Promoting Good Governance.

From labour leader to party chairman, Oshiomhole emerges APC national chairman

Adams Oshiomhole, former Edo state Governor, has been elected national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Oshiomhole was elected unopposed through a voice vote by delegates at the national convention of the party at the Eagle Square Abuja.

The former Edo Governor was one of the 18 candidates affirmed unopposed by more than 6,000 delegates at the national convention of the party in Abuja on Saturday.

The names of each of the unopposed candidates were mentioned by Governor Abubakar Badaru Mohammed of Jigawa State, Chairman of the national convention committee, while the delegates in affirmation chorused ‘Yes’.

Adams Oshiomhole is set to take over the office from  fellow Edo indigene and indeed former governor, John Odigie-Oyegun. This is because the three other contestants who earlier signified their intention to seek the office all stepped down and endorsed Mr. Oshiomhole.

The three aspirants who stepped down are Oserheimen Osunbor, a former governor of Edo State, Clement Ebri, a former governor of Cross River State and Ibrahim Emokpaire.

Oshiomhole. was born on April 4, 1952 at Iyamho, near Auchi in Edo State.

He was born a Muslim but was led to Christianity by his late wife Clara, who died of cancer at the age of 54. He is now Catholic and his Christian name is Eric.

After his secondary education, he obtained a job with Arewa Textiles Company, where he was elected union secretary. He became a full-time trade union organiser in 1975. He then studied at Ruskin College, Oxford in the UK where he studied economics and industrial relations. He also attended the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau State. In May 2015, he married a young model called Iara Fortes.

Two times African workers representatives at ILO — Life as a labour leader

In 1982, Oshiomhole was appointed General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, a union with over 75,000 workers.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and former President Olusegun Obasanjo. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

After  the return of democracy in 1999, he became president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC. Early in the administration of President Obasanjo, he negotiated a 25 per cent wage increase for public sector workers. In return, he publicly supported Obasanjo and endorsed his candidacy when he was re-elected in 2003.

The textile union elected Oshiomhole for a second term as general secretary, while he continued as president of the NLC.
The relationship with President Obasanjo turned sour as neglect of local oil refineries led to reliance on imported petrol, followed by rises in the price of the product. Oshiomhole led strikes and demonstrations against the increases. He faced arrests, tear gas and temporary blockades of union offices, and  Obasanjo introduced legislation to make it more difficult for the NLC to strike.
On October 9, 2004, the NLC alleged that  Oshiomhole was abducted by State Security Services (SSS), during a protest, but the Obasanjo led federal government said he submitted voluntarily to custody.
Oshiomhole represented African workers for two terms on the governing body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), serving on the committee on freedom of association. He was also a member of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Tree Trade Unions.

In April 2007, Oshiomhole won the governorship election in Edo on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), before the party, alongside some opposition parties, formed the APC in 2013.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as Edo state Governor. PHOTO CREDIT: Business Day Online

He became governor following a verdict of the Court of Appeal which held that the results of the April 2007 governorship election in the state were massively rigged in favour of the candidate of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Oserheimen Osunbor.

In 2012, he was elected to a second term, winning the elections in a massive landslide and ended his tenure on November 12 2016.


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