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From his days in Labour activism, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, had not been known for disappointing his fans. In fact, then, on account of his doggedness in standing up against government policies perceived to be inimical to the interest of Nigerians, many euphemistically referred to him as the Peoples’ President.
Even as a governor, Oshiomhole has not lost touch with his constituency – the masses. If anything rather, he has been able to strengthen that bond with the vigour with which he has been transforming the state.
Thus, the state which had suffered neglect when it was under the control of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is now experiencing change. It was essentially on the basis of the achievements which his administration recorded in its first term that Oshiomhole was able to triumph in the July 2012 governorship election in the state.
A major attribute that many, including his critics and admirers concede to the governor is the courage to stand on his convictions, no matter how controversial. Apparently, in that regard, the governor recently remarked that he would not spend the state’s resources to finance the Federal Government’s Good Governance tour, led by Minister of Information and Orientation, Labaran Maku.
The governor, who dropped the hint at a seminar on Tax Laws organised by Edo State Board of Internal Revenue, in Benin, capital of Edo, explained that he had opposed the proposal for state governments to sponsor the team, when the matter came up at the Governor’s Forum.
Oshiomhole disclosed that the team had sent in a proposal, imploring him to provide accommodation, feeding and logistics for over 120 delegates, scheduled to visit the state.
But the governor while bemoaning what he called the spurious proposal from the team, said, “Whenever Edo State government officials travel to Abuja for official duties, the state takes responsibility and not the Federal Government.
“So, it is not proper to use Edo State tax payers’ money to finance a Federal Government programme. If they pay me a courtesy visit, I will receive them, but I don’t have a dime to spend on them because I do not need them to come to tell Edo people how I built roads and schools. My achievement speaks for me.”
What ever may have informed the Federal Government’s good governance tour initiative, President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration has received knocks for the project. Analysts are of the view that instead of the jamboree associated with the project, government should rather look inward and focus on ways to impact the lives of Nigerians positively.
Mohammed Fawehinmi, a Lagos-based lawyer and human right activist, agrees with Oshiomhole on his action.
“I support what Governor Oshiomhole said. He is a right governor and he’s doing the right things for the Edo people. The Federal Government’s good governance tour project stinks. It is an absurd project. President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration should think of concrete projects that would impact on the lives of the citizens generally not only the Edo people.
“The governor is absolutely right. He is not a wasteful person. He loves Edo people and will continue to serve them. What he has done in the state is there for all to see. President Goodluck Jonathan government should think of how to put food on the table for Nigerians, provide proper employment, ensure better health services and secure the lives of Nigerian people instead of wasting money on the good governance tour,” he said.
Oshiomhole, was born on April 4, 1953. In 1982, he was appointed General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria. He later became president of the Nigerian Labour Congress.
In April 2007, Oshiomhole ran for governorship of Edo State on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, with which his Labour Party had entered a strategic alliance. However Oserheimen Osunbor of the PDP was declared winner but ACN contested the election. On March 20, 2008, an Edo State Elections Petitions Tribunal declared Oshiomhole the winner. On November 11, 2008, a Federal Appeal Court sitting in Benin City upheld the ruling of the state’s elections petitions tribunal.
In July 2012, he was reelected for second term.