By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Adams Oshiomhole, former Edo State Governor, on 23 June, became the new National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC).
For him, it was a walkover! Why? His emergence was by affirmation by delegates at the ongoing national convention of the party at the Eagle Square, Abuja. In other words, the convention was for him a mere formality. Before now, 14 candidates wanted to slug it out with him but one after the other, they withdrew.
The last among his challengers to throw in the towel was Dr. Clement Ebri, a former governor of Cross River State. He withdrew on Friday, a day befor the convention because of what he called his “desire to ensure rancour-free convention”.
In his words: “Following deep consultations with my family, friends, associates, party leaders and other stakeholders in the APC. I have reached the decision to withdraw my candidacy from the race of the national chairmanship of the APC.” It was as if Ebri took his cue from Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, one time governor of Edo State who ealier withdrew.
Other results will still be announced as the convention was still on when this story was being posted.
Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole was born on 4 April 1952 at Iyamho, near Auchi in Edo State. He was born Muslim but, as Wikipedia puts it, was led to Christianity by his late wife Clara who died of cancer aged 54. ‘He is Catholic and his Christian name is Eric. After his secondary education, he obtained a job with the Arewa Textiles Company, where he was elected union secretary. He became a full-time trade union organizer in 1975. He then studied at Ruskin College, Oxford in the United Kingdom[citation needed where he majored in economics and industrial relations. He also attended the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru. In May 2015 he married a young model called Lara Fortes.
In 1982, Adams Oshiomhole was appointed General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, a union with over 75,000 workers. After democracy was restored in 1999, he became president of th oe Nigerian Labour Congress. Early in the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo he negotiated a 25% wage increase for public sector workers. In return he publicly supported Obasanjo and endorsed his candidacy when he was re-elected in 2003. The Textile union elected Oshiomhole for a second term as General Secretary, while he continued as president of the NLC.
The relationship with Obasanjo turned sour as neglect of local oil refineries led to reliance on imported gasoline, followed by rises in the price of fuel. Oshiomhole led strikes and demonstrations against the increases. He faced arrests, tear gas and temporary blockades of union offices, and Obasanjo introduced legislation to make it more difficult for the NLC to strike. The NLC alleges that on 9 October 2004 Oshiomhole was abducted by State Security Services during a protest, but the Nigerian government say he submitted to voluntary custody.
Oshiomhole represented African Workers for two terms on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), serving on the committee on Freedom of Association. He was also a member of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
In April 2007, Adams Oshiomhole ran for Governor of Edo State under the Action Congress Party, with which his Labour Party had entered a strategic alliance. Oserheimen Osunbor of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner. However, the AC contested the election on the basis of various irregularities. On 20 March 2008, an Edo State election tribunal nullified the election of Oserheimen Osunbor and declared Oshiomhole the winner. On 11 November 2008, a federal Appeal Court sitting in Benin City upheld the ruling of the state’s elections petitions tribunal, declaring Oshiomole to be the Governor of Edo State. The decision was based on several voting irregularities.
In 2012, he was elected to a second term, winning the elections in a massive landslide. ended his tenure on November 12, 2016.’