8 months ago


Vanguard Newspaper 15 April 2018


PAGE 42, SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 15, 2017 By Patrick Obahiagbon Itake my cue for this write-up from THISDAY newspaper’s lead story of Friday, April 6, 2018 with the banner headline: “Jostling for APC Chairmanship Begins, Oyegun, Oshiomhole, Ebri Emerge Contenders…” My intervention is not a confirmation of any sort that my boss, Adams Oshiomhole, whom I served as Chief of Staff from 2012 to 2016 when he was in the saddle as governor of Edo state is interested in the position of national chair of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). On the other hand, it is not a repudiation of his possible interest in the top party position. My intervention, therefore, in this circumstance, just in case he is being tapped for the task of leading the party, is to present a testimonial of a man that has forcefully defined his eon in the sociopolitical cosmos of our nation and cut a niche for himself as a dependable, charismatic and emblematic leader in the topsy-turvy trajectory of labour politics and the realpolitik of our nation state. Oshiomhole is an enigmatic labour activist cum leader, an inimitable realpolitiker who is persistently very pragmatic and passionate about the crystallization of tangible results in all of his utilitarian engagements. It is against the backdrop of the adumbration supra that I set out, in a staccatolike fashion, as the portrait painter of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1688) did, to paint the portrait of the ebullient and sagacious Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole, “pimples, warts and all” as I see him. This exertion does not present any impossibility. Validation: Oshiomhole’s persona is an open book. What I intend to do is to populate each chapter of this fascinating manuscript and present necessary finer details in much bolder relief for public approbation. First, Oshiomhole as a labour union leader broke the glass ceiling in providing sharply-focused leadership for the period he was in the saddle as president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). He showed courage. He demonstrated very rare guts. He led the NLC to challenge antipeople policies of the Federal Government especially under Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. In doing so, he found and assumed a place in the hearts of the Nigerian workers. His worthy stewardship would thereafter open the way in Edo for his political canonization that resulted in his emergence as governor of the state in November 2008. A summation of his era as NLC president could not have, understandably, escaped essential indictment of Oshiomhole by the Obasanjo administration as a labour union “gadfly”. To the administration, he was a nuisance, a pest, an irritant; but to the mass of the people, he was a patron saint. His leadership of the labour movement did not verge on extremism. It was moderated by patriotic zeal and nationalistic temper. He was a leader who was committed to the national By Charles Kumolu INDICATIONS have emerged, reveal ing that the plan to grant waiver to the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and other National Working Committee, NWC, members, is in conflict with some sections of the party’s constitution. The proposal, which is at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari, was found by Sunday Vanguard to be unsettling party members, who argued that NWC members are not constitutionally entitled to any waiver whatsoever. It was explained that Article 31 (2) of the party’s constitution, specified that the intention of the framers of the constitution in creating waiver is to remove the obstacle that may be placed on the way of new members. In the light of this, some party sources told Sunday Vanguard that it would be ADAMS OSHIOMHOLE: An Avatar for APC’s Resurgence •Adams Oshiomhole interests over and above insular, egocentric and unsophisticated interests. He gave the task his best such that he could say “Veni, vidi, vici”, meaning ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.” But Oshiomhole, whose life exemplifies the labour struggle, has continued to identify with and energise the struggle. There is no retirement for him in the struggle. While in the saddle in Edo state, he maintained a close-knit relationship with his labour union constituency. Little wonder, mutual respect preponderated government-workers’ interactions in Edo for all of eight years from 2008 to 2016. Even now that he is out of office, he continues to appropriate the gregarious spirit that defines the struggle and its essence; that can-do and never-say-die spirit of an avatar. With an expansively vast mind in the labour movement, I am not in doubt that Oshiomhole will keep marching with the movement till he breathes his last. That commitment is not fugacious; rather it is the diktat of his spirit, permanently etched therein, and against which he has no power to submerge in the mundane or the inane that obviously assailed him while Essentially,Oshiomhole rambunctiously seized the public space of Edo state to appropriate the people’s minds in a cultic grassroots followership in office as governor. As governor, he shunned the luxury of office and would, with his trademark aluta khaki outfit, hit the street to receive workers on protest for better welfare package. Oshiomhole enjoys the credit of increasing workers’ minimum wage from N18,000 to N25,000. Second, Oshiomhole’s governance model enjoyed the buy-in of those of us who worked with him. He was an archetypical team leader. He ran the administration in the team leadership spirit where every appointee had a role to play and there was a performance measuring index that was available to determine how governance and policies had impacted positively