2019: Oshiomhole and shame of a ruling party
By Timi Frank
“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” – Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Today the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has vowed not to eat nor drink until he forcibly removes the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki from his position. Yet he is the Chairman of APC and not the Chairman of the National Assembly. He is the head of a political party and not a member of parliament. The former Edo State Governor is boisterous and ready at all times to take on issues he least comprehends. His ongoing shenanigans bothers on the antics of a show master who put up stunts to emasculate his obvious flaws of incompetence and lack of understanding of the larger issues in political party administration. He presently sees himself as both the leader of the APC and the National Assembly. After vowing not to loose sleep over defecting APC Senators, he now conducts incessant nocturnal meetings with APC Governors and Senators in hotels and guest houses in Abuja, on how to raise money to bribe Senators to forcibly and illegally remove Saraki as President of the Senate.
According to Wikipedia, the role of a party chairman is often quite different from that of a party leader. It added that “The duties of the chairman are typically concerned with the party membership as a whole, and the activities of the party organization. Chairmen often play important roles in strategies to recruit and retain members, in campaign fundraising, and in internal party governance, where they may serve as a member of, or even preside over, a governing board or council. They often also have influence in candidate selections, and sometimes in the development and promulgation of party policy.”
It must be noted that no where in the above analysis was it mentioned that in a presidential system of government, which we run in Nigeria, that a party chairman can assume the duties or play the role of a party leader or directly assuming leadership of the party caucus in the parliament of which he is not a member like Oshiomhole has now done. Right from the First Republic the post of a national party chair has always been reserved for charismatic personality who through force of personal example and high sense of integrity work to build bridges of unity to weld the disparate members of the party together and not those who will ride roughshod over the membership of the party. Oshiomhole has betrayed the solid foundation laid by his predecessors in the Office of the National Chairman of frontline political parties in the country, like Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Audu Ogbeh , Chief Barnabas Gemade, Dr. Amadu Ali, Vincent Ogbulafor, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Bisi Akande, Uche Secondus and Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
He may have ridden roguishly to ascend National Chairmanship seat of the APC merciless plunder of the common patrimony of the good people of Edo State for eight years, the APC ought to have realized following his balkanizing and authoritarian activities in the last few weeks that they have the type of Chairman they never bargained for in their wildest imaginations. After Oyegun, they now have a Chairman that is bereft of knowledge about party politics and party administration. He looks at APC from the prism of unionism which is his natural turf but I doubt if Nigerians will be comfortable with the new unionist bent of the APC movement as being orchestrated and championed by Oshiomhole.
In addition, his barbarism as a union leader has failed to serve him in an enlightened setting he now finds himself, yet he continues to cling to a dead horse in his past thinking he can go far in his new assignment riding on the same spot. He thinks by his signature verbal effusions, confused ideology and undemocratic tendencies, he can run a a political party in this brave new world. He often attempts to hypnotize listeners with his avalanche of words, yet his words drips off like water off the back of a duck. He thinks that by assaulting his hearers with illogicalities, he can hide his shallow academic assets. Let Oshiomhole wake up to the realities of the times we live in. He is not conversing with textile line workers huddled in a side caravan to sip from their beer mugs. Nigerians have read him and they have discovered rightly he has nothing to offer. He has sold a dummy to APC authorities which they bought hook, line and sinker. He is here to destroy and not to build and I dare say that that we are are looking for doers and not talkers like Oshiomhole. He needs to wake up right now. It is no longer might but right that triumphs.
Oshiomhole is like a novice captain who has commenced the process of ruining the APC’s unstable ship. Oshiomhole is the white man in “Things Fall Apart”. He came stealthily and today he has exalted himself far and above those who he begged to make him Chairman of APC. He is not accountable to anybody even Buhari. Recall that barely a few days after he assumed Office, he had threatened to expel Ngige from the APC while hinting that Buhari condones disrespect for his office. He has no place among respected former and contemporary chairmen of political parties in the nation’s history who were thoroughbred and refined administrators, built bridges of unity, valued internal party cohesion and religiously adhered to due process rather than Machiavelli tactics. With only a handful days in the saddle, Oshiomhole has burned the existing bridges of peace in the APC and has set in motion activities that would sooner than later put the party in total disarray. We thought we saw reached its lowest ebb in Oyegun, but Oshiomhole had shattered the records in this Hall of Shame with his thuggery orientation and undemocratic attitude which has set the party spinning dangerously into infamy.
Like the story of the white man in Things Fall Apart, Oshiomhole has ascended the Chairmanship position of the APC through subterfuge. He made himself beholden to President Muhammadu Buhari, and through the president’s influence goaded the APC governors to crown him without any form of contestation as befits a political party in a democracy. As a misbegotten APC Chairman, he is now out to ruin the party. That is his style. He believes in the principle of “unopposed” which he used largely to his favour during his unionism days. He is not here to help but to hurt the APC. As an autocrat and demagogue, he sees himself above the party he was chosen to serve. Little wonder that he thought he could deride Buhari and order the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika with threats to expel them from the APC until Ngige publicly cut him to size. Speaking to State House correspondents on Monday, July 23, 2018, Oshiomhole accused the two ministers of failure to inaugurate boards of parastatals under their ministries as directed by Buhari and threatened to expel them from the APC and also prevail on Buhari to sack them from the cabinet. Oshiomhole said of Ngige and Sirika: “If the minister refuses, we will suspend him from the party. For me it is the height of mischief for any minister, you cannot purport to be an honourable minister and you act dishonourably and nobody is greater than the party. And if the President condones disrespect for his office, I will not condone disrespect for the party (emphasis mine). And when we expel the minister we will prevail on the president that he can’t keep him in his cabinet…”
He is a man of many words who is ignorant about the true essence of words. He claims to be a Christian, but the scriptural injunction in Proverbs 10:19, which says that “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” means nothing to him. He speaks to destroy and not to build. He intervenes to curry advantage out of any crisis and not to engender peaceful coexistence between feuding parties. He is an army of occupation and not a benevolent master. He needs a job description and a crash course on how to pilot the affairs of a party in a democracy. Oshiomhole has become a shame and an albatross in the APC. His very action may destroy the APC and truncate democracy if urgent steps are not taken by sane leaders still in the APC’s fold to reclaim the party from him.
Timi Frank, a former deputy national publicity secretary of the APC sent this article from Abuja