gives me relief to realize that we as writers outside the political
system on the fringes of society and acting on facts that often go
down as speculations are not always too far off the mark. When I set
out to launch this book in Nigeria on October 14th, 2011, I
knew I was not going to attract a star-studded audience of seasoned
politicians. I knew I was not going to make headline news. After all,
Olusegun Obasanjo was not everybody’s darling and I am not a household
name in the writing business. But thank goodness, eminent
personalities of the Nigerian media world graced the occasion and
honored me with extensive media coverage even though not on front
pages and headline items. I couldn’t have expected more.
Segun Adeniyi however, it is a different ballgame altogether. Unlike
me, Segun Adeniyi was not reporting from the fringes of society. In
his book “Power, Politics and Death: A Front-Row Account of Nigeria
Under the Late President Yar’Adua” that he presented in Nigeria on
December 13th, 2011, his facts were everything else but
speculations. They were authentic Insider Accounts. Accordingly, he
had the right audience at the right place: a star-studded event of
seasoned politicians and contemporary heavyweights of current Nigerian
featured the flamboyant and auspicious Governor of Edo State Adam
Oshiomole perhaps, among several other Governors as well. Adam
Oshiomole would not have lived up to his true identity if he did not
find a way of elevating himself above the occasion and making his
presence a remarkable media event. So it went that he threw the
ultimate bombshell without being pushed. He threw it in a way that no
other person could ever have done. There was no single compelling
reason on earth to pour this cold water of treachery on Yar’Adua,
whose soul is chilling off peacefully in his realms of natural
Oshiomole revealed that late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua contributed
financially and perhaps logistically too, to his judicial battle to
grab the Governorship throne in Edo State right from the year 2007. No
doubt Oshiomole made this revelation in good faith believing firmly in
the eulogical exaltation of the virtues represented by the late
President particularly in his elevation above partisan interests.
Apart from opening a can of worms for analysts to delve into however,
Oshiomole has now ended up partly diverting public attention from the
contents of Adeniyi’s book that should ordinarily have been the sole
focus of public interest in an occasion of this nature.
that Governor Oshiomole has said something that no one has long
suspected in public domain. No. The mere confirmation of this
collaborative conspiracy between him and the late President in
sabotaging the interest of the President’s own party ultimately turns
a long-held speculation into a serious and valid fact.
what really transpired? History will recall at anytime in the run-up
to the Presidential election of 2007 that then President Olusegun
Obasanjo in close consultation with his kitchen cabinet,
single-handedly picked Umaru Musa Yar’Adua above several more
competent and capable candidates to succeed him as President. Amid
suspicions that the outgoing President had to anoint a worthy
successor to watch his back, the most credible and overbearing
motivation however, was the acceptable nature of the candidate to a
specific geographical constituency and the personal interest of the
make Umaru Musa Yar’Adua President, Olusegun Obasanjo combed the nooks
and crannies of the country, day and night campaigning to sell the
credibility of a little-known Governor of a less flamboyant northern
state of Katsina to a national electorate. The election came and it
was flawed and marred with irregularities even though the victor Umaru
Musa Yar’Adua eventually emerged.
Yar’Adua subsequently acknowledged that the process that brought him
to power was flawed. There are isolated voices asking today however
why Yar’Adua did not decline the hypocritical offer of ascending the
Presidency in a flawed process if he was that righteous. But the
calculation played out in different equations.
politics that saw Northern Nigeria seeking to regain its dominance in
the running of Nigeria had at this point, gained full steam. The new
President was then stuck between the lobbyists of rejuvenating
Northern dominance and those seeking to maintain the relevance of
ex-President Obasanjo in shaping the destiny of the country. Being a
Northerner himself, the decision to accept the northern overtures was
obviously a slam-dunk for the ailing Yar’Adua.
Since he could not afford to serve two masters at the same time,
Yar’Adua had to throw down the gauntlet in a battle to strip Olusegun
Obasanjo of all possible political influences. He sought to do this
discretely without overtly committing any moral offence. Quietly
inciting a power probe against Obasanjo by a committee of the House of
Representatives is one of such weapons of choice suspectedly adopted
by the late President even though he denied this. Moves were made to
remove Obasanjo from the Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees by
re-amending amendments that he had made to the party’s constitution.
