Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole emerged APC Chairman at the party’s convention because no one stood in his way, and his emergence as the new helmsman of the party did no come to many observers as a surprise.
The former Governor of Edo State headed into the APC national convention of Saturday, June 23, 2018, as the last man standing for the position of Chairman of Nigeria’s governing party.
On Thursday, June 21, Oshiomhole’s last challenger for the position of APC Chairman, Clement Ebri, stepped down from the race, citing party interests and advice from friends and family. His coronation took place during Saturday’s convention in Abuja. Ebri who is a former governor of Cross River State, announced through a letter
that he was withdrawing from the race because “all stakeholders must tow in the same rancour free direction as the 2019 general election approaches”.
Ebri according to sources was told by
APC chie ains that it would be futile for him to contest the position against Oshiomhole because he was going to lose anyway.
Oshiomhole was backed by all the governors elected on the platform of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari.An APC said that; “President Buhari urged members of the party to support the candidacy of the former Edo state governor owing to his wealth of knowledge and political experience, especially in the APC as one of its founding members who contributed sel essly to the merger process”. Buhari has always considered Oshiomhole the safest pair of hands to entrust the governing party’s a airs, ahead of his 2019 re-election battle.Oshiomhole’s ability to wow a crowd through speeches and take on the opposition without a care about whose Ox is gored, have
long been considered assets within the APC.Within the decision makers in the APC, Oshiomhole o en comes across as pragmatic, hands-on and a bare-knuckled campaigner who will be instrumental on the stomp in the weeks leading to 2019.
Over 6,800 delegates converged on the Eagle Square in Abuja to choose party members who will occupy 42 positions in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).However, 20 party members in the last NWC will return to the new APC executive.
e new party leader who took over from Chief John Odigie , ironically his predecessor at Government House Benin-City was born on 4 April 1952 at Iyamho, near Auchi in Edo State. He was born Muslim but was led to Christianity by his late wife Clara who died of cancer aged 54. He is Catholic and his Christian name is Eric. A er 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 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. A er democracy was restored in 1999, he became president of the 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. e Textile union elected Oshiomhole for a second term as General Secretary, while he continued as president of the NLC. e relationship with Obasanjo turned sour as neglect of local oil re neries 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 o ces, and Obasanjo introduced legislation to make it more di cult for the NLC to strike. e 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.
As Edo State Governor
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 nulli ed 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. e decision was based on several voting irregularities.
In the election that brought him to power, the last of his rivals, Chief Clement Ebri, also a former Governor of Cross River, announced his withdrawal from the race, leaving Oshiomhole now unopposed.Ebri’s decision to withdraw from the race was made known last ursday in his letter titled: “Withdrawal from National Championship race”, in Abuja.Ebri’s decision came ahead of the party’s National Convention slated for Saturday and followed two other chairmanship aspirants’ withdrawal from the race. He stated in the letter that his decision to withdraw from the race came a er due consultations with friends, family and associates in the interest of the party.He added that the decision was also taken in his belief that “all stakeholders “must tow in the same rancour free direction as the 2019 general election approaches”.Ebri noted that what happened in the leadership of the APC was directly responsible
as to whether it could deliver on its promises to Nigerians to provide them with better lives.He said that such was the core conviction that drove him into declaring his candidacy for the party’s National chairmanship position in the rst place.He also stated that the fundamental task of the APC was to win elections, adding that it behoved on the party to o er its elected o cials a means for organising government.
is, Ebri said, became the primary link between the people and government.He also urged his supporters to transfer their support for his aspiration to former governor of Edo, Mr Adams Oshiomhole as National Chairman of the APC.
“We should all render him every support and encouragement he needs as he and his team proceed to rebuild our party into a formidable, uni ed and inclusive organisation where every voice counts,” he said