The State Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Mr Chris Azebamwan, has exonerated Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole, APC National Chairman of all godfatherism allegations in the Edo political space.

In a statement signed by his Personal Assistant (Media), Ogochukwu Isioma, entitled, “Adams Oshiomhole And His Place In History”, Azebamwan described the former Governor as a messiah who came to rescue following the eight years of waste by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government.

He lauded the former labour leader and APC national chairman for strengthening the Party in Edo State and making everyone feel entitled as a stakeholder [in the Party] during his eight-year reign as Governor.

Describing the current administration in Edo as an offshoot of the political legacies of the Comrade Governor, the APC spokesman said Oshiomhole’s place in the contemporary history of Edo State [politics] cannot be overemphasized.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was elected to the Office of the Governor of Edo State in April 2007 but did not assume office until November 2008 after a long-drawn legal tussle that ousted Professor Oserheimen Osunbor.

It is a generally held view by the average man in Edo state that the eight odd years of PDP was a disaster and a dismal failure. The infrastructural framework collapsed. Roads were not motorable even when they could be accessed. Hospitals became consulting centers. School teachers in some instances taught under open skies. Salaries for public officers were unpaid and state-owned investments were looted and stripped of their assets.

This meant that any modicum of effort at delivering on the responsibilities and obligations of government thereafter, was a major departure from what people had become used to in Edo State. They had come to expect little or nothing from their government.

Commenting, Azebamwan said, “On assumption of office, Oshiomhole immediately embarked on urban rejuvenation with massive road repairs and expansion. Inner city roads that were hitherto in a deplorable state took on a new look. Hospitals were refurbished and restocked, the moribund intercity and intracity transport agencies were revived and a fleet of the now famous green “comrade buses” plied the length and breadth of Edo state. Salary arrears were appreciably paid up.

“He undertook youth employment and empowerment, and he raised the minimum wage of public sector workers. Dilapidated schools all over Edo State sprang back to life and “red roofs” dotted the landscape. He renovated the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and initiated the Okpekpe Road Race to put Edo State back on the global map.

“Oshiomhole galvanised and strengthened the party machinery to enable them reap support at the grassroots. Everyone began to see himself as a stakeholder in the political process. In the words of Oshiomhole, “let the people lead.” The people saw the government as theirs and Oshiomhole was the arrowhead and the rallying point.”

He said the landmark achievements of Oshiomhole were so outstanding that he himself became a brand. “Such was his phenomenal successes and charisma that in the elections of 2011, the key campaign slogan of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was that a vote for any of the candidates was a vote for Oshiomhole”, Azebamwan added.

“This was a measure of the level of trust that he had garnered from the electorate. The candidates did not need to canvass votes, they simply keyed into the Oshiomhole brand. It was such a sure bet that some aspirants in the opposition party jumped ship and decamped to ACN just to win their elections, only to hijack the mandate back to the opposition party once they were elected.

“This was the phenomenon that was Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Support for him was like a mass movement. It was the same thing in the elections of 2015. So massive and widespread was his acceptance by party leadership and at the grassroots.”

Unlike that of Governor Godwin Obaseki, Azebamwan said “the leadership (of Oshiomhole) was not coerced or imposed. It was a voluntary subscription by all and sundry. This wave of general acceptance of Oshiomhole was what Obaseki rode on to electoral victory in 2016.”

“This is not in consonance with the concept of Godfatherism”, the Edo APC publicity secretary reiterated.