WHY GOV. OSHIOMOLE FIRED OMOREDE OSIFOThe Patrick Obahiagbon Conspiracy
Until the shocking announcement of her sack as the Edo State Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Mobilisation two weeks ago, most people thought all was well between Hon Omorede Osifo and her boss, Gov Adams Oshiomole. However, to close followers of the dog-eat-dog politics of Edo State, Omorede’s sudden dismissal did not come as a surprise. Her days in office had been numbered by forces arrayed against her shortly after her assumption of office about 10 months ago.
|Gov Adams Oshiomole|
|Hon Patrick Obahiagbon|
Though no official reason has been given so far for her exit, her sack however might not be unconnected with the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium Floodlights scandal which reared up during the recently-held Youth Summit and Concert. The Concert, which was hosted by Edo State mid January 2014, attracted the major players in the Nigerian entertainment circuit. Prior to the event, the Governor, who attached serious importance to the concert due to its youth-oriented nature, constituted a committee headed by the Chief-of-Staff, Hon Patrick Obahiagbon and mandated them to ensure the success of the concert and use it to further launder the image of his government . Curiously, Obahiagbon refused to include Omorede Osifo, the Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Mobilisation as a member of the committee. Gov. Oshiomole was said to have approved the sum of N75Million for Obahiagbon’s committee but few days to the day of the event, Obahiagbon was said to have disbursed the sum of N200, 000 to Omorede’s office with an instruction that the Governor wanted all the malfunctioning floodlights at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, where the event would hold, fixed before then event. The job was contracted out immediately by Omorede and the lights were fixed and tested before the event. On the night of the concert however, the floodlights refused to work, thereby messing up the whole event. When this happened, the hawks that were after Omorede, allegedly, went to Gov Oshiomole to misinform him that Omorede did not fix the light as instructed by the governor. This naturally infuriated Oshiomole ordered the immediate termination of her appointment via a terse radio announcement.
Sources close to the Edo State Cabinet have however revealed that, Omorede’s firing last week was the climax of several dangerous political manipulations orchestrated against her by Gov Oshiomole’s Chief of Staff, Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon, who saw her as big threat to his political aspirations in the state.
For those who do not know, both Obahiagbon and Osifo hail from the same Oredo Local Government and contested for the House of Representatives ticket in 2011 but lost. Thus, a tense political rivalry had been existing between the duo for long. Being very close to the Governor as the Chief of Staff therefore, Obahiagbon was said to have formed the habit of systematically misinforming the Governor about Osifo, with the aim of painting her black and ultimately destroying her political career, so that the coast could be clear for him (Obahiagbon) in 2015. Though very famous (or infamous) across the nation as a result of his jaw-breaking English grammar; in Oredo politics however, Omorede Osifo is perceived to be far more popular and acceptable among the people than the grammar-inventing Obahiagbon. Aside this, Obahiagbon wanted to be seen as the defacto APC political leader in Oredo, therefore Omorede’s charisma and popularity is said to be a huge threat to his ambition. Hence, the ‘Operation Destroy Omorede-Osifo-at-all-cost.’ This ‘battle’, according to insiders, had occasioned Hon.Obahiagbon to constantly blackmail Hon, Osifo before Gov Oshiomole severally and had on many occasions blocked her tactically on crucial issues relating to her job as a commissioner, just to incapacitate her politically.
What appears to be most painful to Omorede’s followers was the fact that, the termination of her appointment came on the very day the highly-respected Oba of Benin bestowed on her the much -coveted Royal Bead. A section of these followers viewed the whole saga as an affront on the personality of Benin Monarch by Gov Oshiomole. That is, the Governor calculatedly dis-honoured a woman honoured by the King.Though another Commissioner has been sworn-in in lieu of Omorede Osifo, it is however certain, that despite the unexpected sack, her reputation as a charismatic woman leader remains intact and might even swell her to greater heights than that of commissionership.