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Frisky Larr (MA)
Journalist/Interpreter
Author of the book “Nigeria’s Journalistic Militantism” probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria! ISBN: 9781456777906.
Bochum, Germany
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Oshiomole Confesses to Yar’Adua’s Anti-Party Activities

 

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 means.


Frisky Larr is author of the book “Nigeria’s Journalistic Militantism” probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria! ISBN: 9781456777906.

Now that Oshiomole has opened the corner-side of the lid on the murky politics that compounded his ascension to the Governorship throne in Edo State, I am free to heave a huge sigh of relief. Relief in a grand feeling of semi-justification! I now feel halfway justified in the relief that the facts used in my book “Nigeria’s Journalistic Militantism” while analyzing the politics of treachery in Edo State was not made up out of thin air.

 

It 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.

With 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 politics.

It 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 transition.

Adam 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.

Not 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.

Now, 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 President.

To 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.

The 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.

Most 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.

In 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.

Now 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 ex-convict.

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.

His 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 means.

Frisky Larr is author of the book “Nigeria’s Journalistic Militantism” probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria! ISBN: 9781456777906.

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