Former national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole has finally thrown his hat into the ring to represent his Edo North senatorial district at the National Assembly in 2023. Oshiomhole used the occasion of his 70th birthday celebration at his sprawling Iyamho country home on Monday to declare his ambition thus ending several weeks of speculation and leaving people guessing whether he would indeed take the plunge.
By this development, Oshiomhole would be seeking to unseat his erstwhile protégé, Francis Alimekhena Oshiomhole, who has declared his intention to seek a third term in the red chamber. Recall that in the past few weeks, various political groups had piled pressure on the former governor to contest the position but he had been silent leaving people guessing if he would run or not.
But on Monday, Oshiomhole put paid to the speculations, declaring his ambition before many party chieftains and loyalists who came to felicitate with him on his birthday. The former president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, said he chose to celebrate his birthday with his kinsmen because he was conscious of his origin as “a nobody” given birth to under a tree by his mother but destined by God to be what he is today.
Announcing his decision to contest, Oshiomhole said “It is true that for quite some time, many of our people have asked me why don’t you contest for the Senate and I said first, APC has crisis; let us fix the crisis, let there be convention because you cannot begin to discuss what kind of baby you are going to have when you are not married. I said until APC is fixed, you cannot talk of contesting election using the platform. Having been chairman of the party, I know the danger we face if we are not able to fix the party, and this was completed and consummated on the 25th of March. And we have now elected a brand new National Working Committee and a brand new National Executive Council under the able leadership of a former governor, a former minister, and a current senator, Adamu Abdullahi.
“We have done what we need to do, and I am inspired by the position of the new leadership for us to do what we need to do to retain power in 2023. I am therefore convinced that this is the time to proceed to the next step of the conversation which is about who leads the great people of Edo North in the senate by 2023, after all consultations, because you must be convinced that you can do it and improve on it. These times that people have been asking me, I have also been examining myself because I do not want to go to the senate and sit down, listen to motions, and collect salary at the end of the month. I do not believe that I need to go to the senate to take a sabbatical to take a rest because that is an important institution where men and women are elected by their people to contribute to affairs that affect their people, how funds are allocated, and to ensure that the people of Nigeria have value for their resources and money”.
Oshiomhole further stated that “We lay more emphasis on the rotation of people; I am more concerned about even development. I have made it clear before as president of the NLC that democracy means that the leaders must listen to the people, and if he deviates from that, the people have the right to interrogate the leader. If I did that as an ordinary Nigerian, I believe that as a senator, your interest cannot be ignored in the red chamber in Abuja. By my antecedent, I am a believer that this country has come to stay and our business is not to lament the imperfections but dedicate ourselves to the challenge of fixing the nation so that we can create a nation where every citizen will have a basis to be proud that he is a Nigerian. With your mandate, if I get to the senate, I will do that.
He said the idea of empowerment should be redefined from the tokenism that is given to constituents, to ensuring that the infrastructure needed is built for the people to express themselves “because our people are not lazy”. Oshiomhole stated that “Our leaders from the six local government areas have gathered here today to say I should contest and I believe that with your support, we will get there”.
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