Oshiomhole sends strong warning to APC bigwigs, says he can’t be caged as party chairman
– Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is no doubt the leading contender for the national chairmanship of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)
– His endorsement by President Muhammadu Buhari and the party governors gave him an advantage over other contenders
– Oshiomhole has since been talking about his plans for the party if he emerges the ruling party’s chairman
APC national chairmanship aspirant, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has promised that he will not be a dictator if he emerged winner at the national convention of the party scheduled for Saturday, June 23.
Oshiomhole also said he would not be caged by a select group of powerful individuals in the APC to do their bidding at the detriment of others because his support base cuts across all interests in the party.
He stated this when he visited the headquarters of Media Trust Limited, the publishers of Daily Trust titles in Abuja on Wednesday, June 13, adding that he had always exercised persuasive powers and negotiating skills in the execution of his responsibilities.
His words: “If I have prominent people from the north, the south, the east and the west, it means I will be at the centre. No one will say without my support, you wouldn’t have been there. But if you are a product of one section, then you might remain detained by that section if you feel that to retain the office, you must service that section as your support base.
“But when you have the privilege of a broad support from many leaders, then no one leader will say I put you there. You must listen to me. Conventionally, in our political environment, we hear that who has the deepest pocket tends to buy the support. But this support is being offered by people that cannot be procured. It flows from their knowledge of my person because I have been fortunate to work with all the governors, including past governors.
“Those I didn’t meet in office, I met them when I was president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). We have engaged one-to-one, they know what I stand for. So, they have offered this support based on their understanding of my person, not inducement. That makes a difference.”
When told that there were fears in some quarters that due to his stand as former NLC president, he might end up becoming a dictator as APC National Chairman, Oshimhole said: “One of the things that NLC job equipped all of us with is that, although you are the boss, in truth, you cannot hire or fire any of those people with whom you have to work with in the process of decision making.
“Unlike what I was able to do as governor of a state, I hired all the commissioners, including my permanent chief of staff. When we say the executive council has resolved, everybody at that council except the deputy governor is my appointee.
“And as they talk, whether they admit or not, they know that if I smile or frown, it can define in one way or the other, how long they stay in the cabinet. But in the trade union, when I was elected as president, my deputy was elected not as my running mate, he contested for the office on his own. So, where it matters, he is not obliged to side with me.
“The vice president is not my running mate. The treasurer, which is equivalent to finance minister, is not my appointee. The trustee, known as accountant general, who signs cheque, is not my appointee. When I presided over National Executive Council (NEC) of the NLC, I am the leader. But every member has a role to play. In our meetings, we begin to have progressive and conservative sides. I’m used to presiding over affairs and making decisions not on the basis of fear.
“So, it’s not possible for me to be a dictator as APC national chairman. What my background prepares me for is to be able to listen. That is why I keep saying at every forum that contestations and disputes are not dysfunctional if you have the skills that I have to manage divergences…I have never exercised dictatorial powers. I have always exercised persuasive powers and negotiating skills. Those are my tools.
“When I negotiate with you, I persuade you and you accept, you will feel obliged to do what you have to do. If I dictate to you, you will only do it when I’m watching. When I’m not watching, you will follow your heart. So, I’m not capable of being a dictator by the very nature of my background.”