Edo Election: Why Oshiomhole Cannot Be Trusted

Edo Election - Why Oshiomhole Cannot Be Trusted
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole

The ways of the politician have been well decrypted in the saying, ‘that there are no permanent friends, but permanent interests.’ It is as such not amazing to many that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has become the favoured man by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to replace Mr. Godwin Obaseki as governor of Edo State under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Exactly four years ago, the two men were in opposite camps with Ize-Iyamu as flag bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Oshiomhole was then the chief campaigner for G.O. as the incumbent is popularly hailed by his acquaintances.

The triumph of the Oshiomhole/Obaseki campaign was a particularly significant political milestone in the political history of Edo State. Obaseki’s succession in 2016 became the first time in the state’s history that one political party was able to hold on to power for three consecutive terms. It was also the first time that one of the most enduring political actors in the state, that is, Ize-Iyamu was on the losing side in a political battle since the advent of the Fourth Republic.

Ize-Iyamu had managed the 1999 and 2003 campaigns of Lucky Igbinedion. Following that, he also alongside Lucky, packaged Oshiomhole for the 2007 election. In 2012, Ize-Iyamu again emerged as Oshiomhole’s campaign manager and gave him a popular victory in the election.

They subsequently parted after Ize-Iyamu as national vice-chairman, South-South of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN left for the PDP just before the birth of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Then came the epic political battle of 2016  which saw degrading words being uttered by Oshiomhole to de-market Ize-Iyamu.

Winning for Obaseki in the consideration of Oshiomhole was by hook or crook. The elections were postponed at the last minute with the claim that terrorists were set to overrun the state!

When the election was eventually held, there were funny tales at the collation centre that night. The results returning Obaseki was confirmed by the tribunals. It projected the ascendancy of the financial expert who Oshiomhole claimed would uplift Edo, a state, he said he did not trust to give Ize-Iyamu a single appointment!

More harsh words were used by Oshiomhole in his desperation to sell his candidate and rubbish the opponent. The extent to which those damaging words worked remains in the imagination of his hearers.

But whatever, those words are already re-echoing ahead of APC primaries as forces seem determined to separate the reunion of the two men. It is no surprise that both the Obaseki camp and PDP camps are today recycling those Oshiomhole tirades ahead of the possible duel with Ize-Iyamu.

How Ize-Iyamu can reconcile with Oshiomhole or even abide with the former APC national chairman in the same room is indeed remarkable!

In 2018, a petition was raised against Adams Oshiomhole. The petition raised several issues bordering on allegations of fraudulent practices, misappropriations, financial misapplication, and embezzlement through contract splitting and outright racketeering. Authors of the petition, Comrade Kola Edokpayi of the Talakawa’s parliament, and Bishop Dr. Osadolor Ochei, J.P of the Achievers Organisation who are renowned “Rights Activists” in the state, were pushing their self-imposed course under the aegis of the ‘Group of Concerned Edo NGOs and Stakeholders’.

The petitioners said they were compelled to act because they believe that the people have not only been short-changed through fraudulent means but also that their commonwealth has been frittered away by an administration led by a pretentious “Comrade” Governor.” Throughout his eight-year tenure, the Governor claimed to be judiciously spending the taxpayers’ money for the people’s welfare, but he was doing anything but this.

According to the Debt Management Office, Edo state Government is the third-highest indebted state in Nigeria and a significant part of the borrowed funds were diverted by the Governor to his private use and those of his cronies.

In Oshiomhole’s eight-year tenure, he obviously plundered the resources of the state and diverted billions of the state’s revenue to his personal account using proxies.

Gov. Adams Oshiomhole marries Cape Verdian beauty Iara Fortes ...
Oshiomhole uses government funds for his lavish wedding

In the face of the current biting recession in Nigeria, Oshiomhole used government funds for his lavish wedding. Furthermore, the former Governor spent the peoples’ money on chartered flights, which were excessive and hypocritical in an administration that claimed to be prudent in the management of the resources of the state. Oshiomhole’s chartered flights amounted to ₦5 billion.

There was more too, Oshiomhole also built a sprawling mansion worth more than ₦10 billion in his home town, Iyanho, in the Auchi axis of the state which was constructed by Verissimo, a South African architectural concern.

The cost of the house which has swimming pools, water fountains, multiple theatres for cinema and live performances, huge event halls, bridges, manmade lake, lodges of different sizes among others is allegedly well outside Oshiomhole’s legitimate income.
He also bought property along Okoro-Otun Avenue, G.R.A., Benin City owned by the Edo State Government, while he was the state governor without due process. The said property was originally given to the University of Benin as a gift by the state government, while a dispute was pending in court between the institution and the government; Oshiomhole allegedly acquired the property “forcibly” for his own use.
He was reported to have erected a structure with an underground apartment, roof top swimming pool, another giant structure worth more than ₦500 million, while the land itself was bought at a paltry ₦23 million, as opposed to the ₦100 million open market price.
In 2012, he allegedly initiated and authorized the approach to the World Bank to secure a loan of $225 million dollars under the First Edo State Growth and Employment Support Credit project with identification number “P123353”.
The World Bank paid the state government $75 million U.S. dollars as initial payment and another $75 million U.S. dollars as the second installment, despite massive protests by Edo people.
The second installment which was allegedly domiciled in Access Bank was largely transferred to private off-shore accounts and round-tripped to the detriment of Edo.
Oshiomhole is also being accused of diverting a total of ₦500 billion security vote during his tenure, to proxy accounts, including that of one Chief M.A. Kadiri who allegedly collected sums of money totaling ₦42 billion.
The ex-Edo governor allegedly approved ₦700 million which was collected by the same Kadiri on grounds of urgent security challenges when there was no security threat to justify the purported use of such an astronomical amount of money.
He is also accused of approving the purchase of vehicles at ridiculous prices from Sata Motors Limited, a company owned by one Gani Audu who was his aide without compliance with due process and in abuse of office.
He is also accused of acquiring properties in United States of America, South Africa, and Dubai worth billions of U.S. dollars and far in excess of his legitimate income while serving as governor of the state.
On December 31, 2014, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), paid $54.9 million to the state government and local government councils as their contributions to power sector “Special Sector Intervention Fund”. The money was allegedly not captured by the state’s Appropriation Act, thus fueling the suspicion that the money must have been diverted for private use.
Adams Oshiomhole begging Benin elders to accept Ize Iyamu
If this is the man fielding Edo state’s next Governor. Then there’s no soothsayer needed to say that Edo state is in for a terrible game of fraudulent monopoly if Ize-Iyamu should ever succeed in his gubernatorial race under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK

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