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NIGERIA: Oyerinde, The weird crusade to find killers

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of EdoStateEACH  time Governor Adams Oshiomhole of EdoState blows up and expresses what is now known as the Oshiomhole syndrome, he reminds Nigerians of a state chief executive who is yet to adjust to what it takes to occupy that exalted position.

It happened, again, on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, just before the commencement of the National Council of State meeting at the Presidential Villa.

Not many were surprised that Oshiomhole was at the centre of yet another bizarre misconduct.  The only surprise was that the Comrade had, this time, staged his drama before the highest moral as well as legal authority in the country, the National Council of State, comprising the President as Chairman, all former Presidents and Heads of State, Senate President and former Senate Presidents, Speaker of the House of Representatives and former Speakers, Chief Justice of the Federation and former Chief Justices and, of course, serving Governors.

Comrade Oshiomhole has, over the last eight months, engaged in a crusade to unearth the killer(s) of his Principal Private Secretary, PPS, Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, who was murdered in cold blood on May 4, 2012.  During this period, he (Oshiomhole) has pointed finger of guilt at almost everybody and every institution.

First, Oshiomhole’s accusation was against the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which, by innuendo, he accused of wanting to intimidate him by killing his associates because they (PDP) could not defeat him at the polls.  In his words: ”Last night, like coward [sic], they shot Olaitan in the chest, head and belly to make sure he never survives… because their plan is to postpone again for the second time our campaign” (The Nation, May 5, 2012).

Although the referent in this statement is the PDP, what he actually had in mind was Chief Tony Anenih, whom Oshiomhole accused severally of being behind the bloodletting in the pre-governorship election period in EdoState.  Fortunately for the PDP and Anenih, police investigations into the most serious incidents in the state at the time, the Governor’s convoy accident of last year in which three journalists lost their lives and the assassination of Comrade Oyerinde, showed that no political conspiracy was involved. But this has not tempered Oshiomhole’s penchant for throwing wild allegations.

Amazingly, Oshiomhole chose, of all places, the launch of the Nigeria Police Code of Conduct to make wild and intemperate allegations against the Police.  He pointedly accused the DIG, Force CID, of conspiracy to murder or conspiracy to shield murderers, either of which he says, should earn him dismissal from the Force.  He also unabashedly described the Deputy Commissioner of Police, who conducted the investigation into the murder of Oyerinde, as a “criminal”.  Never before, in the history of Nigeria, has a high public official, a State Governor for that matter, poured such odium on a major institution of state like the Police.

It is remarkable that Oshiomhole’s outburst against the Police undermined all the decorum and protocol of his office as governor and the decency expected of a guest at the Police launch event. To attack senior officials and impugn the integrity of the Police at their own event is taking forthrightness to an absurd level.

And, it would appear that Oshiomhole has been doing this dance for too many times for his own good or the good of the people he governs.  His penchant for hallucination became obvious about two years ago when he claimed that the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua endorsed and financially supported his governorship election bid on the platform of the ACN against the PDP where he (Yar’ Adua) was leader.

In 2012, he led a series of violent protest marches, accompanied by hooligans, on the major streets of Benin City.  One of such protests was against the INEC for wanting to perform the legitimate function of voter registration.  Oshiomhole and his thugs took over the INEC office in Benin City for three days until when the proposed voter registration was cancelled.

It was this lack of a good sense of judgement, decency and decorum that was amply demonstrated in Oshiomhole’s altercation with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), at the National Council of State meeting earlier referred to.  According to reports of the incident, Oshiomhole would have physically assaulted Adoke but for the timely intervention of some of his colleagues, just because he believed that Adoke’s position on Oyerinde’s murder did not fit into his thesis on the matter.

It is easy to suggest that Oshiomhole has become very emotional because of the failure by the Police to find his own perceived killer(s) of someone so close and so dear to him; this explains his rejection of those found by the Police.

The miracle is that there is no report that Oshiomhole has yet engaged in fist-cuffs with any of his commissioners or permanent secretaries.  The saving grace maybe that, as governor, none of his aides has had the temerity to engage him in any prolonged disputation.

But why should Oshiomhole be so desperate, in the Oyerinde matter, to the extent of almost dancing naked in the public domains? Is it merely to ensure that the right action is taken by the Police that he is playing to the gallery?  Is there anything troubling his mind which he has been trying to conceal by behaving wildly and getting on the nerves of almost everybody? The Edo State Attorney-General has caused the release of Reverend David Ugholor who is Oshiomhole’s close associate and who was arrested by the Police as a suspect.  The question is, why is Oshiomhole so desperate?

On the whole, Oshiomhole’s hallucination and crusade should be of serious concern to all of us.  A governor who throws wild accusations against all and sundry without any concrete proof can hardly be said to be capable of any good judgement.

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