departure from the reactionary forces that held Edo state down by the jugular.
He came into partisan politics with the “intimidating” credentials of a mass mobilizer, fiercely disposed and an incorruptible populist conscience. His loquaciousness and uncanny ability to sting in response to frayed stimuli was a gift needed to keep the ‘enemy’ at bay.
Today, events has shown that in Nigeria party politics, responding to critical issues emotionally could be counter productive and could send the wrong signals to the very people that held you in high esteem.
This is what the Octopus in Rivers state took advantage of, by taking Oshiomhole to the cleaners twice in recent times with a reckless abandon. Party politics is a bit different from Labour politics. While labour politics is based on the gift of the garb, reveting oratory, trust and loyalty of your primary constituency, Party politics is smeared with intrigues, blackmail, ethnicity, financial war chest and betrayal.
The erstwhile Comrade governor should trend softly. He’s already fighting battles from all fronts. His quick version of interpretation to the Supreme Court decision on Bayelsa was unnecessary. His desire to add one more state to his political kitty should not make him throw away his hard earned reputation over the years.
Parties will always come and go; especially in a clime where political parties are not natives to any known and verifiable Ideology. But posterity is always here to place you rightly or wrongly on the beautiful pages of history. The very reason why Comrade Adams Oshiomhole should work more and talk less.
- Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online