Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is on his way to emerging Chairman of the APC. This was always written in the stars.
Bedecked in a trademark Khaki attire, Oshiomhole bellowed into the microphone: “I want to be of help, I want to be of use to all those who need it but I am not capable of being used. I believe that this needs to be clarified because there is so much suspicion in our political space”.
He was standing before a room packed full with party chieftains, loyalists and some presidency officials. It was all anyone needed to be convinced that he has President Buhari’s blessings for the race ahead.
“Let me say that I think with all sense of modesty that I am well prepared for this kind of role.
“The skill to negotiate, the skill to persuade, the skill to make consensus, the skill to do give-and-take, the skill to talk through a process that will lead to win-win solutions rather than the winners and the losers, those are the tools I have deployed as a branch union leader, becoming the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress.”
And Oshiomhole was right. He’s got bags of skills for this sort of job and more.
The APC has been badly run under John Odigie-Oyegun, it has to be said. Soon after the APC emerged victorious in the 2015 election, the party proved it couldn’t manage success. Oyegun went into a fight with APC chieftain Bola Tinubu, State Governors picked fights with Senators, the party’s consensus candidates lost leadership roles on the floor of the Senate and the House; and the APC lost the confidence of the people who voted it in at the center.
Oyegun's laid back, avuncular style of leadership was always going to make him ill suited for a bare-knuckled role like the chairmanship of a big political party.
Oyegun’s Communications team has been a complete shambles or non-existent. The APC secretariat in Abuja is crying for a new dab of paint and the APC didn’t have a Twitter account to call its own until last month. Shows how shoddy the party has been run.
The APC has also lost a chunk of its base, no thanks to an admixture of poor performance at the center and poor communication.
The APC has been a madhouse.
The former labour leader is no stranger to talking his way into hearts and minds. He’s a hands-on, grassroot sweet talker and mobiliser who got most of Edo singing his name and dancing alongside him.
Oshiomhole will come into his new role, fully made. He’s just the kind of guy you want in your corner before a major election battle like the 2019 vote.
However, the APC will now have to back Oshiomhole’s all action style with dividends of democracy and delivering on its mountain of promises. The governing party has a habit of ducking from its responsibilities and disowning its promises. Even an Oshiomhole won’t be able to talk a political party out of its own failings.
Under an orator like Oshiomhole, the APC has to change what it has become and own up when it does mess up.
So, is Oshiomhole the next APC Chairman? You bet!