on the mass of the people in the nooks and crannies of the state. The comrade dismantled the behemoth of godfatherism that had held the state prostrate before he stepped in the saddle and the result was his manifest imprimatur in the pervasive infrastructure development in the state, especially in the building and renovation of classrooms, roads and health centres. The list is endless. His political savoir-faire is amazing. Blessed with the capacity and the legerdemain to sidestep political thalidomide, Oshiomhole has become a master of the game of brinkmanship. He did that with the opposition in 2008 at the outset of his governorship in Edo when he upstaged the then ruling party from power through the instrumentality of the OYEGUN: Fresh concerns over proposed waiver •Oyegun wrong to grant waiver to NWC members, adding that only new members are entitled to such. One of the sources said there is no need for a waiver, adding that the party has more than 60 days between now and June 13, 2018 to hold an elective national convention. The source said: “There is no need for a waiver because there is enough time to ensure compliance between now and the June 13 terminal date if the NWC is desirous of complying with the provision. If they want to obey the party’s constitution, we have more than 60 days between now and June 13 date to hold the convention. “ However, assuming there is a need for a waiver, going by the constitution, the waiver does not apply to NWC members. From the words of the party’s constitution in Article 31 (2) on waiver, the intention of the framers of the constitution in creating waiver is to remove the obstacle that may be placed on the way of new members by Article 31 (1). “ In my view, the provision is targeted at new members the party may find worthy to contest for elective offices. In the best interest of the party, those are the operative words. “To demonstrate that this argument is correct, one of the conditions for waiver as contained in the same Article 31 (3) court. The Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal ruled that Oshiomhole won the highest number of validly cast votes in the election against Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor of the PDP. Initially, there was political accommodation of the PDP elements in his government because the party was in the majority in the State House of Assembly, but when the elements started to overstep their boundaries; he strategically decided to take no prisoners. He ensured they were sacked. That paved the way for Oshiomhole to espouse the philosophical underpinnings of his administration and to defend their ramifications. For instance, the mantra of “one man, one vote” was a writlarge enlightenment campaign to sensitise the Edo electorate on the purity of the electoral process. In other words, it was a strategy to condemn elections that brought the previous administrations of the PDP to power as manipulated and unconscionably rigged. That effectively de-marketed the PDP and rendered it unpopular in Edo. Third, Oshiomhole assumed the role of a salesman for his government and his party. He was able to articulate and defend his actions and inactions. There was no disconnection between government and the people; and between policy formulations and policy implementations. Essentially,Oshiomhole rambunctiously seized the public space of Edo state to appropriate the people’s minds in a cultic grassroots followership. The people became fanatical supporters of the Oshiomhole prodigy. That is what it means to be the people’s governor. Sans docility, timidity and tardiness in response to people’s agitations, et al, Oshiomhole redefined governance in Edo. He reworked the political party architecture of the APC in the state such that there was a synergy between government and party in the rationalization of government policies that were anchored on the party manifestoes. The Godwin Obaseki-led administration has continued the process of consolidating the Oshiomhole legacies and he enjoys the support of all of us. Therefore, permit me, at this intersection, to recommend the Oshiomhole therapy and panacea for the APC at the national level in the arduous and committed task by President Muhammadu Buhari of rebuilding and strengthening the party. Oshiomhole is an avatar whose political philosophies, exertions, modus operandi, modus vivendi and joie de vivre will be salutary to the president’s endeavor at APC’s “Risorgimento”. He has the profound intellectual rampart to provide requisite support for the president’s visions, socio-economic and political ideals and programmes. It will be a productive combination of a taciturn and sharply focused president and a rambunctious,utilitarian,energetic,audacious public space national chair to achieve national redemption and APC’s resurgence. Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon, an APC chieftain, contributed this piece from Benin. is that the person seeking waiver should apply to the NWC through their appropriate Ward, Local Government/Area Council, State, Federal Capital Territory and Zonal Committee. “How can NWC members apply to themselves for waiver when in fact the Article 31 (1) (iii), requiring them to resign before contesting is aimed at providing a level-playing field for all contestants? “If the NWC would contest and get a waiver, it means they are the contestants and election umpire at the same time. They would pick the dates for the convention and those that would conduct the elections. It is akin to being the plaintiff and judge in one’s case. In doing that, they would be superimposing themselves on the party.” However, those who believe in ad support the move for waiver insist that it. Ones with the potential of staving off possible crisis in the party preparatory to the coming convention.

