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Oshiomhole Speaks On 2023 General Elections

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Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole has expressed hopes ahead of the 2023 general elections, declaring that God will not forsake Nigerians.

oshiomole

The former labour leader and ex-governor also dismissed having any regrets over actions and inactions that resulted in his sack as the ruling party chairman last year.

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Speaking on the sidelines of the Rotary Club of Abuja fundraising event on Saturday as the chairman of the investiture of Rotarian Victoria Unoarumi as 10th President, Oshiomhole suggested that every Nigerian politician should join the club and allow its four-way tests to guide their actions.

Asked about his fears for the 2023 general elections, Oshiomhole responded: ‘I have hopes not fears for 2023. People like to talk about their fears but for me, my life is about hopes. I think that by 2023 God will not forsake a nation of 200 million people.

‘Our democracy has come to stay, it is not perfect, a couple of things could be done to strengthen it but we have to move on and get on with the job. I strongly believe that God, in His infinite power, will help Nigeria to sustain democracy as we move through 2023.

‘As an optimist, I always say that with all the problems that Nigeria have, Nigeria is still much more than the sum total of all these problems,’ he insisted.

On whether he is regretting his role that resulted in his sack, he retorted: ‘No, no, no. Life is not all about regret. I am a very happy man or do you see me looking sad. I might look small but not sad.’

The former Edo State Governor further emphasised that he has been participating actively in party activities despite his removal.

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‘The court judgment quashing my removal was not actually delivered last week. It was on July 2, 2020, two weeks after I was removed from office. The only reason I decided to publish it last week was because I saw comments suggesting that people were not aware that the case was dismissed.

‘I had addressed newsmen shortly after my removal and said that regardless of the legality or illegality of my removal, I have accepted what happened in good faith and resolved not to contest it. I promised to remain committed and do what I can as a party member to support the party.

‘You know in law, you can decide as I have done to sleep on your right. And as I took that decision to sleep on my right, it has remained sleeping. I have decided for the purpose of party chairmanship to sleep on my right and it remains happily so.

‘You can see that I have been active since I left office because I don’t think I need to be a chairman to remain relevant. I didn’t join the party to become chairman but because we wanted to form an alternate platform capable of taking PDP out of power and that objective was achieved.

‘It does not matter how it all went, but the important thing is that the primary purpose was not for me to be chairman,” he noted.

Speaking earlier on the event, Oshiomhole said: “I got to know about Rotary when I was much younger in Kaduna. I was particularly interested in the four-way test because it seems to summarise how a society should be and how a human being should behave.

‘As a much younger man and a trade unionist victimised every day by powerful forces in the workplace and harassed by the government when we ask questions, the four-way test reinforces my own commitment to a just and fairer society.

‘However, I have seen it all both as a worker, as a workers leader, leading all the workforces in Nigeria and then being downgraded from President to being Governor of Edo, return to Abuja to be Chairman of a ruling party and got dismissed at half time and I am able to rest.

‘For reflections now, if I am asked to compare the Rotarians, your principles and objectives to the objectives of the trade unions and Labour movement, I would say they have a lot in common. As President of the NLC, we are concerned with, is it the truth? That is why we never like to go to court because the court is not about the truth.

‘It is about the law and the law is about the values of those in parliament, not necessarily the values of the larger society. So, it need not coincide with what is fair and just. But that is the law and society will be administered or misadministered according to those laws. So, rule of law is not necessarily whether it is fair or just.

‘Is it fair to all concerned? When I was at the trade unions, that question was at the heart of our struggle. Should people work so hard and end up being paid so little or as it currently is in many states, people work so hard and in the end, they are not even paid for months. Every other price is going up, only the poor price is going down.

‘Governors, past and present can afford current prices of cement, current prices for official vehicles, but they cannot afford current prices minimum wage and when it comes to wages, it is about having the ability to pay, I should pay according to my resources. But when you are buying a vehicle, you pay according to the market value of the vehicle.

‘As a labour man, I was familiar with the first two questions. The truth and what is fair. But when the Rotarians say is that the truth, the politician is likely to say, how does that affect me. Is it beneficial to all, the politician is likely to say whose turn is it? So, I think you should go out and get more politicians to join the Rotary Club and instil these core four-wheel test as part of the core values that should guide us in office.

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‘I am impressed by the fact that Rotary club is generally committed to supporting all kinds of courses particularly those who need support. Every day you hear that someone was taken to IDP camp, he has huge challenges. The government will never be able to solve those problems and if people imbibe the values of Rotary of giving, mobilising funds.

‘I wish that more and more Nigerians recognise that a society whose values is about everybody to himself and His for us all cannot go too far. We must be able to contribute our own quota because the way the world is, even before COVID-19, everybody appeared to be daily economically victimised and they will need good and kind-hearted people to support them.

‘So, I am very proud of the contribution of the Rotary community to supporting various courses that impact positively on those who are otherwise helpless,’ Oshiomhole noted.

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