After his victory in the 2015 elections, President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly called Adams Oshiomhole to describe him as a “lion” for standing with him at the presidential election despite tremendous pressure brought on the then Edo state governor not to work against a fellow South-South candidate in the person of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
It has emerged that after he came on-board as governor of Edo state, there were immense pressures on Oshiomhole to defect to the PDP on the prism that the South-South must remain a PDP enclave.
Vanguard reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, before ascending the nation’s highest office, had observed the challenges Oshiomhole faced against the behemoth PDP, and had called Oshiomhole several times to sympathise with him over his travails in the hands of the then ruling party.
According to the report, the President had while watching the television with his wife, called Oshiomhole to inform him that he had been nursing this fear that his life may be in danger the way and manner he was fighting the PDP godfathers including the former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih.
Buhari was said to be particularly worried when Oshiomhole’s former aide Olaitan Oyerinde, was killed and advised Oshiomhole to be careful that Nigeria needs him.
On how Buhari became fond of Oshiomhole, the report has it that Oshiomhole’s doggedness and seeming hatred for the PDP-led administration attracted him to Buhari.
It added that the President was impressed with the way and manner the former governor methodically and ruthlessly decapitated the political godfathers in Edo State namely: Chief Tony Anenih and the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion.
Buhari, it was said thus saw Oshiomhole as a like mind to work with in order to ensure the perpetual end of PDP in the governance of the nation. And he found a great ally in Oshiomhole in that regard.
Following his resistance to the PDP pressures, there were alleged attempts by the then ruling PDP administration at the federal level to intimidate Oshiomhole, but did not succeed in moving the comrade despite the inherent dangers to him and his close political allies.
The former governor, nevertheless, remained dogged and informed them he would rather win or lose with Buhari than joining the PDP. After he refused to budge to their demands, there were reported attempts to arrest some of his chief lieutenants prior to the presidential election in 2015.
Part of the report reads, “Oshiomhole’s chief political strategist and current Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie went underground with other APC leaders but remained defiant.
“And on the day of the presidential election, Ogie, Charles Idahosa, Chief Osaro Idah, Lawrence Orka and other APC leaders held Edo South which is the largest in population in the state, from their underground locations where they resorted to, for fear of arrest.
“In the end, Oshiomhole’s efforts contributed to Buhari scoring 46 per cent of the votes, the highest he got in the South outside the South-West.
“And the President would have wished to work with Oshiomhole for some time before Oshiomhole left office in November 12, 2016 but he was glad that Oshiomhole ensured that the party retained the governorship in the state through the emergence of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
“President Buhari was also impressed that in spite of the fact that Oshiomhole spent most of his tenure in office as governor fighting political battles against the PDP godfathers, he also radically transformed the physical landscape of the state.
“This was seen when the president lavished praises on Oshiomhole when he visited the state on November 7, 2016 to commission some projects executed by Oshiomhole.
“The President’s visit came five days before the expiration of the tenure of Oshiomhole as governor of the state. While commending the job Oshiomhole did in the state in eight years, the President informed the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II that he will give Oshiomhole a national position after his tenure as governor.
“The President repeated the comment while commissioning the state-of-the art Central Hospital building constructed by Oshiomhole.
“The President said that the country will be the loser if the APC failed to utilise the “people’s governor’s wisdom, skill and energy’.
“According to him, ‘it will be a pity to waste his energy by allowing him to retire. I hope there will be a higher assignment for him to do more for the nation. I congratulate the governor for his hard work. Oshiomhole is a hard working governor. We will need his services in Abuja. Thank you for inviting me. You have served two terms and you are about to leave. You deserve a place in history. I hope APC will look for a place for you because your service for the country is far from over.’
“Therefore, those who have been following the President’s relationship with Oshiomhole will not be surprised when the President urged governors of the party to support the former governor for the national chairmanship position of the APC.
“President has also bonded with Oshiomhole’s past personality as a unionist.”