SUNDAY Vanguard, APRIL 15, 2018 PAGE 43 EDITED BY OSA AMADI 08070524223 Unmasked: Daring exploration into women’s mindscapes •Unmasked by Somi Nwandu By Prisca Sam-Duru For three years running, SMO Contemporary Arts has engaged the public on matters concerning women, through an art exhibition tagged, Standing Out. Standing Out usually comes during the Women’s History Month and has in no small way celebrated the sterling achievements and contributions of women across the globe. Hosted by the Wheatbaker Hotel, this year’s edition titled Unmasked focuses on a rare subject which sheds light on women’s mental health. It’s disheartening to know that so many women go through depression yet the society expects them to function normally. Unmasked features the powerful and energized artwork of seven phenomenal female artists with strong links to Lagos but come from different parts of Nigeria, Cameroon, the Gambia, India, and the United States. The artists are, Nengi Omuku, Djakou Kassi Nathalie, Somi Nwandu, Nyancho NwaNri, Koromone Koroye, Reha Shishodia and Queen Nwaneri. Supported by Louis Guntrum and the Wheatbaker, Unmasked runs from March 11th to May 4th, 2018. The exhibition explores women’s mental health through 35 paintings, photographs, digital art, ceramic sculptures, poetry and spoken word performance and a large multi-media string installation. While previous editions of Standing Out focused on some highly publicized women’s issues such as lack of access to education, gender-based violence, and the need for economic equality, this year’s explores the complex world of women’s mental health which clearly impacts their ability to fight for recognition and equality. The artists examine diverse women’s emotional mindscapes and question what lies behind the mask vis-a-vis how women should break down societal constructs on what it is and what it takes to be a woman in a male dominated society. How do women explore and present their true multi-layered selves, and inspire others to demand for justice, break through glass ceilings, avoid society’s obsession with perfection, tear down walls of shame and guilt, and rip off these stifling emotional masks. And according to the World Health Organisation, over 7 million Nigerians suffer from depression and 4.8 million Nigerians (2.7% of the population) suffer from anxiety disorders. Worldwide, just 3% of total government spending is for mental health. The UNMASKED exhibition is the brainchild of two emerging curators, Nneoma Ilogu and Moni Oloke, who are both health professionals and have been focusing on art through their work at SMO Contemporary Art. “We believe that art is an important tool for advocacy and change in society,” the two curators explained during the press preview. “We choose artists who have a strong message and presence, and could help to publicize the need for society to focus on the mental wellbeing of women.” The exhibition explores complex questions of identity, breaking down stereotypes, and dealing with societal pressures in the congested, over-populated mega-city of Lagos. During the press preview, young Koromone Koroye threw the floor open with an amazing spoken word performance which spoke volume of some ugly experiences she went through as a woman and how she devised means of getting the resultant mask off her face and forge ahead. Other artists followed suit, with works such as, ‘Chaos’, ‘What Should I Wear Today’, ‘The Outsider’, ‘Splay’, Trap, etc., encouraging women to learn to live for themselves and not how society wants them to live. The Wheatbaker’s long standing art curator, Founder and Artistic Director of SMO Contemporary Art, Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, described Unmasked as a “Bold and honest expose of what goes on within women’s mindscapes through the intricate and emotionally charged work of these phenomenal artists.” Salami launches book on how to unleash power of the creative mind By OSA AMADI The President of the Experi ential Marketers Association of Nigeria, Kehinde Salami, has launched in Lagos, a marketing communications book entitled “To every man a brain: How to discover and unleash the power of your creative mind.” Kehinde lamented that Nigeria is a country with tremendous potential that gives everyone a blank sheet of paper to write their personal dreams and vision but very few take good advantage of that. “It’s worrying, said the author, “that despite the opportunities that abound, many of us still find ourselves in limbo with no clear direction. We patronize the goods, services and technology breakthrough of the West shamelessly wearing the badge of the astute consumption economy with pride. Besides