Adams Oshiomhole: Paradise lost?

Like the first Adam who ate the forbidden fruit from his beloved wife, Eve, and ran and hid when he heard the voice of God in the Garden of Eden, Chief Adams Oshiomhole may, probably, be hiding somewhere after hearing the voice of the good people of Edo State in the last gubernatorial election. The ancient Greeks had a popular saying, “Vox populi, vox Dei” (the voice of the people is the voice of God).

So, he has cause to hide, because though he might be sadder, he will ultimately come out of this wiser. However, let us not go into uncharted territory like the future. Rather, let us stay on familiar ground. The highpoint of the entire Edo election drama is that the drama king, Chief Adams Oshiomhole, has not said anything yet.

This is like watching the film Lion King and in the closing frames, you discover that the Lion King has gone AWOL (absent without leave). It is like the film is still rolling (after the last action shot), but the end credits are yet to appear.

It is not that the “lion-king” has “died”, but just that the lion appears to be licking his wounds somewhere behind the scene – away from the limelight. It is a saddening denouement for such a great personality. But it happens every time in the animal kingdom. When the lion-king loses, the rest of the pack would move on. The All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided to let “election-gone” be “electiongone” and move on, leaving Oshiomhole to lick his wounds and join them later. How are the mighty fallen? And just how did the Oshiomhole “the Great” get into the margins of the APC script and take a bashing for the defeat.

Same old story as what is in the epic poem “Paradise Lost”. In the poem John Milton details the fall of the first Adam and how his indiscretion in eating the fruit led to man’s loss of Paradise. The Edo case has more similarities than dissimilarities with the first man. Though Oshiomhole has lost his Paradise, the key difference is that he was not born into it. He worked his way into it by the margin of his faith, sheer grit and hard work. He came like a Napoleon – he came, he saw, he conquered. But his friends should have told him that the curse of every Napoleon is that there is always a Waterloo waiting for him. He should have transitioned from being a Napoleon to being a Nelson Mandela and changed his “destiny.” This indiscretion which has become his albatross. Oshiomhole has come a long way.

At the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), he rose to become the president. He wrote his name in the folklores and legends of the International Labour Organization as a representative of Africa in key labour confabs. Then he turned his eyes on Edo State and captured the governorship of the state – courtesy of the judiciary.

After serving too terms, he became the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). What else would a man with humble beginning like Oshiomhole ask for? But he may have persuaded himself to believe that he had a charmed life and will always have things his way. Such dangerous thinking cause him to become the Don Quixote of Nigerian politics – fighting on arrival, fighting for survival. What others called “Hell” Oshiomhole called home.

He was the lord of the manor and he did not suffer disagreements lightly. Were two sides to every issue – his side and the wrong side. That “Roman Empire” was shrinking was lost on him as more people deserted him. Then he turned his sight on Edo State and what began like a minor disagreement between him and the governor, Godwin Obaseki, was supplanted by mutual loathing. For someone who once grew up in the streets and sewed torn clothes to make ends meet, Oshiomhole has gone through the mill of affliction, tough times, dust and dirt. He weathered it all and proved that the test of fire still makes fine steel. His tough background had not burnished humility in Adams and he came through the mill with some rough edges. It has always been a rough ride for the quixotic Edo politician – and the fall had been a little too sudden.

But when a man combines the brashness of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo with the survival instincts of Arthur Nzeribe, he is courting trouble. There is an old poem about how a kingdom was lost because of the search for a horseshoe nail. Oshiomhole tenacious pursuit of influence in Edo politics has cost him his paradise – chairmanship of the APC, influence and fame.

But all is not lost for this Adam. John Milton also wrote another epic poem, “Paradise Regained.” It is time for the Adam of Edo to see how he could regain his paradise by learning from the experience of losing in Edo election. The first lesson should be to choose his fights carefully.


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