Then, one after the other, Governors who were known to have had some
loyalty towards Olusegun Obasanjo were removed by judicial
pronouncements in a country, which Judiciary is cursed with corruption
that stinks to high heavens.
intriguing was the case of Edo State. In fact, as one politician
confided in me anonymously, the trouble started with the support
rendered by the then Governor of Edo State Lucky Igbinedion and his
father to the rebellious activities of former Vice President Atiku
Abubakar towards Olusegun Obasanjo. In the aftermath, the NEC of the
ruling party had declined accepting the delegates of Lucky Igbinedion
in its national convention. In a delicate balancing act, Igbinedion
reportedly began contributing discretely to the strengthening and
consolidation of the ACN in Edo State while remaining a member of the
PDP. A clandestine group led by the Secretary to the State Government
(Ize-Iyamu) was formed within the PDP to coordinate the activities. It
was on the platform of this clandestine group that Oshiomole was
finally recruited into the fold having been initially frustrated by
the PDP that had no vacancy for him as a Governorship candidate.
fact, my source reveals that Igbinedion contributed an initial N30
million Naira to Oshiomole’s campaign in addition to granting him
usage of his campaign machinery in the form of thuggery and other
logistics. The unholy alliance of Igbinedion and Oshiomole was thus an
avowed instance of enmity against Olusegun Obasanjo and it made up a
fertile breeding ground for Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to recruit allies in
his bid to launch an attack on Obasanjo’s influence.
Having forcibly shown the old bad-boy of dirty politics in Edo State –
Tony Anennih – the way out of the Chairmanship of his party’s Board of
Trustees, ex-President Obasanjo had another enemy to contend with.
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who aided his predecessor in ousting Tony Anennih
from the coveted office at the Board of Trustees subsequently allied
with Tony Anennih to mastermind the removal of the Governor of Edo
State from office. The Governor at the time was from the President’s
own party – the PDP – and was known to be a relative of ex-President
Olusegun Obasanjo by marriage and therefore an Obasanjo-loyalist.
that the re-enactment of the Northern dominance of Nigerian politics
had gained priority over President Yar’Adua’s loyalty or gratitude to
his predecessor, his support for Oshiomole in allying with him, Tony
Anennih and the Igbinedions to remove a Governor from office, who
belonged to his own party and thereby, diminish Olusegun Obasanjo’s
strategic influence in the body politics of the country, had to be a
very discrete and confidential affair. It is yet unclear, if this
unholy alliance also informed the judicial soft landing enjoyed by
Lucky Igbinedion under the watch of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in the
monumental corruption trial of the erstwhile Governor doubling as an
Whatever happened at the Electoral Tribunal and the Appeal Court in
Edo State however is yet also a mystery. No doubt, we may be lucky
enough to find a courageous Judge one day, who will make the startling
revelations of how politicians prevail on Judges to deliver desired
judgments. Be that as it may though, what should have been the most
guided open-secret, a very discrete and confidential affair is what
Governor Oshiomole has now authenticated and given away to the public
in his ever desperate bid to catch the spotlight. My anonymous source
speculates that Governor Oshiomole in spite of all his achievements in
Edo State is presently in a political fix.
mentor – the Igbinedions – is now at loggerhead with him over a bid to
make another protégé Mr. Ize-Iyamu the man to succeed Oshiomole.
Indeed, the mentor did not envisage anything in excess of a single
Governorship term for Adam Oshiomole. But Oshiomole has long grown
into an unpredictable and astute radical political roadboy beating
people in their own games, with their own weapons and what’s more?
With their own ease as well!
Definitely Segun Adeniyi did not launch his book to be told how his
former boss betrayed his own party. He probably knew that all too
well, perhaps much more than Oshiomole can imagine. The need to let
souls rest in perfect peace will be the guiding force in averting a
PDP uproar and the call for a post-mortem expulsion from party
membership. As for Tony Anennih, the need to regain Edo State from
Adam Oshiomole by hook or crook in the tried and tested ways of the
bad boy’s courage may keep frayed nerves in provisional tranquility.
Who knows? There are speculations that Oshiomole’s ties to the PDP are
tighter than people imagine. Perhaps the need not to drive the
erstwhile Labor Unionist into the waiting hands of the PDP will
caution the Igbinedions to tread the tight rope very carefully in
their strategic calculations. The end will ultimately justify the
Frisky Larr is author of the book “Nigeria’s Journalistic
Militantism” probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria!