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OBASEKI’S TRIUMPHS AND OSHIOMHOLE’S WOES, A LESSON FOR ASPIRING LEADERS by John Ewah

Sometimes, facing troubling moments becomes a necessity if it leads to the greater good. History has taught us that one could hardly find a lasting peace today that was not forged from the crucibles of war, and like Thomas Paine wrote, “if there must be trouble, let it be in my day that my child may have peace”.

Governor Godwin Obaseki might have probably found respite in refusing to engage himself in a political war, and like Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, exit the stage quietly, but he understood that he would only be prolonging the age long practice where a few individuals dictate the pace of politics, and also prolong the cyclical pattern of governance that has never favoured the people.

The power to do and undo cannot be left to the whims and caprices of Oligarchs who run a government controlled by the few, for the interest of the few. Godwin Obaseki understood the impending disaster of leaving the people at the mercy of these power mongers; he understood the nullity that would arise from his years of hard work in trying to re-engineer the system of governance in the State, and therefore, decided to take the difficult path of political warfare, in order to protect the interest of the people; the true kingmakers.

Unlike ancient times where the few rule without inputs from their subjects, modern democracy has shown how the few or the political class may become subject to the people. The people have taken over the reins of governance from the few who had held sway in the past. And this is the message which the good people of Edo State are conveying to the entire nation. The people are the true leaders while the political class are the subjects; anything beyond this compromise is unacceptable.

Every politician must ensure that their political ambition is in synchrony with the people’s interest in order not to give room for a physical, psychological and verbal insurrection. This is what Comrade Adams Oshiomhole failed to realize.

Adams Oshiomhole had been a labour union activist, rising through the echelon to become the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). He became a two-time Governor of Edo State and then National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In every sense, one could have celebrated him (Oshiomhole) as a successful politician in the Nigerian context, with a prospect of higher political callings. But for whatever reason, he decided to pursue a personal political vendetta that was not in harmony with the people’s desire; he needed to become a godfather, and therefore, gave room to the goddess of malicious gossip to undo him, while the very spirit of the partial air, blow him willy-nilly, down the slippery slope of grim politicking and fruitless acrimony.

While in his quite time he (Oshiomhole) may ponder on the consequences of his actions, the message derived from the political contestation between him and his successor, Godwin Obaseki, should be a great lesson to current and prospective leaders of our nation.

A 21st Century leader who places the welfare of his people at the vanguard of his objectives would surely enjoy enduring legitimacy and public goodwill; unseating him either by means of machination or association would be a nearly impossible task, especially when such a leader is resolute in his resolve and firm in his struggle, just like the Obaseki-Oshiomhole strife has proven.

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