“Blind party loyalty will be our downfall. We must follow the truth wherever it leads.” – DaShanne Stokes
In apparent response to the game politicians play with the electorate during electioneering using their political parties, an American author and political consultant, Frank Luntz, advised that: “A party should be defined by what it stood for, not by what it was against.”
In settling for the former Edo State Governor, Comrade, Adams Oshiomhole for the position of National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the party was looking out for a character that can very well highlight what APC is against since what it stood for is not clear. The person to fit into it must be somebody who can talk from both mouths irrespective of the consequences.
It has to be somebody who can bring white and make you begin to see it as black. But unknown to them Oshiohmole as a labour operative may have been a huge success both for himself and the people he led but in politics, it’s a different ball game more so a ruling party. As it is becoming very glaring even from his tenure as governor, the character and mien of the former labour leader is not meant for a ruling party but more for an opposition which is really his habitat.
This is evident in what has been happening since he emerged last month. In fact, Oshiohmole leading a ruling party reminds us of this political joke from the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, in the Second Republic when his attention was drawn to late Mallam Aminu Kano joining the presidential race on the platform of the defunct Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), the great Zik smiled and said: “It is good that Mallam is also in the race the more the merrier, the only problem here is that if perchance he is elected as President he would one day carry placard with his talakawa group against the government forgetting that he is the President and that the bulk stops on his table.” Zik’s remark is another way of recognizing the area of competence and proficiency of the late Mallam Kano. Zik in that joke was trying to let his audience realize that Mallam’s impact would better be felt where it can be overwhelming? In human resources management it is called area of specialization.
Comrade Oshiomhole even after eight years as a state governor has been unable to undress the garb of an activist labour man. Those who suggested him for the National Chairmanship position probably thought that the gubernatorial thing may have refined him a little for certain statesmanlike position but as its now showing, leopard hardly changes its colour no matter the circumstance or how long it reside outside the forest.
By now President Buhari and his other APC leaders must have bowed to the superior thinking of that school of thought that wanted tenure elongation for members of the National Working Committee (NWC) for peace to reign in the party. Where APC finds itself today right inside the depth of its own blooper was preventable.
The slip-ups from Oyegun, for which he was disengaged, have since been multiplied by the comrade. The situation in the party now is at such embarrassing scale that from Ngige to Amaechi among others under Oshiohmole’s watch, enough troubles have been harvested to last him his tenure. This development has been facilitated and made more manifest through the Comrade’s garrulous and impetuous style.
Typical characteristics of labour operatives, they are not cut out to manage but to find faults and oftentimes pick quarrels with managers. It is a wrong human resources judgement to expect a labour man who trained only to keep the management permanently on their toes to quickly and unexpectedly turn around and be the manager and suddenly make a success of it. This reality is not limited to only management but also applies to politics.
That explains why Zik sounded askance when late Mallam Kano joined the presidential race in Second Republic instead of remaining in his natural habitat of picking faults with the ruling class and shouting it out. Perhaps the man who got the first bashing from the Comrade Chairman is President Buhari himself, who actually facilitated his coming. When he started issuing orders to serving ministers representing their states, threatening to sack and suspend and saying he would not take any of them disregarding his directives the way they do to the President, the message was well understood that the President has not been able to rein in erring appointees.
By the rules governing presidential system, a ruling party role is advisory but the Comrade Chairman would not want any of that periphery supervisory roles hence his decision to hijack the responsibilities of the President, the Vice President or in rare cases the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to supervise the ministers.
Notwithstanding that there are enough wahala already inside the APC to engage the National Chairman the rest of his tenure, but rather than focus on that he chose instead to venture into governance like a bullying college head boy who tries to appropriate everybody’s job including that of the headmaster.
Yet while he busied himself chasing rat as the inferno rages in the house, aggrieved members move out in droves in search of a better habitation. And as his attention is drawn to it he says he was not losing any sleep over politically inconsequential persons leaving the party. But he has been economical with the truth because since the exodus, he had not really slept as he used the time he was supposed to be sleeping chasing aggrieved persons, begging and offering them inducements yet he claims he is not losing sleep.
If this is not losing sleep one wonders what losing sleep means. Perhaps the biggest evidence that the ruling APC is not yet done with its propaganda character is the bashing it’s giving to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State few days after they praised him to high heavens as a performing governor with principles.
Then he was in APC where all sinners are saints but having jumped ship into the PDP where all saints could be sinners, Ortom coming from the same mouth is now the most underperforming governor who indeed is vicariously liable for the killings in his state. As they claimed Ortom as APC governor employed and paid killers who participated in the killing of two catholic priests and the government kept mum apparently searching for whom to frame. Now that Ortom is in the enemy territory, truth can now be told. I wonder who Oshiohmole expects would still believe him after his double speaks have become so perceptible.
One just hope that President Buhari by choosing Oshiomhole ahead of Oyegun as a national chairman is not following the same path former President Goodluck Jonathan followed that landed him in regrets. Jonathan was advised against removing Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo as national chairman of PDP in 2010, but he ignored the advisory and bowed to pressure from other interests.
Political pundits believed that the removal of Nwodo marked the decline in the administration. Even when Alhaji Bamanga Turkur was brought in later and he was stabilizing the ship, the same forces came and made him remove Tukur as national chairman to pave the way for the entry of the eventual undertaker Adamu Muazu. Today one of the biggest regrets in Jonathan’s political life is Muazu’s national chairmanship of PDP.
Is Oshiohmole then an undertaker working assiduously to return the APC to the opposition so that he can properly fit in and be firing the government from all cylinders? But even at that, the comrade still needs some knowledge updating in political communications. I therefore want to be charitable by recommending to Oshiohmole this book authored by Frank Luntz “Words that work, it’s not what you say, it’s what the people hear”.
Inside the book the author argues that: “You can have the best message in the world, but the person on the receiving end will always understand it through the prism of his or her own emotions, preconceptions, prejudices, and pre-existing beliefs. It’s not enough to be correct or reasonable or even brilliant. How that person perceives what you say is even more real, at least in a practical sense, than how you perceive yourself.” God help us.
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