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Deconstructing acts of political betrayal in Edo

But, clearly, the Labour Party then (if not now) lacked the required political structure to successfully carry a candidate through any governorship election in Edo…

But, clearly, the Labour Party then (if not now) lacked the required political structure to successfully carry a candidate through any governorship election in Edo State.  After floating for some time, Oshiomhole decided to join the PDP. He did, and obtained a membership card from his ward. But after attending his first ward congress, it became obvious to him that PDP was so well structured that he could not instantly become a leader. Out of frustration, Oshiomohole joined the Labour Party which had no grassroots presence whatever in the State.

Since the Labour Party was too weak to take him through the governorship election, he sought sponsorship, which he got from the AC.

The outcome of that election is now history.  Oshiomhole became Governor, only through the verdict of the Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which on November 11, 2008, affirmed the decision of the lower tribunal.  

Oshiomhole’s problem with the AC started when, soon after becoming Governor, he rejected the list of persons proposed by the AC for appointment as commissioners, special advisers and other official positions.  Since then the marriage has been deteriorating as Oshiomhole and the party continue to lose faith and mutual confidence in each other.

Today, neither the Labour Party nor the AC has much confidence in Oshiomhole; and, in response, Oshiomhole himself has been plotting his own future elsewhere.  The game of mistrust peaked recently during the birthday anniversary of one of the chieftains of the AC, Oshiomhole’s godfather, Chief Tom Ikimi.

While some of Atiku’s followers in Edo State agreed to return to the PDP with him, the position of Oshiomhole was kept secret until things started to unfold at the rally organized by the Edo State Government on Thursday, 29th April, 2010, to sensitise Nigerians on credible elections through the “One Man, One Vote” scheme.

Prominent at the Rally, and sitting side by side with Oshiomhole, was former President Ibrahim Babangida who had, a forth-night before the event, openly declared in Asaba his interest to contest the presidential election on the platform of the PDP in 2011. Oshiomhole and IBB drove in the same vehicle to the venue of the rally.

Key members of the AC leadership who were invited to the rally couldn’t believe their eyes watching on live television IBB and Oshiomhole in warm embrace waiting to receive other top leaders of the PDP, including the President of the Senate, David Mark. Both men were sporadically booed, especially when radical lawyer, Festus Keyamo, delivered his speech castigating IBB for his anti-democratic past.

Disgusted with what was happening, eminent personalities such as the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, AC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and other AC leaders, had no choice but to boycott the rally.  The explanation by Oshiomhole that the event cut across party lines and that he needed to bring together politicians of diverse persuasions was plainly insincere and lacking in truth.  He was simply being clever by half.

Oshiomhole’s recent fraternization with IBB goes beyond the national project of “One Man, One Vote”. It was intended, and it was, in fact, the public launching of an IBB–Oshiomhole 2011 Project, believe it or not.  What Oshiomhole has done is to mask his surreptitious personal agenda with the populism of “One Man, One Vote”. IBB, the evil genius, is not a political neophyte; he is vast in the game and has for long been an expert in strategic politicking.

The AC must have been appalled and, indeed, would be curious to know why Oshiomhole, who claims to be championing the development of democracy in Nigeria, would invite a man historically on record to have uprooted democracy at a very critical moment in our national life.  

First, what gives Oshiomhole the impression that he has any control of what Nigerian workers would do at an election, the choice of leaders and whom to vote for? What ground has he to pledge the loyalty and support of Nigerian workers whose families suffered untold misery in the hands of the former military dictator?

Nigerian youths and the nation’s vulnerable workers must learn fast to understand the true character of this kind of political leaders who always have a hidden agenda beyond what they say in public and who exploit and capitalize on the ignorance and vulnerability of their people.

Agreed, every Nigerian with the requisite qualification has the right to vote and be voted for. To that extent, Oshiomhole is free to join IBB as a running mate. But to pledge the loyalty and support of Nigerian workers is a betrayal of trust.  In the same spirit of “One Man, One Vote”, Nigerian workers must be allowed to exercise their own choice of whom they want, either as President or Vice-President. Oshiomhole, who has ridden on the back of Nigerian workers to be where he is today, should not rub salt on injury.

Oshiomhole has, in particular, betrayed the AC on whose platform he rose to the position of Governor. The AC may have been weakened by the departure of Atiku. Still, it is politically and morally wrong for anyone who has used the party as a political platform to betray its goodwill.

The former NLC President has shot himself on the foot because AC leaders are fully aware that he is no longer loyal to their party. In fact, Oshiomhole has, on several occasions, said openly that the agreement between him and the AC did not go beyond the governorship election. For him, the relationship was over as soon as he was elected Governor and the party was compensated with the appointment of its members into the State Cabinet and other positions.

That is why a large number of those who want to join the AC in Edo State are being directed by Oshiomhole’s officials to go to the office of the Labour Party where they obtain membership cards of that party rather than those of the AC. Chief Bisi Akande, the AC National Chairman, should have been aware of all this.

The total of it all is that Oshiomhole appears to be a confused man.  That is why he would insincerely use a “One Man, One Vote” rally as a launch pad for his ambition to be Running Mate to IBB on the platform of PDP, a political party in opposition to the one that brought him to power.

Fortunately, the permutations for 2011 are still widely open: the IBB-Odili ticket is one, so is the Gausau-Jonathan possibility and now that of IBB-Oshiomhole. And, there must be many in the making, even within the PDP. Whoever emerges, all that one can say is good luck! But our politicians must learn to play the game in good faith and with utmost respect for the people they are supposed to serve. This is a fact of natural justice which Governor Oshiomhole must take seriously. This is the advice to Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

Eriagbene sent this piece from Benin City

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