He ordinarily should be lost in any crowd, but Adams Oshiomhole’s strides and struggles keep him walking tall. Last Monday he was inaugurated for a second term in office as Governor of Edo State.
When a man knows where he is going and is determined to succeed, the world and its elements will step aside to let him pass.
It was no surprise then that the sun and the rain laid back last Monday in Benin, Edo State for the second term inauguration of Comrade Adams Oshiomhola as governor of Edo State.
Remarkably, the previous day it rained cats and dogs in Benin. As early as 7 a.m. the people had started trooping towards Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium for the event.
Entering through the main gate of the stadium was like the proverbial camel trying to force its way through the eye of the needle even with all manner of tags and invitation cards designed to confer special status on the bearers that should have aided access by merely waving them.
The crowd was unprecedented. By 9 a.m. the stadium was already full for an event scheduled for 10 a.m. but thousands were still fighting to get into the venue giving the security men some ‘good problem.’
School children, adorned in their different uniforms, waving white flags at the stands were a delight to watch, with various artistes entertaining the audience with popular musical tunes and dance steps on a stage mounted in one corner of the stadium.
Cultural troupes from the east and the northern part of the country were tried to outdo one another with various displays. Youths from the state and market women were themselves not left out of what looked like a carnival.
The shoving, the pushing and the dancing blended with music from the giant speakers in the stadium ushered in a number of state governors who were driven into the venue in an air-conditioned bus.
Among the governors present were Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers; Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Delta and Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti. Other governors who came in later were Peter Obi, Anambra; Babatunde Raji Fashola, Lagos; Rauf Aregbesola, Osun; Rochas Okorocha, Imo and Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun. The eight governors cut across party affiliations.
Other dignitaries who came to honour the former labour leader included former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, billionaire businessman Alhaji Aliko Dangote, National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Chief Bisi Akande, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, former Anambra State governor, Senator Chris Ngige, former Ogun State governor, Chief Segun Osoba, representative of the Sultan of Sokoto, palace chiefs representing the Oba of Benin, Chief Tom Ikimi, Nigeria Labour Congress president, Comrade Abdulwahab Omar and Senator Daisy Danjuma.
Governor Oshiomhole who had declared a public holiday in the state excused his security details several metres from the stadium when he alighted from his vehicle to walk into the stadium. As he entered surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd of well wishers at the stadium became electrified with shouts of ‘Oshio baba’, ‘Oshio baba’.
Following the formalities of singing, oath taking and declarations came the high point of the day when the governor delivered his inauguration address. The Comrade Governor did not disappoint as he spoke powerfully from the heart rather than from his prepared speech, eulogising and paying tributes to those who came to honour him as well as those who died in the course of his first term.
No one was too insignificant for him to appreciate and no one was too powerful for him to verbally assault. He also commended President Goodluck Jonathan for ensuring that one man, one vote counted during the last elections in Edo State with the deployment of security men.
‘Oshio baba’ was not only a man of words but of adjectives. While appreciating his guests, he described Governor Fashola of Lagos as the ‘captain of ACN governors and the tallest of us all’, while Fashola’s predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was ‘the lion of Bourdillon’.
As for Billionaire Dangote, he is the most hard-working man in Africa for employing several people and thereby giving him an opportunity to mobilise workers for the struggle.