Thursday, 25 February 2016

Oshiomhole's Hypocrisy On The Naira – By Omonrotionwan Joeseph

By on 13:14
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Gov. Adams Oshiomhole
I was fortunate - or should I say unfortunate - to watch a live coverage of a colloquium organized by TheCable online newspaper which centred on whether the naira should be devalued or not. The discussants included stakeholders from both ends of the spectrum. Whereas those from the private sector who are usually advocates of a market-driven economy argued passionately for the government to allow market forces determine the real value of the naira, the labour represented by the very articulate Comrade Issa Aremu spoke otherwise.
I must commend the organizer of the event, Mr. Simeon Kolawole, for putting the show together. But the only embarrassment of the day was the appearance of the self-styled "Comrade Governor", Mr. Adams Oshiomhole. Typically, when it was time to speak, the Edo governor overshot the time allotted to him and I began to tell myself, "there he goes again." When we talk of indiscipline, that includes wasting other people's time or disobeying timekeeper's bell at a public function just because you think you are untouchable as a governor.
For me, the real embarrassment was Oshiomhole's hypocritical posturing on the naira. Playing to the gallery as usual, the "comrade" (some say Come-and-raid) mouthed his populist rhetoric. When you devalue the naira, he said, the masses would suffer. As usual, he went after his traditional whipping boy - the elite (thank God not "political godfather on oxygen mask" this time around). He said the naira is falling because the elite are engaged in wasteful lifestyle.
Advert Hmmm. But only the gullible are still deceived when Oshiomhole begins to speak in that mode today. For the man does not practise what he preaches. As Edo governor, he lives the most wasteful lifestyle. Let us just illustrate with Oshiomhole's itinerary in the very week he came to Lagos to attack "the elite" for the free fall of the naira, for instance. The weekend preceding that colloquium in Lagos, the "Comrade Governor" went to South Africa on a jamboree on a chartered private jet paid for with Edo tax-payers' money with his Oyinbo wife. Both were sighted at a lavish wedding of Senator Domigo Obende's son's wedding and the after-party.
The following Monday, he landed in Benin City in a chartered private jet as usual. The following day, Tuesday, he took off again from Benin City, of course in a private jet paid for with Edo taxpayers money, to attend a book launch in Abuja to exercise his hyperactive mouth again, pontificating non-stop. On Wednesday, another private jet brought him back to Benin. On Thursday, another private jet chartered took off from Benin ferrying the little emperor of Edo to Lagos to again pontificate at the colloquium. You now begin to wonder what time he has to perform his duties as governor.
Now, if you calculate the roughly $10,000 private jet charges per hour, a conservative estimate of what the "people's governor" spent within a week would be around $100,000! (over N30m in the black market). Just flying around to do something that has little or no bearing with the job of Edo governor! About N110 bn is proposed to be spent in the 2016 budget in Edo out of which about N11 bn is voted to the Governor's Office and the Central Admin for the little emperor to draw down. He personally will "consume" ten percent of the 2016 budget! Haba!! Edo people don suffer tire.
So, who is being wasteful then or embarking on prodigal lifestyle that puts the naira in a terrible shape? Is this the tradition set by the authentic labour heroes like Imoudu. I am sure the late Imoudu must be turning in anger in his grave in Owanland in Edo North today at how pretenders are living large by pretending to be the champion of the long-suffering Nigerian workers. But what does it profit a "Comrade Governor" to amass all the gold and silver in the world and lose his moral soul?
By now saying "I align myself totally with President Buhari" not to devalue the naira, the pint-sized but crafty "comrade governor" is obviously trying hard to impress Buhari. He is doing this to seduce Buhari to help him assess the $75m world bank loan which he is banking on to finance his new white elephant project- the election of his stooge in the forthcoming APC primaries in Edo. Truth is Edo is already over-borrowed with the money ending in private pockets through over inflated contracts. We sincerely hope EFCC is watching as well as updating Oshiomhole's already bulky file which will certainly be opened by the morning of November 12, 2016 when his immunity would have lapsed whether he likes it or not.
Converted to naira at current market rate, that should be more than N25bn, a loan which Edo's unborn generations will have to struggle to pay later. Exactly the same thing we are today accusing PDP of doing with the $2.1bn arms funds through Sambo Dasuki. What was meant to buy arms to fight Boko Haram was diverted to prosecute elections by PDP.
As former Goveror Timi Sylver recently said in an explosive interview lamenting how an internal conspiracy within APC spear-headed by the diminutive "Comrade Governor" was hatched to deny him victory in the recent Bayelsa elections, Oshiomhole badly needs to instal his stooge as the next Edo governor to cover up his dirty tracks and looting spree of the past seven and a half years in Edo. And more importantly, by installing a stooge, he is hoping to secure a third and fourth terms of office to sustain his champagne and private-jet lifestyle as well as maintain his dollarised madam. How both of them have been squandering Edo taxpayers' money in the last two years with their ostentatious lifestyle is a story for another day. Poor people are being milked dry in Edo through over-taxation and old pensioners are being made to pay exorbitant land use charge. But this is the kind of profligate consumption the revenue so generated is being used for!
As an experienced, incorruptible elder statesman, I hope Buhari can see through Oshiomhole's deceitful ways. If you rewind back to when Goodluck Janathan was still president, he used to praise-sing Jonathan to high heavens to the annoyance of his party's (ACN's) leaders then. Even Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala he has more or less turned to a punching bag today, he never publicly spoke against her then. When Jonathan removed fuel subsidy in 2012, Oshiomhole, as usual, flew into Lagos in a chartered private jet from the United States to defend Jonathan's decision as being visionary. Today, he is all over the place abusing the same Jonathan. The man has no shame and feeds on the short memory of Nigerians.
Let us rewind back to the same 2012, who has forgotten how the same Oshiomhole publicly abused then General Buhari as something of a political liability. Then, talks were  still going on between Buhari's CPC and Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu's ACN on the possibility of a merger. A negotiation that eventually gave birth to APC. It is on records that Oshiomhole publicly said in July 2012 he did not need Buhari to win the election on July 14, 2012. He did that to impress his then idol at Aso Rock and humiliate Buhari. But today, he is praise-singing the same Buhari. I am sure if he sees Buhari privately today, he will be the first to start speaking in Hausa to impress him that "Ranka dede, you know, I am part of Arewa". What could be more politically dubious than that?
 By now, the outgoing little emperor of Edo should know that no one is deceived anymore by his fakery.

Gbenga Dan Asabe

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