By Onwuka Nzeshi, Abuja
Former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole yesterday apologised for the ‘sins’ he committed against constituted authorities during his days as the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), saying there was nothing personal about his actions and he did not mean any harm.
The apology came as Oshiomhole met with the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, principal officers and other members of the red chamber at the National Assembly.
The labour unionist is a frontline aspirant for the National Chairmanship position in the forthcoming National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and several members of the 8th Senate were governors of various states when Oshiomhole led organised labour to strikes in the country.
Oshiomhole was at the Senate to solicit the support of the party’s caucus in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
On his entourage were the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang; former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Alhaji Abdulwaheed Umar; Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon, a former member of the House of Representatives and a host of others.
“I confess that while I was in the NLC, I troubled quite a number of the governors who are now senators. We had disputes. I led protests, not against them, but against the governments they headed at that time.
Somehow, to be very specific, I will be able to say that those robust and sometimes quite intimidating engagements and some might say harassment of some of these governors who are now senators, that somehow, they all understood that there was nothing personal about those issues.
“I can say that while in office and even long after I left office, I have managed to maintain friendship and respect for them.
Even before I became the Governor of Edo State and while I was seeking the Office of Governor, to my very pleasant surprise, many of them were readily available to lend me support and they did give me the support. Suffice it to say that in the end, I was able to win and I became the Governor of Edo State,” he said.
Oshiomhole explained that he was at the National Assembly not only to solicit their support for his ambition, but to share his vision with them on what he would do differently to enhance the image of the party when he gets there.
He noted that the support of the party caucuses in the two chambers of the National Assembly was very critical to the realisation of his ambition as, according to the APC Constitution, every member of the party in the parliament is an automatic delegate to the National Convention.
He explained that given his background in labour unionism and his foray into politics, he was in a good position to understand the challenges of a government and the challenges of a political party.
In a veiled reference to the lingering feud between the executive and legislature, Oshiomhole said that such a relationship could have been better managed through negotiation and compromise.
“We cannot dream of a party in which there are no disagreements. If we have one like that, it means the party is not democratic.
I have not participated in a military government; there is also some form of conversation, if not debate, at the level of the Armed Forces Ruling Council. At least, we hear rumours that some Generals agreed and some Generals disagreed and when they cannot finalise the conversation at the table, then they finalise it with the gun.
But as democrats, the only tool that is lawful and legitimate is the power to persuade, articulate, negotiate and to have a compromise,” he said.
He vowed that if given the opportunity to run the APC as National Chairman, he will not allow a situation where personalities, party organs and arms of government will be fighting one another while the party remains a “siddon look” party.
In response, Saraki said there was no doubt that the former unionist had the capacity to lead the party.
The Senate President expressed delight that Oshiomhole made it a point of duty to meet personally with the APC Caucus in the Senate to solicit their support for the party convention which comes up early next month.
The meeting subsequently went into a closed door session.