entertainment and a few other flashes here and there, our nation can best be termed as a doers’ economy. This scenario for any serious government should raise an imminent red flag as doing will always be inferior to thinking. If we all agree on this simple logical fact, then we need to change our perspective” He cites the case of Africa which boasts 17 percent of the worlds’ population, but responsible for less than 1 percent of global patents. “This book takes an insightful look into the issues and offers a quick fix with respect to vital methodologies that could help change mind-set while rebooting the brain to work more efficiently…” says Salami. The Piano Teac eacher With OSA AMADI Arts Editor Scaling hurdles 1 & 2 in my y quest to study music By November 30, 1987 I had written the last paper in the November/December GCE and scaled hurdle 1 – getting my basic qualifications for admission. In 1988 I bought the Joint Matriculation Exam forms. After filling the form I took it to my father to sign the parent/guardian attestation page. That was hurdle 2. I stood there watching him as he read through the completed registration form. At one point his face twisted and he asked: “Music? What do you know about music? You don’t have any basic qualification in music as a subject, do you? “No sir. Not yet,” I murmured. “And so, how do you intend to do it?” His tone concealed disappointment. “I have started studying music theory. Someone is already teaching me. Before the date of the Matriculation exam I will learn enough to enable me pass the subject. OAU Ife waves music for applicants who pass the subject in JME.” He shrugged his shoulders and signed the forms. He probably believed it was one of those several infatuations young people had for different professions before they eventually settled for the right one. He believed I will come back to study law. And he was right. At a point, I wanted to change from music to law and my father wrote a personal letter to the Dean, Faculty of Law urging him to assist me crossover from music to law. I never submitted the letter to the Dean of law. After I got back to school I changed my mind again and determined to complete the degree in music. What was responsible for the change of mind? Quite a number of people who go to study Art Music in higher institutions do not always understand the curriculum content of Art Music. For students who come to study music with the mindset of “I want to be like Fela, Dr Sir Warrior, Sonny Okosun, Sunny Ade, Michael Jackson, etc.,” music education in higher institution is definitely not the place for the fulfillment of such ambition. In fact, it’s most likely that no one is going to teach you any meaningful thing regarding such genres of music until you graduated. You are there mainly to study CLASSI- CAL MUSIC! I did not come to Ife straight. I first went to the Alvan Ikoku College of Education in 1988 for what was called NCE double major in music education after I failed to meet the cutoff point in JME that year. I scored 211. Writing two separate entrance exams in 1988 was a good strategy. Alvan admitted me. Alvan was a great asset to me and I enjoyed my stay in the school. One late Mr. Cyprian Nwosu from my village had studied music education at Alvan. In fact it was Mr. Cyprian Nwosu that I went to seek help for lessons in music theory after I registered for JME 1988. My encounter with Mr. Cyprian is recorded in detail in a journal I kept 30 years ago. We met at a very turbulent stage of my life (as I am writing this, on 20/03/2018: 03:52 PM, my 6 years old son, Munachimso, came to me and said, “...Daddy, what will I be when I get to university? I said, “Professor. Everybody has agreed you will be a prof.” He said, “Yes, I know. But I also want to be the King of the world. I said, “Yes, that’s good!”). By January 1988 I was still filled with doubt as to whether I will be able to study music in the university or not. Out of the 3 hurdles I must scale to get there, only the acquisition of sufficient knowledge of music theory to enable me pass music in JME was still un-scaled. On the evening of 7 January 1988 in Umunakara, I ran into Mr. Cyprian Nwosu, a brilliant primary school teacher. He was recently offered admission to study music education at Alvan Ikoku. I congratulated him and expressed my happiness for the course he had chosen. I disclosed to him of my own desire to study music in the university but added that the problem was I did not know anything about theory of music. I asked if he could lend me some music books to read. He not only promised to lend me books, but also offered to give me some lessons on theory of music. I was so excited.