Of Oshiomhole, Dancing and Governance

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He moves on the dance space with surprising élan and fetching candour. For sheer nimble swiftness and energy, few top-notch politicians in Nigeria today can match the dancing skill and prowess of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. But these unscripted performances could easily fool some observers into misreading the essence of the diminutive Edo State-born dynamite.

Though imbued with easy folksy charm, he is no courtier. So he doesn’t need to dance in any king’s court to curry favours. Cut to the bone, he is something of an evolved king in his own rights - empowered to grant favours but instructively shorn of quirky, kingly airs. His tough trajectory through the bruising turf of trade unionism and later political leadership ensure this.

As one who understands such human impulses, the former two-term governor of Edo State has pretty little problems with other dancing folks that populate the nation’s political space. He has not expressed any disdain for the pastime of dancing or possession of a pair of good dancing shoes either. But he has drawn a very firm line when it comes to mixing the serious issue of governance with dancing or substituting dancing with the intellectual rigour that ought to define those that exercise political authority.

Recently, he put his position on matters concerning dancing in context. Speaking while promoting the governorship candidacy of Gboyega Oyetola, the APC flag-bearer of Osun State, Oshiomhole said that “The contest is not for those who will turn the Government House to disco house, but for those who are ready to serve and work; we need people who have the passion, people with character, and people with conviction. These are trying times. We need people who are competent, people who can manage finances, and those who can also generate revenue.”

Comrade Oshiomhole’s position indeed needs little validation. In the arena of politics the world over, governance - good governance - is central to human development and social progression. The converse leads to retrogression and socio-political stagnation.

An emerging consensus indicates that indeed good governance has eight major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus-oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society. Deficits in these areas give rise to conflict and set back human development.

True, good governance is not an esoteric project or process. It is epitomized by predictable, open and enlightened policy-making, a bureaucracy imbued with professional ethos acting in furtherance of the public good, the rule of law, transparent processes, and a strong civil society participating in public affairs. Poor governance (on the other hand) is characterized by arbitrary policy making, unaccountable bureaucracies, unenforced or unjust legal systems, the abuse of executive power, a civil society unengaged in public life, and widespread corruption.

With little debate, these enunciated concepts formed Oshiomhole’s guiding principles in the political arena. These principles largely powered his eight-year stewardship in Edo State because they are founded on deep conviction.

After his two-term governance of Edo State, he is certainly not a rookie by any parameters. Very few current governors - whether in the governing or opposition party- can intimidate him or educate him on the finer points or intricacies of managing a behemoth like APC. But most importantly, Comrade Oshiomhole also listens carefully and is surprisingly quick on the uptake.

Before his ascendancy as national chairman of the ruling party, the old way of doing things ruled the roost in the coalition of ideologically disparate bedfellows that morphed into a national party. In a conservative, largely self-serving milieu, to transform the modus operandi of the ruling party is certainly not a picnic.

To help reposition the ruling party and align it with 21st Century best practices, reports have indicated that he has signaled a total break from the old way of doing things. Oshiomhole is said to be pushing for critical internal party changes, one of which is computerization of membership data-base. He is also said to be engaging other crucial party governance issues. He has, for instance, expressed his readiness to enforce party supremacy and party discipline.

Again, dancing, a core feature of this analysis pops up here. Comrade Oshiomhole has, according to reports, indicated that hence at party events like conventions, the usual raucous dancing and drumming will be dropped for a far more focused engagement and internal dialogue with members, high and low. At such events, appointees like Ministers will be expected to address the party faithful and, in clear language, explain the ‘HOW’ of implementing critical party agenda and promises to Nigerians.

This will ensure that appointees intimately understand their briefs and are ready to deliver the change promised Nigerians. In effect all the previous frivolities will be sharply curtailed. There is excitement in the air already as we wait to see how all of these pan out in the long run

Chika Madubuike a writer, sent this piece from Abuja via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.