Oshiomhole: From “Comrade Governor” To Empty Barrel

Leadership is a grave responsibility. As such, a leader is expected to demonstrate a few fundamental qualities some of which are honesty, integrity and a pursuit of knowledge. While these qualities are important for everyone, they become even more vital as one assumes higher levels of leadership. It is therefore worrisome to see some leaders demonstrating a clear deficiency in this regard as the comrade governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has been doing in recent times.

For many months now, the Edo state governor has been more concerned with throwing mud at key figures in the past administration. Like the proverbial empty barrel, Oshiomhole has been making a whole lot of noise. One would expect someone of his calibre to base criticisms on empirical grounds but unfortunately, the governor has simply busied himself with bandying around false claims and unfounded allegations. His desperation is such that he even attempted to rope in the United States government so he could give his allegations a tinge of credibility.

Expectedly, the US wasted no time in denouncing Oshiomhole’s statements, exposing him for the mischievous ignoramus that he is fast becoming. While that was enough to keep the governor silent for a while, he was not repentant; neither did he make any attempt to rectify his wrong. How does that go for personal integrity? The latest spin in the comrade governor’s tales is his unconscionable attempt to link the immediate past minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to alleged mismanagement of government funds, especially Abacha loot, remittances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and disbursements from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Perhaps we need to remind Oshiomhole of a few things which he is apparently ignorant of. The governor and those that are being swayed by his devious means must be told that NNPC does not report to Ministry of Finance. From inception, the NNPC was set up to operate without external control such that it does not report its activities to Ministry of Finance. Consequently, the NNPC is so opaque that its operations are only known to the persons or bodies that have direct oversight over it – and the Ministry of Finance is not one of those.

Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was separated from the Ministry of Finance about a decade ago in line with global best practices. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo further strengthened the CBN through the CBN Act. Consequently, the Central Bank operates independently of the Ministry of Finance. Rather than reporting to the Ministry of Finance, the central bank partners with the ministry to manage both monetary and fiscal policy.

In the light of the foregoing, the reckless comrade governor’s attempt to hold Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala accountable for the operations of CBN and NNPC is the height of mischief and wickedness. How could you hold her accountable for things she has no control over? These are some of the reasons for which the former minister of finance has been clamouring for reforms. We need to restructure our institutions for effectiveness, probity and accountability.

It is mere wishful thinking and gross ignorance to ask Madam Okonjo-Iweala to explain processes and activities that are clearly outside her supervision. Such request is like asking the United States’ Secretary of the Treasury to account for what the Chairman of the Federal Reserve (US version of CBN) is doing. That will be outright foolishness. One wonders why someone occupying such a revered position as that of a state governor would venture into this realm of foolishness as our dear Oshiomhole has done.

By the way, what is the governor doing to improve the lot of the people of Edo state? It is proper at this point that we ask Oshiomhole to account for all the Security Votes that he has received in his two tenures as governor. What has he used those huge sums for? As the maxim goes, he who comes into equity must come with clean hands. In any case, Oshiomhole must remove the big log in his eyes before he can see clearly to remove the tiny speck that he thinks is in someone else’s eyes. He would do well to get sober and face the business of governance.

Olusola Daniel wrote in from Lagos, Nigeria.

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Articles by Olusola Daniel