Nigeria News

Mike Oghiadomhe: The Wages of Sin

On account of his many political sins, former Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, was relieved of his appointment, writes Ojo M. Maduekwe
 
First, this narrative will suffice. Once upon a time, in the political annals of Nigeria, there was a man whom the newly elected president had contemplated his fate as his Chief of Staff. He was said to be the president’s ally, a friendship that dates back to when both were deputy governors in their respective states.
 
As the president consulted on the choice of his friend, every stakeholder that he sought their opinion told him to forget whatever he thought to know about his friend. The man, they added, couldn’t be trusted. The tale from everybody was discouraging, except a certain governor from the South-south, the president’s home zone.
 
The story further has it that a surprised president had probed further, retorting: “How come you are the only one who has something good to say about my friend?” But the governor simply replied the president: “For my sake, please retain him.” The president did as the governor had pleaded and he appointed the man.
 
Not long after the man was appointed, he went to visit the governor at the government house, in company with his spiritual mentor. During the visit, the man who almost genuflected thanked the governor for giving him a lifeline and pledged never to work against him. To underscore his seriousness, he said, “Let God punish me if I do,” allegedly.
 
However, it was said that when this ‘saving-governor’ had issues with the man’s principal, the man he helped save his job was fingered in practically all the antics that were orchestrated against the governor. Today, the governor, unlike the ‘Judas’, has come out unscathed in nearly all the troubles he’s faced except for the big 2015.
The man in the story is the former Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe. Despite the official reason for resigning, a legion of sins were allegedly established against Oghiadomhe, who from all indications, stepped on too many toes, including those of his immediate former boss.
 
Addressing pressmen on the forced resignation, President Jonathan’s media adviser, Reuben Abati said the resignation letter of Oghiadomhe as received by the president stated that “he wished to pursue other political necessities in our great party,” and not what was being circulated online.
 
Abati argued Oghiadomhe’s reason to be true, recalling that few weeks back, before President Jonathan travelled to Ethiopia, he had announced in council that any member of his cabinet or political appointee with political ambitions capable of distracting them from their duties should resign.
 
Oghiadomhe had also told THISDAY in a telephone interview: “I resigned on my own. I tendered voluntarily a letter of resignation as the Chief of Staff to the president… I read what Sahara Reporters wrote. It is absolutely false. I resigned to enable me do other things as a politician. How can the online report say that I was sacked when in actual fact I resigned?”
 
The site had reported that President Jonathan, “reportedly fired the Chief of Staff after security agencies revealed his deep involvement in the mega fraud at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).” That aside, it became clearer to the president that Oghiadomhe was more a liability than an asset.
 
In the course of discharging his official duty, THISDAY reported a presidency source as saying that Oghiadomhe had used his office to dispense and curry favours, and “bungled a lot of assignments given to him by the president and had allowed pecuniary interests to influence his decision making.”
 
Regarding his many political sins, examples abound. One is that he was a man who did not really know what his job entailed. For instance, according to the THISDAY source, he allegedly bungled former vice-president Atiku Abubakar’s meeting with the president shortly after seven governors of the PDP and Atiku broke away to form the splinter New PDP last year.
 
As if out to paint the president in  bad light to the aggrieved governors, Oghiadomhe, during one of the president’s visit to Sokoto, failed to observe protocol by informing the governor, Aliyu Wamakko, of his boss’s visit. “Instead, it was the deputy governor, Muktar Shagari, who was informed and received the president during the visit,” the source told THISDAY.
 
When the Sokoto incidence was brought to the notice of President Jonathan, he was reported to have been “livid with anger” which among other matters made him decide to remove Oghiadomhe. It was to give him a soft-landing like he did with the Bamanga Tukur debacle, that he asked him to resign.
 
According to THISDAY, “another issue that counted against Oghiadomhe was his failure to acknowledge a request by Niger State traditional rulers to pay the president a thank-you visit following the foundation laying ceremony of the Zungeru hydro power project in the state late last year.
 
“Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, was said to have expressed his displeasure to Jonathan that months after the royal fathers wrote, making a request for the visit, the Office of the Chief of Staff failed to even acknowledge their letter. This again was seen as another lapse on the part of Oghiadomhe.”
 
Oghiadomhe was said to be effective at only enriching himself and family. While his removal may have been packaged as resignation, it is believed that his sack was based on corruption and political betrayals as the main reasons. It was alleged that some of President Jonathan’s inner circles doubted his loyalty.
 
In fact, he was also alleged of giving out personal details of the president to his political foes, such that the opposition had pre-knowledge of the president’s itinerary and boast with such details, contrary to national security.
 
On the mounting speculations that he may have been involved in the sleazy deals in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), it was reported that the president warned Oghiadomhe repeatedly against the backdrop of damning security reports linking him with some dirty deals in the NNPC.
 
The man who had become a political liability was also said to have lost closer ties with his kinsmen who had insisted he should be removed. Insisting, they also plotted his removal and so sometime last year, leaders from the party from six councils of Edo North Senatorial District, his ‘stronghold,’ expelled him.
 
The stakeholders meeting was said to have been held at Polaris Hotel, Jattu-Affasio near, Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area, and had in attendance, Edo North PDP party leaders from Owan East, Owan West, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Etsako West and Akoko-Edo councils.
 
The meeting was chaired by a former member of the House of Representatives and one time deputy governorship candidate of the PDP, Johnson Agbolaba. Not comfortable with Ogiadomhe’s leadership style, the stakeholders at the meeting passed a vote of no confidence on him, insisting that his position at the presidency did not in any way benefit the people of the area.
Put differently, allegations that he appropriated lands belonging to some of the villagers in his area, a group, Public Accountability League, published documents linking Oghiadomhe with real estate in Abuja and London, “including a N1.3billion mansion in Aso Villa listed as 3 Udi Hill Street,” reported Sahara Reporters.
 
Little wonder that there was said to be ecstatic jubilation at Fugar, Oghiamdohe’s home village in Edo State, at the news of his removal. Sahara Reporters had again informed that “a group of youths gathered at a nearby area of the Etsako Central Local Government office to express their joy at the removal of Oghiadomhe from the Jonathan cabinet.
 
“In an instant demonstration of the unpopularity of Oghiadomhe, who previously served as former deputy governor of Edo State, the youths were said to have been joined by market women, artisans, the unemployed, traders, students and motorcyclists, some of them dancing and singing.”
 
The irony of the matter is that on his website, www.oghiadomhe.com, a 2005 quote reads on the side: “I have associated myself all my life with the masses themselves. I am part of them. Like I always say, it is my primary belief that all men are created equal. The difference between you and me or any other person is a question of opportunity and circumstance and I find it very rewarding to associate with fellow men at all levels.” Also his facebook page, with 836 likes, boasts of him as “a Pride of Edo State”.
 
Although it is being rumoured that his staged resignation was to enable him contest the senatorial election in 2015, on the backdrop of his expulsion last year, this may not be true. If he was indeed expelled, he would be moving against the tide if he runs for the Senate, and PDP will bear the brunt for his many wages of sin.

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