By Olusola Bamidele

One of the more exciting manifestations of this electioneering season has been the indefatigable displays of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, on the campaign trail.   Always upfront at every APC campaign event as befits his position. Oshiomhole has emphatically put to rest any question about his ability to lead the party in Government to victory in this year’s general election.

APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole

Playing the forerunner’s role to President Buhari at all campaign events, he has certainly been the chief marketer of both the president and the APC, clearly putting forward the party’s messages at every campaign stop. With the elections just around the corner, the time is right for stocktaking on his performance thus far, and it is not out of place to say that Oshiomhonle has made emphatic difference and impact on the party’s campaigns.

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To be fair, Oshiomhole’s capacity for effective leadership was never in doubt to those who have followed his stellar career, both as a labour leader and a politician. Only those who were hell-bent on constituting themselves into a disharmonious chorus of armchair critics and wishy-washy detractors entertained the misguided hope that the man nicknamed “The Mighty Adams” by his admirers would fail to deliver at his duty post as APC national chair. As matters stand at the moment, “The Mighty Adams” has put all those critics and detractors to shame.

For clarity, it is only right to revisit the scenario in APC before Oshiomhole came into the frontline of the party’s administration. Before the world forgets, let’s recall that he tookover a disunited APC; an APC in disarray arising from the contentious party congresses held during the tenure of his predecessor in office. Indeed, some may not be aware, or may choose to conveniently forget, that those controversial congresses were at the heart of the issues in Imo, Rivers, and the other states that were challenged.

To his credit, however, Oshiomhole did not waste energy on blame games. He quickly sized up the situation and went to work, building bridges and mending fences. With the overall party interest always at the top of his mind, Oshiomhole instituted reforms within the party that strengthened internal democracy, restored power directly to the party members, and ameliorated the longstanding power tussle between the governors and National Assembly members in their states.The end result of these intra-party exertions were party primaries that produced sometimes unexpected but typically more widely-accepted candidates.

Going forward into the campaigns proper, Oshiomhole has not only weathered political storms that would have sunk politicians of lesser fortitude, he has equally committed himself to the singular mission of getting President Buhari re-elected for a second term.   At every stop on the campaign trail, he has stepped forward with confidence to deliver a clear message to the electorate, which is that his party deserves a second term in the light of the numerous achievements it has recorded since taking over the reins of power.

In passing across this message, it is interesting to note how Oshiomhole communicates in Hausa when the APC campaign train moves up North, and then he switches to Yoruba when the campaign train heads to the South West. Additionally, in the South East, he makes an effort to speak a little Igbo,which just goes to show what a complete Nigerian or wazobian he is.

In the midst of all his electrifying performances at campaign rallies, it must be said that Oshiomhole is not one to hide from challenges. If anything, “The Mighty Adams” faces all challenges head-on. This trait, a carryover from his days as a dogged labour leader, is undoubtedly one of the reasons he has continued to excel, stupefy his detractors, and attain higher heights.

Like him or dislike him, the fact is that Oshiomhole is the most visible party national chairman in Nigeria today; and, this is not just because his party is in Government. After all, he had a predecessor that was barely visible on the national political stage. Moreover, with his ability to throw verbal barbs at his political opponents (this is campaign season, let’s not forget) he has demonstrated capacity to lead the APC into the elections without being distracted by any side issues.

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It was therefore not surprising that his political opponents were jittery right from when he announced his intention to seek the position of national chairman of the APC. Those opponents knew that “The Mighty Adams” is an achiever who does not cower in fear when he is on a mission, no matter the obstacles thrown in his way. So all the sponsored malicious attacks against him – before and after his emergence as national chairman of the APC – were designed to stop Oshiomhole from doing precisely what he is doing so well now: uniting and electrifying the APC in its strategic and structured countrywide campaigns.

Mr. Bamidele, a political commentator, is based in Ketu, Lagos.


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