By Rahman Amodu
Recently, Senator Ighoyota Amori (PDP, Delta Central) revealed that Edo State’s governor, Adams Oshiomhole’s political career is a creation of the PDP. But the Senator has only re-echoed an open secret. Oshiomhole, it is widely believed within political circles, was Obasanjo’s tool to cut “Mr. Fix It” Tony Anenih to size in 2007. But “The Leader” showed OBJ he was the master of Edo politics, ensuring that ‘Oshiobaba’ lost. But that is by the way. My grouse with Oshiomhole is not about Edo politics, but the way he has carried on since he rediscovered youthful exuberance. The way he has been commenting on virtually everything under the sun and mocking figures and facts make me believe he is trying to impress an imaginary audience.
Of late, he seems to have acquired spiritual antenna and clairvoyant powers to detect what people do in secret, catch witches and wizards and prophesy future events. Senator Ighoyota Amori captured it best when he said: “Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Adams Oshiomole and partly Rochas Okorocha have turned themselves into Ministers of Information and Defence and particularly Oshiomhole who has suddenly become EFCC boss and ‘Minister of Attack’ on behalf of government.”
His media altercations with the immediate-past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, easily comes to mind. Oshiomhole fired the first salvo when he claimed she spent a whopping $1 billion on ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid and she also fired back through her media aide, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, insisting that the governor was suffering from “numerical diarrhea”. She said he was only angry that she published stupendous allocations to states over the years, showing that including Edo, there was no reason to owe workers or ask for a bailout.
Tongues also wagged that Oshiomhole was after Okonjo-Iweala because the ex-Minister allegedly ensured his $75 million World Bank loan did not receive the blessings of former President Jonathan. And Oshiomhole’s continued media trials and pummel of Okonjo-Iweala, even when the President Buhari Ad hoc Committee on the Management of Excess Crude Account Proceeds and Accruals into the Federation Account, which has the governor as the chairman, had not even sat, more than laid credence to this school of thought. Oshiomhole has also left the public wondering if the committee was still necessary since its chairman already knows all the answers even before questions were asked. If a trial judge consistently pronounces an accused guilty before the trial, what is the merit of the trial process then?
It is noteworthy that in the heat of the public outcry over the request for $75 million World Bank loan for a state already lying on its belly under the weight of humongous debt profile incurred by his administration, Oshiomole fired back that he was borrowing such huge amount about a year to the end of his 8-year administration because the former PDP administration looted Edo’s funds. The question is: How did he invest/utilise the oil windfalls that accrued to his state, especially with additional 13 percent derivative allocation over the last 7 years?
There was also the hoopla over spending on the 2nd Niger Bridge, which also turned out to be a false alarm, or as the former Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen described it in his in-depth account, “wild and spurious”.
Meanwhile, trust Oshiomhole, he has already jumped into the fray over the invitation of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke by the London Police. Pronto, his newly acquired clairvoyant antennae already dictated all the banks in the world where she must have hid stupendous sums. The witch-catcher has already declared that whatever the cost of property the London Police was investigating was “a tip of the iceberg”.
Not done, his next port of call was the Contributory Pension Scheme. He alleged that the World Pension Summit, Africa Special, which even the ever critical Nigerian media have consistently adjudged as one of the most respected global pension platforms in the world, and which also brought over 400 participants from over 45 countries to Abuja for a second consecutive year was a waste of time. He claimed that the Goodluck Jonathan administration had allegedly diverted over N3.5 trillion of the Contributory Pension fund. One was still wondering how that was possible given the legal armours around the fund, only for Oshiomhole to reverse himself in less than 24 hours amid avalanche of criticism by a public that is now fed-up with his persistent garrulousness.
Incidentally, last weekend in Lagos, I ran into a former neighbour who works for one of the Pension Fund Administrators. A well-known critic of Jonathan himself and diehard apostle of Buhari and APC, he told me that not even a witch could steal or divert funds from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) because of the fences around it. He explained that it is structured in such a way that the Pension Fund Custodians were different from the Pension Fund Administrators. The Custodians, those who keep the money, cannot administer it, hence cannot divert or steal it, while those who have the legal mandate to administer don’t keep or have access to the money. It is like keeping the yam and the goat far apart, which is the very best way to maintain the integrity of the system. Like a late American ex-president and elder statesman would always argue, it is better to put faith in good laws rather than in good men. His expositions actually prompted this piece.
Now, does Oshiomhole even understand the magnitude of what he claims? You do not play politics or play to the gallery with everything. Besides, there are better ways than careless recriminations, and allegations with figures to prove to a new, captive audience that you are important in your country. Besides, I believe there are more than enough troubles and development challenges in Edo to keep the comrade governor busy round the clock than become a self-appointed Minister of Propaganda.
- Rahman Amodu/Daily Trust wrote from Okene, Kogi State.